“I see this festival as a culmination of some plans we have. I recognise the tremendous contribution of Bengal Foundation.
“Besides the major event, Bengal and ITC-SRA will hold regular programme in Dhaka and other cities. Together, we also intend to set up a music school -- specialising in classical music -- here.
“Bangladesh has a proud tradition of music and its musical history is being recognised -- Baba Allauddin Khan is being honoured through this festival. We have included artistes from Bangladesh at this festival. About 11 percent of the slots [at the festival] are reserved for Bangladeshi artistes…whom our gurus have found suitable. We want to make sure that the highest standards are maintained.
“We're also arranging bus tour to shrines in Pushkar, India. We'll take Bangladeshi artistes to the heartland of rural India. These are just some of the plans we have. I don't think we have put a limit to our association; it can only grow.
“We're absolutely thrilled with the response to the festival in Bangladesh. I do believe it [Indian classical music] is a shared heritage.
“Some of the best folk singers of this subcontinent come from Bangladesh. Can you imagine taking them to Rajasthan, which is also famed for its folk music, and let artistes from both countries create beautiful music together?”
Transcribed by Staff Correspondent