Masters of Hindustani classical music who were in Kolkata Tuesday to announce an annual music conference admitted that the genre was losing ground to Bollywood and other forms of modern music. But they also stated that classical music was undefeatable and would always stay.
"Children these days are more attracted towards Bollywood music and other forms of popular western music. But classical music is like a banyan tree which keeps on growing while the rest are small plants which grow flowers for some days and then die out," vocalist Girija Devi told IANS on the sidelines of the programme.
"Classical music demands complete dedication and a lot of hard work and determination. This is the reason children and youngsters are more into other forms of popular music because they find it easy, lucrative and a way to achieve quick fame," added the singer who has been honoured with Padma Bhushan.
Eminent sarod player Ashish Khan blamed the "garbage of Bollywood music" for destroying culture and society and advocated that music be taught as a compulsory subject in schools.
“Bollywood music these days is all garbage. Calling it 'music' is an insult to the word. It has nothing to do with music. They are ruining our culture and society,” Khan told IANS.
“Classical music should be made a compulsory subject in schools. Unless that is done, our children will continue drifting away from classical and folk music,” added Khan.
Famed singer Ajay Chakraborty too lamented the lack of popularity of classical music and called for measures to make it more popular.
“Newspapers have dedicated pages for sports, films and celebrities but they hardly have space for classical music. I do not blame them because you only sell things which are attractive," said Chakrabarty.
“I think there is a need to package classical music more colourfully. We need to market it more aggressively,” he added.
The musical masters were in the city to announce the 60th edition of the Dover Lane Annual Music Conference Jan 22-25, at the Nazrul Mancha auditorium in South Kolkata.
The festival derives its name from the fact that it originally took place at a location on Dover Lane, an important street in the Ballygunge area of the city. Stalwarts from the world of music including Girija Devi, Ustad Rashid Khan, Ajay Chakrabarty and Ashish Khan, among others, will perform at the festival.