The Bhavan Newsletter April/May 2015

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Let noble thoughts come to us from every side - Rgveda 1-89-i THE WORLD IS ONE FAMILY

April/May 2015

50p Published by: BHARATIYA VIDYA BHAVAN 4a Castletown Road London W14 9HE


Company Registration Number – 1090630 Charity Registration - 312879

Telephone: 020 7381 3086/4608 Facsimile: 020 7381 8758 Website: E-mail: Mr Joginder Sanger Chairman Mr Shantoo Ruparell MBE Joint Chairman inside: 2








The Bhavan’s students and teachers



The Bhavan was honoured with an invitation to present a musical backdrop to the unveiling of a new statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Parliament Square on 14 March. Watched by television news audiences around the world, three teachers and six students performed Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, one of Gandhi’s favourite songs, and some instrumental pieces. The statue was unveiled by Indian finance minister, Shri Arun Jaitley. Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi and veteran actor Amitabh Bachan took part in the ceremony. Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country."

Editor Dr. M.N. Nandakumara Editorial Committee Dr. John Marr Chairman Mrs Wendy Marr Ms Helen Thomas


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The Bhavan’s students and teachers and Dr Nandakumara

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Dear Bhavan Member, Please send us your e-mail address together with name and membership number, so that we can offer discounts when you book tickets for Bhavan events on-line at the Bhavan’s website – Please send the above details to


Continued from page 1

EDITORIAL During the last two months lots of things have happened at The Bhavan. We have had wonderful events such as Yakshagana after a gap of almost 20 years! I must thank the Infosys Foundation, especially Mrs. Sudha Narayanamurty for her continuous support for our activities. We were honoured by her presence during the Yakshagana event. One of the most important events in which we took part was the unveiling of Gandhiji’s statue at Parliament Square by India’s Finance Minister The Honourable Arun Jaitley in the company of the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Gandhiji’s grandson Mr. Gopal Gandhi and Padma Bhushan Amitabh Bachchan. Lord and Lady Desai led the committee which was responsible for the installation and making of the statue. The Bhavan’s teachers and students had the rare honour of presenting Raghupati Raghava Rajaram, a favourite devotional song of Gandhiji. North Indian and South Indian music filled the month of March. The most important was a trio of concerts in honour of the late Mandolin Srinivas. On the concluding day 29 March when Srinivas’s brother Rajesh performed a tribute concert, we had in the audience none other than the legendary musician John McLaughlin. Please see inside for more details. As always I would like to conclude with Gandhiji’s words: “A life of sacrifice is the pinnacle of art, and is full of true joy. Yagna is not yagna if one feels it to be burdensome or annoying”.

M.N Nandkumara

The Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust raised more than £1m to finance the creation and installation of the statue. The unveiling of the bronze statue by sculptor Philip Jackson marks 100 years since Gandhi returned to India from South Africa to begin his struggle for independence. Nandaji said “We are privileged to have played a role in this historic occasion. “I am grateful to Arts Council England relationship manager Milica Robson who along with the Indian High Commission recommended The Bhavan to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport”.

New staff members The Bhavan has recently welcomed two new staff members – and both are called Thomas. Devaki Thomas has been working part-time since January as Bhavan’s new Marketing/PR Specialist, and Helen Thomas took up the reins as Admin and Development Manager in February. Besides sharing a surname, the two have other things in common. Both have been involved in organising festivals and events, and both have family connections in Kerala. Devaki has been an Odissi student at the Bhavan for three years since moving to the UK from Canada. She brings 20 years of experience in both Canada and England in arts marketing, festival directing and event design and presentation. Her background in Indian arts and cultural event presentation has won awards and favourable reviews and she is excited to be sharing her skills and experience to help increase local and national awareness of The Bhavan. Helen hails from Wales, and has been working for several years as a fundraiser and arts and events project manager in the voluntary and community sector. Her most exciting role to date has been as Once in a Lifetime Officer for Voluntary Arts and Making Music in the three years leading up to and during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As they settle into their new positions, Devaki and Helen look forward to meeting and working with The Bhavan’s members and friends.

NEW MEMBERS The Bhavan is pleased to announce that the following new members have recently been enrolled:

Donor Member: Dr. Jayavanth & Dr. Usha Kini Life Member: Mr.Avinash Hirani Mr. Sureshshnji Rabadiya Mr. V. J. Sastry Mr. Amit Ruparell Fellow Member: Mr. Pronob Kumar Ghosh 5 Year Member: Dr. Kusum Lata Agarwal Mr. A. Murugappan Mr. Praful Davda Associate Member: Mr. Christopher Perry 2

Devaki (left) and Helen (right)


Mr Satish Mehta Director General of ICCR (The Indian Council for Cultural Relations) visited The Bhavan during his recent stay in the UK. The Nehru Centre in London is regarded by ICCR as its flagship cultural centre abroad and Mr Mehta (second from left in photo) was accompanied by the Nehru Centre’s Director Sangeeta Bahadur (central in photo) and Deputy Director Vibha Mehdiretta (third from right in photo). Also in the photo are (left to right) Dr Nandakumara, Padma Shri Dr Marr, Helen Thomas and Devaki Thomas.

