Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

Remembering TP Kailasam

Remembering TP Kailasam
A professional, enjoyable, truly humoristic parody of the English song ‘It’s along way to Tipparary’ in Kannada .. ‘Namma Thipparalli Balu Doora, Nadeyak Balu doora… written by the legendary Kannada dramatist TP Kailasam. This song also has voices of Kannada film actor Dr. RajKumar and one of the noted Kannada Film and Theatre Personalities CR Simha.

Original song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wODhok…

The lyrics are amazingly, uniquely humorous and sometimes tongue twisting and rhyming and feels good to listen, listen to them carefully else you will miss out something very funny and good to listen


TP Kailasam the Kannada Playwright who gave humor a totally new dimension by giving it a professional quality touch in Kannada Literature(theatre) through his many plays which depict very professional, sensible comedy. By inducing quality into comedy that revolved around everyday social issues he uplifted the position of comedy in Kannada literature.

He was rightly called ‘Kannada Nataka Prahasana Pitamaha’ meaning ‘the grand old man of humorous Kannada plays’ and there is also a popular saying ‘Kannadakobbane Kailasam! Hasyakobbane Beechi'(There is only one Kailasam for Kannada! and only one Beechi for humor’.. Beechi was another famed humor writer in Kannada)

TP Kailasam Eternal Kannada Song – ಕಾಶಿಗೋದ ನಮ್ ಭಾವ!
TP Kailasam Eternal Song – ನಮ್ಮ ತಿಪ್ಪಾರಲ್ಲಿ ಬಲು ದೂರ, ನಡೆಯಾಕ್
TP Kailasam Eternal Song – ಕಲೆಕಶನ ಘನಪಡಿಸಿ ಕಂಪನಿಯ ಬದುಕಿಸೂ!
TP Kailasam Eternal Kannada Song – ನೋಡಿವ್ರ ನಮ್ ನಂಜಿನವ
TP Kailasam Eternal Kannada Song – ನಾನು ಕೋಳಿಕೆ ರಂಗ !
A professional, enjoyable, truly humoristic parody of the English song ‘Constantinople’ in Kannada .. ‘Nanu Kolike Ranga’ written by the legendary Kannada dramatist TP Kailasam.

The lyrics are amazingly, uniquely humorous and sometimes tongue twisting and rhyming and feels good to listen, listen to them carefully else you will miss out something very funny and good to listen


TP Kailasam the Kannada Playwright who gave humor a totally new dimension by giving it a professional quality touch in Kannada Literature(theatre) through his many plays which depict very professional, sensible comedy. By inducing quality into comedy that revolved around everyday social issues he uplifted the position of comedy in Kannada literature.

He was rightly called ‘Kannada Prahasana Pitamaha’ meaning ‘the grand old man of humorous Kannada plays’ and there is also a popular saying ‘Kannadakobbane Kailasam! Hasyakobbane Beechi'(There is only one Kailasam for Kannada! and only one Beechi for humor’.. Beechi was another famed humor writer in Kannada)

July 29, 2008 Posted by | Bangalore, Karnataka and Kannada, KANNADA, KANNADA Songs, Legends of Karnataka | 1 Comment

aadunika ugadalli kannada-sthitithi gathi

 Dr.Kambar on KSD M$ GoK




December 6, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Sarojini Mahishi, EkaviSUKAPRO, Govt. of Karnataka - GoK, KAMBARA | Leave a comment

Gangubai’s house in Dharwad renovated

  Gangubai’s house in Dharwad renovated

Staff Correspondent

Heritage building being converted into a museum and music school

Gangubai Hangal had sold her house in 1957

Rs. 25 lakh was allocated for acquiring the house

A landmark: Renovation work in progress at the house at Shukravarpet in Dharwad, where Gangubai Hangal was born and spent her childhood. DHARWAD: The house in Shukravarpet in Dharwad where Gangubai Hangal was born and spent her childhood days, which was in a dilapidated state, has been renovated and its inauguration will coincide with the Dharwad Zilla Utsav.

The then Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa allocated Rs. 25 lakh for acquiring the house which was almost in ruins and renovating it to preserve it as a heritage building.

Gangubai Hangal had sold her ancestral house in 1957 to Krishnaji Venkatacharya Kittur, who, in turn, sold it to Dasoi Kulkarni in 1963. Dasoi Kulkarni, who had a son and four daughters, died in 1989.

The district administration took up the issue with the legal heirs of the property for acquiring the house, who consented to sell it to the government. The authorities paid Rs. 10 lakh to the legal heirs for the acquisition after which the renovation was taken up.

The authorities proceeded further after it taking the opinion of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) on the renovation of the house and converting it into a heritage building.

Conservation architect Pankaj Moodi and experts from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, gave technical inputs on the renovation, based on which the Nirmiti Kendra, Dharwad began the work.

Deputy Commissioner M.S. Srikar told The Hindu that since a part of the house had collapsed, it had to be reconstructed and every effort had been made to retain the original look. Even the wooden pillars have been retained and some weak pillars were replaced with the same wood, he said. The work has been almost complete and the building will be converted into a museum and a music school within three days.

The main hall and two rooms will have rare photographs related to music and musicians and books on music. One of the rooms would be used for teaching music according to the wish of Gangubai Hangal.

