Mumbai Music: School of Indian Music - Sangeeta Gogate
Director: Surabhi Sharma; Cinematographer: Ajay Noronha
Duration: 00:22:30; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 107.946; Saturation: 0.007; Lightness: 0.208; Volume: 0.074; Cuts per Minute: 0.222; Words per Minute: 142.973
Summary: Sangeeta Gogate is the grand-daughter of B.R.Deodhar who started the School of Indian Music in 1925 in Mumbai. Following in the footsteps of her parents, who looked after the school, she is today the Principal of the school in which she also teaches Hindustani vocal music. In this interview, she speaks about the origins of the school, about the musical culture of her grandfather's time, and about the current situation of music teaching.
Deodhar school, School of Indian Music, B.R.Deodhar, Sangeeta Gogate
Origins of the Deodhar school
Sangeeta Gogate, it's so nice to have you speak to us, inside the Deodhar School,
with which your family is so closely associated
tell us something about why the school was started
school was started because my Dadaji's guruji, Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, he asked him to start the school
he said you have learnt from me, I want you to go beyond me
so that..matlab..aap prasar kar sakoge music ka
actually Dadaji was not ready for that
mein itna paisa kahaan se laaoon, jage bhi chahiye, paise bhi chahiye, I don't have instruments also
to start with, so he said ki 'bakri ka bachha mat bano, sher ka bachha ban ke ghoom jao'
'tum agar ruk jaoge madad ke liye toh kuchh nahi honewala'
you start the thing and madad apne aap aapke paas aajaayegi'
So, then he was thinking, thinking, ki kya karoon. Toh in St. Columbo school at Gaumdevi, he used to teach music for one hour
there Prarthana Samaj ke Mr Kore, he used to meet him regularly, toh unhe aise bataaye ke mujhe aise aise karna hai, aur unhone kya kiya tha ki Prarthana Samaj ki jo book thi, is mein sab prarthanaye thi, woh sab books inke diyi thi ke unko tune kar ke aap hamare Prarthana Samaj-wale ladkiyaan ko sikaana
Toh aise karte karte unhone kya mein yahaan pe sangeet class start kar sakta hoon. So, is tarah se class start hogayi. Rammohum English School joh woh Prarthana Samaj mein hain, first floor pe teen rooms ne allot kiya hai
Dadaji ko, aur started with the school. That time they were having only that big organ of Rammohun, wahaan se shuru hua, and then Dadasab Bhajrekar thae wahaan pe, toh uhone apna harmonium Dadaji ko donae kiya, aur woh ek harmonium ke saath class start hui or aaj itna bada hua hain
TN: Tanpura bhi nahi thae?
SG: Kuch nahi tha, kuch nahi. And graudally what happened, when we started na, hafte mein teen din class rakhi thi - Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and tues, thursday and Saturday - there were groups, so gradually there were some four or five ladkiya thi, us se thirty hogaye
phir ladke bhi aane lage, aur aisa hote hote hote bahut badgaya aur phir unko woh jagah bhi chhodne padi, ki kam padne lagi jagah; he started the class on 1 July 1925 and the School of Indian Music name was given by Sarojini Naidu. That time he used to teach her sister, toh jab woh wahaan pe aayi thi toh unhone ke poocha thi ki mujhe aisa aisa hain toh mein kya naam doon iska; unhone kahaa 'school of Indina Music' - because that time the British Government was ruling, so the name was in English - School of Indian Music. So that's how it started.
TN: I think it was interesting that for the first time with this kind of school you have a lot of people learning at the same time, whereas in the old tradition of Indian music it's always the guru and one shishya.
SG: guru shishya parampara.
TN: So why did that change happen?
SG: Gandharva Mahavidyalaya basically it wasn't a guru-shishya parampara, though....
TN: This was in Lahore?
SG: It was in Lahore and then they came in Mumbai - Lilavati Lalji School thi, wahaan pe unhone chaalu kiya, and Panditji [Vishnu Digambar Paluskar] ka yeh tha ki sirf ganewale nahin chahiye - yeh Hindustani music ka prachar hona chahiye - that was when music was only limited in kothis, that time, acchi ghar ke log nahi seekthe thae us time pe, so he wanted everyone to learn it.
Aur unhone aise bhi kiya ki, yeh jo gaana hain us se kahin logon apna pet bhi paal sake - is tarah ka joh mahaul us waqt mein tha ki pet paalne ke liye uhone gaana sikaaya, aur us hisaab se hi gaana sikhaya - it was not guru-shishya parampara that time also. It was, though Gwalior gharana, gharana hi tha, ki unhone yeh bhi khyal rakha ki ab mere shishya baad mein logon ko bhi sikaay aur yeh gharana ki joh parampara hain uske aage jaaye, guru-shishya parampara mein.
