President, PM condole death of Bhimsen Joshi

Monday, January 24, 2011

NEW DELHI - Hailing him as a “towering musical genius”, President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led Indian leaders in paying tributes to legendary Hindustani classical vocalist Bhimsen Joshi, who passed away in a Pune hospital Monday morning.

In his passing away the nation has lost one of the greatest and most popular classical vocalists, Patil said in her condolence message. She described him as one of the most acclaimed exponents of khayal gayaki of the Kirana Gharana.

Manmohan Singh said that he joined music lovers across the world in mourning the demise of the iconic vocalist.

In his passing away, the nation and the music world has lost a towering musical genius and the most famous and accomplished exponent of the Kirana gharana, the prime minister said in his message.

He pointed out that Joshi had led the “renaissance of Hindustani classical music with his unique style and mastery of ragas”. He showed that music knows no linguistic or cultural barriers, Manmohan Singh said.

Generations of listeners were enthralled by his mellifluous voice, mastery of rhythm and magnificent renderings of ‘bhajans’ and ‘khayals’, he said.

Manmohan Singh also recalled that Joshi had endeared himself to the entire nation with the national unity song “Mile sur mera tumhara” along with other artists.

His rendering of the song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” on the theme of national integration is etched in the popular consciousness, the prime minister said.

Joshi, who was awarded the country’s highest civilian honour the Bharat Ratna in 2008, died at Pune’s Sahyadri Hospital at 8.05 a.m.

Joshi, who was 88, was rushed to the hospital Dec 31. He was suffering from old age related ailments, including kidney problems, and had been admitted to the intensive care unit.

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari also paid tributes saying that Joshi was unique in preserving tradition while incorporating new ideas in his music.

He has thus become a living tradition in Hindustani music with tremendous influence on classical musicians, music lovers and the general public. His renderings of devotional and patriotic songs are etched in public memory, he said.

By his personal example, he has demonstrated that a thirst for knowledge and music can propel individuals with limited means to seek such learning against all odds. His loss has created a huge void in the world of music, Ansari said.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said not only India, but the entire world had lost a shining light of music.

Panditjis contribution to the classical Indian music and to introducing this rich heritage of India to the world is eternal and second to none. His glorious artistry will continue to pervade the hearts and minds of music lovers all over the world, said Krishna.

On her twitter account, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj posted: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was one great maestro whose ’sur’ (music) became one with the people. His rich voice will resonate at all times.

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