Pandit Bhimsen Joshi: 1922-2011

Classical Hindustani music vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi died of old age related ailments in Pune.

Sadanand Menon in The Indian Express: His story also gives us a good entry into the idea of the nation as conceptualised by Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore saw the nation both as mrinmaya (territorial) and as chinmaya (ideational). It is interesting now to think back on the year 1933 when the little would-be maestro wandered off on his own, for some four years, into a territory that was pre-national. But if one tracks his trajectory from Bijapur in Dharwad to Pune to Gwalior and finally to Jalandhar, from where he was rediscovered and brought back home by his father, one can actually draw the map of a different India — a “music India”, perhaps more authentic and honest than all the contested state and national borders with which we have entangled ourselves. The Kirana gharana effortlessly unifies the south, north and west of the subcontinent. It is perhaps this India that will suffer the most from the departure of artists like Bhimsen and Gangubai. But Bhimsen’s return to Dharwad was fortuitous as he found the guru, the master that he was searching for, right in his backyard — Pandit Rambhau Kundgolkar or Sawai Gandharva — in Kundgol, near Bijapur. His earlier training with Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan at the Madhava Music School in Gwalior had helped open his voice; under Sawai Gandharva’s unsparing tutelage he was to quickly blossom into a vocalist with an awesome range of fast-paced taans and an intuitive grasp of the complexities of the raga. More

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