New Delhi: Salil Chowdhury, affectionately known as 'Salilda' to millions of his admirers was one of the greatest musical talents India ever had, a man of many talents. He was not only an outstanding lyricist and composer, an accomplished and gifted arranger, poet, writer and a playwright but above all an intellectual.
A master multi-instrumentalist, he played excellent flute, Esraj, violin and piano, with a deep and well-studied understanding of several other instruments as is evident from their creative use in his music. Salilda was born on November 19, 1922 in a village called Gajipur in south 24-parganas in West Bengal and died on September 5, 1995 in Kolkata.
He spent a few years of his childhood in the Assam tea gardens where his father was a doctor. He grew up listening to his father's large collection of western classical music and the folk songs of Assam and Bengal. This influenced him considerably and shaped his musical thinking. During his university years his political ideas were fast maturing along with his musical ideas. Living through the Second World War, the Bengal famine and the hopeless political situation of the '40s, he became acutely aware of his social responsibilities. This is when he joined IPTA (Indian Peoples Theater Association) and became a member of the communist party. IPTA, which went on to become one of the most dynamic performing art movements in India in the 1940s and 1950s.
IPTA had a rather modest beginning in 1942
11:51 AM, Nov 19, 2012