By Amruth Joshi
THE museum of Indian classical music at Hubli (Karnataka), a unique effort by the family members of eminent Hindustani vocalist, Padma Vibhushan Dr Gangubai Hangal, is where you get a glimpse of the rarest collection of pictures, photographs, musical instruments, music discs, and vital information regarding Indian classical music. It can be said that this museum is only one of its kind in the entire Indian classical music world.
Ganga Lahari, the residence of Dr Gangubai Hangal at Hubli in Karnataka, is itself converted into a museum. Interestingly, this house is also associated with legendary musicians like Shri Abdul Kareem Khan of Kirana gharana and his disciple Sawai Gandharva, who stayed in this house. Many other musicians also have stayed in this house at Hubli as it was an important town enroute to Mysore. These musicians used to visit Mysore to perform at the famous darbar of the Mysore Maharaja. Shri Abdul Kareem Khan of Kirana gharana (Punjab) spent his last years in this region of Karnataka. This is one of the reasons that many jewels of Hindustani music, such as Sawai Gandharva, Dr Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Dr Mallikarjuna Mansur, Pandit Puttaraja Gawai, Pandit Basavaraj Rajaguru, etc. came to light here.
Dr Gangubai Hangal had dreamt of setting up this museum which she had expressed before her family members. Without delay her family members along with her fans started the work and in a record time of six months, the basic structure of the museum came into existence. It was inaugurated by none other than eminent vocalist, Pandit Jasraj on the occasion of the 93rd birthday of Dr Gangubai Hangal. Pandit Jasraj expressed his gratitude to Dr Gangubai Hangal and her family members for taking up this unique project.
The museum was inaugurated by none other than eminent vocalist, Pandit Jasraj on the occasion of the 93rd birthday of Dr Gangubai Hangal.
Musical instruments, such as tanpura, swaramandal, dagga, tabla, violin, sitar, flute, dilruba, veena, shehnai, etc. welcome you to the world of music. From here we move to the photographic collection of about 150 legendary classical musicians, right from Tansen, Amir Khusro, Abdul Kareem Khan, Bhaskar Bua Bakale, Sawai Gandharva to Jitendra Abhisheki, Ram Marathe, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bindu Madhav Pathak, Kumar Gandharva, etc. Above all these photographs are the photos of legendaries of Carnatic music, such as Shri Puran-daradasa, Shri Thyagaraja, Shri Muttuswami Dixitar, etc.
After this we get a glimpse of group photos of artistes taken at various sangeet sammelans. These photos were taken way back in 1890, 1902, 1920, 1941, etc. A group photo taken at Delhi with the then President, Dr Rajendra Prasad is unique because it has almost all legendary musicians of that period. There are also photographs of Sawai Gandharva Sangeet Sammelan held annually at Kundagol, near Hubli, in memory of the late Sawai Gandharva, right from 1955. In this noteworthy photograph, one can see Pandit Puttaraj Gawai, though blind, playing various instruments such as violin, santoor, tabla, mandola, sarangi, veena, Surod, harmonium, etc. Pandit Puttaraj Gawai has earned fame throughout the nation for his school where music is taught to blind students.
There are charts which give detailed information on centuries-old gharana parampara such as Kirana, Gwalior, Jaipur, Dagar, Mewati, Agra, etc., their founders, their desendants, their disciples, etc. There are also about 200 gramaphone records from HMV of various artistes, right from 1911 onwards.
A gallery has been particularly dedicated to Dr Gangubai Hangal. Here one can find photographs of Dr Gangubai right from the age of 12, when she started her career to her recent 93rd birthday. Also there are photographs of her various programmes in and outside India. There is a list of 63 ragas which she sang during her career. A display section exhibits the awards and felicitations Dr Gangubai received, which include Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and about 28 prestigious sangeet awards.
The unique feature of this museum is that a section is being set up exclusively to give margadarshan to the young generation who want to take up Hindustani music as a career. It gives details of all universities, colleges, institutes which offer these courses. Nearly 83 prestigious institutions and organisations are enlisted which organise sangeet sammelans. Also there is a list of various awards that are being given for achievements in the field of music.
Altogether this museum can be called Kashi for a music lover. The museum is expected to be completely ready by 2008. The entire project is financed by family members and all the material exhibited in the museum was with Dr Gangubai Hangal herself.
(The writer can be contacted at G-24, Vivekananda Corner, Desai Cross, Hubli-580 029. Email: [email protected])