Remembering the musical legend on her 9th death anniversary

Anagha Telang
India from the very begining has been a land of art & culture. Music has always played a pivtol role in poularising Indian culture & Heritage across the globe and one such prominent Indian musical personalty was Gangubai Hangal. 

Early Life
Born on 5 March,1913 to Chikkurao Nadiger, an agriculturist and Ambabai, a vocalist of Carnatic music in Dharwaad. Hangal received only basic education and then in 1928 her family shifted to Hubli so that she can learn Hindustani classical Music. At the age of 13 she began to learn from Krishnacharya Hulgur, a kinnari (stringed instrument like a veena) player, studying Hindustani classical music. From him she learned sixty compositions in one year before he stopped teaching her after an argument about his fees. Gangubai learned from Dattopant Desai before studying under Sawai Gandharva, a respected guru. Hangal could only study sporadically under Gandharva when he returned to his home, but she received an intensive training of three years after he relocated permanently to Hubli. 

Musical Journey
Hangal fought with the prejudices of the society and and continued learning music as Hangal's mother's family was considered to be of low social status and for women of her generation singing was not considered appropriate employment. She performed across the country and also for All India Radio untill 1945. Hangal had initially performed light classical genres, including bhajan and thumri, but concentrated on khyal. she refused to sing light classical, saying she sang only ragas. Hangal served as honorary music professor of the Karnataka University. She gave her last concert in March 2006 to mark her 75th career year. 

Personal Life
Hangal married at age 16 to Gururao Kaulgi, a Brahmin lawyer. They had two sons, Narayan Rao and Babu Rao, and one daughter, Krishna, who died from cancer in 2004, aged 75.

Awards & Honors

  • Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award- 1962
  • Padma Bhushan- 1971
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award- 1973
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship- 1996
  • Padma Vibhushan- 2002
  • The Karnataka state government declared two days of mourning for Hangal.
  • A state funeral was announced for 22 July in Hubli by the district commissioner of the Dharwad district.
  • In 2008, The State Government of Karnataka decided to name the proposed Karnataka State Music University, Mysore after Gangubhai Hangal. 
  • The Karnataka State Dr. Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University Act, 2009 has been passed by the State Legislature. Presently the Karnataka State Dr. Gangubhai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University operates from Mysore, Karnataka.
  • Gangothri — the birthplace of Gangubai Hangal — has been converted into a museum by the Government of Karnataka.
  • Dr Gangubai Hangal Gurukul in Hubli trains artists in traditional Guru-Shishya parampara to become performing artists.

In 2003, she had overcome bone marrow cancer and died of cardiac arrest at the age of 96, on 21 July 2009, in Hubli, where she resided.She had her eyes donated to increase awareness for organ donation.

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