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Mar 06, 2013 at 09:41am IST

Bhopal: Age old 'guru-shishya' tradition, classical music, going strong at Dhrupad Sansthan

Bhopal: The age old 'guru-shishya' tradition is still going strong at the Dhrupad Sansthan in Bhopal. Students come in from around the world, looking to learn classical music and they are handpicked by the Ustads.

It's a two-way learning process as students think, question and engage with their gurus, Padmashree-winning brother duo Umakant and Ramakant Gundecha. The students are required to stay at the Gurukul for four years.

"We have group classes but that is very rare. It is just one on one. Our music can be learnt by listening to. And for that the guru-shishya parmpara is required where the teacher teaches and the shishya memorises," said Ramakant Gundecha.

Nina Belsin from Peru aspires to become an Indian classical music performer. There are many others like her from Australia, Austria, Belgium, France and Nepal - all handpicked by the Ustads themselves.

"I'm doing music since my childhood. I was always interested in Indian music and Indian culture and it so happened that one of my friends who lives in the city that I live in has learnt at the Gurukul. I was teaching her and she was teaching me and it was she who said that I had to meet Guruji and that is how I'm here," Nina said.

The brothers have blended techonology perfectly into their classical musical classes. Umakant Gundecha said, "When we think about the Indian classical music, dhrupad is the oldest classical music. It is about 1,000 years old and has roots in the Sam Veda. So when people think about learning real music we have this gurukul."

The Gundechas have trained Aalia Rasheed from Pakistan, the first woman Dhrupad artiste from Pakistan to have performed in India and owe everything to their teachers, Zia Fariddudin Dagar and Zai Mohiuddin Dagar who first taught Dhrupad outside their family. The Gundechas now want to make it accessible to the common man and thus, preserve the art form which they think is dying.