Amidst all the depressing events that we watch these days on TV news channels and which have almost become an integral part of our day to day life, here comes a heart warming news at last. This year, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the doyen of hindustani classical music has been chosen for the much coveted ‘Bharat Ratna‘ award, the nation’s highest civilian honour.
Although his singing career of more than seven decades has landed him several distinguished awards, including the prized Padma Shri (1972), Padma Bhushan (1985) and Padma Vibhushan (1999). But Bhimsen Joshi, is just the fourth ‘classical musician’ after M S Subbulakshmi (see earlier post), Ravi Shankar, Bismillah Khan to be awarded the ‘Bharat Ratna‘.
Celebrating this occasion I am tempted to post a few musical gems rendered by him.
Bhairav – Sada Rangeele Balamwa : (Download)
Shankara – So Janu Re & Kal Na Pare : (Download)
Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who was born on February 4, 1922, in Gadag, Karnataka, ran away from home at the age of 11 in search of a good music teacher. He finally enrolled as a disciple of Sawai Gandharva, the foremost disciple of Abdul Karim Khan, whom Joshiji admired. In accordance with the ‘guru shishya‘ tradition, Joshiji started living with his guru.
Joshiji’s meeting with Begum Akhtar got him a job as a staff artist at Lucknow radio station where he befriended noted shehnai player Ustad Bismillah Khan. In 1943, Joshi shifted to Bombay (sorry, Mumbai), but his real break came in 1946 at a concert to mark the 60th birthday of Sawai Gandharva. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is a big draw at the Sawai Gandharva Music Festival held in Pune every year.
Maru Bihag – Rasiya Ho Na & Tadpat Raina Dina : (Download)
Puriya Kalyan – Aj So Bana & Bahut Din Beete : (Download)
May Panditji live for a hundred more years and enthrall his audience for a long time to come.
P.S : My earlier posts on a series on the ‘Voices along the Ganges’ have received a boost too : River Ganges has been declared the National River of India (wasn’t it so, even before the declaration, or at least in the hearts of all Indians ??).