Other than diyas, fireworks, faral (festive delicacies) and rangoli that are considered essentials for Diwali celebrations, Puneites have been giving the festival a musical touch with Diwali Pahat for several years now. Every year around this time, early morning classical musical programmes are organised across the city, sometimes as early as 5 am. The musical witnesses performances by both city-based classical musicians and music stalwarts based across the country. On October 28, musicians Hrishikesh Ranade and Madhura Datar presented Hindi and Marathi songs at Yashwantrao Chavan Hall, Kothrud.
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Rajiv Gandhi Seva Prathisthan had also arranged Swarmai Dipawali Pahat at 5.30 am on October 28 which saw artistes like Dr. Mohan Darekar, Pt. Hemant Pendse and Prachala Amonkar presenting abhang-nattyageet bhakti sangeet. Accompanying artistes included Avinash Patil on tabla, Pradeep Sutar on pakhavaj and Shashikant Deshmuk on harmonium. The programme was organized at Pimpale Nilakh Bust Stop Ground.
On October 29, a classical musical event by MDC Entertainment saw Pt. Shivkumar Sharma and Pt. Hariprasaad Chaurasia, along with Pt. Bhavani Shankar on pakhwaj and Pt. Yogesh Samasi on tabla at Law College Grounds at 6 am. The hour-and-a-half-long concert started with Raga Ahir Bhairav and concluded with Raga Bhairavee.
“These days, musical programmes are organized in the evening time only. And hence the audience doesn’t get to hear morning ragas such as Bhatiyar, Todi, Bhairav, Vilaskhani Todi and Gulkali, among others, anywhere in a live performance. Diwali Pahat, thus is a medium through which the audience gets to hear morning ragas. The music enthusiasts of not only big cities like Pune in Mumbai, but even cities like Latur, Beed and Ambejoai are are warming up to the concept. Such is the response that the programme we presented in Latur was house-full yesterday,” said tabla player Patil.
Talking about the inception of Diwali Pahat, musician Raghunandan Panshikar, who has been giving performances at the programme from the last 12 years, said, “The concept of ‘Diwali Pahat’ is the brainchild of renowned musician Kishori Amonkar. Her Mumbai-based organisation, Chaturang, was the first organisation to hold Diwali Pahat programme over two decades ago. All the morning ragas are religious and spiritual in nature. While everyone can’t sing bhakti songs, the audience get to atleast hear such music early in the morning through Diwali Pahat.”