A separate sound system would be installed to provide an ambience of music in the house, he said.

The “heritage building” would be inaugurated on November 16, the inaugural day of the Dharwad Zilla Utsav and would be one of the venues for the exhibitions being held as part of the event.


November 11, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal | Leave a comment

EKAVI Honors Dr. Gangubai Hangal at Hubli











EKAVI and Suvarna Sambrama

October 14, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal | 1 Comment

A life in three octaves – Dr. Gangubai Hangal

A life in three octaves

in Hubli

The Hindustani vocalist Hangal relives memories both pleasant and painful.



ONE does not expect a 94-year-old person to be as busy as Gangubai Hangal. “Either she is travelling to other cities or she is full up with appointments in Hubli,” is her grandson Manoj Hangal’s refrain every time I call her home in Hubli. It is after I speak to him on the phone several times that he fixes a meeting after assiduously looking through the schedule of the grand old lady of the Kirana gharana.

When the photographer and I land up at Ganga Lahari, the residence of the doyenne, and see 50-odd pairs of footwear in the front yard (see page 83), we almost give up hopes of meeting her. “I don’t think this is going to work,” we tell each other. But Manoj does a quick estimate of my feelings and says: “Don’t worry, they’ll be gone in an hour.”

Gangubai, frail and shrunk, sits on her bed in her tiny room, eager to welcome every visitor. Her illness, her emotional vacuum after daughter Krishna’s death in 2004, is writ large on her face. “That’s my new wheelchair,” she says, pointing to one corner of the room. Look around and you find her entire world compressed into that room. Her tanpura beside her bed, her mother’s music books right next to her, pictures of gods, her medicines and a little black bag. “My family wants to renovate this house. But I have told them that such a thing could happen only after I’m gone. My husband built this house for me in 1943 and my guru stayed in this house for two years. My life’s memories are all treasured inside these walls. It cannot be brought down,” says Gangubai with certainty.

It is a little difficult to reconcile to the fact that this “more manly than the best male voice” has taken a beating with time. Gangubai, with her robust, androgynous voice, projected a larger-than-life, hardy image. Despite the unmistakable quiver, her voice is still marked by the characteristic boom and base. “People who had listened to just my voice and hadn’t seen me always failed to connect the voice to me,” says Gangubai, talking of the pre-television era.

The organisers of a music concert in what was then Madras turned up at the railway station with a huge garland. As the train arrived, they got into the ladies compartment, and garlanded a well-built woman sitting by the window, much to her bewilderment. When they realised their folly, it was too late. “They had no garland for me!” Gangubai laughs uncontrollably.



A young Gangubai Hangal. This photograph is part of the collection at the Museum of Indian Classical Music in her residence in Hubli.

On another occasion, in the early days of her career, she went to Calcutta (now Kolkata) for a music conference. The organisers, on seeing this thin, short girl in her nine-yard sari, felt doubtful if she could sing at all. To test her skills, the day before her performance was due, they ordered her to accompany Jaddan Bai, Nargis’ mother, a well-known musician of those times. Jaddan Bai, impressed by Gangubai’s singing, told the organisers to book her for the Bombay (now Mumbai) conference too.

Gangubai once told film-maker Vijaya Mulay, in the initial years of television: “If a male musician is a Muslim, he becomes an Ustad. If he is a Hindu, he becomes a Pandit. But women like Kesarbai and Mogubai just remain Bais.” I expected Gangubai to belt out feminist discourses: on the cruelty of the Devadasi tradition into which she was born, the brutality of the caste system, a decadent society, the struggles of a woman who has to straddle more than one world, the discriminating world of music which sets different standards for man and woman, and more. But she is not to take any of those confrontational stances.

Gangubai looks back on her past quite effortlessly. She has an amazing memory that has not lost track of even minute details. “I was born in Shukravaradapete in Dharwad. It was a Brahmins’ colony and those were conservative times,” she says. It was forbidden to enter Brahmin thresholds. Gangubai remembers how, as a little girl, she went into the neighbour’s garden and was caught stealing mangoes. They were aghast at the impunity of a singer’s daughter. “Ironically, the very same people now invite me to their houses and spread a lavish lunch for me.”

Her mother Ambabai was a Carnatic musician. She was so brilliant that the best of musicians came to listen to her. Abdul Karim Khan, the forerunner of the Kirana gharana, would often drop in to listen to Ambabai. In fact, Gangubai remembers how on one occasion he had remarked: “I feel I am in Tanjore.” Ambabai tried to train the little Gangu in Carnatic music, but realised that her heart was elsewhere. On her way back from the National School (she repeats the name of her school several times with great pride) Gangubai would stop by to listen to the gramophone played at almost all the petty shops in Kamanakatte.

“They had a huge horn, you know,” says a wide-eyed Gangubai. “I can’t remember who the singer was, but it was `Radhe bolo mujhse‘.” Gangubai kept humming these tunes throughout the day, all the time. “You are not intelligent enough to keep the two systems separate. So you learn Hindustani,” he mother said.

