Shiv Kumar Sharma: The Man and His Music takes the reader on a journey that goes back to a time when the maestro first started our as an adolescent learning the rudiments of Indian classical music under the guidance of his guru and father, Uma Dutt Sharma. It traces, through fascinating text and rare photographs, the life of the young boy who dared to dream that he would make his name among the greatest musicians of the country and then went on to receive the Padma Vibhushan. Pandit Vijya Kichlu, an old friend and distinguished fellow musician. Shares anecdotes from his earliest memories of how santoor in the highly competitive field of Indian classical music. Manek Premchand, a renowned film historian, writers about the maestro's long innings as a music composer in the Hindi film historian. He also writes about Shiv Kumar Sharma's stint as a musician, when he was associated with the legendary music directors of the day such as S.D. Burman and Naushad. Ina Puri draws upon her own association with Shiv kumar Sharmaand engages him in an animated dialogue that touches upon his life and music. She talks to his about not only the highs but also the disappointments, as well as the deep faith that continues of guide him.
Ina Puri has been associated with the visual and performing arts. Writing and curating exhibition in India and abroad for over two dcades.
She has collaborated with Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Published a memoir titled Journey with a Hundred String: My Life in Music, which was later translated into other regional languages. She has also collaborated with Jabbar Patel on his biopic Antardhwani, which received the National Award. She has written several memoir on Manjit Bawa, in Black and white. Ina received the Swarna Kamal for her film Meeting Manjit, which was directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta.
Music has played a central role in my life from my childhood, Having first heard Dogri songs and bhajans from my mother, who came from a small village in Himachal Pradesh, then going on to learning classical music from the age of ten at my father's behest. He was a connoisseur of Indian classical music and arranged from me to start learning regularly from an early age. My tutor was Balram singh Rawat and, on two summers, Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan of the Agra Gharana came to Instruct me.
After a break of several years, I found myself as the head of state in Jammu and Kashmir in three different capacities – first as Regnet, then as Sadre – i – Riyasat and then as Governor. It was at this stage that I decided to restart my music lessons. It so happened that the main pujari of our family temples in Jammu, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, was a remarkable storehouse of classical music. He started coming to my residence thrice a week, and with him often came his young son, Shiv Kumar.
Even as a boy, shiv initially showed extraordinary talent in playing the table at which he achieved great skill. In fact, the first time that i arranged for him to attend the Sur Sangeet Sansad in Bombay, it was for the table. Meanwhile his father had placed in his hands an instrument that had so far been used only in Kashmiri sufiyana music, known as the instrument by adding various elements so that it could be used in Hindustami classical music, and subsequently became famous around the world for his extraordinary skill in the santoor. Shiv Kumar Sharma therefore has made a unique contribution to Hindustani music by introducing a new instrument and presenting it with utmost skill and dedication.
As a boy, Shiv was very handsome, and it has been a pleasure to see him grow into a really impressive maestro. The credit for this goes essentially to his father, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, who trained him from childhood. It is interesting to note that Jammu produced another father and son duo – Ustad Allah Rakha and his son Zakir Hussain, who is probably the best percussionist in India today. I have often had occasion listening to Pandit Shiv Kumar accompanied by Zakir Hussain, a combination that is truly unforgettable and reflects the divinity inherent in music.
I am glad that this book on Shiv Kumar Sharma: The Man & His Music carrying a number of family and historic photographs is being brought out to introduce him to a wider audience in India and abroad. I am sure this will be greatly appreciated by his many admirers. I take this opportunity to wish him many more years of great music performances. His son, Rahul is also now beginning to follow in his father's footsteps.
In the aftermath of 1947 the years after India met its historic tryst with desiny, what we now refer to as the post – colonial years, the country witnessed a virtual renaissance of the arts. Across the country, at homely baithaks a virtual renaissance of the arts. Across the country, at homely baithaks (interactive Sessions) or at music sammelans (grand gatherings), a generation of musicians enthralled discerning listeners with their spectacular performances, winning accolades and admiration time and again. In those glorious eras. Different gharanas (family or house, typically refers to the place where the musical ideology originated) established their distinctive styles, each unique in its own way. Distinguished maestros such as Baba Allauddin Khan had legendary disciples in Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Annapurana Devi, among others. Elsewhere, there was Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, who mesmerised the attentive listeners (that often included other musicians), their formidable oeuvre taking Indian classical music to hitherto unsurpassed levels of excellence. While the history of classical music was being written by these illustrious greats, in Jammu, a young boy was pondering why his father and guru, Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, had Gifted him a complex instrument he had chanced upon in Srinagar. After all, from his earliest recollection, he was trained to be a table player and had on many occasions accompanied the most renowned instrumentalists and vocalists on the tabla for All India Radio, Jammu & Kashmir, where his father was in charge of the classical music section.
This book seeks to capture the extraordinary life and times of Padma Vibhushan Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and his journey with the santoor. How will the history of Indian classical music regard the contribution of pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma? His has been a career a career spanning six decades where he has achieved the distinction of single – handedly establishing the santoor on the world map as an instrument of Indian classical music. In the process, he has given it the identity it lacked in its past, where the santoor was used primarily as an accompaniment in a folk ensemble. The journey of the struggle that shows the steely resolve and determination to succeed come what may is framed against the background of the newly independent country that is in the throes of Nehruvian optimism. Everywhere, There is hope. Hope in Shivji's case is a precarious mental conditioning that is unwilling to submit to failures and defeat no matter how trying the circumstances. Therefore with little money but high on the hope quotient, when the young man makes his way to Bombay (now Mumbai) with no idea how he is to begin his career, he is overjoyed to see a crumbling edifice with the sign Kashmir Hotel! He considers it a good omen and disembarks from his horse carriage, takes up his modest lodgings and steps out to see what life has in store for him.
Circa 2013, as Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma crosses another threshold, his seventy fifth birthday, it is time to revisit his life and musical journey. Observing him from the very beginning of his career, Pandit Vijay Kichlu, him a well renowned practitioner, has had the privilege of being a close friend of Shivji's down the decades. He talks about Shivji's music as only an insider could, throwing light upon the complexities of the instrument and how Shivji was able to finally achieve the Phenomenal success he has. In another section, we have Manek premchand sharing his in – depth knowledge as a historian on Shivji's long and fascinating contribution to Hindi film music, as a musician as well as a music director, using the Pseudonym Shiv Hari.
My own interview is a dialogue that weaves in and out of diverse subjects. As his biographer, it has been an honour to be associated with Shivji for over two decades, working on his memoirs and the documentary that fetched us the Rajat Kamal. It was fitting that the past books and film should be followed by a volume that not only focussed on his life textually but also through rare archival photographs from the family's personal collection.
The Foreword has written by the distinguished scholar Dr Karan Singh, who happens to be Shivji's guru bhai as a disciple of his father in Jammu. The Epilogue is by his son and disciple Rahul Sharma, a musician of repute, who will carry on the legacy he has inherited to even greater heights. I am deeply grateful to Dayanita Singh who very kindly gave us permission to use the photographs she has taken of Shivji's in the long time that she has known him. I would like to thank Avinash Pasricha for his photographs. I would also like to express my gratitude to Ravi Mathur and ITC Sangeet Research Academy for sharing rare, archivally photographs from their collection. Last but not the least, my deep gratitude to Tultul and Bikash Niyogi for commissioning this book and their generous support.
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