Art of robab dying because devotion lacking: Daud Khan Sadozai (IANS Interview)

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Jodhpur, Feb 27 (IANS) With his roots in Afghanistan, robab exponent Daud Khan Sadozai says that the art of Sufi devotional music with such musical instruments is diminishing in the world as there is less or no devotion among today’s youngsters.

Sadozai who has been in the profession since he was a child, said that when he learnt this art, music was taken very seriously and was worshipped by the students but now a days, the key to learning this style – patience – is lost.

“At that time, musicians used to be serious, they worshipped the art. People have lost the power of patience today and now everything comes at a price so it has turned into show business. You need patience for these kind of arts because they are meditative in a way and it takes time to understand,” Sadozai told IANS in an interview at the World Sacred Spirit Festival here.

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“For our profession, patience is of prime importance. Learning music and the art takes a long time but the youngsters today lack patience. These days, youngsters want everything immediately like fast food. It is a problem to tune instruments as it’ s so difficult. It has 25 strings,” he added.

Noting that in the current scenario, a lot of artistes in Afghanistan have become refugees, Sadozai said that every thread of culture in Pakistan and Iran has vanished.

“Change is coming in very quickly nowadays. In Afghanistan, in the last 30 years, a lot has been destroyed. Many artistes have become refugees. Every thread of culture in Pakistan and Iran, the knowledge imparted by the gurus and ustaads, is over,” he said.

He feels lucky that when he was learning, it was peaceful in Afghanistan and at “that time, all ustads (gurus) used to live in the same neighbourhood so we learnt there.”

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With the same pattern in India, the internationally-renowned artist says that since the beginning, “it was difficult to find an ustad because not every one of them accepted disciples.”

“If the student lacked manners and grace, they were not accepted by the ustads but things have changed now. Even the character of people has changed. The spiritual music that we had, slowly turned into showbusiness,” Sadozai said.

With a number of festivals talking place across the globe, Sadozai said that more such need to organised.

“More and more of these festivals should be organised. The problem in Europe is that it is always in crisis. They have plenty of money but festivals and culture have been cut off there. There is no money for the arts. We need people to appreciate the arts. But like I said, the generation is changing…” he lamented.

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Sadozai has studied the sarod, a descendent of the robab, with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan in India. Amjad Ali Khan’s ancestors had brought the robab from Afghanistan to India and developped the Sarod from it.

Sadozai has performed at various international music festivals in Fermany, France and the US. In India, he was twice honoured with the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award in 1988 and in 1995.

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of the Meherangarh Museum Trust. Kishori Sud can be contacted at [email protected])

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