Ambabai decided to get her daughter trained in Hindustani and shifted base to Ganeshpete in Hubli. “My driver tells me the house is still there, I want to go see it one of these days,” Gangubai says. Her mother, anxious to ensure that her daughter did not get influenced by the Carnatic style, actually stopped singing when young Gangu started her lessons. “I used to learn from Krishnamachari Hulguru, a student of Abdul Karim Khan Saab. I was very weak in taala and so during my lessons my mother would keep the beat on my back. Once when she told him that I had to get better with my rhythm, he got angry and demanded his fees for six months that instant.” They led a hand-to-mouth existence and Ambabai had no money on her. She gave him a gold ornament she had. But the angry teacher threw it and stormed out of the house.

The next time Abdul Karim Khan saab came he asked Gangubai to sing. On listening to her, he said: “Dekho beti khoob khana, khoob gana.” (Look, daughter, eat well and keep on singing.) “Where was the food? There was only music,” comments Gangubai wryly.

Gangubai began learning from the architect of the Kirana gharana, Sawai Gandharva. When he fell ill, she moved to Bombay to take lessons with him. He used to put her through rigorous practice and could not be satisfied easily. “I remember a time when I was taught a particular phrase. Ga ga ri sa ni sa, nini ni da pa ma pa, ga ga ri sa ni da pa ma ga ri sa. I locked myself up in the room from morning to evening and practised it for more than 200 times. I was in tears, because my guru would not tell me if it was okay. Finally, late in the evening, he came over and told me I could stop.

Gangubai’s life was difficult, but it was eventful. She interacted with great musicians, great poets and great thinkers of her time. She remembers how the Kannada visionary poet Da. Ra. Bendre loved the way she sang and taught her so many of his poems. Was it not he who said: “If Gangubai sings it touches the sky and if Krishna sings it touches the heart.”

Pleasant memories coexist with unforgettably bitter ones. The Belgaum Indian National Congress ses<147,2,1>sion of 1924 is one such. Gangubai, along with five classmates, sang the invocation “Svagatavu Svagatavu Sakala Jana Sankulake“. Those were times charged with the spirit of nationalism and Gangubai was elated that she was singing before Gandhiji. But beyond all this, she was worried that, born in a low caste as she was, she might be summoned to clean the place once the upper castes had eaten. Her schoolteacher asked her to eat with everybody else and Gangubai, full of trepidation, could barely lift her head. “I don’t feel angry. Those times were different,” she says, willing to forgive it all. “In some ways, I’m unfortunate, I must say. The people who loved me most weren’t there to share my happiness.”



At home with young visitors.

She talks of how she ran to her maternal uncle Ramanna’s house in the dead of night when she received a telegram that said she had been conferred the Padma Bhushan, and cried till the next morning, remembering all her hardships. By this time, her mother, teacher and husband were dead. “The difficulties of my life were like orchestra to my music,” she says.

Not many could have lived Gangubai’s life with the equanimity with which she has. Not even the stigma of not being “officially” married tainted her great music. Gangubai never had a civil marriage with Gurunath Kaulgi. In fact, the story goes that he offered to marry her but she refused. She forced him to marry within the Brahmin community.

There were times when familial problems bogged her down. In her autobiography, Nanna Badukina Haadu (The Song Of My Life), she states how even music did not offer solace. “I used to sit down to practise and felt besieged by the problems. My voice would choke and I could sing no further.” But now, Gangubai has a different story to tell. “Everybody has problems. And so did I. But I had the strength to sail through them.” And then she surprises you by moving on to an entirely different plane and talking in a lighter vein about how the biggest problem of her life was that of food. Most of Gangubai’s concerts were in North India and like a true-blue South-Indian, she needed her daily dose of rice. But what she mostly got was pooris and chapathis. “I would feel like crying. After a while, I used to carry with me a bottle of home-made ghee, some chutney pudi, and mango pickle. I would plead with the organisers to make some hot rice for me. And I would happily eat it with chutney pudi and ghee.” Her chutney pudi got so famous that everywhere she visited people would place orders for their bottle of it. “There are some moments of happiness that I want to cling to. I want to make them permanent. But how is that possible?” She extends the same logic to her music. There were times when people gave her a thunderous applause. But it did not necessarily satisfy her.

“There was some phrase, some note that I wanted to hold on to that came in a flash. Pity these things are transient.” That strand of philosophical thought suddenly reminds her of her late daughter, and she starts crying inconsolably. “No parent should live to see their children die. Krishna was so talented. She had a naturally mellifluous voice that did not need much practice.” Krishna chose not to get married and lived her life as her mother’s shadow.

One memory comes rushing upon the other and it is a virtual flood: her tonsils operation that shattered the world’s notions about a female voice; Mallikarjun Mansur sleeping under a crying Krishna’s cradle and rocking her to sleep; her brief stint with Kathak; and her more immediate, secure present, teeming with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Gangubai talks about her past, zooms to a more snug and cosy present and moves back to something else in the past – a grand stream of consciousness journey. Her life has been full of turmoil and music, even though for Gangubai herself, the two things were never separate. Music had to feed her family.

September 9, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Govinda Pai | 2 Comments

Sarojini Mahishi stands by committee report

Sarojini Mahishi stands by committee report

Staff Correspondent

`Some changes to recommendations can be made’



Sarojini Mahishi



HUBLI: Former Union Minister Sarojini Mahishi said here on Wednesday that it is preposterous to say that problems will arise if the recommendations made by the committee headed by her (on jobs for Kannadigas) are implemented.

