Somjit Dasgupta

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Somjit Dasgupta plays various and often rare string instruments, particularly those of Afghan origin such as the sursingar and rabaab. He does not hail from a family of professional musicians, but was accepted as a disciple of Radhika Mohan Maitra after displaying great dedication (although his soon-to-be guru first consulted an astrological calendar).

Today he learns and collects rare stringed instruments, including a 250-year-old sitar and a 300-year-old Dhrupadi rabaab (which, remarkably, is still playable), and has devised his own instruments including the dilbahar and nabadeepa. Today he tours internationally to fund the maintenance and upkeep of his vast collection, as well as taking students on a variety of instruments, pursuing a peaceful, meditative style.

"Bengal has the richest stash of musical instruments. I've found unique pieces in unlikely places – Ustad Waliullah Khan's sitar in a dilapidated house and a sarangi with a baiji [courtesan] in the red light district in Kolkata."

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