Hasu Gifts Her 3 Vintage Sitars to the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art

From The Times of India – VADODARA: An unusually red-coloured sitar finely handcrafted by luthiers in Vadodara six decades ago is now a part of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the most popular art museums globally and one of the most visited museums in America.

It was in 1960 that this sitar was commissioned by the parents of the internationally acclaimed sitar artist Hasu Patel, 81, who had made her public debut at the age of 10. Patel, a disciple of legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, recently gifted her priced sitar to the museum for proper conservation.

Before she won accolades in the US as a performer, educator and composer, Patel had the distinction of being the first woman to receive a degree in music with a gold medal from MS University’s Faculty of Performing Arts.
The sitar was crafted by Somabhai Mistry, the second generation of the Babulal C Mistry family, one of the few families in India that have preserved the tradition of making Indian stringed instruments for over 150 years now.

Sitar made of ‘sevan’ wood, bridge made from deer horns.

As a child, I used to frequently visit the workshop, sit at its entrance eagerly waiting to know the progress of the sitar that Somabhai was making for me,” Hasu Patel, who used this instrument for more than 50 years, told TOI from the US.

Patel said she insisted that the sitar should be red polished so that it stands out from the other male performers. She along with her children Dr Mehool Patel and Dr Alpana Grover gifted the sitar to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Giving details about this sitar, Dhaval Mistry, 31, the fifth-generation artisan from the Mistry family said, “It is a Kharaj-Laraj style of sitar with all inlay work of German cellulite sheet. It’s made of pure ‘sevan’ wood, has two pumpkins and the bridge that holds the strings is made from deer horns. The main pegs (pins or bolts) on which the seven strings of the sitar are attached are designed in the shape of rose buds. The pegs on the lower side which are known as ‘tarab’ are in the shape of a duck.”

The museum has also approached the instrument makers seeking two calendars made by BC Mistry & Sons prepared to showcase the family’s 150-year journey of making stringed instruments. “They want to display one calendar that will complement the story of Hasuben at the museum along with the history of our family with their audiences. The second calendar will be preserved in their library,” said Dhaval.

Hasu Patel Named Key Personality

Recently, a Gujarati book named ‘Sangharsh and Siddhi’, which literally means ‘Perseverance and Accomplishments’ was published in India by Prof. Manilal Patel from Anand, India. This book is a compilation of 54 renowned individuals from multiple professional areas, who excelled in their field of expertise over their lifetime. Hasu made this list of 54 key personalities, to show how significant her contribution has been to music and what it means to our society.  

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Indian Classical music has a rich art form that is traced back to the Vedic period which was evolved over thousands of years. It absorbed Persian and folk music of the Indian subcontinent. This has been handed down generation by generation through the oral tradition of learning that includes the music and theory, history, and cultural and spiritual understanding.

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PBS Documentary Video for Ohio Heritage Fellows, Columbus, OH

Hasu Patel is one of very few female Indian classical music sitar performers in the world. She dedicates her life to preserving the traditional music of ancient India.

Ohio Heritage Fellow Hasu Patel Proves There’s Power in Perserverance

Please read the the Article of Hasu Patel about her life and the determination to reach her dream


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