Biography

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This page is an account of Asit's association with his main Gurus and mentors in raga-sangeet and the way they have influenced him at different stages of his development. Faithful and detailed accounts of biographies of the Gurus are easily available elsewhere.

 

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Sabita Ghosh
 

Music came into the family from both parents' side. Asit's mother had formal training in music. While his father did not have any formal training, he came from a rich family who according to the traditions of the time were great patrons of music and musicians. Obviously both parents were genuine music lovers and they decided to train their eldest daughter Sabita in vocal music from a very young age.  

 

Sabita had many gurus in her life and she dedicated her whole life to music. She never became a famous vocalist. She certainly had all the ingredients to become one. After all Ustad Dabir Khan himself expressed his willingness to teach Sabita after hearing her in a performance. Perhaps she did not get the support she needed from the family at the proper time while the family went through many hardships. Sabita struggled a great deal for a large part of her life while helping others in the family, especially her parents and the two youngest members of the family, Rita and Asit. Sabita was much older than Asit, and basically was like a mother to him. 

 

Sabita's two main gurus were, in chronological order, Pandit Pratap Narayan and Ustad Dabir Khan. In fact, all three brothers, Pandit Maniram, Pandit Pratap Narayan and the youngest Pandit Jasraj (a tabla player then) used to visit regularly the De residence at that time.  This was before Asit was born. Association with Ustad Dabir Khan is described in reasonable detail above. After Ustad Dabir Khan's demise, Sabita collected quite a few Thumris and other semi-classical cheez  of Benaras from Sarengi player Pandit Ramnath Mishra, father of Pandit Ramesh Mishra. At different phases of her life, Sabita learned classical and semi-classical/traditional  music also from a host of other Gurus like Pandit Sunil Basu, Sri Akhil Bandhu Ghosh, Smt. Suprobha Sarkar, Sri Arabinda Biswas and Sri Manindra Chakrabarty.  Needless to say, all this training and diverse experience made Sabita a treasure-house of music, although largely unknown to the outside world.

 

The chief beneficiary of all this treasure has been Asit. At home there was always this wealth of music readily available to him. 

 

Sabita always supported whatever Asit did since childhood. She was his greatest critic as well. When it came to singing, she was the most difficult person to please. Very seldom she would say, well sung. For the last few years, Asit was learning Thumri as well from Sabita. Asit learned Thumris in Kafi, Pilu, Tilang and Bhairavi from her.

 

On 29th June 2013, Sabita was at the Vivekanada Hall of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture at Golpark, Kolkata for a vocal recital by Asit. Asit sang ragas Shuddh Kalyan and Gaud Malhar. Shuddh Kalyan was a raga they sang together many times since Asit's early years in music. This was also the last piece of music that Sabita would listen to, as she suffered a massive cerebral attack while listening to her brother sing.