The relationship between Indian culture and music dates beyond ages and one of the most talented and versatile singers of contemporary era – Ustad Ghulam Abbas Khan in an exclusive interview with Jagran Post is throwing light on the various facets of music in a concise manner. Here are the key excerpts from interview:

Jagran Post: Please tell us in brief regarding your musical career and the genre you represent.

Ustad Khan: I am a Hindustani classical singer and I represent Rampur Sahaswan-Gharana. Let me tell you, what differentiates Indian music from rest of the world is our culture, where music is an integral part of its tradition. The most beautiful part of our music is - it originated from Temples, right from the age of Vedas, till Hinduism came to existence and it flourished majorly in the Indian sub-continent - be it in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or Bangladesh in East.

This tradition of our music originated primarily from Temples, then it moved to Raj Dubar and then the renowned musicians went on to develop schools, which were not conventional but more of a ‘Math’. My style would be imitated by my followers and eventually it becomes the style of a particular gharana and that style ultimately becomes the identity of that gharana.

If we talk about Hindustani classical music, especially that of North India, Tansen played a major role in making it flourish and prosper and Gwalior was the epicenter of major musical activities and the tradition of a gharana, its legacy gets passed on from one generation to another.

Jagran Post: As you might have noticed, several songs, which are being played have pretty poor lyrics, which don’t make any sense at all. Do you think the quality of music is getting degraded?

Ustad Khan: This is a very important question. With the advent of globalization, the world has become a small village. There has been an exchange of culture and in this process, that very culture, which was previously not in India, made inroads. This made our culture lose its originality to a certain extent. Besides, Bollywood can be held responsible to a large extent for this drift in people’s choice and transition in musical culture. You are listening whatever music is composed. If the quality of music is stooping day by day, it’s mainly because people are being made to listen those songs, which don’t make much sense and producers can be held responsible behind this to a considerable extent as without their backing, these songs won’t make their way.

Jagran Post: But what’s the USP of these songs, in spite of being low in quality, people dance and sway to their tunes?

Ustad Khan: See, people can’t be blamed, as I said, they are watching only what’s being shown. I won’t like to name anyone, but if certain singers are making money today, it’s mainly because their work was projected out in open in a much publicized manner…

Jagran Post: Singers like Honey Singh, whose songs hardly make any sense make people go wild…

Ustad Khan: This is pretty strange and unfortunate. How can one even listen to someone who uses slangs and all vulgar stuffs in the name of singing songs? I never listen to him.

Jagran Post: Besides, in the past one decade or so, there has been an emergence of several new-breed of ‘good’ singers like Atif Aslam and others, it seems people have accepted them as well…

Ustad Khan: The real talent and quality of a singer come to the fore when he/she performs live before thousands of people, without any re-takes. See, these days, technology has becomes advanced, with the help of digital editing, you can alter and modulate the voice of any given singer. If certain singers are drawing crowd, it’s mainly because of their star quotient. But the one, who has got a bit of musical knowledge, can easily detect the flaws.

Jagran Post: Do you think musical reality shows are also losing their standards day by day?

Ustad Khan: I tell you, there is nothing called singing reality show. Everything is scripted, no voting is held and the winner is pre-decided. It’s nothing but a big time money-minting business, where people come to attain a few minutes of fame.

Jagran Post: Acquiring proper training in singing is considered very important. But at the same time, if we talk about singers like Kishore Kumar and KK (Krishna Kanth), they sing pretty well and got real good voice…

Ustad Khan:
Kishore Kumar had a great voice, Mashallah! See, there are some people who are naturally gifted – they already come with 95 percent talent and hone their skills with 5 percent training, which makes them a complete package. Kishore Kumar himself was so full of music that he hardly needed any training. His stature in the musical arena can be compared to legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar – a naturally gifted and talented individual.

Jagran Post: Among new breed of singers, namely Shaan, KK, Sonu Nigam and other emerging stars, whom would you rate the best?

Ustad Khan: Sonu Nigam … at any given day, I have seen him singing from close quarters and he is very versatile. Give him a song of any genre and he will sing it so beautifully. Sonu Nigam is the best among all.

Jagran Post: At a time when people, especially youth are moving away from classical music, what steps can be taken to revive their interest? What efforts can singers like you put in?

Ustad Khan: We are doing every possible thing to keep the tradition of classical music alive. I would also like to appeal to the government and other concerned agencies to take proper care of classical music. It’s the root of every genre–be it Ghazal, Sufi and so on. The tradition of music should be preserved everywhere – across the nation, society and of course, families.

Jagran Post: It’s widely said that music is an important part of life, what’s your take on this?

Ustaad Khan: It is indeed! Music is an extremely important part of everyone’s life. The world in itself is music and we are moving around in its rhythm. The entire solar system is in proper equilibrium due to music. It can make people happy, trigger a number of emotions. It can make a depressed soul cheerful. You know, there are certain forms of music, which are indeed put into application in order to treat psychological conditions like depression. Music is healer and it has a great healing effect.

On Saturday, the affable singer will organize a programme – SILSILA to commemorate the 75th year of his father and legendary singer – Padmashree Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

The event will feature classical vocals by Ustad Ghulam Abbas Khan and sitar recital by Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan.

It will also showcase a documentary on Padmashree Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan.

Pankaj Ghosh/JPN

Latest news from Entertainment News Desk