The great sarod prodigy, Pandit Vikash Maharaj, also referred to as an extraordinary Indian musician, was born in 1957 in the Banaras Gharana in the professional music family of Varanasi. He is a celebrated Indian personality from the 14th generation. As a sarod player, he was influenced by his mother. He was first trained as a tabla performer from the Benaras Gharana, but he was inherently fascinated to play the sarod since his childhood. As the curiosity to play the sarod roused, he began learning to play the instrument from his Guru Sri Rajesh Chandra Moitra (from the Maihar Gharana). Only six months into practice, he got selected as the Sarod performer at All India Radio Varanasi. It happened because of his hard work and dedication towards the training.
Because he belonged to a professional music family, music was natural for him. It was passed on to him immanently. He learnt all the significant lessons of music from his grandfather Pandit Bade Ramdas Ji, Pandit Kanthe Maharaj, his father Pandit Nanhku Maharaj and his uncle Pandit Kishan Maharaj. One can notice the excellent alignment of swar (means tone) and laya (means rhythm) when Pandit Vikash Maharaj performs.
As he can create the raga and tala innovatively, he has his individual and distinctive playing the sarod. He has exceptional music genes from his father and ancestors, who were also renowned virtuosi in different fields of ancient Indian Classical Music. He turned out to be a remarkable sarod player and came into notability early as sarod is an extraordinary musical instrument in India. He has performed in the country and abroad on several occasions and is regarded as a distinguished Indian musician. The ex-president of Germany, Mr Karl Castin, cordially invited Pandit Vikash Maharaj to the International Leprosy Eradication Festival. He was also requested to come to the Diwali festival at the Parliament in New Zealand’s ex-prime minister, Ms Helen Clark.
He is a visiting professor in many noteworthy universities and music academies. He imparts his experience and knowledge of Indian classical music to musicians, teachers and students through various workshops. He is responsible for bridging the gap of understanding and teaching of classical music between India and Europe. Pandit Vikash Maharaj runs a music institute in Varanasi city to keep the ancient Bandis and Taals alive by teaching it to the new generation.
Awards and Recognitions
Pandit Vikash Maharaj has been honoured with the following :
- Sarod Maestro and Sarod Wizard in 1986 and 1978, respectively.
- Professor of Music in Germany in the year 1995.
- Ambassador of Indian Culture and Siti Ratna Award in 1997.
- Sarod Shiromani Award in 1998.
- Dr. Radha Krishnan Award, Saraswati Award and Paharua Samman Award in 2001.
- Guru Award in 2005.
- Vidya Bhusan Award in 2007.
- Saint Kesava Das Ratna Samman in 2012.
- He is the Chairman of the Cultural Forum against child servitude and the Bhagwan Buddha Mahavidyalaya, Sarnath, Varanasi.
- He is a member of the United Nations Youth Organization and an ex-member of the U.P. I.A.S. Association, India.
- He is the director of the Panchnaad Group that is committed to advance and encourage Indian Classical Music and Culture.
- He is the co-founder member and music director of the Water Saving Project, whose aim is to conserve water across the globe.
- He is the vice-chairman of the People Vigilance Committee of Human Rights.