‘Kill your ego. Don’t be insecure. Play with one goal’: Advice for the JDS-Cong ‘jugalbandi’ from two music greats

Karnataka embarks on an important political journey tomorrow, 23 May 2018, when a coalition government of the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress takes the reins of the state, after the single largest party BJP was voted out of office in 55 hours.

The key question on everyone’s mind is will this post-poll alliance work—after all, they were bitter rivals during the campaign, snapping at each other.

And a corollary: for how long?


The doubts stem from the contrasting approaches of the two parties and their contrasting personalities and styles, possibly even their contrasting end-objectives.

So how can they forget their past, sink their differences and build a working relationship as the 2019 general election looms over the horizon?

A good place to seek an answer is music, where the ‘jugalbandi‘ is built on a similarly unreal platform: two different artistes, used to two different styles, play two different instruments, but yet they chase one objective, one melody, and achieve one goal.

Audience satisfaction.


Pandit Ronu Majumdar is one of India’s finest contemporary bhansuri artistes.

Vidwan Mysore M. Manjunath is one of India’s violin virtuosos.

Broadly speaking, the former is a Hindustani musician, the latter Carnatic.

Yet the duo have performed jugalbandis in several concerts in several cities, in India and abroad to critical and popular acclaim. Here, they talk about the secrets of a good musical coalition—which is nearly what a JDS-Congress jugalbandi can aim for.


Pandit Ronu Majumdar, bhansuri:

Jugalbandi is about oneness of mind. The first thing a musician should do is kill his ego—it is a very bad disease.

When you play without the ego, you don’t do “encounters”.

Be confident with whatever you have. What you have nobody can snatch. What you don’t have, you can never play.

Rehearsal of the soul is more important than rehearsal of the music. How can I know everything he knows?

Politicians should learn music. I tell this to atankvadis also. If you learn music, you can’t hurt a thing. It is against my soft swaras.

People are here to see you both together. We are not playing different raga. If we are playing the same raga together, how can we be separate?

When we are not insecure, everything is going to be all right.


Dr Mysore M. Manjunath, violin:

The basic concept of a jugalbandi is two musicians, two different styles, two different instruments, but one single melody.

When you sacrifice you ego, when you have excellent coordination, two beautiful hearts can achieve the aim of satisfying the audience and elevating the mood.

If you aim at these things, jugalbandis are successful, political or musical.

When we are playing together, when he is playing, we look at the point where i can join in, so that the end is so dramatic that people love it.

We don’t mind if the other person is getting the applause. The ultimate aim is how many marks we get for the entire concert, not just for one individual.

The singleness of spirit, the oneness of mind, mutual respect and mutual love. If one of us begins a raga, the other starts composing it.

If the aim is the same, the same success ratio can be achieved.


Watch a Ronu Majumdar and Mysore Manjunath jungalbandi:

Rush hour in Rudrapatna