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Sangeet Bigyan, the magazine of Bishnupur Gharana

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DEBDUTTA GUPTA & PARTHA DASGUPTA
Bishnupur Gharana has always been encouraged by its Maharajas. They were ever enthusiastic to keep up with this genre of music that happens to be the only classical music gharana that Bengal has ever produced. One of the musicians, Radhika Prasad Goswami started to publish a magazine named ‘Sangeet Bigyaan’ in the year 1330.

It aimed to discuss music and musicians from across India and was almost a meeting ground for quality music. Every article in Sangeet Bigyan, started with a song or poem. The first publication, had a poem by Nareshwar Bhattacharya. Infact, the gharana somehow maintained its identity through this magazine and reached out to a larger audience. Later, Gopeshwar Bandyopadhyay became its editor and planned more than just a periodical to reach out to readers. So, he added a song or a poem in the beginning of each issue and it became almost like the Magazine of the Month.

Some of the images and illustrations of the magazine were done by Abanindranath Tagore. One issue had his image depicting wild animals roaming quietly to the tune of a shepherd’s flute. This music also had a science-based application, where restless chaotic violence could be calmed down by the tune of music and when the music is imbibed, these thoughts are removed from within the mind.

Bishnupur Gharana stood on its own versatile creativity as the artists wrote lyrics of songs themselves. Even Gopeshwar Bandyopadhyay followed this trend. Such examples are found in many parts of Uttar Pradesh, famous for its classical gharanas. Take Shari Miyan’s tappa. The same trend as we find in Bishnupur. The magazine also had notations of raags and ragini, made by the stalwarts. For example, Gopeshwar Bandyopadhyay did a notation of Emon and it was depicted in the magazine in Bengali notation. This reflects how Bishnupur gharana tried to establish Bengal’s identity in every respect.