TN: So in the Deodhar school many kinds of music are taught?
SG: Yeah. TN: Not just Hindustani music?
SG: Haan, abhi hum logone kuch saal pehlesab dekh ke Western music ka piano and guitar we have started, and even film music now we have started, because people are more intrested in that. Abhi classical log seekthe hain, lekin they want to learn 'light' more than classical. Classical utna hi seekthae uski base taiyaar ho jaaye phir they can go for 'light'. Utna hi seekthae hain. So yeh badlaaon baad mein aaye, jab Dadaji ka time pe only Hindustani music we were having, but not only vocal - dance, harmonium, tabla, sitar, violin, everything was taught here.
TN: Dance is kathak only?
SG: kathak and bharatnatyam.
TN: Who were some of the famous students of this School?
SG: Pandit D.K.Datar, V.G.Jog, Pandit Kumar Gandharva, Venkateshwar Shastri, there are so many. Then my father also learnt from him [referring to B.R.Deodhar, the School's founder] only, Pandit Shyam Gogate, and Vasundhara Shrikandhe who was Shrikhande before then she became Kumar Gandharva's wife, Vasundhara Komkali. They all used to learn together. Pandit C.P. Rele, who is no more now, he learnt from him. Nirmala Gogate...
TN: So how many years does a student learn in this school? For example these famous people before they became really good and they were performing, how mnay years did they study?
SG: they must have learnt quite a lot, matlab .. Kumarji toh used to stay with Dadaji at his place, for 12 years he stayed here and he learnt from him. All these people they used to stay here, in this class only. Yeh joh hum log baithe hain na, wahin pe unki classes chalti thi.
Toh woh toh baarah saal rehke seekhe, baaki log bhi 8-10 saal toh aaram se rehke seekhe honge. Aur yahin pe rehte thae.
TN: And when do they start learning? At a very young age?
SG: Kumarji was very young. Other people must be at least school-going or college or something.
Surabhi and Teju discuss the world
[Surabhi asking for the fan to be put on for a minute - ]
Surabhi: So also wanted to just ask: when the school was set up here in the early??? This was also the area in which a lot of things are happening in terms of music. Laxmi Baug is right here, Trinity Club is right here, Brahman Sabha is right here, the oldest music shops, the music instrument shops are all here, so I just wanted to ask what are the stories you have heard about this area....Again you'd have grown up with a lot of anecdotes, about who is staying where, who's going where to listen to music, just want a feel of... [TN interjecting: and any famous performances you've attended, if there's something you really remember, you can mention who it was, and what did they sing, what raag, if you remember any bandish, why did it make such an impression on you, something like that]
SG: There are so many....
TN: Tell us something about this really amazing neighbourhood, the school is here, and also there are many performing spaces here, like Laxmi Baug,shops that sell musical instruments, Opera House is also here, many singers used to live in this area SG: Yes.
TN: When you were growing up, so tell us something about this area.
SG: Actually Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaab, Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar, all renowned people, they have performed here.That time I was not born only.
TN: In the Deodhar School?
SG: Yes. And sarod and sitar ka jugalbandi they used to do na, Ali Akbar and Pandit Ravi Shankar, woh first time yahaan pe perform ua tha. And here Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was in love with my Dadaji, always used to come to him, they used to have those sangeetik charchas joh hum log balte hain, they always used to have that. Dadaji kuch bandishe unse seekthe thae, woh Dadaji se kuch seekthe thae. To is prakar, yahin pe hota tha. And we used to have private concert kind of thing, many people used to come here, and they used to perform.
SG: Hum logon ne aise chhote se the, Dadaji kabhi programme keliye jaate nahin the, toh hum logon ne aise poocha aap kyon nahin jaate ho. So he said ke, abhi Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaab ka maine itna suna hai ki mujhe abhi kuch chaha nahi rahe ki mein kabhi jaa ke sun. Kyonki yahaan pe unhone itne achhe achhe logon ka suna hain na. Besides, unhone ek baat bhi kiyi thi ki Bhatkhande saab and Pandit Vishnu Digambar, they have got their different notations style, and two different poles in Hindustani music, unhone unko bhi class ke annual function mein dono ko ek saath bithaake he has created history in the Indian music.
And before when he was teaching in Rammohun School when his class was there, there was no place for jalsa, like ..for this... programmes..toh Laxmi Baug mein yeh sab programmes hote thae, annula programmes and even some big artistes used to come there and play there. and I remember in my times I remember Prabha Atre, she had come here and performed here, with her famous Kalavati and Maru Bihag. We had told her to perform, and it was lovely. Really lovely to listen to. She is performing there and we are sitting here. And of course then I went to her... I did MA with music in SNDT under her. It was great pleasure. There are so many I can tell you.. like Prabha Atre, then Vasundhara Komkali-ji, Kumar-ji, Ashwini Bhide, Aarti Ankalikar, then Pandit Jitendra Abhishekhi, so many people have performed here, Devaki Pandit in the young generation, Devaki Pandit, then Shahid Parvez, Pandit D.K.Datar, then Pandit Jog, whoever has learnt here also have performed here, and many big artistes also have.
