Guru Dheeraj Mohapatra strengthens immensely Odissi Music’s claim for classical status, says VC of Utkal University of Culture

Dheeraj A

The history of Orissa’s musical tradition goes back to the 2nd century B. C. as we have documentary records of histrionic arts (Gandharva Kala) explicitly reflected on the rock edicts of Hatigumpha (Elephant Cave) in king Maha Meghavahana Kharavela in Udayagiri hill at Bhubaneswar.

The archaeological evidences, historical facts, literary and documentary proofs, oral tradition handed down from generation to generation, style of presentation, gramatical and technical aspects prompt us to believe that ‘Odissi” is significantly one of the important streams of Indian Classical Music with a rich treasure of musical rendering like Chhanda, Champu, Chaupadi, Chautisha, and lyrics of Geet Govinda of Jayadev etc.

Odissi music is the finest reconciliation of harmony with melody, which suffers no diminution of the essential quality of the classical music. The individual character of Odissi Music makes every recital an interpretation and self-expression.

The pace of Odissi Music with its vibrated motion called GAMAKA emanates a flavour which marks its special entity.

Odissi Music has three main characteristics:
ANDOLITA GATI (vibrated motion);
NA DRUTA NA BILAMBITA (Neither fast nor slow); and
SAMA PRAYOGA OF BHASA AND RAGA (equal application of language and Raga).

Style of rendition

The rendition of Odissi Music at the time of elaboration or expansion needs five actions. They are:

Specific GAMAKA

The mode of singing of Odissi Music is determined by some GAMAKAs. They are:

The major and inevitable accompanying instrument of Odissi Music is MARDALA.

These words of Guru Dheeraj Kumar Mohapatra were presented with corresponding demonstrations in the open air auditorium of Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar last evening when Mohapatra’s audio CD “Odissi Dhara” (Geetanga style of Classical Odissi Music) was dedicated to the people along with his second CD in the series, “ Meeta Chahan” (Nrutyanga style of Odissi Music) under chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Jagannath Kuanar, Department of Instrumental Music of the University.

Dheeraj B

The University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Debendra Nath Jena, speaking as the Chief Guest, lauded Mohapatra’s path setting endeavor, which, he was sure, will strengthen immensely Orissa’s claim for classical status to her unique music.

Mr. Satakadi Hota, President of Orissa’s Academy of letters, dwelt on the glorious history of Odissi Music, underlining that the Oriya language which has been proved as a classical language is developed on Odissi Music and hence, it deserves national accordance of recognition to its classical status without any delay, specifically as this style is absolutely unique and has evolved on its own tradition.

Former Indian Ambassador Mr. Abasar Beuria maintained that recognition or no recognition of its classical status, Odissi Music is a very independent, unique and magnificent music of ancient origin which has developed in a pattern of its own.

Dr. Suman Das, Registrar of the University, praised Mohapatra for having made the institute proud over his association with it as a faculty and was sure that his contributions shall always enrich Odissi Music.

Prof. Dr. Tamasarani Das Mohapatra, Principal of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya expressed profound pride and satisfaction over the works done by Mohapatra.

The Guru’s two disciples – Lilamayee Panda and Sagarika Kundu – presented Odissi Vocal whereas further two disciples – Bijaynee Madhusmita and Minakshi Rani Jena – presented Odissi Dance under his directions. All of four performers are conspicuous by their participation in Geetanga and Nrutyanga rendition in the CDs.

Uncultured Conduct in a Hall of Culture: Whither Media Responsibility?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

With ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ buried under the dust of time, a handful of new entrants to electronic media made a farce of press privileges in a cultural event at Rabindra Mandap in the evening of August 10 by resorting to cat calls when the audience was hearing veteran singer Subha Mudgal with rapt attention.

Senior scribe Kedar Mishra urged upon them not to disturb the listeners. He was pooh-poohed.

In a communication Kedar babu has thus narrated the incident:

Sitting in the press gallery today I was carefully listening to veteran singer Subha Mudgal in Ravindra Mandap and constantly got disturbed by three gentleman sitting just in front of me. They talked, laughed and mimicked the singer so loudly that every one in the auditorium got disturbed. Being a fellow journalist, I politely requested them to keep quite. Instead of listening to me they wanted to say me that I have no business to caution them. They are press people and can do whatever they want to do. I told them that I also belong to the same community and this is not fair to shout in a classical show.

None of them cared for my words; rather they become more irritating.

I phoned their concerned news editor and  informed about the irresponsible conduct of persons representing his channel. The News Editor was polite enough and took the matter seriously, but the reporter and photographer went on making a show out side the auditorium.

Audience and common people were shocked to see such arrogance from our people. The story ends here. but the trauma goes on.

Thus saying, Kedar babu has raised an issue that calls for serious cogitation.

He has said,

In cultural programs I experience such disturbing deeds that a few members of media basking under the privilege of Press resort to almost everyday.This is because, reporters who do not understand classical music, song or dance are being deputed to cover the shows.

Kedar babu is a perfectly suave, dignified journalist who, as an editor, is highly esteemed. His love for new entrants to the profession of journalism is unquestionable, immense and absolute.

I sincerely hope, the ones who humiliated the audience as well as the performing artists and luminaries of our classical music world in the Rabindra Mandap would feel ashamed of their conduct and amend themselves.

And, I further hope that the news media organizations would take Kedar babu’s words seriously and desist from deploying in future inefficient and inexperienced hands to cover cultural events.

As we find, no media organization in Orissa is having a culture desk with the concerned staff trained in culture coverage. Even no cameraman of any media organization has any specialization in the matter of covering events of art and culture. It is time, they must take the issue seriously. The State must force the media houses to impart in-service training to reporters and cameramen to be earmarked for culture desks in coverage of cultural events; because, responsibility lies with the Government to protect the cultural environment of the State and to protect performing artists from humiliation.