Photos by Kabir M Ali
The much awaited 17th edition of Ajivasan’s Vasantotsav culminated with a grand celebration. The annual event is a tribute to Acharya Jialal Vasant, the founder of Ajivasan, whose 100th Birthday is being celebrated this year. Every year Ajivasan’s Managing Trustee Dr. Suresh Wadkar, honours an eminent artiste with ‘Uttam Vag-Geykar Jialal Vasant Award’ for their unparalleled contribution to Music and Dance.
This year the award goes to none other than Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj and the award would be given away by living legend Shri Amitabh Bachchan. The event was attended by other prominent personalities including Suresh Wadkar, Pankaj Udhas, Hariharan, Javed Ali, Shailesh Lodha, Shailendra Singh, Sadhna Sargam and many more.
The ‘Uttam Vag-Geykar Jialal Vasant Award’ was instituted in 2001 in honour of Acharya Jialal Vasant who himself was an Uttam Vag-Geykar – an accomplished musician, proficient in all three fields of music i.e. Vocal, Instrumental Music and Dance. The Festival and award is a way to fulfill Guruji’s dream of bringing back the pristine glory of Indian Classical music so that the youth in India and world over respect Indian heritage.
The evening saw mesmerising performances from two musical gurus Ustad Rashid Khan and Ustad Zakir Hussain. This was followed by Padma Vibhusan Pandit Birju Maharaj making one of those rare appearances on stage along with Ustad Zakir Hussain, a combination that everyone wait for. Maharaj ji created some very novel rhythmic patterns along with Ustad Zakir Hussain. He also created some memorable Jugalbandis with the maestro.
About Ajivasan –
Ajivasan, earlier known as Vasant Sangeet Vidyalay was founded in 1932 in Srinagar by Acharya Jialal Vasant under the patronage of Smt. Rameshwari Nehru. With about twenty-five students under his tutelage, Guruji started out on the musical journey of Sangeet Sandhana. The Institute had repute for providing scientific training in Hindustani Classical Music, and the students had the opportunity to perform with the master himself on several occasions. After his demise, his daughter Prem Vasant, along with his disciple Suresh Wadkar, decided to fulfill Guruji’s dream of establishing a Gurukul, a place where the music aspirants get the benefit of residing and learning music. Thus, was born Suresh Wadkar’s Ajivasan Music Academy (the term Ajivasan was coined from ACHARYA JIALAL VASANT SANGEET NIKETAN in fond memory of Guruji).