ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pundit Surendra Narayan Das: The Rise of the Voice in Classical Music

Updated on February 16, 2019
Pundit Surendra Narayan Das
Pundit Surendra Narayan Das | Source

Vision for wonder

A child-like curiosity and the ability to wonder at the marvels of creation often characterizes the truly extraordinary. Often, these very qualities catalyze such individuals into creating some of the world's most precious intellectual output. The child within must have been particularly strong in Punditji.

At the age of twelve, he was known to have stood transfixed outside a record store, listening to the music of Ustaad Bade Gulam Ali kha Shaheeb, on his way to school. The swan must have been born then, for, it led him on a journey across the region in search of a guru. His being directed to Pundit Sree Harihar Roy, a local music guru in Cumilla region.

After basic music lessons from the local teacher, Suren left cumilla in search of a proper guru and traveled to Kolkata,India during 1925. After a few days there, he started learning music from Ustaad Alauddin Kha Saheeb. Few years later taking advice from Kha shaheeb, Suren went to Dr. Jamini Ganguly and later to Acharya Sree Giriza Shankar Chakrobarty for learning. The then time. it was a little bit tough to become a disciple of Achraya Giriza Shankar. But, because of Suren's solemn personality and cordialness, the guru accepted him as a disciple, even accommodated him occasionally. The disciple learnt a few ragas, and accompanied the guru on concert tours. This was roughly during 1929–34s. During that time, he enlisted himself in Kolkata Betar as an artist of classical music.

After 1935s, taking permission from Achraya, Suren decided to reside back in Cumilla, Bangladesh. But his desire to learn classical music was not finished yet.1935 onwards, Suren started learning classical music from king of Gouripur, Mymensingh H.E. Sree Brajenndra Kishore Roy Chowdhury. From maharaja, Suren collected many unconventional raagas.

Pundit Suren Das receiving Gold Medal in 1977
Pundit Suren Das receiving Gold Medal in 1977 | Source

Towering Influence

Late 1940s, Suren started providing music tuition to the students at Cumilla. After few years, Punditji planned to initiate a monthly music conference in Cumilla Town Hall. The basic reason was to assemble a get together as well as to judge the learning of current students. Many notable personalities in Cumilla were also invited on that conference regularly.

As a consequence of music conference in 1942, he established one of the renowned music school in Bangladesh "Sangeet Shikhharthee Sammilan". He acted as Principal of this institute till his last breath in 1986. From 1942 till present around 4500+ students trained from this institute. Many of them are and were well established in the music arena in Bangladesh.

Pundit Suren Das, by his shadow name "Sadananda" and " Sudas" wrote around 700+ bandish (songs) of various raagas. Beside this, Punditji wrote 60+ bhajan, kirtaan as well as Raag based songs. Side by side, he also used to sing in various classical music conference around the region and his magical voice started to travel right across the region. At that time, he had not yet established his credentials as a traditional classical singer, but his voice and his stylish singing later found its way into his classical delivery as well. That does not lessen his rigor, only increases its luster.

As he began the development of a raga he would try and keep the raw power of voice on a tight leash, merely exhibiting a quiet menace. And then as he moved into faster paced part of the raga he would let it rip, his voice bucking across octaves at tremendous pace. The transition of his voice from a filly to a stallion, in the course of an hour, blindsided listeners into submission. His voice was so powerful, and yet there was a simplicity with which his music spokes. This was direct communication at its best, arrows straight from his voice into the hearts of the listeners.

  • During 1950s, he acted as a Principal of a Music School established by Kumar SD Barman in Agartala, India. For this, he used to travel regularly in Agartala that was near border with Cumilla.
  • From 1963-1977, Punditji was the Head Examiner in the course of Music both in Secondary & Higher Secondary level in Cumilla board. Because of his sole hard work Cumilla Board included Music as a subject in the syllabus in both these level.
  • From 1975-1978, Punditji acted as a Principal of "Nazrul Parishad- Cumilla".

Voice of Pundit Suren Das, recorded during a music conference in 1953 at Cumilla

Certification letter from Maharaja Brazendra Kishor Roy Chowdhury
Certification letter from Maharaja Brazendra Kishor Roy Chowdhury | Source

Honors and Achievement

  1. Impressed on Suren's research and devotion to classical music, In 1951, King of Gouripur, Mymensingh, H.E. Maharaja Brajendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury through a congratulation letter announced him as "Gayanacharya" and "Sangeet Ratna" and also noted him as a "Professor of Music".
  2. In 1977, Cumilla foundation awarded Punditji by Gold Medal on behalf of Government.
  3. In June, 1984, SD Barman Sharak Samiti, Agartala honored him as a title of "Sangeetagyya".
  4. In 1992, after his death, Birchandra Nagar Milonayton kendra (Cumilla Town Hall) authority honored Punditji by adding his name in the memory stand as an honorable person in front of Independence Memory Stand.

Notable Literature

Pundit Suren Das, during his music tenure wished to publish a book on classical music but due to some difficulties it was remain unpublished. But after 25 years from his death i,e in 2011, his successors published the book on classical music named "Raaga Manjusha" by the name of Pundit Suren Das. This book was edited by his daughter Alaka Das and son Manas Kumar Das.

Successors of Pundit Suren Das

Alaka Das in front row. Subrata Das, Manas Kumar Das & Tapas Kumar das at back.
Alaka Das in front row. Subrata Das, Manas Kumar Das & Tapas Kumar das at back. | Source

Personal Life

Punditji married Bela Das during 1935. Both had four daughters and five sons. Among them, Alaka Das is one of the finest artist of Classical music at present times in Bangladesh. She is also acting as a principal of Sangeet Shikhharthee Sammilan. Elder son Advocate Ram Prasad Das in a well known Tabla player, then Pranab Kumar Das is a retired government employee as well as an organizer.

