A Professor and a musician
Prof. Raja Angara who teaches Economics at the University of Hyderabad was always interested in music. Being born in a family that was steeped in Carnatic music; his mother played the Veena and followed the ‘Bani’ of late Emani Shankara Sastry,
It is rare to find someone who dabbles with Economics to be interested in classical music but then Prof. Raja Angara is a living testimony who is at ease with the sitar as with the theories of David Ricardo and Adam Smith
Prof. Raja Angara who teaches Economics at the University of Hyderabad was always interested in music. Being born in a family that was steeped in Carnatic music; his mother played the Veena and followed the ‘Bani’ of late Emani Shankara Sastry, father’s younger brother AVS Krishna Rao was a Carnaticmusician and disciple of Violin vidwan Annavarapu Ramaswamy it was but natural for Raja Angara to get attracted to music.
“After the ‘George Harrison phenomena’, there were many foreign students who took to learning Sitar at IIT Kanpur. There was a very good atmosphere of classical music and I got to listen to the best of musicians at Kanpur,” says Prof. Raja.
Prof. Raja has had the opportunity to perform before Pandit Ravi Shankar twice and on the first occasion the maestro was impressed when Prof. Raja had played Raga Todi and even asked his father if he could send him to him. Educational compulsions did not allow Prof. Raja to go along but his penchant for music continued where ever he went.
“At Banaras Hindu University I took guidance from the well known musicologist M R Gautam and was getting more interested in the style of Pandit Nikhil Banerjee.
In 1989, I again got a chance to play before Pandit Ravi Shankar. Panditji was pleased and a traditional ‘Ganda Bandhan’ Guru Shishya Parampara function was held. Panditji gave me first lessons in Raga Yaman. Later I also learnt Raga Ramkali, says Prof. Raja.
He adds, “My passion for Nikhil Banerjee’s music was at its peak and I used to listen to his tapes for hours.
Sarod player Rajeev Taranath came to Hyderabad and on his advice i started taking classes from the doyen of Maihar Gharana GuruMaa Annapurna Devi, the daughter of legendary Baba Allaudin Khan.
Prof. Raja also took classes in Raga Yaman for a year. A purist in the truest sense he however laments at the present state of music and musicians. “The finer nuances of a Raga are fast vanishing in the changing world. In all art forms, since it’s a prof.ession, lot of compromise creeps into the traditional art. Give the audience what they want and you become a ‘Demi-God’. Consumerism, money, materialistic tendencies and climbing the ladder are the only things that the young want these days. Pure music has taken a back seat,” says the Professor.
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