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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 8, 2007
An American lady who considers India her real home
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An American lady who considers India her real home

Jan Protopapas, an American schoolteacher who came to India when she was in her mid-twenties, perhaps never anticipated that India, known for its rich culture and traditions, would one day become her second home for the next two decades.

By Karan Kapoor

Patiala, May 8 : Jan Protopapas, an American schoolteacher who came to India when she was in her mid-twenties, perhaps never anticipated that India, known for its rich culture and traditions, would one day become her second home for the next two decades.

Jan Protopapas, who recently arrived in Patiala to learn "Gurbani"(or, Sikhs' devotional music), has been studying various religions and spirituality in India for the last 18 years.

She has become an expert in many Indian languages and has vast knowledge of Indian music and culture.

Jan, 45, has already spent many years in the holy city of Varanasi for her research on Sanskrit language and Indian classical music.

"I would like to use this music and these traditions as means to provide a remedy for minds that are tired or are filled with chaos and stress. It's like providing a way back into a quite place, a place to unite with oneself and not only oneself and God but the community in general, says Jan.

"One of the most beautiful things about 'Shabad Kirtan' is the concept of 'Sangat', how people sing together. It's not a matter of singing in a solitary place but singing together with the union of mind and heart. This is what really brings peace and harmony amongst people," she adds.

Everyday, Jan sings prayers and has collected copies of religious texts. She has also studying for a Doctorate in Sikh religion and music from Punjab University.

"This is where the seeds (of religion) are planted among students. This is where the flower will start to grow and where the garden of Gurmat Sangeet or 'Gurbani' is really taking place. So, I have come to this department to be involved in learning Shabad Kirtan, with other students and understand the whole structure, the way the music is transmitted," said Jan.

"Everybody is going to the West, especially in Punjab. Everybody has a member of family abroad in U.K, Australia or the U.S. But very few want to return to their native place. I keep coming back here for the study and knowledge. It's a returning to the source," she adds.

Jan has just finished a music album on various forms of Indian music and has plans to keep coming back for more knowledge and religious pursuits.

ANI

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