Writing for Print Media - Final Stories
Arts & Culture > Music
Profile: Ashwin Batish
Fifty years ago, Ashwin Batish sat on his father’s knee and learned how to play the sitar which is a plucked instrument from India.
Currently he finds himself engaged in the same kind of precious family guidance. Only this time he’s the teacher instead of the pupil.
Thursday afternoon he took the stage with his 17 year old son Keshav Batish, at the 2014 Annual Sikh Day Parade in Manhattan, New York. The boy is the latest arrival in the Batish family musical legacy. His rapid development and interest in music had his father experiencing déjà vu.
“It’s almost like the roles have been switched,” Ashwin Batish said. “I was sitting where my father used to sit and Keshav was sitting where I used to sit.”
Batish’s father was Shiv Dayal Batish a well-known Indian composer for classical Indian music in the mid-20th century and also a Bollywood director. He said his father was fortunate to meet with the Beatles’ George Harrison in the 1960’s and both played the sitar and drums at a music studio in England. His father then moved to Santa Clara, California in the early 1970’s bringing the family along.
Shiva Batish lived long enough to see his family history repeat itself with his son and grandson. He died at the age of 90 in the summer of 2006. Three weeks before he passed away, his grandson picked up a sitar and began playing. “My grandfather said that I should always keep my father company that someday he may have to go.” Keshav Batish said. “Nobody in the family liked it when he said that because it hurts to even think about it.”
Ashwin Batish shined early under his father’s guidance in both Indian classical music traditions from North and South India. But due to moving to England and returning to the U.S. he embraced Western