Celebrating Guru-Purnima in the Saadhana Pariwar Pandit Suman Ghosh’s Gurukul


By Sucheta Roy

HOUSTON: Indian Classical music lovers in Houston consider it a privilege and a blessing that Pandit Suman Ghosh chose this city above all others to make his home and establish his Gurukul, Saadhana Pariwar. Enriching thousands of lives with pure Hindustani Classical music in the Mewati Gharana tradition, Pandit Suman Ghosh is adored as much by his disciples as by their families. The Gurukul has just staged, for the second year in a row, about 70 solo performers in a truly unique series titled Saadhana Samvid in various locations of this city.

On September 7, under the aegis of CICMH (Center for Indian Classical Music of Houston), the disciples of Acharya Varishth Pandit Suman Ghosh had the opportunity to honor and celebrate their Guruji. The event was preceded by Panditji’s 2-hour-long live radio interview, the previous evening, on the well-known Open Forum program catering to an audience of over 26,000 listeners worldwide.
Panditji started the symbolic Guru Purnima taalim in a playful manner, with Panditji challenging his students to identify the raga if possible, guess which parent structure it has evolved from (known as a ‘Thaat’) and the notes used in the raga by listening to a short segment of a sitar rendition by the legendary Pandit Ravi Shankarji. The raga was Jhinjhoti, Thaat Khamaj. The revered Guru then taught a bandish in this raga in drut Teental (a moderately fast 16 beat cycle). This was followed by a short introduction to raga ‘Alhaiya Bilawal’. By this time, the room was charged with a positive energy that is quite impossible to describe in words.

After a short break, the second session ensued with ‘Akhand Gaayan’ (meaning unbroken singing) as the core theme, as conceptualized by Panditji himself. Several groups of students took turns to join their Guru on the stage to present a short repertoire. While they took their places on stage, Panditji, the remainder of his students as well as the audience continued singing. The flow was smooth and ‘akhand’ as it was meant to be. The session ended with Panditji leading his disciples in a bhajan dedicated to all the Gurus and Grand-Gurus of the Mewati Gharana and to the greatest Guru of all, the Almighty.

The evening was graced by the presence of Pramod Kulkarni, Editor in Chief of Indo-American News, his wife Jyoti Kulkarni as well as Govind Shetty of the Indian Music Society of Houston.

In true Indian tradition, all disciples received blessing from Panditji and his wife, Guru-Ma Shashikalaji Ghosh. The evening concluded also in true Indian tradition, with a sumptuous dinner, lovingly catered by ‘Madras Pavilion’.

Heartiest felicitations to Panditji and his Gurukul on embarking on another year of complete commitment and dedication to the cause of Indian Classical music.