In Miraj, Maharashtra, the power of music continue to transcend the problems of caste, creed, religion and language
The city of Miraj in southern Maharashtra has a special significance for students and lovers of Hindustani classical music for several reasons. One of these is the presence of master craftsmen and instrument makers in the city, making it one of the most important centres from which tanpuras, sitars, veenas and other instruments are sourced even today. My very first tanpura bought from my meagre earnings as a casual announcer at the Akashvani station in Allahabad when I was still a teenager, and all my subsequent jodis or matched pairs of tanpuras, were made by one or the other branch of the traditional “sitarmaker/satarmaker" families of Miraj. For generations these families have provided musicians and students with the best of hand-crafted instruments. At several major festivals of classical music in the region, including the iconic Sawai Gandharva Festival, started by the legendary Bhimsen Joshi in Pune, the Mirajkars are duly requested for help and are present in full force with tanpuras for each of the participating artistes, ready to tune them and even accompany the artistes on the tanpura if required, in the ultimate show of hospitality.