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Today, 5 August 2019 has become a historic day in our history as something which could not be done in 70 years has taken shape now. Union Home minister Amit Shah has announced that Article 370 which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be scrapped. He also announced that Jammu and Kashmir will no longer be a state and it will be bifurcated into two Union Territories— Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.  read more...
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I rarely met such a brilliant person whose talents seem to turn anything into gold anything she took interest in. When she gave me her birth details I was aghast. The retrograde fifth lord with the eighth lord in the third house did not appeal to me. Then the lagna lord aspected by Saturn from the twelfth house and retrograde Mars and eighth lord Moon seemed to carry some some sinister meaning.

Then for twenty years I neither met her nor her understanding husband from north India, a lover of music himself who sang the songs of Saigal with feeling and reverence for the great singer of yester years. She was from south India, from Trichy and her father was an army officer. Her mother tongue was Tamil but she spoke Hindi like a north Indian and when she sang the bhajans of great saint poets of Hindi literature, there was not a trace of her south Indian origin. Her pronunciation of Hindi was chaste like that of any north Indian from UP. And she belonged to my favourite gharana, the Kirana gharana.

She got her interest in music from her mother and like her brothers and sisters was very good at studies having won national talent scholarship for science during her student days. She did her graduation in chemistry which Moon in her fifth house and repeated in the navamsha clearly confirmed.

But torn between her ambition to be a distinguished singer and her parental wish to take to academics like her other siblings, she chose music. It meant serious family opposition.

It was during this time that she met that north Indian class mate who sympathised with her and later, falling in love, married her. Her prosperous husband equipped a big room with all facilities for her music riyaz which she did with her rare zeal.

Twenty years ago, when I used to meet some of these artistes through Meena Bannerji. I had a rich collection of their horoscopes.











Two of them , both female singers, had excellent education, Ashivini Bhide had done her M.Sc in nuclear science while “S” had done in  chemistry with distinction. Bhide is from Jaipur gharana while “S” was from Kirana gharana, a disciple of Pandit Amarnath who had sighted her in a music competetion and encouraged to pursue music as a career which had displeased her father. She became his disciple and in 2007 organized a function in the memory of her late guru also.

After Meena Bannerji shifted to Kolkatta, I got out of touch with most of these artistes as I too shifted from government quarters to my own private house in east Delhi where we have no facility of a public library or a hall for musical performances. I read about “S” in some newspaper reviews sometimes, sometimes only, as the philistines who now dominate the private television channels are anti classical music.

I rarely now attend live performances of theirs now as I did so actively for eighteen years of my stay in central Delhi and in earlier years in different stations. These artistes who lost touch with me rarely visit me except two or three now.

Times have changed and my visitors are mostly from television channels.

Then on 23 April 2008 I got a phone call from Meena Bannerji who is now an established and distinguished music critic, writing with ease in three languages, Bengali her mother tongue, English and Hindi over which she had excellent command because of her UP birth and upbringing.

I waited vainly for an obituary of “S” in the newspapers of 23 April and as I feared, the philistines who now dominate the media in Delhi have totally ignored the news of her tragic end.

In the raving rviews about her performances, she was referred to as a sublime exponent of Kirana gayaki but after her death, there was no obituary. That is the world we live in now. How did she die ? Did she commit suicide by jumping from a multi storied building? That is rumour, unconfirmed though.

A news item available in a website reads thus. , Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008

Woman jumps to death
Gurgaon, April 23A
46-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the third-floor of her house at DLF City here today. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Sateesh Balan said Shanti Sharma, a resident of DLF City, Phase 1 jumped from her flat. She succumbed to injuries soon after falling on the ground. The woman was reportedly depressed ever since her daughter, Somya, too, allegedly committed suicide by jumping from top floor of a 22-storey building at Regency Park- 2, DLF City Phase IV, in October 2002. Somya was a first-year student of a Delhi college. hanti was upset and was under depression, police said, quoting Dinesh Sharma, the victim's husband.

The news item does not refer to her as a famous and exquisite performer of the Kirana gharana. You do not need a better proof of the philistinism of the times we live in now.

Her daughter had committed suicide in Saturn-Sun Sun is in the eighth house of the Saptamsha. Then from the antardasha of Moon, the eighth lord, she got depressed is the story I can piece up now after what Meena Bannerji told me last night , weeping, sobbing on the phone, hardly completing any sentence. It continued in the antardasha of Mars and in the next antardasha of Rahu she took the fatal decision to commit suicide.

I wanted to do more analysis. But something inside me is getting stifled emotionally. For twenty years I had not met her, one of the most cultured woman I ever met.

(23 April 2008)

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