Ms. Mahishi, who was here to release a book on Siddharoodha Swamiji, told presspersons that problems are bound to arise when recommendations of committees are implemented. “You need to make some changes to recommendations if the need arises. If there is any impediment during implementation, it can be sorted out,” she said.

“Nearly two decades have passed after the submission of the report. Things have changed a lot and some changes need to be made while implementing the report,” she said. Reiterating her stand that posts have to be reserved for Kannadigas, she said the committee has not recommended jobs for Kannadigas who are not eligible. “What we have said is that qualified Kannadigas should be given a job,” Dr. Mahishi said.

To a question, she said there were four retired IAS officers in the committee headed by her, and every recommendation was carefully drafted after giving attention to details.

Dr. Mahishi said she does not want to draw inferences with the regard to implementation of the committee’s final report that was submitted in 1986.

She said she has discharged her duties and it is for the Government to take action.


September 8, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Sarojini Mahishi, KANNADA On Line | 3 Comments

Dr Gangubai Hangal


Childhood Awards Doctorates



Museum Highlights


Dr Gangubai Hangal was born in the family of musicians on 5th March 1913 at Dharwad. Her mother Smt Ambabai was a renowned carnatic singer and father Sri Chikkurao Nadiger of Ranebennur was an agriculturist.
Dr Gangubai was Initiated into music by her mother. She learnt music under the guidance of Sri Krishnamacharya Hulgur and later under Sri Sawai Gandharv alias Sri Rambhau Kundgolkar a disciple of late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the main architect of kirana gharana school of music.
Awards & mementos

  • Padmavibhushan by Government of India presented by President of India Sri.K.R.Narayanan at Ashoka Hall, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi in the year 2002
  • Padmabhushan by Government of India Presented by President of India Sri V.V. Girei at Ashoka Hall, Rashrapati Bhavan New Delhi in the year 1971.
  • Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award by Government of Karnataka, presented by Chief Minister Sri Veerendra Patil at Bangalore in the year 1962.
  • Central Sangeet Natak Academy award presented by Sri P.L. Deshpande, Renowned marathi Writer at New Delhi in the year 1973.
  • 50 years of All India Radio Broadcasting in India 1927-77 Award conferred by Prime Minister of India Sri Morarji Desai at Bombay.
  • Receipeent of Tansen Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh, presented by Chief Minister Sri Arjun Singh at Gwalior.
  • Roohe Ghazal Begum Akhtar Award in memory of Ghazal Queen Begum Akhtar by Rajamata Smt Vijaya Raje Sindhia in the year 1987.
  • Bhuwalka Award by Sri Jyothi Basu Chief Minister of West Bengal in the year 1990.
  • Hafizalikhan Award by Hafizalikhan Memorial Society, New Delhi.
  • Kanak Purandar Award by Government of Karnataka by Chief Minister Sri Veerappa Moily at Hubli in the year 1992.
  • ITC Sangeet Academy Award by ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta in the year 1992.
  • Dinanath Mangeshkar award by Dinanath Mangeshkar Prathisthan presented by Ms lata mangeshkar in memory of her father at Nagpur in the year 1998.
  • Aditya Vikaram Birla Kalahikhar Puraskar by Vilasrao Deshmukh Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Sri Shivkumar Sharma at Mumbai in the year 2005.
  • Indian Music award by Shri A.P.J Abdul Kalam President of India at Mumbai in the year 2006 and many more awards.
She has given numerous performances in all major festivals, music circles, conferences in all major cities of India.

She has given more than 300 performances.

She has given performances in schools and colleges for promotion of music amongst younger generation through spic macay, a society for the promotion of music for younger generation. She has also performed in the princely States of Mysore, Gwalior prior to independent India. She has sung in Marathi film ‘Vijachi Lagan’.


  • Dr.Gangubai Hangal has the rare distinction of having sung before Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • She has been awarded by nine Prime Ministers.
  • She has sung for Marathi Film Vijachi lagan.
  • She has traveled to 13 countries.
  • One of the few and rare exponent of Kirana Gharana which was only limited to males.
  • Her first commercial disc was released by HMV Mumbai in 1932.
  • Her first live programme in All India Radio was in Mumbai in the year 1933.
  • At the age of 94 years, she sung in a concert organized by Academy Performing Arts of Belgaum on 12th March, 2006.
  • She has served as a Chairman of Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy from 1982 to 1984.
  • She has served as a senate member of Karnataka University for 6 years.
  • Her education was only upto 5th standard, yet she has worked as Honorary Professor Music, Karnataka University, Dharwad.
  • In recognition of her services in the field of music the Government of Karnataka nominated her as a Member of Legislative Council(MLC) for 6 years.
  • She has two sons and one daughter (late Smt.Krishna Hangal, eminent classical singer) her eldest son Sri Baburao Hangal is actively involved in promotion of music and the fine arts in Karnataka and younger son Sri Narayan Hangal is retired Supurintendent Engineer.
Doctorate conferred by various Universities to Smt Gangubai Hangal

