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108 songs on Bapu in 14 languages, a special tribute to the Mahatma

Bapugeetika

Commemorating Mahatma Gandhiji’s death anniversary, a new music album comprising 108 songs dedicated to the great soul, penned by poets from across the country in 14 languages including Kashmiri, Sindhi and Urdu, has been launched

BapugeetikaNew Delhi: Commemorating Mahatma Gandhiji’s death anniversary, a new music album comprising 108 songs dedicated to the great soul, penned by poets from across the country in 14 languages including Kashmiri, Sindhi and Urdu, has been launched.

The album is part of a two-decade-old project “Bapu Geetika: Songs for the Mahatma” conceived by retired government officer Kalpana Palkhiwala.

“Out of the compendium of 108 poems set to tune, a few have been penned during the lifetime of Gandhi and the rest were written in tribute after his death,” Kalpana told PTI.

The poems have been penned by literary greats such as Rabindranath Tagore, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Maithilisharan Gupt, Subramanya Bharathi, Amrita Pritam, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Umashankar Joshi, Sumitranandan Pant, Rayaprolu Subba Rao and Natu Gopal Narhar.

Kalpana says she yearned to hear something apart from the same set of songs being played year after year on October 2 and January 30 on radio and television. She also managed to get her hands on a copy of book “Gandhi-Shatadal” containing 101 poems and thus began her project.

Seven composers working in 14 languages set to tune the 108 poems in the almost 15 hour long album. Over 60 musicians have worked on the project, says Kalpana.

“Our youngest singer was 14 years old when we began work and the oldest singer is 75 years old. We have used instruments like harmonium, tabla and manjila and other traditional instruments from different parts of the country for the songs,” says Kalpana.

Veteran composer Umashankar Chandola is the chief composer of the album. “Chandola has worked in Bollywood and for the NSD and the Films Division,” says Kalpana.

She says that they used Hindustani classical, Carnatic, and folk styles like baul, lavli as well as traditional Punjabi and Kashmiri tunes for the songs. The 62-year-old brain behind the project had worked for the All India Radio as a news reader and was deputy director in the ministry of information and broadcasting.

“Gandhiji used to love songs and so I thought it would be best to put the poems into songs,” says Kalpana who plans to take the album to schools and colleges and organize concerts there.

“My primary target is children then the youth and then the general public. When we are forgetting the message of Gandhiji, I thought this should be brought forward through children and youth. Because if one student out of 100, believes in this and turns into a small Gandhi and brings some impact on society for betterment, then my goal would be achieved,” she says.

Getting sponsors to fund her project has been difficult, says Kalpana. “This has been a labor of love for me and have put in my own money. The next step is finding corporate or other sponsors so that the project can gain ground. It is very difficult to get the funding to continue,” she says.

PTI

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