Kaviraj Asutosh Bhattacharya was born on march 17, 1917 in
the Holy City of Varanasi (then known by its'British name
of Benares),the son and grandson of famous Bengali Ayurvedic
Drs. As a boy he expressed an interest in learning drums and
started learning pakhawaj at the age of 8. A few years later
he sow Pandit Kanthe Maharaj, one
of the great tabla player of the Benares Gharana,
giving a performance and decided he wanted to learn tabla
1938, at the age of 21,
he was starting to gain fame to his own right -he performed
at his first music comference accompanying none other than
the great Ustad Allaudin khan, (known as "the grandfather
of modern indian Classical Music), the most well known to
the west as the guru of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Smt. Annapurna
Devi; Ali Akbar khan (Allaudin's son) and Nikhil Banerjee.
the footsteps of his family heritage he went to Delhi to
undertake the 5 years degree at the Ayurvedic College. At
the same time as taking lectures, studying and gaining practical
experience in his medicine guru's clinic, he was maintaining
his tabla practice, giving lessons on sundays and performing
concerts and radio recitals with the likes of Pt. Ravi Shankar,
Ustad Ali Akbar khan and Ustad Vilayat Khan
completing his degree and returning to varanasi, he set
up his medical practice and continued to give tabla performances,
learn more from his Guruji and practice arround six hours
a day. From here on he always thought of medicine as his
profession and music as a hobby, so he never took money
from performances. As a result he never made any professional
recordings, save a few which might be discovered in All
india Radio archives.
of his beliefs is that music should be a divine experience.
This sort of music can only come from years of intensive
practice and devotion, from thinking of music
as an offering to God and allowing inspiration to come from
spontaneity, which can only happen when one is completely
free with one's instrument due to "too much practice
and devotion" .
Often he says that nowadays, Indian classical music has
no depth -It's very showy, fast and tricky, but without
the depth of former days.