Sound of Bansuri
In cultures across the world, it is that one piece of reed that causes man’s innermost realm to transcend the mundane and that is the Indian flute called Bansuri. Since time immemorial, bansuri has possessed, deep within it’s ethereal sound, that elixir which clams the distraught and heals wounds.
The bansuri through its myriad forms inspired and captivated the hearts of yogis, poets and seers for centuries. The Indian flute holds a unique place among musical instruments. Not only it is the oldest among instruments, but is also found in cultures all over the world.
Indian flutes were discovered in Arizona in 1931 that dates as far as back as 620 AD. The legend has it that a man saw a tree limb on the ground that has been split in two. Each end was hollowed by a wood pecker who then pecked several holes in one half of the limb, when he took to the medicine man, he suggested the man brave out the two pieces together and the bansuri was born.
The bansuri was developed into a classical musical instrument by legendary flutist Pannalal Ghosh. He transformed the folk instrument with 32 inches long with seven holed flute and introduced it to the world.
That it is the only instrument connected to God can be gauged that pictures of Lord Krishna is usually depicted as a cowherd serenading swooning milkmaid with his flute.
From 32 inch seven holed flute to world’s smallest 6 inch flute, the bansuri has come a long way. And the credit for transforming the Indian classical instrument goes to Rohit Anand, the master craftsman who made the world’s smallest flute that can play up to two octaves and is only six inches long called Anand Vansh. Rohit’s painstaking efforts found him a place in Limca book of records for the year 2000.
A professional music therapist based in Delhi, Rohit’s has crafted Indian flutes for a number of flutists and upcoming students of the art. Rohit’s love for flute drew him away from the world of telecommunication engineering to master the instrument but also research on its various qualities and technical aspects.
Studying music under the guru-shishya tradition of Malhar Senia Gharana, Rohit learnt the nuances of Hindustani classical music under the tutelage of maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar, late Sharan Rani Backliwal and ustad Aashish Khan.He has to his credit several concerts in India and abroad.
As you walk through the bylanes of Vinobha Puri in South Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, the melodious strains of bansuri rend the air from the house of Rohi who gives lessons to several students to master the instrument, But what does it take to ready such a reed?
” Though not as strenuous as making a Pakhawaj or a tabla, flute-making requires precision, a fine sense of pitch and refined understanding of aesthetics, not forgetting a steady hand,’ says Rohit, ‘ I get bamboos from Assam and to craft a bansuri will take several months,’ he says,
Fitting the cork of suitable thickness is very important, Rohit says. Rohit provides bansuris of any pitch and scale from A natural bass to E sharp.Made with lots of care, these instruments are appreciated by many flutists across the country.
A flute maker requires excellent hearing skills, besides musical knowledge for perfect tuning. The bamboo is chosen both for quality and beauty and requires adequate seasoning, says Rohit. Patience and commitment is what is needed to master this instrument, Rohit sums up.