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With the who's who of Indian classical music and dance gathered to enthral a jam-packed auditorium, the 18th edition of the Swami Haridas-Tansen Sangeet Nritya Mahotsav began here. The festival, which opened here yesterday, will see eminent classical artistes including Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Ustad Ashish Khan and Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt take the stage over the course of the next three days. The inaugural evening at the Modern School on Barakhamba Road here saw performances by Kathak doyen Uma Sharma, legendary flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia, and vocalist Kaushiki Chakraborty. Organised by Uma Shankar School of Dance and Music and HCL Concerts, the event was inaugurated by Union minister Mahesh Sharma. Expressing his happiness at the presence of a large young audience, he said the youth were global ambassadors of the country's culture. The minister also urged people to always keep the flames of the country's rich culture burning. He appealed to them to take forward the guru-shishya (teacher-student) parampara, describing it as India's pride and strength. Uma Sharma, a Padma Bhushan awardee, said her mission with this festival was to ensure that India's rich culture doesn't get extinct. The following days of the festival will see performances by Ayaan Ali Bangash (Sarod), Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Mohan Veena), Pandit Chhannulal Mishra (Vocal), Shubha Mudgal (Vocal), Ustad Shujaat Khan (Sitar), Ustad Aashish Khan (Sarod), Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar (Vocal), and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (Sarod).
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