And one more thing let me tell you, because Dadaji's punyayi was so much ke hum log khaali unko jab bolte hain ki "bhai aap ko yahaan pe perform karna hain" they don't even ask us ke "aap kitna denewaale hain".
And when we tell them ki "kitna", they have charged... One more thing ke, Dadaji ke first Barsi [death anniversary] hua tha, toh Zakir Hussain Khansaab ne idhar tabla bajaaya tha. and he has not taken a single rupee from us. Because he said jahaan se main tabla shuru kiya - he used to come with his father here - and he must have played sometime that time - so jahaan se main tabla shuru kiya wahaan se main kuch nahi loonga. So we have seen many people coming here, even Pandit Jasraj-ji used to sit here - and Dadaji ke saath woh gappe lagaathe thae. Phir Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod - Roopkumar Rathod ki pitaji - he used to come everyday, and they used to have gupshup.
TN: So were you sitting there when they were talking? SG: I was too small to understand everything. TN: but your father must have... SG: He has basiclaly learnt... I have also learnt from my grandfather but I was too young, and us waqt mujhe gaana nahi karna tha (laughs) par woh aa gaya aise, youknow, because from morning till night music, music and music. I have grown up in musical background. We used to play here, jab chhote thae toh kisi bhi class mein jaake baitho, tabla hain toh tabla baja ke dekho, sitar hain toh sitar baja ke dekho, like that we have grown up, me and my brother, both.
It's a really amazing thing, you know, different than everybody. TN: Now you're a teacher also.
SG: Yes, after my Dadaji, Mummy-Pappa looked after, now they are not there, so I am looking after the classes. I'm teaching also, at the same time I am looking after the administration. TN: You're teaching vocal?
SG: Vocal. Yeah.
Surabhi: I also wanted you to come back to the neighbourhood SG: Haan. SS: You know, what were the kind of conversations, like for example there's Congress House, and there's a lot of music happening over there.
SG: Congress House, my Dadaji used to tell me ki wahaan bahut saare musical programmes hua karte thae, and us time pe unhone bhi wahaan pe jalse kiye hain, woh programmes hain na, wahaan pe bhi, joh bhi koyi aata tha - Deodhar ji humae Mumbai main perform karna hai, toh either woh Jinnah Hall aisa kuch wahaan pe ya phir Laxmi Baug mein - we used to arrange the programme. Dadaji used to arrange.
And the musical instrument ki idhar baat kare toh Haribhau Vishwaraj [check] is the oldest one here, and some of the sitar makers from Miraj where origianlly sitar is made, my Dadaji unhone unko yahaan pe laake woh joh, unka joh vyaapaar hain naa, woh badhaane mein madad ki. Abhi bhi woh log yahin pe aake teher thae hain, unko agar koyi apne instruments bejne hote hain na, yahaan pe aayenge, rehenge saat aath din, woh joh bechke chale jaayenge. Woh Dadaji ki time se chala raha hain.
My Dadaji was basically from Miraj only. Toh unhone unko promote kiya yahaan pe aake, bahut saare log yahaan pe aake unhone... us time pe shops bhi bahut kam thae, Haribhau was the only one, they used to provide instruments there also, and yahaan pe apna samaan bechke phir chale jate thae.
TN: What are the other places you've gone? Trinity club, did you used to go?
SG: trinity club toh unka apna hi ek history hain, wahaan pe bhi Dadaji ne bahut baar perform kiya hain, aur wahann unhone joh, apna musical movement joh hota hain na, woh bhi wahin se shuru kiya hain. Wahaan pe alag alag log gaana gaane aa rahe thae, and Dadaji used to go and listen. Toh one day he said ki I want to sing, Dadaji said. And my Dadaji used to wear suit, toh veyone thought ki yeh suit-wala aaadmi kya gaayega, gaanewala toh woh salwar-kameez and everything... in Marathi we call "soota-bootaathli gavai" [singer wearing a suit and shoes], you know, he was given a name, soota-bootaathli gavai, toh unhone wahaan pe perform kiya, and then everybody came to know what is Dadaji.
TN: That was before he started the school?
