by Vijaykumar Patil
Parents need to expose their children to creative art forms for their overall growth and protect them from social deviations, says Belagavi-based music teacher and Ex-Serviceman Mahendra Ishwar Bannakanwar.
Music teacher Mahendra Eshwar Bankannawar with his students at his Sa Re Ga Ma School of Music.Music is a wonderful form of expression of feelings, which can be communicated even by a blind person. Music and other art forms enjoy very high respect and appreciated all over the world without any bias and therefore, links heterogeneous global communities. It is enjoyed by all ages, even plant, and animals. When we appreciate music or an art form, we become comfortable in developing a bond with the musician and his or her coming from a different land and culture becomes irrelevant. Though people have their own likings on type of art or music, the common element is that they all enjoy listening to music and appreciate and enjoy the art form.
Yes, art forms like music unites communities irrespective of their nationality, race, religion, caste or creed. Under the growing social tensions and hatred on race, religious and caste considerations, music becomes more important as an education which needs to be inculcated among the citizens, right from the stage where they are young and unbiased i.e., during their childhood so as to keep them uninfluenced by divisive thoughts and prevent social deviations, he says.
The best thing to do is to include music or any art form as a compulsory subject in school education system, which will also open up job opportunities to trained students of music and arts. Presently, music is not a compulsory subject as of now but taught only in a few schools so as to develop a good cultural hobby among the young children. Yet, it is possible for the school administrations to introduce Indian classical (music and dance)/light classical music, which is fundamental for all forms of Indian music at least as an extra-curricular activity by earmarking at least two to three hours in a week. This will help children to learn basics of Indian music and grow at least as connoisseurs if not a performers: Since music and dance are performing art forms, both need audience and connoisseurs to appreciate.
Mr.Bannakanwar, who was serving India’s civil defense(Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre) in Belagavi from 1991, voluntarily retired in 2013 and took music as his principal avocation. He is the son of late Eshwar Bankannawar, who was with Indian army and was injured while transporting a contingent of soldiers during Indo-Pak war in 1971 and subsequently shifted to civil defence wing.
Mahendra cannot forget the day when his father bought a harmonium for him. It was on Oct.31, 1984 and the unfortunate news of the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi reached him while he was carrying the harmonium on a bicycle from the music shop to his house in Belagavi city. He started learning basics of Indian classical music from his Guru Pt.Vinayak Shrisat of Vengurla in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. His urge to know more and understand the dynamics of both Indian classical and Western music turned him to become an ardent student – studying and understanding both theory and practical application of the two forms of music.
He is 45 years old now, but one of the most honest and truly dedicated music teachers the author of this story has come across. He has evolved his own teaching methodology, which makes even the most complex aspects simpler and easier even for the learners.