Pt. Chhotelal Misra: A Tribute



A dear member of Madhukali family, a stalwart like others, a living legend and a conscious musician, a loving giving soul and  responsible academic ,  Pt. Chhotelal Misra – disciple and son of Pt. Anokhelal Misra – died of cardiac arrest at his Kushtmanda residence in Varanasi today at 11:30 am.

Grieving on the loss of  a dear friend since their adolescence, founder director of Madhukali, Pt. Omprakash Chourasiya said that Pt. Chhotelal Misra represented the spirit of Varanasi music tradition – innovative in thought, calm in tradition and soft in presentation.

Dr. Ragini Trivedi recalled that both she and brother Gopal Shankar began their first lessons in Sitar with Chhotelal ji accompanying them. It was due playing with him, from the very beginning that she developed such strong sense and mastery over rhythm. She remembers that the day debut function of her elder brother Gopal Shankar was organized, her mother applied tika to both Gopal Shankar and Chhotelal Misra before they proceeded to performance stage. In the BHU inter-faculty competition in year 1976 when she came on stage, the whooping and clapping of students in the over-packed hall was overwhelming. In the noise, she could not hear her own Sitar. It was Chhotelal ji who calmed her with a brief remark –“Sitar dekhaa, aur kucch na dekhaa! (Pay attention to Sitar, nothing else)” It was during her visit to Varanasi when she presented jal tarang at Ganga Mahotsav that Chhotelal ji advised her – “Veena bajawa, Veena!”. It was this that moved her to take her father’s Vichitra Veena with her.

Dr. Naval Krishna said that he was the favorite of Mrs. Rajam and during beginning of her career, she relied only on Chhotelal ji. His rfelexes were wonderful and provided great support to her in ‘Ladant’. He was always smiling and would greet friends with “Ka Guru!” managing the phrase out through a pan-filled mouth.

A cheerful witty person who would laugh over hurt and pain will be remembered for keeping alive the non-pareil style of  Pt. Anokhelal Misra. His disciple Pt. Premshankar Misra who took notes for the two books Chhotelal ji wrote, shall now have the task of bringing out English versions all by himself.

Pt. Chhotelal Misra on Dr. Gopal Shankar and his father Dr. Lalmani Misra

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