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Feature

A wide-angle view of the Mewati master

Pandit Jasraj's site gives you a comprehensive sweep of his life and times. The audio clips are an added attraction


Shubha Mudgal's lively, informative site, Raagsangeet, has closed down. Sadly, clicking on www.raagsangeet.com will only take you to a page that says the site and the URL are up for sale. It's a pity surfers can no longer benefit from this singer's insightful writing.

The search for Pandit Ravishankar's site can be even more disappointing. The URL www.ravishankar.com leads you to a 1998-born child's home page, and www.ravi.com brings up a bare page that says the site's owner is not a bass guitarist, has no plans of selling the URL, and probably does not know you at all!

The sitar maestro's site is run by The Ravi Shankar Foundation based in the US. Remember, you get there by clicking ravishankar.org, not ravishankar.com. The index page gives you last year's news that he was "choosen" for the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. There are some other spelling errors, and the pictures are not sized properly. The site needs urgent editorial attention.

Browsers will find Ravi Shankar's brief introduction to Indian music useful. The sitarist's own life is well documented, but if you'd like to hear it all in his own words, you can order your copy of his autobiography from the site. The target audience largely appears to be the non-Indian US admirer of Panditji's music. Another link on the site helps you buy a sitar or get your sitar repaired.

Pandit Jasraj's site gives you a comprehensive sweep of his life and times. It has several sections easy to navigate. Landmarks in the life of Jasraj form a section. He heard Begum Akhtar when he was six, and wanted to become a singer himself. The tabla caught his fancy a little later, and he gave it up and became a vocalist when a famous singer (not named in the site) derided his art as the beating of "a dead animal's skin".

Disciples like Sanjeev Abhayankar and Kala Ramnath speak warmly of their guru. In fact, the site was a Guru Purnima gift to the man who has been "like a father" to them.

Jasraj's wife Madhura is a writer and documentary film maker. Film making she must have inherited from her famous father V Shantharam. The site gives a portrait of her as well. Two clips of her documentary on Jasraj are included in the Gallery section. The audio clips give you a sample of the rare ragas in his repertoire like Triveni and Dhuliya Malhar.

The curious anectodes Jasraj recounts are a must. Read them to know his moments of joy and grief. The richness of his experience comes through forcefully in them rather than in the reverentially poetic descriptions on the index page and elsewhere.

Jasraj's site gives you a sweeping, near comprehensive view of his life and times.

Amritamati S

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