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Classical Music

Gujarat has an immensely rich heritage when it comes to classical music. It is widely known by one and all for its lively tradition of classical music. Gujarat has contributed immensely to the Indian cultural music scenario. The Haveli Sangeet has been an invaluable gift from Gujarat to India, and to the world. Classical music exponents like Faiyaz Khan, Maulabux, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Jesingh Bhai and Rahim Khan have contributed immensely to classical music of Gujarat. People of Gujarat have always appreciated and encouraged good music for a long period of time. They have been enjoying the smooth flow of classical music for centuries. Gujarat has been the home to various ragas like 

Khambhat, Sohini, Bhilaval and Saurashtra Tanka

Classical Music in Gujarat

Classical music from Gujarat has enriched the Indian classical music treasury by presenting it with the concept of 'Haveli Sangeet'. Haveli Sangeet forms the core of Hindustani classical music. Haveli Sangeet is said to have its origins in Prabhananda, which is a literary form particular to Gujarat. Narsingh Mehta is another extraordinary human being who propagated classical music. He belonged to Junagadh and was a great Vaishnavaite poet. He was renowned for his raga Kedar. Gandhiji was very fond of his lyrical work, known as 'Vaihnavo Janato'.

Classical music flourished during the reign of the Gaekwads. Princely states like Bhavanagar, Porbandar, Sanand and Baroda were the pioneers of classical music. These princely states were under the realm of Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gakewad. He was instrumental in changing the outlook of people towards education, art and culture in particular. Baroda was known as the cultural capital of Gujarat. Sayajirao had set up a university for the arts - pertaining to music, dance and drama. Besides the university, Baroda also houses a 'Kala Bhavan' to encourage budding classical music students. Baroda was the venue for the first All India Music Conference as well. The magnificent exponent of Khyal singing. Krishandas Adhikari, and the fantastic Thumri players like Khan Sahib Abdul Karim Khan and Sahib Faiyaz Khan, were the star performers at the Baroda Maharaja's durbar.

Different types of Classical music

Gujarati Gazals, or Sugam Sangeet as it is traditionally known, belonged to the light classical music genre and  was very popular with the masses. This type of music suffered a great setback when Avinash Vyas passed away, but the age-old tradition is kept strong by his well-wishers. The famous Hindi movie music director duo of Kalyanji Anandji brought the concept of Gujrati Geet to Hindi films.

Another type or form of classical music in Gujarat is the 'Sidi form'. It was innovated by Sidi tribe of Gujarat who had their origins in East Africa. They came to India eight centuries ago and set up a tribal Sufi community in Gujarat. They brought with them their rich musical tradition, and have managed to keep it alive and flourishing even today. The Sidis sing songs to their saint Bava Gor. They are known as wanderers who sing and dance and live by accepting alms. They consider music as a medium to connect with God at a deeper level.

The Aryans also made a valuable contribution to the classical music industry. Their culture spread through Gujarat which resulted in Prabhas and Bharuch turning into prominent cities. These cities housed many rishis who created their ashrams at these centres. The four Vedas namely - Rigveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda and SaamVeda, were taught at these ashrams. Saamveda deals with music and Kauthumi, which is one of the three branches of Saamveda, is very popular in Gujarat.

Behind the Classical Music

A private institution organises a three day classical music festival. The public response to this event is tremendous, as thousands of classical music enthusiasts enjoy the setting and wait for the festival eagerly. People revel in the atmosphere of the open theatre while listening to the riveting ragas. The festival is known as a 'Sur Sandhya Samaroh', and people witness it by sitting in the traditional baithak style. This event changes the perception about the people of Gujarat. It showcases that along with  trade and commerce, they are interested in music as well.

Besides its Contribution to Classical Music

The Navratri festival comprises of the age-old tradition of nine days of singing and dancing. This religious festival brings the people of Gujarat together, as people across all communities and age-groups participate in this extravaganza. The festival is related to Maa Durga and Lord Krishna. It is a great example displaying the culmination of music and dance.

Classical music runs through the veins and hearts of all the people of Gujarat, enhancing its rich culture and vast heritage, even today.

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