Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who scaled the pinnacle of Hindustani classical music, is from Gadag in Karnataka.
Born on February 4, 1922 at his aunt’s house at Ron in the district, Bhimsen Joshi studied at the Municipal School in Gadag, where his father Guracharya Joshi was a teacher.
There is an interesting story about Bhimsen Joshi’s musical beginnings in his childhood. Guracharya Joshi, who was in Bagalkot before he became a teacher, made sure his son accompanied any temple procession which included a band. Bhimsen used to fall asleep after the procession reached the temple premises.
The caring father would paste a paper on the back of Bhimsen with his house address inscribed on it so that anybody who found Bhimsen could send him back home. Bhimsen, the eldest of 16 children of Guracharya Joshi ran away from home in search of an able Guru. “Agasara Channappa, who came from Kurtkoti to our house to wash clothes, was the first music teacher of Bhimsen Joshi,” recalls his brother Susheelendra Joshi.
Brothers of Bhimsen Joshi are now staying in their ancestral home located on Kittur Rani Channamma Road in the town. They are very proud of this jewel of their family.
“In 1992, we invited ‘Anna’ on behalf of Abhinaya Taranga and organised a concert. That was his last visit to Gadag and we still remember his wonderful performance. He used to come to our house regularly when our father was alive. He actively took part in the 80th birthday celebrations of our father in 1976.”
Joshi’s aunt (second wife of Guracharya Joshi) Godabai reminisced: “Bhimsen used to climb the Gopuram of Veeranarayana temple in Gadag during his childhood days, and now he has scaled the zenith of the world of music.”
Litterateur Jadabharata and cricketer Sunil Joshi are also from the family that gave ‘Bharat Ratna’ Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
After ‘Padmashri’, ‘Padmabhushan’, ‘Padmavibhushan’ and ‘Karnataka Ratna’, now it is time for the doyen of Kirana Gharana Pandit Joshi to be honoured with the greatest award of the country.
JUBILATION AT JOSHI’S HOUSE
From the time the news broke, the telephone in Bhimsen’s house in Pune has not stopped ringing with relatives and friends calling to congratulate the legendary vocalist.
Shubhada, Bhimsen’s daughter told Deccan Herald, “We learnt the news only through media and there is no official confirmation as of yet” Shubhada is also a Hindustani vocalist, trained by her mother and father. “My father is happy, but he always maintains his equanimity. He said he owes the award to his Guru Sawai Gandharva. He is missing my mother Vatsala a lot. She passed away four years ago”. Bhimsen met Vatsala in Auranagabad when he was just 19. He was not a celebrity at that time. It took eight years for him to convince her parents to agree for the marriage. “My parents were married for 50 years. She was a great singer. But she devoted her time to the family”. Revealing Bhimsen’s craze for foreign cars, Shubhada said, “Of course. He still has an old Mercedes-Benz of 1968. He had craze for American cars. Now he cannot drive.”