Bhopal: The allegations of sexual abuse were made on Akhilesh Gundecha. It first surfaced in a Facebook post put up by a group titled, ‘Dhrupad Family Europe’, and emailed to the students of the musicians, highlighting alleged harassment by the two gurus for years. The Amsterdam-based yoga teacher who put up the post wrote that she was doing it on behalf of a friend who wanted to remain anonymous.
The prestigious Dhrupad Sansthan in Bhopal, a residential music gurukul probes the Ramkant and Akhilesh Gundecha, the accused of sexual harassment.The Sansthan said the committee would, ‘strive to deliver justice without prejudice. A safe environment and impartial teaching have always been the paramount concern at Dhrupad Sansthan’.
Ramakant, one half of the famous Gundecha brothers along with elder brother Umakant, died last year of a heart attack. Umakant heads the Dhrupad Sansthan. Akhilesh is their brother. Dhrupad is one of the oldest surviving classical music forms in India.
The Facebook post said the alleged victims of the two gurus had kept quiet due to threats. “We have been prisoners of this silence for fear of reprisals, for fear of your judgments, for believing the threatening words Ramakant and Akhilesh Gundecha would say to keep us silent. Fortunately enough, things are starting to change worldwide… They would threaten us saying they always get what they want and won’t accept ‘No’ as an answer,” the post said.
A male student at the institute, who studied under Akhilesh, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed that everyone around knew about the sexual
In 2018, at the height of the #MeTooMovement, sexual misconduct allegations had surfaced against some Carnatic classical musicians, with several women accusing them of exploitation.
The Gundecha brothers were awarded Padma Shri in 2012 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2017.