Subrata Das is an well known artist of Nazrul Sangeet. Manas Kumar Das is a renowned artist of Classical Music and Nazrul Sangeet in Bangladesh and then Tapas Kumar Das is also an well known artist of Nazrul Sangeet and modern Songs.

All of them are enlisted in state owned Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Radio since their early music career.

Sudhin Das

 A renowned disciple & younger brother of Pundit Suren Das
A renowned disciple & younger brother of Pundit Suren Das

Renowned Disciples

Some renowned disciples of Pundit Surendra Narayan Das are:

  1. Late Mina Banarjee ( She stood 3rd in All India Music Conference in 1937, later recorded four Nazrul Sangeets in HMV Gramophone under direct supervision of the legend Kamal Dasgupta during 1940).
  2. Late Ratna Datta ( Gold Medalist in 1942).
  3. Late Mira Dasgupta ( was enlisted in Kolkata Betar, India as music artist).
  4. Late Chitra Datta ( Gold Medalist & 1st Class from Music Dept, in Kolkata University in 1943)
  5. Late Rani Datta ( was enlisted in Kolkata Betar).
  6. Late Ranu Roy ( was enlisted in Dhaka Betar, Bangladesh as music artist).
  7. Late Md. Hossain Khan ( was enlisted as a Tabla Player in Dhaka Betar).
  8. Late Sudhin Das ( Legendary artist of Nazrul Sangeet, Awarded by Ekushe Award (highest civilian award in Bangladesh), Sharolipikar of Nazrul Sangeet, Music Composer).
  9. Nilema Das (Renowned artist of Nazrul Sangeet, Rewarded by Nazrul Padak, Awarded lifetime honor by Channel i).
  10. Late Sudhir Brahma ( was enlisted in Kolkata Betar, India).
  11. Late Ajay Sinha Roy (renowned classical musician).
  12. Late Nani Brahma.
  13. Late Ashu Battacahrya ( Renowned tabla player).
  14. Bashori Vadra ( enlisted in Chittagong Betar, Bangladesh as music artist).
  15. Kaniz Zobaida ( enlisted in Chittagong Betar as music artist).
  16. Beethi Vadra ( Gold Medalist in Music from Govt. of Pakistan).
  17. Rehana Ashikur Rahman ( renowned artist of Nazrul Sangeet).
  18. Joyontee Lala (enlisted. in Chittagong Betar as music artist).
  19. Late Anjali Das.
  20. Principal Alaka Das (Active in the field of Classical music in Bangladesh for more than 50 years).
  21. Advocate Ram Prasad Das.
  22. Subrata Das (enlisted in Bangladesh Television and Dhaka Betar as music artist).
  23. Manas Kumar Das (renowned artist of Nazrul Sangeet and Classical Music).
  24. Tapas Kumar Das (enlisted in Television and Dhaka Betar as music artist).
  25. Abhijeet Saha Pinak ( Renowned artist of Nazrul Sangeet).

Manas Kumar Das telling about his father Pundit Suren Das in a popular Tv station in Bangladesh

Concluding Remarks

Music seemed to require him to use every part of his body. From a slow, mesmerized, almost motionless start his eyes would roll upwards, foreshadowing the ascent of the notes that emerged from his distended, gaping mouth. His hands flailed, as though reaching for some imagined object just out of his grasp.

Perhaps Pundit Suren Das was trying to bring back to earth a soaring note from one of his magnificent taans, the series of rapid melodic passages with which great classical singers in the Hindustani tradition of northern India demonstrate how skilled they are. Punditji's music has characterized the cultural landscape of our country for nearly 70 years. To most of us, he was the quintessential Bangladeshi classical musician, iconic and supreme.

Voice of Punditji, recorded in a music conference of Sangeet Shikhharthee Sammilan in Cumilla during 1976

© 2017 Dhrubo


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Animesh Kar 

      4 months ago

      Informative and nice article.

    • profile image

      Mira Sen 

      2 years ago

      Very nice article.

    • profile image

      Zunayed Siyam 

      3 years ago

      A prolific performer. He spent his whole life for the betterment of Classical Music. May the soul of Pandit Suren Das reach its appointed destination and come under the protection of his religious forefathers.

      His years of devotional singing, relentless riyaaz and pure life have surely secured for Panditji that vision and unity with God which he yearned for!

    • profile image

      Abdul Mannan 

      3 years ago

      From Mumbai, India, A lot of respect to the maestro.

    • profile image

      Anjan Mitra 

      3 years ago

      My cordial respect to Pt. Surendra Narayan das Sangeet Ratna.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Well written. Choice of word is very matured. I am wonder to see the name of disciples. I have heard some name of this list and today got to know the name of their teacher. Thank you again.

    • profile image

      Ruma Deb 

      3 years ago

      The people of Comilla City feels honor for Pandit Surendra Narayan Das Sangeet ratna. He is our proud. Thanks to Hub page for this nice hub.

    • profile image

      Monty Roy 

      3 years ago

      A true devoted artist of Classical music. May God keep his soul in peace.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Nice write-up.

    • SSS1942 profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Bangladesh

      Thank you all for the comments.

    • Subrata4321 profile image

      Sudoy Krishna 

      3 years ago from India

      My respect to Ustaadji. During his time, he put his best efforts to preach Khayal and Thumri in Comilla. My respect to his family member also. This family has an unlimited contribution in spreading music at Comilla. God Bless all of them.

    • profile image

      Shirin Hussain 

      3 years ago

      Panditji is a proud of Bengal.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Nice Article.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I really amazed to see this article. I heard about Pandit Suren Das from my mother. She was a disciple of Pandit Sir during 1970s in comilla. Thank you hub page for this article.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)