HomeMusicHow the Sankat Mochan pageant breaks gender and non secular boundaries

How the Sankat Mochan pageant breaks gender and non secular boundaries

The Sankat Mochan pageant is as a lot a celebration of music because the spirit of inclusivity

The Sankat Mochan pageant is as a lot a celebration of music because the spirit of inclusivity

After watching the pageant on-line for 2 years, Kashi’s music aficionados thronged in large numbers the Sankat Mochan temple for its five-day annual all-night music and dance pageant. Held to have a good time Hanuman’s birthday, the pageant has come a good distance from being a one live performance occasion to the current, that includes 40 major artistes — eight each evening.

A fleet of vehicles transported artistes to and from the airport and railway station by out the day; at evening they plied between Diamond Lodge (that has been internet hosting artistes for a few years) and the temple. A far cry from the times when just one van, with a bench put in for the artistes to sit down on, was used,” recollects Sonu Jha, who has helped organise the pageant because the Nineteen Nineties.

Prof. Vishwambharnath Mishra, the present mahant of the pageant, and an in a position pakhawaj participant, shared how initially ladies by no means sung on the pageant. “As soon as, Pt. Pratap Narayan was singing, and Kankana Bannerji, who was taking part in the tambura inadvertently joined him in singing the swars. At that time, my father determined to permit ladies singers to carry out.”

The late Odissi exponent Sanjukta Panigrahi was the primary lady dancer to take part within the pageant. “I used to be in faculty then. My father was involved about breaking the norm and requested for my recommendation. I instructed him to go forward.”

Girija Devi acting at Sankat Mochan pageant
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Artistes from the South

Attributable to monetary constraints, artistes from the South weren’t invited earlier. “After 2000, we started to incorporate them, due to the ₹1 lakh contributed by one in all my father’s shut mates. Since then we have now had well-known artistes similar to A. Kanyakumari, late Kadri Gopalnath, Yella Venkateswara Rao, Shashank Subramaniam, and Bombay Jayashri carry out right here,” says Prof. Mishra.

“Equally, we by no means had Muslim artistes carry out. In 2006, there was a terror assault within the temple. Ustad Bismillah Khan’s son Mumtaz carried out within the temple courtyard. Thereafter, we invited him to carry out on the pageant, and the barrier was damaged. Sitariya Ustad Nishat Khan from Kolkata was the primary artiste from exterior Benaras, Kamal Sabri was the primary solo sarangi participant, after which ghazal singer Ghulam Ali from Pakistan carried out completely at Sankat Mochan.”

Shakir Khan on the sitar. Muslim artistes have become an integral part of the festival

Shakir Khan on the sitar. Muslim artistes have turn out to be an integral a part of the pageant
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

One other fascinating facet of the pageant is artistes providing their ‘haazri’ or tribute by music to the master-musician Hanuman. On the 2022 version that was held from April 20 to 25, scholar and senior vocalist Ustad Mashkur Ali Khan of the Kirana gharana mentioned, “he was grateful for the  bulawa (name) from Baba (Hanuman) to sing right here.” His conventional composition in raag Malkauns was ‘Krishna madho Ram’. Within the uncommon raag of spring, Khamach Bahar, he sang saint-composer Kunwar Shyam’s ‘Daar daar paas paas phule’. Like him, most artistes selected compositions with acceptable lyrics for this stage. Indore-based Kalpana Zokarkar sang a tappa in raag Kafi, ‘Madhav Mukund Murari’.

For some artistes, like Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, and Niladri Kumar, who has carried out on the Sankat Mochan since he was a teen, the pageant is a everlasting fixture on their live performance calendar. However there are others like Ustad Shujaat Khan, who has by no means carried out. Most of the yesteryear greats, together with Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pt. Nikhil Bannerji and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan haven’t carried out too.

Clearly, the pageant has grown in stature, gaining an inclusive character.

The Delhi-based creator writes on classical music.

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