HF ARTSFEST 8-14 JUNE 2015 HF ArtsFest 2015 will promote and celebrate the cultural richness in Hammersmith and Fulham including theatre, music, dance, film, art and literature. As well as promoting events that are already taking place, HF ArtsFest is also organising some special events and encouraging other organisations to do likewise. The Bhavan is pleased to participate by inviting local residents to come and look

Changavy Kajamuhan with other artistes

around the centre and join in a drum jam session with our mrindgam teacher M. Balachandar on Saturday morning 13 June (bookings through, and in the afternoon Team Bhavan will perform dance in Westfield Shopping Centre. Please go along and support them! Full details of festival events are online at .

Bharatanatyam dancer Changavy Kajamuhan took part in a photocall to announce HF ArtsFest 2015; see photo left. Changavy is currently preparing for her arangetram that takes place at The Bhavan in October. She is going to tell us about her preparations in each edition of this newsletter leading up to this important event. Here is the first instalment of her diary.

The 'Arangetram' Journey... Arangetram literally means 'the ascending of the stage'. This is the first solo recital for a young dancer, and as such, marks her beginning as a performer.

myself and is a way of keeping in touch with my roots. Despite being physically exhausting at times, dancing is immensely satisfying. So far, during this Arangetram journey, I have realised just how vast this artform is, and am privileged to be taking a gap year before commencing my medical degree at Imperial to fully relish the experience.

The last ten years of learning Bharathanatyam at the Bhavan, under our most dedicated and inspiring Guruji, has made me realise the richness this ancient art form encompasses. Not only does it make full use of vigorous rhythmical pure dance moves, but it also entails the mastery of the art of expression. To me, personally, Bharathanatyam is a way of expressing

I have a steep learning curve to follow over the next few months and am excited to see where the journey takes me. This is just the beginning. 3

EVENTS AT THE BHAVAN: REVIEWS We are grateful to Chandrimaji, Sanjaybhai and Arani for their contributions to the reviews in this edition.

Global Roots Collective

Yaksha Manjusha Yakshagana troupe

Samrat Pandit

Global Roots Collective, 8 February This vibrant performance was the result of an experimental collaboration between teachers from The Bhavan and British folk musicians. Melding traditional tunes, ragas and improvisations, the result was likened by Parvati Nair to “a big banyan tree that spreads its roots with The Bhavan to make a global canopy of a cross-cultural collaboration of music”. Musicians Eliza Marshall (flutes, whistles and bansuris), Donal Rogers (vocals, guitar), Jean Kelly (electric harp), Tad Sargent (bodhran, bouzouki), Jacqueline Shave (violin), Kuljit Bhamra (percussion), Sanjay Guha (sitar) and M. Balachandar (mridangam) roused the audience to cheers and a standing ovation. Further collaborations are planned, so make sure to catch the next show. Yakshagana performance by Yaksha Manjusha, 28 February The Yaksha Manjusha Yakshagana troupe from Mangalore took spellbound audience members at The Bhavan on a journey to the world of mythological characters in a performance of “Narakasura Vadha”, the killing of the demon Narak. Yakshagana is a unique artform from Karnataka in which actors and musicians tell mythological stories from the epics and puranas through dance, music, singing and the spoken word. Yakshagana is rarely performed in the UK, and director Vidya Kolyur and her troupe of nine artistes presented the first show in London for many years. The Bhavan was pleased to welcome Mrs Sudha Murti of Infosys who sponsored the programme, and Padma Shri Dr Marr, The Bhavan’s Vice Chairman, proposed a vote of thanks. Hindustani vocal concert by Samrat Pandit, 15 March Samrat Pandit from Calcutta performed a scintillating evening of Hindustani vocal music. Samrat is the son of the legendary vocal virtuoso the late Pt. Jagdish Prasad Pandit of the Patiala Gharana. He began with a Bada Khayal in Raag Yaman, and demonstrated an excellent vocal ability with his dynamic taankari and superb vocal range. Bhavan's tabla teacher Pt. Rajkumar Misra provided a very melodious and powerful tabla accompaniment, alongside a mature, seasoned harmonium accompaniment from Prabhat Rao, senior disciple of Bhavan's Hindustani vocal teacher Smt. Chandrima Misra. In the second half Samrat performed two Khayals in Raag Hameer and Raag Bhupali followed by a beautiful rendition of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saab's "Yaad Piya Ki Aaye", concluding with Bade Khan Saab's famous bhajan "Hari Om Tat Sat"!

