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Jayati Godhawat

JWB Blogger

Engineer-Lawyer Couple Tunes JWB Into Their Classical Music ‘Baithak’

  • JWB Post
  •  January 18, 2017


A Pune-based husband and wife are changing the way today’s youth perceive Indian classical music through their charitable trust, .

Dakshayani and Mandar observed that while classical music concerts happened in their city very often, the audience was always limited and mostly the same.

It led them to organize a pilot study of classical music in a municipal school.

“We started teaching the basics of music first and then introduced classical music to them. We also played videos of different artists and gave the children various instruments to learn,” Mandar said in a Skype interview with JWB.

“We were scared that they might get bored, but they did not. It made us realize that children are interested in learning and it’s us who have to reach them,” he added.

Registered in June 2016, Baithak Foundation is teaching classical music in municipal schools. Mandar told JWB that they are also teaching music in a blind school for girls.

“Teaching to children who are visually-impaired is easier as compared to other children as their sense of music is very sharp, and they are more sensitive to sounds. In fact, we are giving them advanced music lessons and are already teaching them Ragas, Gaykis, etc,” said Mandar.

Interestingly, Dakshayani is a graduate in Law and Mandar also has a degree in Engineering. But, it was their passion for music which led them to start with the charitable music trust.

Dakshayani, who had joined the Skype interview by now, revealed that she always wanted to contribute to the society in some way.

“It was my choice to pursue Law, but I never saw a career in it for myself. Also, during my college, I wanted to support my family financially which is why I started working with an NGO, Akanksha Foundation. I used to teach English to the kids from Municipal school. Also, from an early age, I used to sing at Kirtans with my mother and so, when the idea of Baithak Foundation came along, I was delighted.”

However, Mandar took up Engineering as his family wanted him to have a stable career.

“My mother used to learn harmonium & I sat with her and observed her. I was in grade 3rd then, and it was this time that I developed an interest in music. When I was in grade 8th I had decided to make a career in music. However, my family wanted me to choose a more stable career. Also, my dad had a transferable job and so we were shifting from one place to other which is why I couldn’t get proper training. When I came to Pune for Engineering, I started attending musical concerts, and my passion for music re-ignited,” confided Mandar.

Talking about the challenges they faced, Dakshayani told that the biggest problem is to find mentors who can motivate them and guide them in their work.

“Finding tutors who are willing to teach children who have no clue about the classical music is also challenging,” she said.

“Also, it takes a lot of effort to convince the parents and teachers of our idea and our vision. Plus, nowadays, children have so many means to entertain themselves that it’s difficult to keep them interested,” continued Mandar.

Me: Do you think that the Bollywood is also responsible for the stagnation of classical Indian music?

Mandar: No! We cannot blame others for the mistake. I believe the people associated with the Indian classical Indian music are responsible for its stagnation. They might be great as artists and performers; however, they didn’t take the efforts to pass it on the mass and failed to reach out to people.

Me: How do you arrange for funds?

Dakshayani: We have individual donors who believe in our idea and vision. Also, we try and arrange funds from corporates and other foundations.

Me:  Share with us your favorite childhood musical memory.

Dakshayani: *laughs* So, I have a very poor memory. I don’t remember most of the things.

“Well, that’s a good thing, not to remember. Right, Mandar?” I teased and we all giggled.

Mandar: I was waiting for my music lesson to begin. Our Guruji was teaching to the senior students. However, they were not able to take out a particular taan he had taught. I was sitting there listening. Guruji asked if I could do it, and I was like, “okay!” I was in 5th grade at the time and yet I could perform such a difficult taan. I realized then that I am naturally graceful at singing. *gives a broad smile*

Me: Tell us one composition that you dedicate to each other.

Both of them: *at the same time* Guruji mai toh ek niranjan by Sant Goraknath.

Me: If you had to explain the soul of Indian Classical music to someone, how would you do it?

Mandar: Indian Classical Music finds its roots in Yoga Shastra, and it is a path to the self-discovery where seekers dive within themselves with the help of notes (Swaras). Indian Classical Music is usually sung in form of different Ragas which are nothing but a collection of few Swaras with a set of rules. As each Raga has different notes and governing rules, it has its own unique flavor and personality. 

Me: Tell us about your collection of instruments.

Mandar: As I am fond of flutes, we have like a couple dozens of flutes. We also have 4-5 harmoniums and two taanpuras.


Me: Apart from music, what other passion do you both share?

Dakshayani: We both like to write. Our first novel in Marathi has been published, and Mandar’s another novel will soon be published.

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