Tribute to Salil Chowdhury with his elegy on Pancham | Kolkata News – Times of India

KOLKATA: Not too many know that RD Burman used to consider Salil Chowdhury his guru and would come to him for tips on music arrangement. Chowdhury, who was 14 years his senior, regarded Pancham as his younger brother. When Pancham died at the age of 54 on January 4, 1994, a heart-broken Chowdhury couldn’t accept the news of his untimely demise. That night, he returned home from the crematorium to write an elegy for Pancham that was never revealed to anyone.
To mark Chowdhury’s 27th death anniversary on this Monday, the Salil Chowdhury Foundation of Music, Social Help and Education Trust (SCFM) has shared this unreleased elegy with TOI. According to singer Antara Chowdhury, her father repeatedly said that he has never seen anyone who had Pancham’s sense of rhythm. “Once during a Puja show at Bandra, Chowdhury had sung ‘Ei roko prithibir garita thamao’. “Pancham uncle had loved it so much that he hugged Baba on stage and said: ‘This kind of a song will never be made again’,” she said.
When Pancham passed away, Chowdhury had said: “It could have been curtains down for me. How could Pancham die so young?” On that night, he penned an elegy that began with the line – “On the premature death of a brilliant composer R.D. Burman – Pancham”. Then he wrote: “In death all the waves calm down/ And an equilibrium is achieved/ Which the achiever never knows!/ In death the time frame becomes zero/ Buds prefer to remain buds/ Dreams become impersonal/ But the dreamer never knows!/ In death you get an eternal life of non-living/ When living beings bore you to death/ With the shameless display/ Of their arrogant sympathy/ You see much more/ Than your living eyes could ever see/ Penetrating through the funeral pyre/ Your eyes become fire/ But the see-er never knows!/ In death the hills becomes statues/ Statues you have never seen/ They start roaming about/ Breaking all the citadels of life/ Of hypocrisy and narrowness/ They make you ride on their shoulders/ In the orgy of their destruction/ But the rider never knows!/ In death all tomorrows become yesterday/ And like a python shedding its scales/ You throw away all the agony/ And shame and shamelessness/ The glory and the ignominy/ You treat them alike/ You begin an existence of non-existence/ But the beginner never knows!/ In death you get everything because/ You want nothing/ You become one with/ The wind and the seas/ The throbbing nebular Milky way/ Which originated the sun/ Before life began with the Big Bang/ You become one with them/ Never wanting to have life again/ Because you start enjoying/ The lifeless life of the eternal element/ But the enjoyer never knows!/ In death you become/ The consciousness itself/ That is why you are never conscious/ Like the eye which does not see itself/ You go beyond singing and composing/ You become music itself/ But the composer never knows!”
Chowdhury passed away in Kolkata a little over a year later on September 5, 1995. “We feel it is important for the world to not just love the music of these icons but also get an idea about the mutual respect among artists. We also have many sketches that Baba would doodle on his music books and diaries. This manuscript of the elegy, along with unseen sketches of women by Chowdhury, will be published on the legend’s centenary year in 2025,” Antara said.

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