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Mita Haque, a dedicated and popular Tagore singer has made her mark in the Bangla musical sphere. Growing up in music-oriented environs, she chose to specialise in the field of Rabindra Sangeet. Recently, the accomplished artiste spoke to The Daily Star about her musical career.

The Daily Star (TDS): Do you feel that there is a need to generate further interest in Tagore songs throughout the country?

Mita: Yes, but I consider it more as a weapon against ignorance and narrowmindedness.

TDS: Who was the inspiration behind your decision to focus on Tagore songs?

Mita: Tagore remains a major inspiration for every Bengali and I am no exception. To be specific, my mentors are Dr. Sanjida Khatun and Waheedul Huq. And of course I have reached this far because of them. When I was eleven, I participated at the International Children's Festival at Berlin. Later in 1976, at the age of thirteen, I started taking formal music lessons from Mohammad Hossain Khan, one of the leading tabla players of the country.

TDS: You run a music school. Tell us about that.

Mita: I started Surtirtha, my music school, a few years back. Initially, some students would come to my home for music lessons. Gradually the number of students increased and I couldn't accommodate them at my home. So, I decided to rent a space and set up a music school.

I'm also one of the organisers of the Jatiya Rabindra Sangeet Shammelon Parishad. It is a 28-year-old organisation and has branches throughout the country. It is a volunteer programme. We train children in Rabindra Sangeet as well as other genres of Bangla songs, recitation and dance. We arrange competitions every two years at the grassroots and eventually national level.

TDS: A memorable experience...

Mita: Shailaja Ranjan Majumdar was a direct disciple of Rabindranath Tagore. He came to Dhaka in 1981. He was also one of the few fortunate ones who had worked with Tagore on making notations of many Rabindra Sangeet. I had the honour of getting acquainted with Shailaja da. Before leaving Dhaka, he told me, "Don't take pride in your achievements and someday you will be a great singer." I've been trying to follow this advice wholeheartedly.

TDS: Who are your role models?

Mita: I don't try to emulate any particular singer. However, a few legendary voices have had their impact on me -- Kanika Banerjee, Nilima Sen, Subinoy Roy, Suchitra Mitra, Fahmida Khatun and Ajit Roy among others.

TDS: How you balance your profession and personal life?

Mita: I have enough time to look after my family. Besides, I never considered music as a source of income. Rather, its food for the soul.

TDS: What are your future plans?

Mita: My ultimate dream is that all Bengalis will sing Rabindra Sangeet at every stage of their lives. I will continue to sing till the end and work towards a secular Bangladesh.

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