Designate a road in Panditji’s name: Dhrupad exponent on tabla maestro Umesh Kar’s demise

Panditji could definitely have been recommended for the Padma award or any other national award, if he hailed from any other state, wrote Mukunda Dev Sahoo

Bhubaneswar: The demise of noted tabla artiste Pandit Umesh Chandra Kar has raised a lot of questions on the limitations of the music industry in Odisha. A day after his passing away, Dhrupad exponent and founder of Dhrupad Music Foundation (Bhubaneswar) Mukunda Dev Sahoo has penned a heartfelt message on how Pandit Umesh Kar’s  talent went unnoticed and hardly got the recognition it deserved, just because he was from Odisha.

Demanding to designate a road in his name to keep Panditji’s memory alive and place his statue in that road, Sahoo, who is a disciple of Padma Shri Gundecha Brothers, wrote  about how the music world of Odisha has not learned to promote anything other than Odissi dance and music or appreciate any artist for their art.

“Pandit ji is a very famous name in the history of Tabla in Odisha. He is probably not known to many people in India because he is from Odisha. This is because of limitations of Odisha’s musical environment where the talent of artistes go unrecognised. Panditji could definitely have been recommended for the Padma award or any other national award, if he hailed from any other state,” he said.

Recounting a recent experience where one of his disciples had met Panditji, Sahoo said the tabla maestro had expressed his angst at how the government had neglected his art. “When my student said he is learning Dhrupad, Pandit ji told him that the vocal style or genre is the root of all music and requested him to reach out to the government regarding its importance so that his art could get the recognition it deserves. When that student came and told me this, I was very distressed. You can guess from this how much pain and suffering he was in his last life,” Sahoo wrote.

“It is not that artists are not being prepared in Odisha, every year hundreds of students pass out from Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya and Utkal University of Culture, but where do all these artists go? There is very little appreciation of art here so where do these art students go? What do they do? There is no trace of them in the field of art,” he further stated.

“Pandit Ji belongs to a strong musical family. His father Pandit Khetramohan Kar was a well-known tabla player and many artistes of India used to visit his house in Puri. Even after belonging to such a strong musical family, his sorrow and pain was immense as he was born in Odisha. My experience of 10 years living outside Odisha to learn music says that if he had lived in cities like Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Punjab, etc, he might not have had to face this pain and suffering. Great artistes like Vidushi Sunanda Patnaik had moved to Kolkata because of such indicative musical atmosphere of Orissa,” the poet and music composer shared, while urging that music gurus, music critics, music lovers and politicians of Odisha designate a road in Panditji’s name and erect his statue on that road to keep his  memory alive.

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