By ANJALI NAURIYAL
Death be not proud. Pandit Rajan Mishra will continue to be part of the collective memory of music connoisseurs!
Rajan and Sajan Mishra, the two celebrated exponents of the Khayal style of Indian Classical Music, enthralled countless music enthusiasts the world over.
For Doonites they were special and their fans can never forget the memorable baithaks at their Pleasant Valley ‘Gurukul’.
Their kitty is full of attainments and awards, including the Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Academy Award and the Gandharva National Award – the celebration continues. Though Pt Rajan Mishra is no more with us, his voice will continue to mesmerise us.
At Virasat, the annual cultural festival organised by REACH, Rajan Mishra’s scintillating performances were a class apart. Doonites had the privilege of seeing the duo perform at close quarters. Rajan Mishra along with his brother regaled audiences with Raag Durga and Raag Mian Malhar apart from semi-classical tappas and bhajans, and Guru Nanak’s bhajans as well. Rajan ji was particularly fond of a raag with three notes, dating back to the Vedic period.
During one of my interactions with him, Pandit Rajan had averred, “Celebration is the most important thing in life. It would be wonderful if we could celebrate life every day. In fact the whole cosmic energy, the Brahamand, celebrates continuously and we must take a cue from that. When celebration becomes a part of life, then can there be no cause for worry.” His words have acute relevance for us today.
He had maintained that, “Culture, song, and dance, etc., are a huge part of human life. They can help dispel stress that has become the bane of the world. Our natya and sangeet have the power to eradicate sorrow, therefore, all should try to remain close to the fine arts. Music releases stress by creating harmony in all surroundings. That’s its beauty.”
The two brothers blessed with melodious voices reiterated that the right kind of opportunity and exposure must be given to our youngsters so that they begin to appreciate the time tested heritage of their country.
“There is too much negativity in the world,” Panditji would reflect every time I interacted with him. “It is our duty and responsibility to see how we can take our youngsters from negativity to positivity through the fine arts. The media too has a huge role to play. But we have seen that while Madonna and Michael Jackson make it to the front pages, Indian artistes are now hardly covered. These are the very same artistes who have taken the pain to preserve centuries’ old traditions. We ourselves are trying to save a parampara that is over 300 years old. Society should take particular note of the people who have tried to save such traditions. Else how will our valuable traditions survive?”
The Mishras have a wonderful Gurukul in Doon, “This was our dream,” Pandit Rajan had stated. “Our senior students come and reside here periodically. Music has the power and ability to kill all kinds of negativity. Art and culture teach you love. We want to spread this message through our Gurukul.”
“We must all have confidence in the existential law that good begets good. Your thoughts become your destiny. Life is a game of thoughts only. Goodness will come to you if you are good and do not pretend to be good,” those were his electrifying last words to me.
“Materialistic development and technological progress fulfill needs but cultural development and thought process is another matter and most significant.”
Pandit Rajan once also shared that he was an ardent follower of the philosophy of Osho, whose work he had been reading for the past many decades. “From Osho we can learn how to move with the flow that God has chosen for you. People are unhappy because they want what is not or cannot be. Today we are fighting with our own selves and that is why there is so much unhappiness within us.”
Panditji, we are unhappy today that you are not in our midst. But we are happy that you have United with the Universal Soul you addressed your music to all your brilliant life!
(Dr Anjali Nauriyal is a veteran journalist, author, social worker and actor. Her book ‘Retelling of the Folk Ballads of Garhwal’ has become a regional best seller. As an actor she was last seen in a cameo in the film ‘PM Narendra Modi’, and web-series ‘Peshawar’.)