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Roy, Dilip Kumar


Roy, Dilip Kumar (1896-1980) musician, singer, writer, was born on 22 January 1896 in Krishnanagar under Nadia district, west bengal, son of dwijendralal roy. He lost his mother in childhood and was brought up by his father. At the age of 16, however, he also lost his father and was brought up by his wealthy maternal grandfather. In 1918 he passed BA with honours in Mathematics from presidency college and went to Cambridge, earning a Tripos in Mathematics.

Dilip Kumar had his first lessons in music from his father. He then received lessons from Surendra Nath Majumder, Radhika Prasad Goswami and Achchhanna Bai. During his stay in London he passed the first part of a course in western music. He went to Berlin to learn German and Italian music, returning to India in 1922. He then practised classical music under the guidance of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Ustad Fayaz Khan, Pundit Bhatkhande etc.

Dilip Roy was a distinguished composer and singer, whose varied musical experiences transcended the boundaries of his native land. He was equally adept in composition, notation and singing. During 1922 and 1927 he travelled extensively all over India coming in close contact with its entire musical world.

In 1927 Dilip Roy travelled to Europe to deliver lectures on Indian classical music. He had discussions on musical theories with the two chief music experts of his time Rabindranath and Roma Rolland. He had friendship with subhas chandra bose and Jawharlal Nehru. He was also fortunate to get in touch with great men like Mahatma Gandhi and Burtrand Russel. His rendering of songs composed by Dwijendralal Roy, atulprasad sen, kazi nazrul islam, himangshu kumar dutta and Nishikanta was largely responsible for making them popular. He was close to Kazi Nazrul Islam. He played the leading role in publicising and popularising Nazrul's ghazals. Receiving no approval from santiniketan for his attempt to add variety to the music of Rabindrasangit, he gave up singing Rabindrasangit. He recorded more than 100 songs.

Dilip Kumar was one of the exponents of critical appreciation of modern songs. Backed by his wealth of musical knowledge and creative imagination he attempted to add a new dimension to the musical trend. However he embraced sannyas (renunciation of family life) in the year 1928 and entered Aurovindo Ashram in Pondicheri where he stayed upto 1950. As a member of the music mission sponsored by the Indian government, he delivered speeches on music in the USA, Japan and Egypt in 1953.

Returning home he stayed, at the invitation of his friend JV Mehta, at the latter's residence in Pune. Under his influence, Mehta's home gradually turned into a 'Sri Harikrishna temple'.

Dilip Kumar wrote a number of valuable books on music. At the request of the calcutta university he wrote in 1938 two books Gitasagar and Sabgitiki for the syllabus of Music Department of the University. Other books he composed on music are Surbihar, Hasir Ganer Swaralipi, Gitamavjari, Dwijendragiti etc. Besides he has written a number of books on various subjects. A total of 80 books are credited to his name. The notable of them are: novels- Maner Parash (1926), Dudhara (1927), Dola (two vols, 1935), Tarabga Rodhibe Ke, Bahuballabh, Dvicharini; drama- Apad O Jalatabka (1926), Sada Kalo (1944), Shri Chaitanya (1948), Bhikharini Rajkanya (1952); essays- Xri Aurvindo O Dharma Bijvan, Chhandasiki, Kavirsi O Gunishilpi (discussion on Aurovindo, Rabindranath, Atulprasad and Sharat Chandra, 1978); travelogues- Bhramyamaner Dinpavjika (1926), Abar Bhramyaman (1944), Bhusvarga Chavchal (1940), Edeshe Odeshe (1940), Deshe Deshe Chali Ude (1955); Satire- Aghatan Ajo Ghate, Chhaya Pather Pathik, Ashruhasi Indradhanu; remembrance- Udasi Dwijendra Lal, Amar Bandhu Subhash, Tirthabkar, Sri Aurovindo Prasabga (1942), Among the Great (1940) etc. He also wrote a poetry book titled Eyes of Light (1945).

Roy was awarded 'Sangit Ratnakar' for his valuable contribution to music. He was also conferred with the membership of the Indian Music and Drama Academy (1965) and the honorary degree D.Lit. of the universities of Calcutta and Rabindarbharati. He was also a fellow of Sahitya Academy. Dilip Kumar Roy died on 6 January 1980 in Mumbai. [Mobarak Hossain Khan]