  • Doctorate from Karnataka University Dharwad in the year 1976.
  • Doctorate from Gulbarga University, Gulbarga conferred by Shri P.Venkatasubbayya, Governor of Karnataka.
  • Doctorate from Hampi Kannada Universities conferred by Honorable Prime Minister Sri H.D.Devegowda in the year 1995.
  • Doctorate from Delhi University, Delhi in the year 1998.
Museum of Indian Classical Music
Dr.Gangubai Hangal has preserved all her awards, mementos certificates in this Museum for the new generation along with some oldest and rare musical instruments collected throughout India for the younger generation to recollect the excellence of music feat. The museum established by the concerted efforts of Mr.Manoj Hangal grandson of Dr.Gangubai Hangal who is advocate by profession.
For more than 60 years she has been charming audiences with her music both here and abroad.Her simplicity, warmth, humor are the hallmark of the great lady. She is courageous, intelligent and kind. She is an active social worker for social, religious and economic cause of the people.

One of the foremost exponent of the Kirana Gharana in our times, Gangubai has enriched the tradition by her own style and talents, her art combines rare grace and delicacy of presentation and its vibrant emotional content carries the unmistakable hall mark of Kirana Gharana gifted with voice at once resonant and flexible, Gangubai has a repertoire which is outstanding, rich delicate and diversified.

Dr Gangubai Hangal at the age of 94 years, still retains a prominent position amongst the most outstanding vocalists of Classical Hindustani Music In India.
With her singular and sustained contribution to Hindustani Vocal Music Gangubai has won wide acclaim respect and recognition.

This music legendry will leave an indelible imprint in the minds of all music lovers not only in India but also in abroad.

Related link


September 7, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Govinda Pai | 1 Comment

On Gangubai Hangal by Sabina Sehgal

On Gangubai Hangal by Sabina Sehgal

Nicknamed “gaanewali”, she was ostracized by the orthodox brahmins. But her irrepressible talent brought her the respect, status and the financial security she has always craved. Sabina Sehgal met Padma Bhushan Gangubai Hangal during her 75th birthday celebrations at her hometown, Hubli.The story of the little girl Gangubai from Hangal, a remote village in Karnataka, almost reads like a fairy tale. Except that today, as Dr Gangubai Hangal turns 75 and continues to live happily ever after, her life and times, infinitely more than her music and fame, assume gigantic proportions. Because hers is not just a simple rags-to-riches story, but
a far more complex one, which cannot be bandied simply as one from degradation to respectability.

Born in Dharwar, in 1913, into a family of Gangamats, or a class of simple boatmen, the social milieu in which Gangubai was brought up was by no means conducive. Being a shudra, and that too of the lowest order, was compounded by the fact that she was born into a family where the female folk assumed the role of what was euphemistically referred to as “Angavasthra”, a term which, if literally translated, would correspond
to an additional cloth or ornament draped by sophisticated men as a status symbol; a practice which was not necessarily considered immoral a century back. Gangubai, like her mother Ambabai, and her grandmother Kamlabai, all good musicians in their own right, belonged to this tradition. Both her father, Shri Nadgir and her husband, Shri Kaulgi, were brahmins, but interestingly, neither she nor her mother, assumed their names after marriage, or lived with them and their families; even Gangubai’s children and grandchildren continue to call themselves “Hangal”.

In fact, right from when she can remember, her life has been a series of contradictions. Of some childhood experiences in a predominant brahmin neighbourhood, Gangubai says: “I remember stealing fruit from our
neighbour’s mango trees. More than the act of stealing, I remember the neighbours being horrified that a singer’s daughter should step into their compound. I would be thrown out. Incidentally, the same people invite me over to their house today and call me ‘Gangubai’ with great respect. There are so many incidents that I will never forget–I
remember singing for the Belgaum Congress session which was attended by Gandhiji–my only paranoia throughout the programme was that I would be asked to eat my food separately.”

And it is against this backdrop that it becomes essential to study the evolution of one of the greatest female musicians of our times. Gangubai’s mother was a Carnatic music vocalist, but once her daughter started learning Hindustani music, she gave up her own style of singing so that her daughter could best hone her talents.

Gangubai’s stage debut took place in Bombay, at the Bombay Music Circle, where she was heard by several eminent musicians. After her debut here, Jadden Bai (mother of film actress Nargis) convinced her to participate in a music conference in Calcutta. Gangubai recalls, “In Calcutta, when the organizers saw me, they insisted that I first sing in a private sitting a night before my concert was scheduled. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t wait till the next day. Nisar Husain Khan Saheb took me aside and explained that the organizers had doubts about what I, a frail girl at that time, was capable of! I sang and was greatly appreciated. In fact, I was awarded a gold medal by the Maharaja of Tripura. At the same concert, I kept remembering my mother who was no more, and just then felt a hand on my shoulder. When I turned around, I saw K. L. Saigal, who said, ‘bahut surila’ (very melodious). I was happy but then very upset that a strange man should touch me!”

Other than her mother, Gangubai owes her musical training to Shri Krishnacharya, Shri Dattopant Desai and most significantly, to Pt. Rambhau Kundgolkar, better known as Sawai Gandharva–guru and teacher to many eminent musicians including Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and Firoze Dastur. Another strong influence on Gangubai’s music, though indirect, was the singer from Agra, Zohrabai. Says Gangubai, “Even today I love Zohrabai’s music.”

