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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Kousalya Manjeshwar Durable Link to this BLOG
Worthy Disciple of a Worthy Guru Kousalya Manjeshwar – May 09, 1922 to Aug 03, 2007
Guest Entry by Prakash G. Burde

Kousalya Manjeshwar, a worthy disciple of Gan Tapaswini Mogubai Kurdikar passed away on Friday 3rd August 2007 after a brief illness. She was 85. Vamanrao Despande, the well-know musicologist and author of 'Gharandaz Gayaki' called Kousalya’s vocalism nearest to Mogubai's.

Having preferred not to perform in public often due to many reasons, Kousalya maintained extremely high standards set by her Guru Mogubai and she not only achieved them but excelled in her radio broadcasts. Even before 1947, she remained till recently one of the top grade artistes of AIR.

Born in 1922, Kousalya's earliest exposure to music came from her mother, who had taken lessons at Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya in Mumbai, a music school established by the eminent music missionary Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (1872-1931). Her formal training in Khyal was from D.R. Nimbargi of Gwalior Gharana. Married to Dinkar Manjeshwar at the age of 16, she also got lessons from Gajananrao Joshi, the well known vocalist and violinist of yesteryears. Subsequently she had the good fortune of getting excellent life long training from none other than "Mai" (mother) Mogubai Kurdikar. When Mogubai Kurdikar passed away, Kousalya broke down and said, "today I lost my mother". Such was their Guru-Shishya (teacher-student) relationship.

It is important to mention about some of the milestones in Kousalya's life before Mogubai took her in her wings.

During the freedom struggle, though not directly involved in the movement, Kousalya Manjeshwar had the rare privilege of singing bhajans in Mahatma Gandhi's prayer meetings in Mani Bhavan, Mumbai. She also had the privilege of singing bhajans preceding Mahatma’s ashes immersion in 1948.

Yet another milestone was her leading part in 1953 in a country wide agitation against All India Radio (AIR) audition policy implemented in 1950 by the then Minister of Information & Broadcasting B.V. Keskar, with the help of leading lights of music. She formed a Sangeet Kalakar Mandal with Vilayat Hussain Khan as the President. It was natural that Kousalya Manjeshwar was its secretary. The agitation finally ended in 1955 with a settlement favorable to the artistes.

Training under her Guru, though arduous and intensive, Kousalya had full support of her husband Dinkar Manjeshwar. Though she continued to be featured regularly by AIR, Kousalya restricted her performances to few private concerts, birth or death anniversaries or on special requests in music conferences. But suffice to say that she was the "Chosen one" to be vocal accompanying artist to Mogubai in her rare public appearances.

Dinkar Manjeshwar had been a great source of inspiration and encouragement. Due to his efforts many hours of tapes of her Guru’s teaching methods, Kousalya's gayaki was meticulously recorded and preserved. Thus many hours of her recordings have been cataloged and meticulously kept with a thoroughness of a professional. It is to the credit of underscore records of Aneesh Pradhan and Shubha Mudgal that an MP-3 record of her music was released in 2006, almost 11 months prior to her demise. This compact disc is available from Underscore Records Pvt. Ltd., MRP all inclusive is in Indian Rs. 200/-.

This disc contains original recordings of Kousalyas performances in 1982-1983. It contains Marwa, Lalita Gauri, Fait Kalyan, Bhoopa Nat, Bageshri-bahar, Jaijaiwanti and Sampoorna Malkauns all Jaipur-Atrauli specialities.

In Pratima Tilak, a well known disciple of Kousalya Manjeshwar, one can get a glimpse of Kousalya Manjeshwar's music.

So the tradition continues.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, August 6, 2007
Last Modified: 8/20/2008 9:18:59 AM

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