Bappa Mazumder along with his daughter Agni Mitra and wife Tania places wreaths at the portrait of his father.
Bappa Mazumder along with his daughter Agni Mitra and wife Tania places wreaths at the portrait of his father. Monzur Kader

The 17 Siddheshwari house in Dhaka was a hub of musicians. All the dwellers would practice music all day long. When the seniors took rest, juniors or apprentices would rehearse on tutorials.

Pandit Barin Mazumder and his wife Ela Mazumber, father and mother of eminent composer and singer Bappa Mazumder, lived in the house. On Monday, Barin’s birth centenary was observed there.

What kind of person Pandit Barin was? His son Bappa helps us learn about Barin.

Barin used to rehearse music for 10-12 hours a day. He would start in the early morning. He was so attentive to practice.

Bappa reminisces that they had grown up seeing his father insisting his pupils on practice for music all the time. “Perhaps we didn’t practice properly. But the home environment prepared us in such a style that we believe in practice that can make a singer capable of rendering best music.”

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Barin was a responsible family man. Bappa says, “He was a good husband and father. This is hard to find an artiste with such a combination.”

He was so caring about all his family members. “Baba loved to shop kitchen items and cooking. He had interest for hunting, but left it later. He loved fishing, travelling and gardening.”

Barin often said trees he planted were responsive and communicative. He used to take care of his garden. He prepared a garden at an abandoned corner in the Siddheshwari house. “One of his plants once flowered so large dahlias that I am sure nobody has ever seen such a big flower,” Bappa says.

He believes that his mother contributed a lot to Barin’s achievement and fame. “If Ela had been absent in Barin’s life, he would have failed to be a successful musician. My mother extended all kind of support to her husband.”

Reminiscing a joyful moment with his father, Bappa said, “A misconception terrified me of dying during at school as I had swallowed orange seeds. I returned home crying. When I informed my father about my condition, he told me to eat a pinch of salt. I did. Then he said the salt would kill the seeds.”

Barin’s birth centenary celebrated

The birth centenary celebration was observed at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on Monday.

The celebration began with offering of flowers and lighting of hundreds of lamps at Jatiya Chitrashala Bhaban's auditorium of BSA. A documentary on Barin’s life was also screened.

State minister for cultural affairs, KM Khalid, cultural personality Ramendu Majumdar, Barin’s elder son Partha Partim Mazumder and Bappa Mazumder along with eminent personalities, well-wishers and family members were present. Some singers dedicated songs to late Barin.

Barin was honoured as one of the successful descendents of Agra and Rangila gharana (style).

For his contribution to music, he was awarded with the Ekushey Padak in 1983 and the Swadhinata Padak (posthumous) in 2002.

*This report appeared in Prothom Alo print and online edition, and has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman

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