A life of music and a life of service
“It is a deep passion that taught him the essential importance of discipline and free through, confidence and humility, devotion and sacrifice”
Probably more than any generation before them, India’s young people understand the importance of hobbies and passions outside one’s work to build a fulfilling life. For Milind, music – and specifically the guitar – has been that passion since he was first handed a guitar at the age seven. For 30 years, Milind has practiced his guitar daily (or as close to it possible), developing a taste for art and music from a young age, and developing the habits of commitment and perseverance that have served him in every area of his life so far.
For as long as he can remember, Milind has drawn musical inspiration from a variety of musicians and genres, from funk classics like Earth, Wind & Fire, to Hindustani Classical music from luminaries like his childhood idol Ustad Bismillah Khan. It was during his years in Boston, though, that Milind would discover the genre that has shaped his musical life as an adult: the blues. Following his first encounter with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s classic album Austin City Limits, Deora became enamored of the blues guitar, devouring the sounds of classic blues guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King. Playing on stage with Buddy Guy, one of his blues heroes, still represents a high point in Milind’s musical life.
India Sings the Blues
Milind brought his love of the blues back with him to India, where he has played as a member of several blues bands, including the Delhi-based outfit Tightrope, which, until 2011, was among the foremost proponents of the genre in the capital. Milind has also jammed with Soulmate, some of India’s most talented blues musicians, based in Shillong.
As with all true passions, Milind’s love of guitar – and specifically the blues – also informs his professional work as a politician. Even when his political responsibilities keep him separated from his guitar for extended periods, Milind always has music on the mind, and has developed a keen interest in the political history of music. Indeed, it was at least in part the rich socio-political history of blues as the sound of oppressed black communities in America, that drew him to the genre in the first place.
Music, then, has been more than a mere pastime for Milind. It is a deep passion that taught him the essential importance of discipline and free through, confidence and humility, devotion and sacrifice that have allowed him to throw himself into the work of building a better through politics.