Sitar recital by Ustad Rais and Ustad Hafiz Khan, 22 March Sitarists Ustad Rais and Ustad Hafiz Khan travelled from South India to perform at the Bhavan. Brothers Rais ji and Hafiz ji are sons and disciples of Ustad Bale Khan of the recently recognised Dharwad Gharana. The brothers brought out the originality of their traditional playing along with their own individual artistic approach which enriched the performance. They began with the evening melody Puriya Kalyan which they performed in traditional fashion starting with Alaap, followed by Jor, Jhalla then Vilambit and Drut Gats in Teental. The duo performed a variety of other Raagas and bhajans, also displaying their fantastic vocal ability. The Bhavan’s tabla teacher Pt. Rajkumar Misra provided very musical Theka accompaniment. The appreciative audience enjoyed an evening Ustad Rais & Ustad Hafiz Khan with students at of melodic delight. The Bhavan

The Bhagavad Gita – A Story of the Universe, 28 March The lecture on the Bhagavad Gita by Professor Jatindra Saha was well attended. He talked about various aspects of the scientific and philosophical connections, quoting relevant verses from the Gita to support his talk. The concluding question and answer session was interesting and well received, prompting audience members to request a longer session at the next talk to which Professor Saha happily agreed. Dr Nandakumar proposed a vote of thanks.


A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE MANDOLIN U. SRINIVAS During March Bhavan Vani Fine Arts and Taruvai Charitable Trust organised a series of three programmes in tribute to Mandolin U. Srinivas who sadly died aged only 45 in 2014. Uppalapu Srinivas was a virtuoso mandolin maestro and composer who pioneered the introduction of the mandolin, a western instrument, into classical Karnatic music. He enjoyed a global reach and worldwide audience and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998 by Government of India, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009. His passing is a great loss. Karnatic violin and vocal concert by Akkarai sisters, 7 March The Akkarai Sisters’ first performance at the Bhavan was outstanding. The interaction between the elder sister Subhalakshmi and younger sister Sornalatha showed their understanding and unison in playing violin. They played Endu Muddo in ragam Bindumalini. The main piece was Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) in ragam Shanmukhapriya with ragamalika svaram which included ragas such as Behag, Sarasangi and Hamsanandi. The sisters were ably accompanied on mridangam by M. Balachandar and on ghatam by Pirashanna Thevarajah. Mr Karthik Krishna proposed the vote of thanks.

Subhalakshmi and Sornalatha

Karnatic vocal music by Shri Sanjay Subramanyan, 8 March Shri Sanjay Subramanyan is well known for his versatility and for never singing the Shri Sanjay Subramanyan same song twice to repeat audiences. His sub-main piece was Saraguna Palimpa in Kedaragaula, a composition of Shri Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar. His aweinspiring ragam alapana was very traditional and yet unique. The main piece was Ragam Tanam Pallavi in ragam Shankarabharanam. In this he explored the raga to the maximum in speed, different octaves and different vocal techniques. Shri S. Varadarajan not only accompanied Shri Sanjay on the violin but also showed his calibre when it was his turn to be in the limelight. Shri Sanjay sung kalpana svarams with carefully calculated mathematical endings. He then went onto sing ragamalika svaram in Sahana, Mohanam, Anandabhairavi, Hamirkalyani, Abheri, Kapi, Sindhubhairavi and Amrithavarshini. Straight after, it was the Tani avarthanam by Shri Neyveli B Venkatesh on the mridangam, a Tani (solo) performance in which he played intricate jatis in different nadais. Karnatic vocal students of Smt. Sivasakti Sivanesan were delighted to hear songs such as Brindavanam Iduvo and Gambhiravani Tillana which they had learnt during their summer school. Karnatic music – mandolin concert by U. Rajesh, 29 March The evening started with a performance by vina students of four pieces which Srinivas taught at The Bhavan in 2005, Girirajasuta, Raghuvamsa Sudha, Manavyalakinchara and Sangamam. This was followed by Bharatanatyam students dancing to Srinivas’s composition, Sangamam. Shri U Rajesh's mandolin performance was a touching and emotional tribute to his elder brother and mentor. He performed pieces that Srinivas had either Music students popularised such as Endu Muddo in ragam Bindumalini and Sai Bhajan in Vakulabharanam or made unique like Lotus Flower, composed by guitar legend John McLaughlin of whose band Remembering Shakti Srinivas was a member. His main piece was Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Shanmukhapriya where he elaborated on each note showing the beauty of the ragam. At one point he played like Srinivas Ji, playing the descending scale by just using the key to tune to the precise notes. He played ragamalika kalpana svaram in Bilahari, Kapi and Revati. Shri Balu Raguraman accompanied him on the violin. This was followed by Tani avartanam by Shri M. Balachander on mridangam and his student Thanujen Chandrakumar on morsing where they participated in a conversation through rhythmic patterns. The music of Mandolin Srinivas lives on through his brother. Padma Shri Dr. Marr proposed the vote of thanks. Bharatanatyam students Continued on page 6



