July 25, 2024

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Hub of making sitars and guitars, Dadpur village in Bengal is seeped in string melody | Kolkata News

2 min read
ULUBERIA/HOWRAH: Each time a sitar virtuoso tugs at heartstrings, it might just be an ode to some nimble fingers in faraway Dadpur. The nondescript village in Uluberia in Bengal’s Howrah district literally rises with string melody and sleeps with it. Most of its 250-odd households are engaged in making sitars, surbahars and guitars.
“This art is different from many others.It requires not just delicate craftsmanship but a refined sense of music too. That’s achieved through rigorous training, passion and perseverance,” said Shyamal Halder whose father Tarapada Halder started nearly 65 years back when he went to Lucknow as a youth and learnt to make stringed instruments.
Shyamal’s words about “training and passion” found resonance on the verandah of a house nearby. There, master craftsman Dipak Halder was engrossed in the task of “Joari” – fine-tuning a sitar.
In the serenity of Dadpur’s abundant greenery, ponds and serpentine lanes – almost resembling a painting in watercolour – Dipak was immersed in playing Raag Jaunpuri. The purity of the notes his fingers were producing was accentuated by the ambience.
Dadpur’s instruments have travelled far and wide, across the country and abroad. Many in the village have shifted to making instruments from other professions.
“Sitars and surbahars are made in 12 workshops in this village. At least one member from each household is into this,” said Samar Mondal, who has been engaged in one of the workshops for 17 years. Crafting a sitar is an intricate task. Each part – body-making, curving, engraving, polishing and tuning – requires craftsmen specialising in that particular aspect.
Abhijit Mondal switched to instrument-making a few years back. He is now an expert in designing sitars and surbahars. “Not a single part is made with the help of a machine. It is wholly dependent on human skills and acumen,” said Abhijit.
Kolkata, Varanasi, Lucknow, Pune, Delhi and Patna are among the cities from where Dadpur gets big orders. “Apart from bulk sales, we get individual orders from across the country. Many popular brands take unfinished instruments from us,” said Dipak. These brands latercustomise the instruments according to their specifications.
Eminent Kolkata sitar player Pundit Deboprasad Chakrabarty vouched for Dadpur’s cachet. “They never compromise on quality. The price is reasonable, affordable even for beginners.”
Ironically, the comment about prices coincided with a jarring note in Dadpur – a refrain about low earnings. Most craftsmen complained that they did not make enough money in spite of their full-time engagement and the high market value of their instruments, especially when these were marketed by big players.


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