Did the Grammy winning Tabla player Sandeep Das ask, “Where is my Sangeet Natak Akademy Award?”
Sandeep says he did not. But the words quoted extensively in he Indian media, invited a stern rebuke from Sandeep’s peers in India , namely Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Jasraj, Buddhitya Mukherjeeand Ricki Kej.
Reacting to the backlash Sandeep says sardonically, “I would urge some of the Indian media to NOT put words in my mouth and remain quite as they have been all over the years and only run after the few known names as they are apt at.”
Sandeep says he has never hankered after awards, “I would like to clarify that I have never coveted any award, either the Sangeet NatyaAkademy award or the Grammy, national or international awards. Anyone who has known me including the very maestros who have questioned will acknowledge that in private and most others in public easily.”
However, this lack of hankering for recognition doesn’t stop Sandeepfrom rejoicing in his Grammy. “I am proud to be a member of the prestigious Silk Road Ensemble headed by the legendary Yo-YoMaand rejoice with the Ensemble at having received the Grammy this year for our World Music Album. I have been taught both my parents and guru to accept any praise, or award, or reassurance with humility because I know there are many deserving artistes for every award that is instituted. Therefore I do not take my awards and my good fortune for granted.”
The Hindustani classical maestros have wondered why Sandeepdoesn’t return to India to practice his music from….errr…home?
Snaps back Sandeep softly, “As far as working and making a name for myself in India is concerned, I can say with humility that classical music lovers from the North to the South, East to the West everywhere in the country have heard me and loved my playing for the last 25 years. And the very maestros in question have either been on stage with me or have appreciated my playing wholeheartedly on many occasion.”
Sandeep is proud to be working towards promoting talent . “I am probably one of the very very very few artists that have anorganisation NOT to promote myself but run a scholarship for visually impaired children to learn music whose numbers have grown from 2 to 6. And have disciples that I have taught for FREE from all over the country and the world! My organisation is called HUM and anyone can go check it out at humsensemble.com.As for questioning my allegiance to my Hindustani heritage, I am proud to be an Indian an will take my Hindustaniyat to every corner of the world, no matter what the naysayers have to say.”