Swami Vivekananda, apart from being a national patriot and awakener of modern India, who preached unity of all religions and universal brotherhood, was also a great musician, who not only sang exceedingly well but had also mastered a few musical instruments. Hence, fittingly, a musical homage was paid to the saint by the Ramakrishna Mission in the Capital, to mark his 157th birth anniversary celebration, by organising a day-long music concert in association with the Sangeet Natak Akademi at Vivekananda Auditorium on 12 January.

The programme began with bhajans rendered by a child prodigy, Rahul Vellal from Bengaluru. He displayed his tremendous talent at the young age of 11 and mesmersized the audience. This was followed by a second child artiste and singer Aryya Banik from Siliguri (West Bengal), who rendered Hindustani Classical Music and a couple of bhajans in Hindi and Bengali, receiving huge applause from the audience. Both of them were accompanied by Vinay Mishra on the Harmonium and Sambhunath Bhattacharya on the Tabla. In the afternoon, renowned sarod-player and disciple of the legendary Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pt Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, and his son Indrayudh from Kolkata rendered Raga Gaud Sarang and Raga Zila Kafi on the sarod, accompanied by Pt Yogesh Samsi of Mumbai on the Tabla. It was a scintillating performance that was greeted by the 700- strong audiences with thunderous applause and sincere appreciation.

The evening ended with melodic notes from renowned vocalist from Pune, Pt Ulhas Kashalkar, who gave a masterly display of Khayal music (in Ragas Multani and Sindhura) as per the Agra, Gwalior and Jaipur gharanas. It was a remarkable performance of a very high standard. He was ably supported on the Tabla by Pt Yogesh Samsi and on the Harmonium by Vinay Mishra. Vocal assistance was very nicely provided by Ojas Pratap Singh.

Swami Shantatmanandaji Maharaj, Secretary, Ramakrishna Mission, New Delhi, welcomed the audience and also felicitated the musicians and accompanists. Speaking to The Statesman, Swami Shantatmananda stressed on taking forward Swamiji’s work and messages and said special attention must be paid to organising programmes, talks and seminars so that the current generation doesn’t remain ignorant of the country’s cultural legacy.

Talking about Vivekananda’s importance and relevance for present-day youth, he said, “The thoughts and ideals of SwamiVivekananda inspire and energise crores of Indians, particularly our youth. It is from him that we draw the motivation of building an India that is strong, vibrant, inclusive that takes global leadership in several areas.”