There will not be a single person in Hyderabad, who must not have heard of Violin Vasu and his Sabarmathi Sangeeth Project and also not heard of Gandhiji’s popular Bhajans – ‘Vaiṣṇava jana tō tēnē kahiyē jē pīḍa parāyī jāṇē rē …’, or ‘Raghupati Rāghav Rājārām Pateet pāvan Sītārām, Sītārām, Sītārām…’ On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, Natyahasini speaks to DVK Vasudevan fondly called Violin Vasu, on starting the Sabarmathi Sangeeth project, which was conceptualised to revive Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite Bhajans (devotional songs) and use his messages in building human character and value system.
Violin Vasu, disciple of legendary musician Dr. Annavarapu Ramaswamy, says that as a musician, he always thinks how differently he can contribute and make a difference in society. “Since I am active in participating in social issues, the thought of teaching values through music came to my mind and it occurred to me to go through Gandhiji’s favourite bhajans and the history behind it. I coined the term Sabarmathi Sangeeth and started the project,” he says. Any special plans for this year’s Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations, Violin Vasu says: “Not much… Keep propagating the values that I have learnt and believe in.”
One Lakh Benefitted: In the last 10 years, with the Sabarmathi Sangeeth Project, through music workshops and seminars, over one lakh children in government schools and juvenile homes have benefitted. A modest Vasu says that he always believes in doing his duty with dedication rather than thinking of the output. “But I often here the transformation stories from many who attended my workshops. Personally, it benefitted me immensely to evolve and keep evolving to be a sensible being,” he says.
The musician confesses that he hasn’t sung the Bhajans at Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. “I have never visited the Ashram. I only got the soul of experiencing it and making people experience the same through Sabarmathi Sangeeth. For me, Sabarmathi Sangeeth is not just associated with the Ashram, but the music that nurtures the values in mankind,” says Violin Vasu. According to the artist, over the past decade, the Sanskriti Foundation volunteers have produced 24 television and radio episodes to promote such songs and stories. Under this project, a listener is introduced to the importance of tolerance, national integration, humility, truth and non-violence. He shares that one of their open eyes dreams is to host a World Peace Concert, with 10,000 children together, singing these Bhajans on stage. “Yes, waiting to make it a reality,” he says. On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, he advices youngsters to be honest to self and ‘Everything will follow you’.
Helped In Pandemic: During the pandemic, Violin Vasu joined hands with other artistes to help needy co-artists in Telugu speaking states. “Many artists and musicians tried helping the needy. We also helped some artistes through our Sanskriti Foundation. The significant help in which I am part of was provided by Siliconandhra SAMPADA Program, I was coordinating with many artistes who came forward to volunteer from both Telugu states. It is massive and may be the biggest support to artistes where we supported over 1500 families by providing provisions. Thanks to Deenababu garu, Phanimadhav garu and SAMPADA for making me part of this great work,” says the artist humbly.
Violin Vasu says that slowly they are resuming offline activities. “But we are continuing activities online as they are accessible to all,” he says. This ardent music lover, before signing off says that there is not much to say, but he is ready to hear from others and learn.