Reminiscing about her training with her guru Sawai Gandharva, Gangubai recalls, “Guruji lived in Kundgol and I in Hubli–a distance of about 30 kilometres. I formally started learning from him somewhere around 1937, by which time I had a family to look after and anyway, it would have been impossible to live in Kundgol with him like Bhim-‘Anna’ (Bhimsen Joshi) did. And so I would travel from Hubli to Kundgol by train every evening, accompanied by my uncle Ram-‘Anna’, who lived with us. I still remember vividly the reception I received whenever I walked down the streets to guruji’s house in Kundgol. People would rush out of their houses and jeer, ‘Dekho, dekho, gaanewali aiyi hai’ (see, see, the singer has come). It was humiliating, but I got used to it.”

On the actual technique of training, Gangubai says, “Guruji did not teach me more than four Ragas. He often drew an analogy between swaras and money and said that one must spend only as much as is required of both. My practice would follow this method. I was given a certain ‘palta’ and would have to keep repeating it for days on end. It seemed
boring and monotonous then, but later I thanked him for this rigorous training. The entire relationship with a guru was different in those days. Our respect for him was so great that there was no question of us asking him to teach us something particular, not because of our blind devotion, but because of our innate belief that he knew what was best
for us. I remember getting caught by him invariably, whenever I tried something new. For instance, on radio, I sang Raga Bhinbhas [sic], working it out on my own, quite confident that guruji would not hear me, as there was no electricity in Kundgol. But as luck would have it, he happened to be in Belgaum that evening. I was subsequently taken to task for using a komal dhaivat in Bhinbhas. This was followed by comprehensive training of the Raga. There are so many Ragas with which I associate a strange incident with guruji–Suha, Marwa … the list is endless.”

But right through her days of training and more so after that, Gangubai’s major concern was grappling with the more immediate financial problems that she increasingly found herself in. As Gangubai puts it, “Peace of mind is very essential in anything that you do–particularly in music. But in my case, it was just the opposite. What new things
could I learn when I was constantly disturbed and unhappy? And I tell you, this whole concept of getting lost in music and forgetting the world around you, is a myth. In my case, I can openly say that my troubles and problems were not forgotten by just holding the tanpura in my hand. When I would sit down for riyaz, I would, on the contrary, break down and cry over the daily scene. Over the question of just surviving through the next day. And it wasn’t for me that I was worried, but for the entire family that I supported. I personally never thought of becoming rich, of having a new car or house. Those ambitions never entered my mind. All I knew then was the money was not enough. There were many humiliations I had to face because of this. A certain lady musician in Pune invited me over to her house one day. Her mother asked how much I charged for a concert. I told her Rs 125. She suggested that I move over to Pune and accept all her daughter’s rejected programmes. They knew I was very badly off. I was insulted by this suggestion and left their house immediately. But later I thought that maybe they were trying to be helpful.”

Gangubai’s relationship with her husband Shri Gururao Kaulgi has played a very significant role in her life. He proposed a civil marriage to her, but she turned it down because “he belonged to a respectable family and I wanted him to continue to belong there.” Gangubai insisted that he marry his cousin and in fact grew very fond of his wife and their children.

Her selfless devotion to him was never considered a sacrifice by her and even though he was a brahmin, a lawyer, it was ironically she who supported him throughout. “He did not practise law and so whatever money I earned, I just placed before him. He invested in business–trucks, cars–but lost everything. I could not bear to see him unhappy. Often he would disappear from home for months on end. The bank people would come and harass me, ask for my property as I was unable to repay the loans. This happened several times. I had to sell everything I had. I will never forget or forgive myself for not being by his bedside before he died. I had a programme in Bombay, but I did not want to go. He insisted because we needed the money. While I was performing, he died.”

On her life as a performer, Gangubai recalls the grand old days of the All India Music Conference, when the best in the music world–Omkarnath, Kesarbai, Bismillah Khan, Allauddin Khan, Siddeshwari Devi and many others would come for nine days, from December 25 to January 1 every year and hear each other sing. Each artiste was assigned two sittings. “It was a great experience. Unfortunately those days are over. Nowadays, you seldom see an artiste listening to another artiste. Also, the sangeet jalsas, would go on for hours. I remember the tickets were priced at 50 paise for sitting on the ground and a rupee for a chair! All this may sound quaint today.

“But there was a strong bond between us artistes in the old days. I remember when Siddheshwari Devi was laid in bed with paralysis, we went to meet her and asked her if she needed help. She asked me to sing Bhairavi for her. She listened with tears in her eyes.”

Gangubai has many more reflections–on the dance she once learnt–kathak, on her mother whom she loved dearly, on the musical scenario, on concerts, on gharanas, on life, on students of today, on her voice, which many brand as “more manly than the best male voice.”

Hubli, the town which has seen Gangubai at every stage of her life, paid a touching tribute to the grand old lady recently on the occasion of her seventy-fifth birthday. The three-day celebration was attended by all those close to her, including her family, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Mrs Vijaya Mulley (who has known Gangubai for many years, done research on her and recently made an extremely sensitive film on her), Dr. S. S. Gore, Bhairappa, H. Y. Shardaprasad and several others. Said Shardaprasad, “The greatness of this lady lies in her simplicity–it is this that draws her to both old and young alike.” Pt. Bhimsen Joshi recounted his association with her and was moved by the occasion. The special photo and book exhibition on the Kirana gharana, mounted by Sateesh Paknikar of Pune, was outstanding. A book and a series of records released on the occasion throw special light on the life of Gangubai and contain well-researched, valuable material–a treasure for posterity.

