A Three-time Guinness World Record holding percussionist is from Chittagong, Bangladesh. Yes, you read right! He is Pandit Sudarshan Das, of Bangladeshi origin British Tabla player. He is the Principle of 'Tabla and Dhol Academy' in East London, providing lessons to the students in the USA, Canada, Australia and India with the head office in the UK.
Pandit Sudarshan Das is a hat trick Guinness World Record holder for "Longest Tabla Marathon (557 hours 11 minutes)", "Longest Dhol Marathon (27 hours)" and about the third record Guinness World Records website addressed: "The longest individual drum roll is 14 hours 0 minute 0 second and was achieved by Pandit
Sudarshan Das (UK), in London, UK, from 4 to 5 July 2018.’’
He dedicated his third record to the Rohingya Children who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar due to the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.
Dhaka-based journalist Tarique Choyon took his interview while he was in Dhaka in early September this year. Michael Broad, head of music of Tabla and Dhol Academy in the UK was also with him.
Tarique Choyon: How are you? How long will you stay in Dhaka?
Sudarshan Das: I am fine. Thank you. I will be attending a party today evening at National Museum Auditorium, which is arranged for my reception. Tomorrow I will off to India early morning for performing Tabla with some distinguished artists.
Tarique Choyon: A pretty hectic schedule! Why did you come to Bangladesh?
Sudarshan Das: I was moved by the crisis of the Rohingya children forced to flee to Bangladesh and dedicated my third world record to them. Actually, I disclosed this desire before I made the record. The program was organized by Michael Broad and supported by London Enterprise Academy. We raised a fund to help these children. That is the only reason for this visit.
Tarique Choyon: Very good attempt. So, how did you help the children?
Sudarshan Das: On 5 September, a team consisting of ten members of Tabla & Dhol Academy led by me visited the Rohingya camps. We distributed educational materials to 500 children at Ukhiya’s Jamtoli camp. Broad was in the team also.
Tarique Choyon: What sort of educational materials?
Sudarshan Das: Bags, books, writing scripts, pencils, pens and other necessary materials.
Tarique Choyon: What did you observe during your visit?
Sudarshan Das: Oh! My heart was broken. There is no food, no education, no shelter! Even I got wet under rain too!
Tarique Choyon: What do you think? How much will it help them?
Sudarshan Das: Actually the amount is not important. Even the smallest contribution can make an impact on someone in need. Actually, I came here to bring the attention of my fellow musicians to help them. I urge all the Presidents and Prime Ministers to help them. I also urge the famous musicians too.
Tarique Choyon: Thank you Sudarshan. As the Principle of Tabla and Dhol Academy, how do you feel?
Sudarshan Das: Great! Working with young souls is always an inspiration. They make you face the challenges all the time and you cannot get bored for a moment.
Tarique Choyon: When did you first get introduced with Tabla, Dhol & Drum?
Sudarshan Das: I was attached with Tabla since I was four. I didn’t know how to play Drum though. I learned it for making the record!
Tarique Choyon: Did you perform anywhere except the UK?
Sudarshan Das: Oh yes. I played different countries like Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Tarique Choyon: Share your story of learning Tabla and Dhol.
Sudarshan Das: I have been playing Tabla for more than 30 years, and began my journey at Alauddin Lalitakala Academy at Chittagong under the supervision of Pandit Shyamol Dutta. Later, I achieved a diploma from Santiniketan in India. My career began at the age of 20, with a concert which was broadcast by the All India
Tarique Choyon: As I know, you are a Barrister as well. But why don’t you use the "Barrister’’ title?
Sudarshan Das: Yes, you are right. As people know me as a ‘Pandit’, I don’t want to use two titles at a time.
Tarique Choyon: Thank you Mr. Sudarshan.
Sudarshan Das: Thank you Choyon.
Tarique Choyon: Now Mr. Broad, you were also with Sudarshan during that visit in Rohingya camps and you are the head of music of 'Tabla and Dhol Academy' in UK as I know. So I will be pleased if you share your experience briefly regarding this.
Michael Broad: Same as Sudarshan. It’s a real humanitarian crisis.
Tarique Choyon: You want to say anything for them?
Michael Broad: Yes, of course! Each and everybody please come and help these poor-helpless people. It doesn’t matter how much you can.
Tarique Choyon: Thank you Mr. Broad.
Michael Broad: Thank you too.