There is hardly any Music lover or Musician in our state who does not know him. Omkar Raina was a sitarist .He was an equally accomplished flutist.Born and brought up in Kashmir , he served mostly in Jammu Division either in AIR or in Institute of Music And Fine Arts. Having trained so many students in Jammu , Omkar Raina was himself trained by eminent Sitarist Padma Vibushan Debu Chaudhary . Initially , Omkar Raina had learnt sitar from Pandit Shamboo Nath sopori .
Baijaan ( a name by which he was known to his family and friends) belonged to the well known Raina family from Badyar Bala Srinagar . He was a brother of noted artist Mohan Raina .His father Pandit Shiv Nath Raina was also an accomplished Artist . His another Brother Jawahir Raina worked as Engineer in HMT. Jawahir was a Santoor player who did not pursue this Art seriously . His one son Anil Raina is a Flutist while another Sunil Raina is a sitarist .
He was a simple and down to earth man who loved his mother tongue and Music.He was loved for his extremely sharp sense of humour. Having performed at various places within and outside the country , his performances had received many Commendable reviews in print and electronic media .
Prof.Jaya Parimu adds
“ Shri O.N Raina also started his music lessons in flute. Later he switched over to Sitar and created an admirable place for himself.He was known as “chhotey Master ji” by his students as his initial guru Sopori ji was The Masterji.We have had several Mehfils of music where he played his solo items. Later he shifted to Jammu and we lost connect with him. May his soul rest in Ghandharva Loke. ”
Adds T K Jalali Noted Vocalist and Former Principal Institute Of Music and fine arts :
“ I feel so sad today for being reminded of my dear friend and colleague Sh O.N.Raina who is no more with us. He breathed his last 3 years back when I was in US and left me almost shattered. Today when I remember him I feel blessed to have known him so intimately for the last about 50 years. He was an artist par excellence and an institution in himself and a colleague whom every one loved and respected. It was an honour to have him on my staff and working with him on several music projects, in the Academy ,Radio & TV. The best part of his personality was his affable behaviour and abundant humour. He will always be remembered for his wonderful qualities of head and heart.
He was an important member of the cultural delegation led by me to Venezuella, West Indies(Trinidad & Tobago) and USA in 1983.He was exceptional both as a teacher and performer. The world of music in our state is poorer without him and I dare say that the void created by his passing away can never be filled. Rest in eternal peace Omji (that is how I used to call him) in Your new abode…….we shall always remember you with love and great regard..”
Adds Bashir Budgami well Known Former Senior official of Door Darshan and a noted media Personality:
“Raina Sahib was not only an outstanding Sitarist of the state but also a great human being. He accompanied me during the song recording of Habba khatoon. He had as you said a great sense of humour. Many people do not know that he joined Radio kashmir as a flutist. Rainas are a family of music artists. One of the brothers Tej Raina was my class fellow in A.S college. He played Santoor and was an instrumentalist in Habba Khatoon song recording.”
Some prominent persons who learnt Sitar from Shri ON Raina are Mrs Savita Bakshi, Dr Usha Bagati and Shri Krishan Langoo .
He was also associated with the many productions of JKAACL that include Piya Baj Pyala , Tipu Sultan , Vitasta, Ras Leela and some Radio and TV Serials.
Peace be to his soul.
Autar Mota is a blogger , Translator and writes in English , Urdu , Kashmiri and Hindi. His write-ups have appeared in many national magazines and journals.