Mandar and Dakshayani Karanjkar during a session.
It’s not as if today you will end poverty and suddenly everything will be fine. As a society, we should work on different aspects that nourish the society, like art and culture, otherwise you would create a social fabric that is not rooted in anything. Then it’ll be difficult for us to even survive as a community,” says Dakshayani Karanjkar, who co-founded the Baithak Foundation along with her husband Mandar Karanjkar, as a not-for-profit organisation reaching out to the young audience to encourage them to appreciate Indian classical music.
She explains how the same mindset can refrain people from exploring the benefits that classical music has to offer because people have the misconception that it is often difficult to understand traditional music. Mandar says, “Whenever we approach a school, we are asked if children will be able to understand it. By the end of the session, the kids enjoy it.”
“The art form has its origins in yogashastra and the origin suggests that this art form has healing powers and provokes you to introspect. Over a period of time, it has not remained that original art form and has transformed itself into a performing art form,” says Dakshayani.
Mandar speaks about how the senior artists refuse to perform at concerts, and aim to spend the rest of their lives with their gurus, to come at a deeper level of appreciation for the traditional art form.
The two argue that contrary to popular belief, it not difficult to encourage the young generation to get to appreciate music. In their community sessions, they have observed a fear imbibed in the audience about asking questions.
Dakshayani says, “When you ask a question, it means you don’t know something. People are very uncomfortable with it but once you create an atmosphere where it’s safe for people to ask questions, they have a lot of questions and the discussions about can go to from a tiny question to a big philosophical question.” She adds that their use of real world examples helps in the demystification process of the music.
Mandar says, “I actually explain them analogies from different films. We often compare music to painting and then sur becomes the colour. We actually make them sing those patterns and those phrases and that is very unique. There’s no such venue where the audience can sing music and the feedback we get is that isn’t difficult because no one made it this approachable for us.”
The audience participation makes for the start of each of their community sessions. “In paintings, first need to know how to draw a line, circle, defining the frame and then complex things like colour selection and colour palette so we break down the music same way,” he says, adding, “This year, we are working almost 12 locations in Pune, which are a mix of municipal school and construction sites so that is one way to reach out the audience.”
The couple will conduct their second session in appreciating Indian classical music on November 10th from 11 am to 12:30 pm at the Pagdangdi Cafe, Baner-Pashan Link Road, Pune