Even today, at 75, and yet actively performing, recipient of every comprehensible award, including the Padma Bhushan, the Tansen Award, The Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, among others, Gangubai’s experience with life does not allow her to be affected by any of it. She often laughs that Karnataka University has conferred a doctorate on her. “I have not studied beyond class V you know.”

Reflecting on the time she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, she says, “Ramanna and I stayed up the whole night and remembered all the things one would like to forget–the mental traumas, the pain, the suffering. What a happy moment and such unhappy thoughts!”

A lot of people ask Gangubai what it feels like being 75. She smiles, but has no words. The look on her face tells you all. It is almost as if she is laughing at the words, scoffing those who shower her with honour and respectability now, when she no longer needs it; perhaps when she was 25 or 30 she would have had more use for it!

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Govinda Pai | 1 Comment

Gangubai Hangal (b. 1913)

Gangubai Hangal (b. 1913)
Dr.Gangubai Hangal was born in Dharwad on 5th March in 1913. Her mother initiated her into music and she took her early training under late Sri.Hulgur Krishnacharya. She took her advanced training later under late Sri Sawai Gandharva, a disciple of late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the main architect of Kirana Gharana. One of the foremost exponents of the Kirana Gharana in our times, Gangubai has enriched the tradition by her own unique, uncompromising style. Her art combines a strong grace and delicacy of presentation and its vibrant emotional content carries the unmistakable hallmark of Kirana Gharana. Gangubai has a repertoire, which is outstanding, rich, delicate and diversified.

With her singular and sustained contribution to Hindustani Vocal Music, Gangubai has won wide acclaim, respect and recognition. Her voice has a masculine timber. Her sensitive portrayals are enhanced by that masculine timber, which has a power of a “baritone” and portrays a deep sense of focus and purpose, which easily gets transmitted to the listeners and creates a lasting impression even long after her concerts are over. In commemoration of her “Guru” – late Sri Gandharva, a two-day music festival is held at Kundgol under her guidance every year. This festival is popular throughout India. This has also been a forum of participation for junior artists.

She has won many awards and tiles, including “Padma Bhushan” by Government of India, Central Sangeet Natak Academy Award, State Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Roohe Ghazal, Begum Akhtar Award, Tansen Award, and Hafiz Ali Khan Award etc. Gangubai Hangal has been awarded “Doctor of Letters” by Karnataka University, Hampi University, Gulbarga University, and Delhi University. Gangubai Hangal has also traveled very extensively out side India. Gangubai Hangal has served as the Chairman of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy from 1982 to 1984.

She has served as a Senate Member of Karnataka University for 6 years. She has worked as Honorary Professor of Music in Karnataka University – Dharwad. In the recognition of her services in the field of music, the Government of Karnataka appointed her as a Member of Legislative Council for 6 years. Gangubai Hangal is presently working with many Social, Educational, Religious, Cultural, Musical Organisations throughout India and abroad.

Even after a long and distinguished career spanning over more than a generation, Dr.Gangubai Hangal, at the age of 86 years, still retains a pre-eminent position amongst the most outstanding vocalists of Classical Hindustani Music in India.

Smt Gangubhai Hangal was born in 1913, to a family of hereditary courtesan musicians from Hangal, a small villiage near Dharvar in North Karnataka. Gangubhai learnt Hindustani music from the Kirana Gharana master Sawai Gandharva, rather than Carnatic music like her mother.

Gangubhai has been giving concerts from more than 5 decades now. She has a very powerful voice, almost masculine, very suitable for traditional classical music. She sticks to authentic traditional music and does not dabble in the light bhajans.

Gangubhai’s daughter Krishna Hangal has been singing with her and giving much needed support from last 3 decades. But there are few recordings of her as like so many old masters she is not keen to record. Hopefully her live recordings will be brought out soon by dedicated labels like Navras.

It is not exaggeration to say that Dr Gangubai (Gandhari) Hangal is a living legend. Two qualities of her music stand out. She has been gifted with an exceptionally vibrant and pliable voice which allows her to express the range and subtleties of a raga with utmost ease and great impact. Secondly, her approach to the basics of music is uncompromising. She has been the doyenee of the Kirana gharana, a style of khyal singing that was made widely known by the great Ustad Abdul Karim Khan.

Dr.Gangubai Hangal was born in Dharwad  in 1913. She was initiated into music by her mother Ambabai and she took her early training under late Shri.Hulgur Krishnacharya. However, it was her advanced training later under late Sawai Gandharva, a disciple of late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, that really shaped her mature musical artistry. The entire career of Dr Gangubai Hangal shows remarkable journey: she began with a delicate and graceful touch but developed into a resonant and sublime vision.

