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Artists, disciples, fans bid adieu to sarod maestro Pt Rajeev Taranath

As he believed in secular principles, no rituals were followed during his last rites.
Last Updated : 12 June 2024, 12:20 IST

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Mysuru: An eerie silence descended over the residence of internationally acclaimed sarod maestro Rajeev Taranath - who passed away at the age of 92 - at Panchamantra road in Kuvempunagar, Mysuru, as disciples, noted artists, literary figures, and fans rushed to pay homage to him on Wednesday.

He was cremated at an electric crematorium near Chamundi hill in Mysuru followed by full state honours on Wednesday afternoon amid disciples and fans. His disciples urged for a memorial as a homage to the legendary musician in Mysuru.

As he believed in secular principles, no rituals were followed during his last rites. "He had told us that his last rites should be performed by offering tribute to his Guru Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. His son Chethan, who is at Florida, USA, will come next week", said Krishna, his disciple for 36 years, who looked after him.

She added, "He had fallen down at his home on April 26 morning on the day of the Lok Sabha polls and suffered a fracture and was admitted at a private hospital in Mysuru. He underwent left hip replacement surgery on May 2. He suffered Urinary tract infection and lung infection. He was in ICU for the past five days and breathed his last at around 6.30 pm on Tuesday evening", Krishna informed.

Mysuru district in-charge minister H C Mahadevappa paid his last respect and said, "When I met him recently followed by directions of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, he spoke to me for about 40 minutes, about his father Taranath who was a freedom fighter. He had told me that his mother Sumathi Bhayi was a Dalit woman. We will discuss with his family members about establishing a memorial in Mysuru. As agreed, the State Government will bear his medical expenses (which is upto over Rs 30 lakh)," he said.

His ardent fan, retired IGP C Chandrashekar, who served as Mysore City Commissioner from 1999 to 2002, said, "I have recordings of 2000 hours of Pandit Rajeev Taranath's live concerts. He was my English literature teacher when I did BA Ed in the Regional Institute of Education in Mysuru from 1966 to 1968. He was my spiritual mentor. I had hosted his concert in Ravindra Kalakshethra in Bengaluru soon after he got his Padma Shri award. I met him five days ago", he recalled. 

Bheema Shankar Bidanur, who performed Tabla during his concerts for over 15 years, said, "Until he got hospitalised, he practiced for one and half hours each day, I performed tabla during his practice sessions too," he recalled. 

Even as Rajeev Taranath had trained over 20 selected disciples, some of them including Sohan Neelakant, an architect who learnt Sarod from him from 1989 had come from Ahmedabad, Aranya Kumar Darwad, Assistant Professor at Central University of Hyderabad, a Sitar artist who was learning Sarod from Rajeev Taranath from 2004 had come from Hyderabad, Sachin Hampi, Faraz and his father Ustad Fayaz Khan offered their last respects.

Sohan Neelakant said, "He had strong will power and we were hopeful he would recover". Aranya Kumar Darwad shared, "I was his only disciple who had the opportunity of sharing dias with him, and performed Sitar along with him. I last performed with him in his last concert infront of Mysuru Palace during Dasara last year. He performed Mishra Kafi raag for an hour during that concert. Chandranandan was his favourite Raaga."

"He knew nine languages including English, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Maratti, Urdu and Persian. He was an avid reader and a critic. Many writers shared their first copy of their books with him and sought his review. He had deep knowledge in all aspects. Many politicians who had literary inclination like Ramakrishna Hegde, Prof B K Chandrashekar were close to him. He performed more than 1000 concerts across aht world, and took up several philanthropic activities through his Taranath foundation," he said.

He added, "Apart from Ustad Ali Khan, he even learnt music from Ali's sister Annapurna Devi in Mumbai, and also from Pandit Ravishankar. He has even trained Vijeth from Shimoga, Jayanth keerthane from Hyderabad, Anupam Joshi Pune and a few others. Pandit Nayan Ghosh, Venkatesh Kumar and other artists visited him at the hospital. Anupam Joshi had performed Sarod at hospital."

"I, along with the Director of Department of Archives Gavi Siddaiah, and Deputy Director Manjunath recorded a one and half hour documentary about him at his home a year ago", recalled retired Prof N S Rangaraju.

Mysuru DC Dr K V Rajendra, ZP CEO K M Gayathri, Joint Director of Department of Kannada and Culture, V N Mallikarjunswamy, Assistant Director of Department of Kannada and Culture M D Sudarshan, artists including Krupa Padke, Devanur Mahadev, Jayant Kaykini, Mysuru literary forum and Charitable trust chairperson Shubha Sanjay Urs, and several others paid their last respects to the musician at his residence.

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Published 12 June 2024, 12:20 IST

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