New Delhi, Dec 6: Known for its exchange cultural programmes in India and abroad, non-profit NGO, Routes2Roots recently held ‘Three Generations of Lucknow Gharana’, a Masterclass by Kathak grandmaster Pandit Birju Maharaj. IANSlife caught up with the legend at the sidelines of the event to discover his thoughts on the guru-shishya parampara:
Do you agree that the Indian education system does not give importance to classical dance, music or the performing arts in general?
Pandit Birju Maharaj: The Indian education system was devoid of classical, culture and performing arts; however, this void has been fulfilled with the new education policy. Hopefully, the schools will be able to introduce performing arts in their curriculum soon. Routes 2 Roots is doing a wonderful job of making our traditional art forms reach the children and the future generations of the country through Virsa.
During the pandemic it was not the Government that stepped in to help artists, it was the people who enabled and empowered each other in whichever way they could to help artists in need?
Pandit Birju Maharaj: Pandemic was a disaster beyond imagination, and the whole world was struggling to survive, and so were we. The Government was fighting on many fronts, especially the health infrastructure and therefore help to artists was not forthcoming. I am proud that the citizens got up and helped everyone in need in those tiring times.
Are you happy that things are back to normal and one can perform in front of a live audience?
Pandit Birju Maharaj: It’s an absolute delight to showcase the rich art and legacy of the country to a live audience. All artists desire to perform in front of live audiences. I am happy that the hardships of the artists now are over, and live performances have started though slowly. I pray to God that the coming time will be safe and healthy for us.
Do you feel in the performing arts, it’s only those with the patronage of a guru-shishya relationship who succeed?
Pandit Birju Maharaj: Any art form cannot succeed without a Guru imparting the knowledge, and it also holds suitable for performing art. The Guru-Shishya parampara has been an inevitable part of education in ancient Indian culture and has continued until today as there can be no substitute for a Guru to impart knowledge to his Shishya. The guru-shishya tradition has been the backbone of many generations in the past. It has honed several great icons in the country. The guru moulds the shishya’s character, versatility, confidence, strength and overall vision of life which help them to succeed.
Last but not least, share your thoughts on this event with Routes2Roots.
Pandit Birju Maharaj: Routes 2 Roots event was unique as we were invited to address children from all over the country and with my son and granddaughter-three generations on one stage showcasing the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. It was an opportunity for me to guide the children with real-time interaction and that too in so many numbers from different parts of the country on one stage.