Our selection of this living legend covers the entire range of Dr Gangubai‘s career and art. The delicate and graceful touch is seen in some of the early pieces in Hindol, Puriya and Jogia. We see the deft artistic touch gradually deepening into a more vibrant and powerful musical vision as she developed a unique and unconventional vibrant projection of voice
the main architect of Kirana Gharana. One of the foremost exponents of the Kirana Gharana in our times, Gangubai has enriched the tradition by her own unique, uncompromising style. Her art combines a strong grace and delicacy of presentation and its vibrant emotional content carries the unmistakable hallmark of Kirana Gharana. Gangubai has a repertoire, which is outstanding, rich, delicate and diversified.

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September 7, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Govinda Pai | Leave a comment

A tribute to the memory of a versatile female vocalist Dr.Gangubai Hangal

A tribute to the memory of a versatile female vocalist

Culture Plus
A tribute to the memory of a versatile female vocalist

By Amruth Joshi

THE museum of Indian classical music at Hubli (Karnataka), a unique effort by the family members of eminent Hindustani vocalist, Padma Vibhushan Dr Gangubai Hangal, is where you get a glimpse of the rarest collection of pictures, photographs, musical instruments, music discs, and vital information regarding Indian classical music. It can be said that this museum is only one of its kind in the entire Indian classical music world.

Ganga Lahari, the residence of Dr Gangubai Hangal at Hubli in Karnataka, is itself converted into a museum. Interestingly, this house is also associated with legendary musicians like Shri Abdul Kareem Khan of Kirana gharana and his disciple Sawai Gandharva, who stayed in this house. Many other musicians also have stayed in this house at Hubli as it was an important town enroute to Mysore. These musicians used to visit Mysore to perform at the famous darbar of the Mysore Maharaja. Shri Abdul Kareem Khan of Kirana gharana (Punjab) spent his last years in this region of Karnataka. This is one of the reasons that many jewels of Hindustani music, such as Sawai Gandharva, Dr Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr Mallikarjuna Mansur, Pandit Puttaraja Gawai, Pandit Basavaraj Rajaguru, etc. came to light here.

Dr Gangubai Hangal had dreamt of setting up this museum which she had expressed before her family members. Without delay her family members along with her fans started the work and in a record time of six months, the basic structure of the museum came into existence. It was inaugurated by none other than eminent vocalist, Pandit Jasraj on the occasion of the 93rd birthday of Dr Gangubai Hangal. Pandit Jasraj expressed his gratitude to Dr Gangubai Hangal and her family members for taking up this unique project.

The museum was inaugurated by none other than eminent vocalist, Pandit Jasraj on the occasion of the 93rd birthday of Dr Gangubai Hangal.

Musical instruments, such as tanpura, swaramandal, dagga, tabla, violin, sitar, flute, dilruba, veena, shehnai, etc. welcome you to the world of music. From here we move to the photographic collection of about 150 legendary classical musicians, right from Tansen, Amir Khusro, Abdul Kareem Khan, Bhaskar Bua Bakale, Sawai Gandharva to Jitendra Abhisheki, Ram Marathe, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bindu Madhav Pathak, Kumar Gandharva, etc. Above all these photographs are the photos of legendaries of Carnatic music, such as Shri Puran-daradasa, Shri Thyagaraja, Shri Muttuswami Dixitar, etc.

After this we get a glimpse of group photos of artistes taken at various sangeet sammelans. These photos were taken way back in 1890, 1902, 1920, 1941, etc. A group photo taken at Delhi with the then President, Dr Rajendra Prasad is unique because it has almost all legendary musicians of that period. There are also photographs of Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Sammelan held annually at Kundagol, near Hubli, in memory of the late Sawai Gandharva, right from 1955. In this noteworthy photograph, one can see Pandit Puttaraj Gawai, though blind, playing various instruments such as violin, santoor, tabla, mandola, sarangi, veena, Surod, harmonium, etc. Pandit Puttaraj Gawai has earned fame throughout the nation for his school where music is taught to blind students.

There are charts which give detailed information on centuries-old gharana parampara such as Kirana, Gwalior, Jaipur, Dagar, Mewati, Agra, etc., their founders, their desendants, their disciples, etc. There are also about 200 gramaphone records from HMV of various artistes, right from 1911 onwards.

A gallery has been particularly dedicated to Dr Gangubai Hangal. Here one can find photographs of Dr Gangubai right from the age of 12, when she started her career to her recent 93rd birthday. Also there are photographs of her various programmes in and outside India. There is a list of 63 ragas which she sang during her career. A display section exhibits the awards and felicitations Dr Gangubai received, which include Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and about 28 prestigious sangeet awards.

The unique feature of this museum is that a section is being set up exclusively to give margadarshan to the young generation who want to take up Hindustani music as a career. It gives details of all universities, colleges, institutes which offer these courses. Nearly 83 prestigious institutions and organisations are enlisted which organise sangeet sammelans. Also there is a list of various awards that are being given for achievements in the field of music.

Altogether this museum can be called Kashi for a music lover. The museum is expected to be completely ready by 2008. The entire project is financed by family members and all the material exhibited in the museum was with Dr Gangubai Hangal herself.

(The writer can be contacted at G-24, Vivekananda Corner, Desai Cross, Hubli-580 029. Email: amruth_joshi@yahoo.com)

April 24, 2005

September 7, 2007 Posted by | Dr. Gangubai Hangal, Govinda Pai | Leave a comment