|Students from Inspire India Program outside their Trinity Laban exam centre|
At first glance, 18-year-old Vrutik Keni is your typical next-door teenager. What sets him apart is his rousing passion for music. Vrutik is an avid guitarist with a penchant for jazz and Hindustani classical music. But what stands between his talent and his dreams is his background. He’s one of the many dreamers from Dharavi, Asia’s biggest slum community, home to a million hopes and dreams.
Vrutik, who is a strong influencer among his friends who are keen to pursue their passion for music, is determined not to let his background define him. “I’d like to become a music teacher and change my destiny,” he says, determination writ large in his eyes.
The silver lining
Vrutik’s passion was not destined to wither in isolation. The young musician became part of a unique grassroots initiative called ‘Inspire India’ that would help him bridge the gap between his talent and opportunities, and give him the impetus to write his own destiny. Inspire India is a collaboration between the Shankar Mahadevan Academy and the Tata Trusts that offers music training in Hindustani classical music, instruments and popular songs to children and teenagers across marginalised communities across marginalised communities in Mumbai.
The initiative functions on a three-spoke model where training centres in Sion, Govandi and Chembur will offer daily classes to students on a semester based system. It also implements a series of advocacies which look at offering quality training in music at the grassroots. Further, Inspire India builds artistic skills for the employment of young musicians aspiring for a career in music as educators. The programme also engages with women and elders across marginalised communities through music advocacy to offer advice on sanitation, family planning, etc.
|Junior students of Inspire India being trained on Hindustani Classical vocals|