Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, a legendary vocalist of Kirana Gharana (school), was awarded India’s highest civilian award i.e. “Bharat Ratna” in 2008. He is also called as ‘Swar Bhaskar’. He was a disciple of Rambhau Kundgolkar alias Sawai Gandharva.
Pandit Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi, was born on February 4, 1922. Pandit Joshi was born into a Kannadiga family in the town of Rona, now in Gadag district of northern Karnataka, a southern state of India. His father, Gururaj Joshi, was a school teacher. Bhimsen was the eldest in a family of 16 siblings.
With his increasing liking for vocal music, Pandit Joshi, at the age of 11 in 1936, left his home to chase his dream and in search of a Guru and devote his life towards his passion of Music. He traveled for three years around North India, including in Delhi, Kolkata, Gwalior, Lucknow and Rampur, trying to find a good guru.
‘Bharat Ratna’ Bhimsen Joshi can be credited with adding his divergent magic to the Indian music and further enriching it by adapting discreet styles and amalgamating them to produce what is called ’music to ears’.
Joshi, an exponent of the khayal style, has not limited himself and also rendered splendid thumris and bhajans as well. The multi-talented singer has also been a recipient of the esteemed ’Padma Shri’, ’Sangeet Natak Academy Award’, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards.
However, the Panditji’s humility will always stand out. His oft-repeated statement: “I am always a shahgird (student). I have a long way to go.“
“In dry Kundagol, it was Bhimsen Joshi’s duty to fetch unending pitchers of water for his guru’s house from a distant water tank.” Poor fellow, in the scorching heat, he would carry water on his shoulders, but as he walked he would constantly sing. How many times I’ve heard him practicing the taans of Multani, Shankara.!’ recalls Gangubai Hangal. He was constantly a learner and learning never stopped.
Music was life and not livelihood for him. When he was 11, he ran away from home, angry with his father who insisted that his son also concentrate on other subjects besides music. Joshi’s deepest belief has always been that he is meant to sing. He knew that as a child, and he knows it now.
“A few years ago, I fell seriously ill and I was told I may not be able to sing again. But I was sure I would. If one has sincerity, genuine guru bhakti and an unalloyed affection for one’s work, God sees you through in any situation.”
“I don’t think there is any formula for happiness,” says Joshi. “It is my continuous evolution over the years as an artist that has brought me tremendous joy. You can believe in God or some shakti or destiny or whatever, but if your intentions are sound, you will always feel fine from within.”
1. Pursue your passion, do everything possible to chase it and you can excel in it and create an identity of yourself in the world.
2. One must always remember that the world of information and knowledge is so vast that no one can claim to be fully informed and fully knowledgeable. One should always remain a student and keep learning things all throughout the life.
3. One can learn anything and anywhere while doing his normal work.
4. There is no short cut to success.
5. Live life to do something for the society.