SG: No, that time the school was started. But he was known only as a teacher. Not as a gavai. Of course my Dadaji didn't sing much. Unhone apna music sikaane mein, aur sab uska prachar karne mein, and oen more thing he did is, he gathered so many bandishes [compositions], from many places, wherever he used to go, if he finds ki yeh gharaane ka yahaan pe koi koi rahata hain, toh unhone wahaan se bandish le ke, usko poora study kar ke, joh bhi us mein kamiya thi, joh bhi kuch wrong words gayi huye, woh sab nikaal ke, usko poora sab banaa ke, phir unhone apna ek bandish ka ek alag se yeh kar diya. Unke paas khaas bandishes seekhen ke liye log aata thae.
And one more important person in his life was Sinde Khansaab. Unhone unse bahut saari bandishes seekhe, aur unka woh aisa ho gaya ki - jab unki classes chalti thi, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya mein, jab Panditji used to teach, toh unhone aise bola ki, yeh Khansaab hain, Sinde Khansaab hain, woh aapko sikhaayenge, aap log seekh le. Unhone sikhaya ek bandish, toh Dadaji ne turant gaa ke bataaye, toh do teen baar aise ho gaya toh Sinde Khansaab bole yah ladka aise kyoon kar rahe hain, aisa - kuch unhe mujhe alag sa lag rahen hain - unhone poocha yeh tum kaise kar rahe ho - toh what Dadaji used to do when he used to sing, na, he used to make notations of the bandish, and immediately he used to produce. Aur tab unhone khudh Dadaji se kaha, "Mera paas bahut saare bandishae hain, aap mujhe yaad di kaunsi kaunsi raag ki hain, par mein tumko gaa ke bathaaoonga, toh usko kisi bhi raag mein bithaa dena- tumko joh lagta hain woh raag usko karna, aur yeh tum lelo. And he got so many tings from him. Aur itna hogaye ki jab woh mar gaye na, tab Dadaji was not here, toh unhe kahaa ki mujhe Deodhar ji ke haath ki matti chahiye. Jab woh nahi hain toh mujhe rakh dena; jab woh aayenge tab hi mujhe matti dena. Itna unka tha..
TN: Kahaan se aaya tha Khansaab ne? SG: Bataa nahi. Auliya thae woh - bataa nahi kahaan se aaye thae. Dadaji must be knowing but I don't know. Sinde Khansaab ka naam bahut baar suna tha hum logo ne jab chhote si tab, unka ..aur Bade Ghulam Ali Khansaab dono ka - aur aisa bhi hua tha ki unhone Muslim logon se vidya lena - bahut se Muslim logon se Dadaji ne bahut kuch liya - bandishe liya, aur kuch raag naye naye seekhe, toh that time all these Brahmins they had banned him, ki Brahmin ho ke bhi Musulmanon se... but Panditji was backing him fully.
SS: So banned him means...
TN: Social boycott. SG: Matlab they were socially thinking gavai aisa hi - brasht gavai, aisa naam diya gaya tha unko.
Aur phir unhone khud... Professor Scrinzi hain, unse staff notation seekha, unko is waqt laga ki harmony aur woh joh staff notation hain, uski apne Indian music mein bhi zaroorat hain, toh unhone woh bhi seekha. aur 1956 mein, at teh age of 56, because he was born in 1901, he went to America, USA, and he learnt voice culture from there. He came to India, and unhone Ashok Ranade, Suhasini Mulgaonkar - yeh do logon ko yeh vidya sikhaya hain. Aur Dr Ashok Ranade ne usko bahut failaaya [CHECK] aur abhi toh jage jage dekh rahe ho voice culture, but joh voice culture chal raha hain na, that is not what he had brought here. He's a pioneer for voice culture in India.
SS: So in the initial years if there was this kind of social boycott, toh kaun aa raha tha, who were the students, which families were sending their children, what kind of people...
SG: Matlab jaise abhi maine bola Bhasikar [CHECK NAME], unki ladkiya aane lagi, phir ek Maharani thi, woh khud seekhne lagi, unki paas hi private hi seekthi thi but she started learning, then yeh joh Sarojini Naidu hain, unki behen, woh seekhne lagi, aur Prarthana Samaj mein pratishthith log hi aate thae, joh ki woh Prarthana Samaj me sikhaa rahe thae toh unki itni dikkat nahin huyi, ki..
TN: It's a more reformist school.
SG: Haan, lekin meri Daadi, Daadi used to play dilruba, woh kehti thi ki hum dono ghar ghar mein jaake, woh kehte the ki yeh achhi cheez hain, itni buri cheez nahi hain, aap apne ladkon ladkiyon ko class mein seekhe keliye bhejo. So that's how it started, actually. They literally used to go to each and every place.
SS: So also you're surrounded by many different neighbourhoods, so there's Gujarati, Konkani, Parsi, Muslim, everybody would be...
SG: Yes, yes, everybody. I don't know the names specially, but there were many people from very rich and very good gharanas. [In the background, instruments from the classes are heard.]
SS: That was great. Thanks.