The parents of the late Mandolin U. Srinivas seated by Sivasakti Sivanesan

U. Rajesh in concert

During the soundcheck, students were graced with close contact with John McLaughlin. Arani Sivapathasundaram describes this: “Shri John McLaughlin came into the auditorium and straight away told us with a beaming smile how he loves the vina and even played a bit for us. He is a very humble and down to earth person saying namaste to each individual and engaging the students in a conversation about music. His speech about Srinivas Ji came from the heart, you could feel the sadness of his loss yet also feel the happiness in recollecting the

cherished memories of their time together, really moved the audience. One particular anecdote he shared with us is how in the Remember Shakti Group, all of them had individual nicknames. Srinivas Ji's was McGreasy due to him dipping his fingers in coconut oil every 30 seconds. While his was Skiddy as he left skid marks after playing the guitar. These nicknames made them the close knit family they are and not the famous individuals in their own right.”

John McLaughlin playing the vina

John McLaughlin, Dr Marr and Dr Nandakumara

INDIA AWARENESS DAYS Pupils of St Anselm’s Catholic Primary School enjoyed learning about Indian culture and arts during an India Awareness Day at The Bhavan. Following their visit the

children wrote and drew pictures about their experiences. Here are two of their responses.


FORTHCOMING EVENTS Saturday 2 May – dinner at 5:30pm – show at 7pm Gujarati drama – Hemant Parekh’s PATNI PADARAO SAVADHAN Directed by Tushar Joshi Tickets: £10, £15, £20 includes dinner Contact: 07941 975311 or 07931 708026

Sunday 7 June at 6pm Sitar recital with Maestro Pt. Ashok Pathak PATHAK GHARANA Tickets: £12, £10 Saturday 13 June at 11am Open Doors at The Bhavan - guided tour and drum jam session Free event but please book by email to

Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 May at 5.30pm Nrithya-Upahaar 2015 – an International Festival of Classical Dance – Kathak, Bharatntyam, Mohiniattam Presented by Upahaar School Of Dance Tickets: £12, £10

Saturday 13 June at 6pm Eternal Love – Classical music & dance to songs of Tagore Raga-Sphere – Classical vocalist Chiranjib Chakraborty with The 5.1.5 Crew Tickets: £15, £20, £25 including dinner

Wednesday 20 May – dinner at 5:30pm – show 7pm Gujarati drama - PANKAJ SODHA’S ‘PAPPA AVAJ HOI CHE’ Directed by Dharmesh Vyas Tickets: £12, £15, £20 including dinner Contact: 07941 975311 or 07931 708026

Saturday 20 June at 6:30pm Tripura – Divine Feminine by Bala Devi Chandrashekar Tickets: £10, £15

Saturday 23 May at 6:30pm Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty – classical Indian vocal maestro Tickets: £15, £20, £25

Sunday 21 June 11am-4pm International Yoga Day Demonstrations and more Telephone The Bhavan for more details

Saturday 23 May & Sun 24 May 11am – 5pm Two day Vaastu lecture & workshop with Dr. Prabhat Poddar Tickets: £100 for two days including tea & vegetarian lunch

Sunday 21 June at 6pm Hindustani Flute with Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia Tickets: £15, £20, £25

Sunday 31 May at 4pm KAVI PRANAAM. HOMAGE TO TAGORE Celebrating 50 years of The Tagorians, the UK’s oldest Bengali cultural organisation Tickets: £7, £10

Saturday 27 June at 3pm Lecture by Professor Jatindra Saha – Dharma, the principle of perpetual sustenance of Nature and the Universe Free entry, all welcome

Friday 5 June at 7pm LEGACY: Padmashree Guru Pratap Pawar & his daughter Asavari Pawar – a kathak performance with live musicians Tickets: £10, £12

Saturday 27 June at 6:30pm VIVIDHA - Guru Sri Abhay Shankar Mishra presents an evening of kathak music and dance. Tickets: £10, £12

Saturday 6 June at 2pm Exclusive lecture & demonstration on Pandit Balram Pathak by Pandit Ashok Pathak All welcome Saturday 6 June at 6pm Raag Anuraag – an evening of Haveli Sangeet in classical ragas with Pandit Gokulotsavji Maharaj Tickets: £20, £30 including refreshments

Sunday 28 June at 6pm A solo bharatnatyam recital by Dr Lakshmi Ramaswamy Entry by donation For details telephone: 07956 579239 (evenings) 7

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