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Durable Link to this BlogMonday, April 04, 2011

Bhimrao the Bharatratna!

My brother Prakash Burde, who has settled in Mumbai is a man of music. He is a music critic, organizes concerts promotes musicians and attend music programs as far as his health permits. At times, he narrates to me anecdotes connected with music events he attends.

Recently, he was a guest-speaker at a concert arranged in remembrance of Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, doyen among classical musicians of India, who passed away recently. As expected, the house was full. The great attraction was presence of Raghavendra, Bhimsen Joshi's eldest son. Raghavendra remembered his mother late Sunnandabai's riddle, at the time of his Munji (thread ceremony) when she had to "utter" her husbands' name!

In certain parts of India it was taboo to address or even utter one's husband's name till recently. Naturally some sort of enigma or mystery is attached to an old but harmless traditional belief or superstition of such a kind. Special occasions were created "to take" husband's name. These were weddings, munji felicitating a would-be-mother on similar family-functions. It was time for fun and entertainment when women gathered in good number. They coaxed, teased and threatened playfully one another to pronounce their respective husbands' name. Intelligent and talented wives, invented riddle, puzzle or brought in familiar mythological characters or literary allusions, connecting them to their spouse's name.

When Sunandabai's turn came, she brought in great heroes of Mahabharata, while pronouncing her husband's name in Marathi; she declared

"Mahabharat yuddh talanyasathi Krishnane kele prayatna
Bhimraoche navghete, ahet te Bharatratna!"

When translated it means:-

Lord Krishna tried to avoid war of Mahabharat
Bhimrao my hubby is a jewel of India!

© Private collection of Mohan D. Nadkarni
Bhimsen joshi
Bhimsen joshi

This was an event of sixty years ago. Mr. Raghavendra Joshi feels that his mother's words turned prophetic. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was later conferred the title of "Bharat Ratna" the highest Civilian title bestowed by the government of India.

© Private collection of Mohan D. Nadkarni
Lost in a Raga
Lost in a Raga
Picture of Bhimsen Joshi

(Bharat is India's ancient and alternate name like Hindustan. Bharat Ratna is Jewel of India 'Rao' is honorific title of addressing.)

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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