In a city of 3.6 million people, why is it a challenge to get even a thousand to attend a cultural performance? Like others before him, K. Jawahar Mahi, too, was dumfounded. A real estate developer by profession, Jawahar grew up in Hyderabad, in a family where his father was a Hindu and mother a Muslim. A home rich in traditional values and a city rich in culture is how Jawahar remembered Hyderabad when he moved to Mumbai on business.
“That was 23 years ago,” he says, adding, “In Mumbai, I would regularly listen to Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma at 6 am or watch Ustad Zakir Hussain perform at close proximity,” he says.
Last year, when he moved back to Hyderabad, he was struck with a reality that he never knew could exist in a city that was home to diverse performing arts. “November to February is a time when Mumbai is alive with cultural events,” says Jawahar. “In contrast, Hyderabad fails to keep up and I failed to understand why,” he adds.
He then came upon the idea of Jashn-e-Deccan, a music festival celebrating the rich traditions of Indian classical music. “Why not come up with a festival that not only comprises some of the biggest names in the industry, but also conduct it in a manner that ensures maximum turnout? The idea came to me four months ago, one that my brother, K.T. Mahi, chairman of Sreenidhi group, supported me in,” he says.
The two-day festival, from December 19 to 20, is scheduled to take place at the amphitheatre of Sreenidhi International School. From Pandit Biswajit Roy Chowdhury to Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, there will be performances by 15 artistes.
“Some of the issues that we came across for the lackadaisical approach towards cultural events were: people don’t receive the right information and the events are conducted at a faraway location. And to avoid this, we are going to provide SNIST buses to pick people up from five routes — Secunderabad Club, University of Hyderabad, Eflu, Kacheguda Chaman and Kukatpally. We have got contacts of the 70 music schools in the city and we are going to be inviting all of them.”
The list of artistes that was chalked up by Jawahar, his brother K.T. Mahi, Pandit Samar Saha, who performed in the city in August, and professor Jyotirmaya Sharma, is one they hope the city will welcome warmly. “Even though we have no sponsors, we are happy to be doing this. We are happy to be giving back to the city that has given us so much.”...