We aspire to investigate how the Music extant in different parts of India is co-related. The long and rich heritage of our music allows us to study the inter-relationship between musical and religious traditions in the context of our cultural life; it cannot be overemphasised that Temples have always been centers where Vocal Music, Percussion and Dance Forms were cultured and developed in India till the Muslim Rulers occupied the throne in Delhi. This event brought about great changes in traditional and ancient Indian Music which we shall discuss later. Changes in political situations have always influenced the cultural history of the country; so they need some mention.
It is important to study the special characteristics of the Bengali mind as far as music is concerned; how evolution in religion and music took place simultaneously throughout the centuries. Hindustani Classical Music struck root very quickly in the music-rich soil of Bengal. The story of this long journey of music from North India to far away Bengal is fascinating. This Music spread throughout Bengal within a short span of time and became entrenched in the Bengali psyche. A large section of music-loving people of Bengal
(Undivided at that time) lost no time in their effort to master this foreign music. They were extremely successful in this endeavour and made it their own. How this music influenced the nature of this art form in Bengal is really worth knowing. There are also many types of music indigenous to Bengal, which are still popular today and are very relevant to our lives. Discussions about these local musical forms can make us more conscious of our own heritage and the musical abilities of Bengalis as a race.
Information from Bangladesh is welcome as it forms an integral part of the tradition and culture of the Bengali speaking people.
Bishnupur Gharana is the only music Gharana in Bengal. We are immensely proud of this Gharana. Bishnupur is a quaint town in West Bengal with its Terracotta Temples and Classical Music — quiet, forgotten, neglected and unappreciated. It is our duty is draw people’s attention to this place, incomparable in its historical and rich musical heritage. Here we also find that Music and Religion are inextricably intertwined. The Dhrupad style of music entered into Bengal through the patronage of Malla Kings of Bishnupur. Music flourished in the hands of talented artists of this kingdom and developed into a Gharana with its own special characteristics. It had carved out its own position in the musical map of India. Sadly, this East Indian Gharana could never gain full acceptance from the musicians of other parts of the country. The past Glory of this Gharana can hopefully be restored though we realise that at present there are no famed representatives of this Gharana. Nonetheless, its contribution cannot be ignored and ought to be acknowledged. What is meant by Gharana Music shall be discussed later. It must be remembered that Rabindranath Tagore himself was very much influenced by this Gharana. We wish to familiarise ourselves with the only Gharana that belongs to the Bengali-speaking people. Only then we can feel proud about the musical genius of the Bengali race. Usually we notice that we are quite unaware of our own great musical heritage. It would be nice if we become a little more interested in gathering knowledge about our own music. Not only that, listeners may have the opportunity to appreciate even more the genius of Rabindranath Tagore as Master Composer and Musician.
We are also interested in the study of Indian Classical Music, especially Vocal Music, the different Vanis and Gharanas, different forms and styles and also the history of evolution of this genre of music. Musicology shall be an important part of our studies. We shall try to peep into the path of evolution of Ragas. The concepts of Raga Murtis and Dhyanaa Murtis of Ragas shall be introduced. The Rasas (sentiments) of Ragas shall also find a place in our discussion. That apart we shall indulge a little in the study of musical texts from various parts of India with emphasis on Bengal and Eastern India.
Studies on Vaishnavism and Buddhism in Bengal are essential because they stirred the musical genius of the Bengalis very deeply.
Our Raga-based Music affects psychological and intellectual functioning of the brain. Music can help to sooth and calm down the excited and bewildered states of mind; it can also be used as an aid in the treatment of various diseases. This may be achieved not only by melody but also with the help of lyrics and tune together as in Tagore’s Music. This is where Indian Music is unique. It is capable of wielding great power over the human mind. We ought to use this power for the benefit of mankind. Some varieties of music lead the mind to become intoxicated and uncontrolled. Therefore we must be very cautious about the type of music we expose ourselves to.
There shall be discussions on different religions also, as and when required. One of our aims is to help relieve human beings from needless suffering. There also shall be some effort to alleviate unhappiness, so prevalent in our society by discussing subjects that elevate the human mind. We hope that through our small efforts we shall be able to share our ideas with many people and they can share their opinions with us. Such interactive sessions may inspire us to live more fully during these troubled times.
We plan to introduce online courses to disseminate advanced knowledge of music to discerning students. These courses shall be helpful for students pursuing regular university courses in Music.