His vision spanned from Carnatic to Hindustani

His vision spanned from Carnatic to Hindustani

The versatile genius played sarod, tabla, santoor and sitar

His vision spanned from Carnatic to Hindustani

 Light for the blind: Pandit Puttaraj Gavai (3-03-1914 -- 17-09-2010)He was also well-versed in both Hindustani as well as Carnatic vocal music. He used to render even the most complex compositions without any difficulty, but with a touch of elan. In devotional music, Pt Gavai is most acclaimed for his renditions of vachanas.

Born at Devagiri village in Haveri district on March 3 in 1914, Pt Gavavi lost both his eyes when he was a six-month-old baby. His uncle sent Gavai to musician Gangayogi Panchakshara Gavai, under whose tutelage Puttaraj blossomed.

Gavai's talent for learning languages did not go unnoticed by his guru, who also engaged different masters to teach him various languages, turning him into a polyglot - well-versed in Kannada, Sanskrit and Hindi. He penned works -- literary, spiritual and musical -- in all these languages.

He authored over 80 books as well as biographies of many 'sharanas' of the Bhakti movement of the 12th century. Among his works include Sangeet Shastra Jnana and Tabla Shikshaka Guru Sudha in two volumes. In Kannada, he wrote several books, including Akkamahadevi Purana, Siddeswara Purana, Purathanara Purana Veerabhadreshwara Purana and Sharana Basaveshwara Purana. He also converted Bhagavad Gita into Braille language.

Pt Gavai’s grieving followers in Gadag. dh photoHe had dedicated his life completely to music and welfare of the visually impaired. Pt Gavai is one of the poineers of Veereshwara Punyashrama, a music school dedicated to imparting musical knowledge to people who are differentially abled. Disabled people, especially blind from all castes, religions and sections of society are taught music in the ashram. Among his students were Pandit Basavaraj Rajguru and M Venkatesh Kumar.

Considering his significant contribution to the music world and yeoman service to the blind community, the people called him as the ‘Light for the blind’ and ‘Living god.’ Now, his departure has left a void in the music world as well as in society that will be difficult to fill.

The Union and the State governments, academies and organisations had honoured the genius musician with prestigious degrees and awards. They include Kendra Sahitya Nataka Academy Award, Karnataka Rajyotsava Award, Karnatak University honorary doctorate, ‘Nadoja’ from Hampi University, and the highest award given to any musician by Madhya Pradesh government, the ‘Kalidas Samman.’