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The History of the Balaram Mridangas

(Dandavats.com) – By Ishan das

My name is Ishan das. I created the Balaram mridanga in L.A. It is really quite a story. But I’ll give you the brief version.

Some time in 1972-73 Srila Prabhupada saw that the East Indians were not carrying on the tradition of making the original mridangas and kartals. The younger generation who would normally take over the arts from their fathers were becoming more and more interested in going to school and going to the cities. They were thinking that working with leather making the drums and such was a lower class of activity. So Srila Prabhupada sent out a letter to all the GBCs indicating that some men should be sent to India to learn these arts.

At that time I was in the temple of Jagadisha who was Srila Prabhupada’s Minister of education and a GBC member. Somehow by being alone in Jaggadish’s office I glanced at what was there on the desk, etc. and saw a letter expressing Srila Prabhupada’s desire in this connection.

That was all I had to see. This was the project for me. It was a way that I could do something that Srila Prabhupada wanted done. Jaggadisha sanctioned my participation in this adventure. But I would have to raise my own fare. Because I was married and had one child, the decision was made that Brajadevi would go to Gurukula in Dallas and my wife and I would go to India.

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