‘I questioned why we weren’t singing these kinds of wonderful poetry from Bhakti motion with our ragas’: S Anand

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Back in the 14th century, Sant Soyarabai was crafting and singing abhangs about Vitthal, her god whom she could not go to in a temple for the reason that of her Dalit identification. Her abhangs have been not just proclamations of her predilections in direction of god, they were also lessons in knowing caste hierarchy and the soreness that was brought on by untouchability and Brahminical systems. S Anand, co-founder of Delhi-dependent publishing residence Navayana and writer, arrived across Soyarabai via The Ant Who Swallowed the Sunlight, a guide by musician Neela Bhagwat and creator Jerry Pinto, which interprets and explains poetry by 10 women of all ages saints of Maharashtra from the Bhakti motion. Kiti kiti bolu deva, kiti Karu aata heva (O god how a lot far more do I plead|The jealousy I must bear till you heed ||) Anand uses Jaijaivanti, a raga from Guru Granth Sahab that’s generally represented as a mix of joy and sorrow, to express this abhang, which talks of a god who does not treatment for her, but does for all the other people. Soyarabai says, why must she protest at the doors of his temple to be enable in. “People who are saved out of the temples can sing the very best music for the gods that they can not stop by. What can be a lot more nirgun than this,” suggests Anand, 49, who will conduct the abhang at India International Centre in the Cash today.

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In a concert titled “A Lamp to the Sun”, Anand will check out poetry from six languages, together with a Sangam-era Tamil poem, a sutta in Pali, a ghazal in Urdu, a nirgun bhajan in Braj, a vachana in Kannada moreover the Soyarabai bhajan, and require the classical ragas for the rendition.

For Anand, belated discovery of the anti-caste ideas of BR Ambedkar has been important in his lifestyle, putting him on the route of Buddhism. “But the discovery that Ambedkar was fond of abhangs and utilized them in the newspapers that he printed, had me delve additional into them and other similar poetry,” claims Anand, who is now a college student of dhrupad exponent Ut Wasifuddin Dagar. A photographer of Ambedkar will be placed at the concert.

Anand grew up in Hyderabad in a Tamil Brahmin home and began understanding songs at about 12. After mastering Carnatic songs for a couple of yrs, he commenced questioning the poetry in the audio that he was singing. There ended up the sublime compositions from the 19th century by Tyagaraja, but these have been disenchanting because of to some of the casteist references and poetry that objectified ladies. So he stopped singing. “When I stopped singing Carnatic new music, I didn’t prevent listening,” says Anand, who turned to the globe of Hindustani classical, in which the poetry was trite, dealing with saas and nanand, even in scenario of some of the greatest bandishes, which were being musically brilliant, but have been speaking of saas and nanand. In Hindustani classical songs, the lyrics haven’t been of a lot consequence. They are frequently words and phrases to delineate a raga and increase on its melodic get the job done. “I puzzled why we weren’t singing these kinds of amazing poetry from the Bhakti motion, which existed in so several languages, in these ragas,” suggests Anand, who then turned to dhrupad, a kind that was additional summary and usually will work with syllables that do not have a literal that means. He went to Ut Wasifuddin Dagar, who took him on as a pupil about 4 several years ago. “This concert is the coming alongside one another of my two passions – new music and poetry. It is an exertion to mix this really attention-grabbing poetry with our ragas,” says Anand.

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