Gangubai is no more

The veteran vocalist, doyenne of Kirana Gharana, dies at 97

Gangubai is no more


the voice lingers on: On December 15, 2005, Gangubai, affectionately known as ‘Baiji’ among the music fraternity, gave her first concert to a select audience after recovering from cancer and had been performing since then. DH file photo

Gangubai was admitted to Kshema Hospital here on July 13 and later to  Lifeline Hospital on July 16 after she complained of breathlessness. At the intensive care unit,  it was discovered that she had developed an abnormal heart beat.

In fact, her condition started deteriorating since Sunday evening and it worsened around 9 pm on Monday. At Lifeline, Gangubai was put on a ventilator, but she suffered two cardiac arrests — at 2 am and 6:30 am—on Tuesday. She breathed her last at 7:10 am, according to Dr Nagaraj Tankasali of Lifeline.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Legislative Council Chairman Veeranna Mattikatti, Assembly Speaker Jagadish Shettar, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Public Works Minister C M Udasi, Mayor Veeranna Savadi, Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao, and scores of other leaders arrived here to pay their last respects to Gangajji, as she was popularly known.
For the whole of Tuesday, her body was kept at the Indira Glass House for people to pay their last respects.

Yeddyurappa said the proposed Music University at Mysore would be named after the great Hindustani vocalist and a statue would be installed in Hubli. Besides, the State government would recommend her name for posthumously conferring her with the Bharat Ratna. Gangubai’s last rites will be held on Wednesday at 9 am at the ‘Gurukul’  school of music, located at Unkal near Nrupatunga Betta. Yeddyurappa and other dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral.

In accordance with her wish, her eyes were donated to the blood bank of the M M Joshi Eye Institute. Gangubai was born on March 5, 1913, at Hangal, now in Haveri district. She later moved to Hubli in 1928. She started training under Dattopant Desai and Krishnacharya, and then approached Pandit Rambhau Kundagolkar, known as ‘Sawai Gandharva,’ who also had Bhimsen Joshi and Firoze Dastur as his disciples. Her training under Sawai Gandharva went on for 15 years until she mastered the Kirana Gharana style of music.

She was conferred with numerous national awards for her contributions to music. Some of the notable awards she received were the State Sangeet Natak Academy (1962), Padmabhushan (1971), Padma Vibhushan (2002), Central Sangeet Natak Academy (1973), Dinanath Pratishthan (1997) and Manik Ratan (1998), among others. She had five honorary doctorates to her credit.

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