The SPIC MACAY Music in the Park event brought several descendants of Indian classical music together with their fans in a live performance. The musical extravaganza which lasted two days and was staged at Nehru Park in New Delhi on March 26-27.
Among the artists who joined the festival was Begum Parveen Sultana. The winner Padma Bhushan is a Hindustani classical singer from the Patiala Gharana. She spoke to HT about coming back to perform live for her fans, her biggest supporters over the years and more.
Excerpts from the conversation:
How does it feel to perform in front of an audience after two years?
I am very happy with it and would like to thank SPIC MACAY for this. It was nice to witness the excitement among the young people.
Nowadays, even young people are interested in classical music. How does that make you feel?
I make myself very happy. I want Indian classical music to be popular in every household in the world. I want future generations to know us. Indian classical music is a divine culture and connects everyone.
You were honored with a Padma Bhushan at a very young age.
I was honored with this award when I was 24 years old. At the time, only a select few received the award. I want to thank former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the Nehru family for this. She patted me on the back when I received this award. She told me that she wants more and more people to know me and what hard work can bring you, that I become an example for others. Indira Gandhi supported me a lot, the cabinet members showed me a lot of love. Someone would pull my cheeks or my hair. People liked me very much.
You come from Assam but you have made a place for yourself in the Patiala Gharana. How did you handle this?
I was born in Patiala Gharana. After my marriage, I started learning from Dilshad Khan. Then I also joined the Kirana Gharana. I like both of them.
Would you like to talk a bit about your family?
I loved music from a young age. Our family was all about music. My grandfather played the flute. My father studied in Kolkata and it is the hub of Indian classical music. He used to mingle with the elite crowd and that’s how the music came into our house. This is the atmosphere in which we grew up. We didn’t have a television at home and we only read The Statesman and The Weekly. Other than that, I was listening to Omkar Nath Ji and Salamat Ali Khan. I learned a lot from them.
A message for your fans?
Take our music to new heights, support our students, young people are our future. If we don’t care about young people, our future cannot be bright.
(By Prachi Rajput)