Sarod maestro Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta died of cardiac arrest at his residence in south Kolkata last Monday, at the age of 84. The Padma Bhushan awardee had been suffering from respiratory problems for the past few days. He is survived by wife and two sons.
Buddhadev Das Gupta was a unique musical personality standing out in the vast sky of North Indian Classical Music for his distinctive way of musical thinking, and a style which is instantly recognisable as his own. It is evident that his death has created a void in the field of classical music.
Classical music, which once flourished in Bengal producing maestros like Baba Ustad Allauddin Khan, was struggling for existence in Bangladesh. Bengal Foundation took up the challenge of reviving the practice of this royal art in the country through organising the Bengal Classical Music Festival in 2012 when Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta came to perform at the maiden edition.
The commitment and passion for music was manifested in maestro’s enthralling performance. Even with an injured hand, he won the hearts of Dhaka music connoisseurs by playing tunes of a Tagore song “Sedin Dujoney” as a bandish. The piece was based on Raga Pilu. Prior to that he performed a dhun set on Raga Kaunshi Kannada.
Maintaining a uniformly brilliant academic career, Buddhadev studied ISc at Presidency College, Calcutta and stood second in Mechanical Engineering from Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur in 1954. In those days, music as a profession did not promise a secure or solvent future. Therefore, after taking training in Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) in UK and India, Buddhadev had to go into an exacting profession of a power engineer. During his early career therein, there was a period of about eight years during which there was no holidays in his life. He had to work from morning till night having a quarter attached to the power station so that he could be on call round the clock. He worked as a Sr. Engineer, Trainer and Administrator with CESC for 32 years (1956–1988). Despite such a grind, his academic endeavours and professional engagements, the dedicated artiste managed time to pursue his passion for music, which he would believe was the only medium capable of guiding mankind to live in harmony with self and nature.
Born in Bhagalpur, Bihar, on February 1, 1933, Buddhadev took up his sarod training under the tutelage of sarod maestro Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra at the age of 10 and the Guru-Shishya Parampara which was established lasted till Pt. Maitra’s passing away on October 15, 1981.
Buddhadev’s style, though firmly anchored in tradition, is unique in that it combines a cerebral approach to music with a keen aesthetic sense and a rare accuracy of notes. His imagination always stays linked to the time-honoured spirits of the melody.
Rare, indeed, is the genius and artistry of this man who, for nearly six decades, single-handedly represented the pedagogical lineage of the great masters Murad Ali Khan, Abdullah Khan, Mohammad Ameer Khan and Radhika Mohan Maitra of the well known sarod gharana of Senia-Shahjahanpur. It is for his incomparable sacrifices for music and the sarod, and for his soulful mastery of the instrument, that Buddhadev Das Gupta is recognised worldwide as one of the finest masters of Indian classical music.
Source:The Daily Star