A musical child prodigy, Dr. Dinkar Sharma believes there is no substitute for hard work and sincerity.
Music is in his genes, and Dr. Dinkar Sharma is happiest when listening to music. When he was little, his mother would seat him in her lap and practice her music. "Those notes inspired me so much," he recalls, "that instead of playing games I preferred listening to music and sitting for music practice." His mother, Ms. Usha Sharma, was a source of great inspiration. "She was my first music teacher," he says. Under her tutelage, he became so proficient that in Class 5, he won a national music competition in the category of Solo Tabla.
When he was six years old, he had a bad accident - he fell down from the third storey of a building. He survived, but lost his eyesight. Dr. Sharma's parents, themselves visually impaired, saw this as God's wish. However, they did not give up on their son's future. Both of them encouraged him to study, to live life and grow as any child would. His father especially, who retired as the Principal of Government Institute for the Blind in Panipat, knew the importance of a sound education and instilled that in his son. The young Dinkar Sharma, however, became very depressed and did not find it easy to adjust. "I saw darkness all around me, and it was all the more difficult because I had earlier been able to see the world."
He studied at the Government Institute for the Blind, in Panipat. And music, of course, was his favourite subject. His teachers were very supportive, guiding and helping him constantly. "I was also lucky to have friends who cared for me deeply," he remembers, "and were always there for me." He learnt Braille from his father, and used it to study and take notes. He also used a recorder. He still uses these methods to keep notes and track his work.
Dr. Sharma then completed his graduation from I.B. College in Panipat. College was where he began to flex his musical muscle, and make a notable name for himself in the world of music. "I was the 'Best Singer' and 'Best Instrumentalist' every year in inter-zonal and inter-university competitions. At Youth Festivals I won every year in the categories of Vocal Classical Music, Instrumental Music, Light Music and Western Music."
Later, he completed his Ph.D. in Music from Kurukshetra University.
He learnt playing the tabla from Mr. Sukra Mani, and vocal training from Mr. Gopal Krishan Gupta. At present, he is taking professional training from Ustad Bhure Khan Sahib of Mumbai.
Dr. Sharma has, in a relatively short span of time, made his presence felt in the world of music. His teachers have honed his natural skill and talent into a force to be reckoned with. Today, he is a national artist and gives solo harmonium performances in national concerts. Some among the many luminaries of music he has accompanied are Pandit Jasraj, Dr. Prabha Atre, Girija Devi, Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, Ustad Hussain Bux Parvez Mehdi Shafkat Ali (from Pakistan), Sulakshana Pandit, Usha Uthup, Ravinder Jain and Hans Raj Hans. He is also a Grade 'B High' artist, in Vocal Music, with All India Radio. Recently, he was felicitated by the Chief Minister of Haryana and presented with the 'Kala Nidhi Sammaan' given by the Haryana Institute of Fine Arts.
Dr. Sharma has presented Classical (Vocal) and solo performances on the harmonium and has accompanied distinguished classical artists (on the harmonium) regularly in various sangeet sammelans organised in Banares. Jallandhur, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Chandigarh and Delhi. He has appeared in innumerable television shows and live concerts across the country.
Since he was in Class 6, Dr. Sharma has been teaching music too. "I teach one student at one time because I believe in quality, not quantity," he says. "I instill in them the values of hard work and regular practice; I try to kindle their interest and inspire them to reach new heights." As a teacher, he prepares himself too before the lessons "according to the individual. I have a few students, but they are performing at the national and international levels." He feels this is due to hard work and individual coaching.
Dr. Sharma is also associated with the film music recording industry. A few years ago, he was involved with recording for Punjabi films as a musician (he played the harmonium), after having tried his hand at studio work. The work interested him greatly, and since then he has also been working as a Music Director and Arranger. He has given music for the Hindi film 'Shabri' (which is yet to be released) and 'Kagar ki aag', a movie based on a novel by Himanshu Joshi. He has written background scores for many films and television serials as well, and has also written title songs for the latter.
His colleagues and peers are aware of the needs of a visually challenged person. "They are creative people, and have always supported me," he says.
Ms. Manju Sharma, his wife, is a source of constant support and encouragement. She holds a degree in M.Sc. (Chemistry) and has done her B.Ed. Theirs is a love marriage, and is a powerful example of support and togetherness. "She came into my life when I completed my graduation. She has always been there to help and assist me." Besides music and teaching, Dr. Sharma is also interested in good perfumes and food. He loves eating paan (betel leaf) too. He also loves to experiment in his musical compositions and arrangements.
He has a simple yet powerful message: "Listen to good music, and learn from a learned teacher. Hard work, patience and God's grace can take you anywhere."