Dubai: Dhwani Pratishtana pays Tributes to Classical Singer Gangubai Hangal

Pics: Sujay Bendore
Report: Shodhan Prasad
Daijiworld Media Network  - Dubai (SP)

Dubai, Aug 9: 'Dhwani Prathistana' arranged ‘Gaanagangegey Namana’ a tribute to the noted Dharwad-born doyen of Hindustani vocal music, the late Gangubai Hangal, who mesmerized audiences with her melodious voice for over six decades.  The programme was organized at Arab Udupi Banquet Hall, Sharjah on August 7.

Dwani Prathistana is an organization promoting art and literature in Dubai and have hosted many programmes in the past including plays, cultural programmes and award functions.  The programme of homage started with a minute's silencel and ‘Saraswati Vandana’, a prayer song rendered by Suma Narayan, who herself is a singer gifted with golden voice.  Also present on the stage were Ashok Shetty, owner of Mubarak General Trading and Prakash Rao Payyar, president of Dhwani Prathistana. Many members of Dwani Prathistana and well wishers from Dubai and Sharjah attended the ‘Sharadhanjali(homage)’ which started at 5 PM.  Payyar got the programme going with a small introduction of the great artist, Gangubai Hangal.

Suma Narayan shared her views on various incidents in the life of Gangubai, which were not known commonly.  Ganesh Rai, ex-president of Karnataka Sangha Sharjah was also present and shared some notes on the life of Gangubai.  He spoke of some great incidents which never got published anywhere, but gave Gangubai a push in her career.  These incidents took place in the 19th century with All India Radio and even with HMV, when there were no proper communication systems like the present one.  Ashok Shetty also spoke on Gangubai’s life and struggle as a woman in those days, when women were not allowed to come out in the public in the world dominated by men.

Gangubai Hangal (5 March 1913 – 21 July 2009), was an Indian singer of the 'Khyal genre of Hindustani Classic Music', who was known for her deep and powerful voice. Hangal belonged to the “Khirana Gharana”.

Gangubai Hangal was born at Dharwad to Chikkurao Nadiger, an agriculturist and Ambabai, a vocalist of Carnatic music.  Hangal received only elementary education and her family shifted to Hubli in 1928. Initially, she learned classical music from Krishnacharya and Dattopant Desai, before studying under Sawai Gandharva, a respected guru.

Hangal's family was considered to be of low social status and for women of her generation, singing was not considered as an appropriate employment. Hangal struggled against this prejudice and made a career of her own. Hangal served as honorary music professor of the Karnatak University. She was awarded the “Padma Vibhushan”, India's second highest civilian honor, in 2002.

Gangubai continued to keep in touch with her "gurubhai" Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi ,along with Pandit Rambhau Kundgolkar, also known as Sawai Gandharva. Reverred in the music circles by luminaries like Kishori Amonkar, Prabha Atre and Lata Mangeshkar, Gangubai is survived by her two sons Narayan Rao and Babu Rao. Her daughter Krishna Hangal, who was trained by her in classical music, passed away in 2004 when she was 75, delivering a big blow to Gangubai's aspirations.  Her granddaughters-in-law Veena and Archana will carry forward the legacy, according to the singer's family. 

Hangal gave her last concert in March 2006 to mark her 75th career year. She had overcome bone marrow cancer in 2003, and died of cardiac arrest at the age of 96, on 21 July 2009, in Hubli, where she resided. She donated her eyes to increase awareness for organ donation.

Hangal married at the age of 16 to Gururao Kaulgi, a Brahmin lawyer.

Gangubai Hangal received a number of awards, which include:
• Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy Award, 1962
• Padma Bhushan, 1971
• Padma Vibhushan, 2002
• Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1973
• Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship, 1996.
Karnataka sgovernment 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.

Towards the end of ‘Shradhanjali’, Madhusudhan briefed on the awards received by Gangubai Hangal and her contribution to Indian Music. Sampath Shetty concluded the programme with vote of thanks.


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Comment on this article

  • Mohan sapaliga, Sharjah

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    Many of the kannadigas are not aware of Gangubhai Hanagal.U Have done a great job by introducing her sturggled life to us. Many Thanks to you and we wish a great success in your endeavour to develop Kannada culture in the desert soil

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  • Santosh poojari, Kodaikanal/ Dxb

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    It should have been  announced in the media in advance. I would have attended this meeting as i heard it was a meaningful meeting, thru which you have introduced Hanagal''s struggled path to achieve the highest. Bravo. You are great. We like your work towards kannada culture very much.

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  • Robin, Mumbai/dubai

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    Prakash Payyar, you are doing great work. Keep moving.

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  • Anusha, Hiriadka Udupi/Dubai

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    Dhwani Pratidhtana has been spreeding Kannada culture in UAE and this is another great work in identifying Gangubhai Hanagal''s contribution to the Musical world.Thanks to Prakash Payyar for conducting condolence to Gangubai.

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  • Kartik, Udupi/Dubai

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    It is only dwani pratishtana which has been uplifting Kannada culture in UAE.Mrs. Suma Narayan has given the good introduction of Hanagal as well as Mr. Rai''s brief analysis of how Hanagal was identified by the music world. Thanks to Payyar for conducting condolence to Hanagal.

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  • Divesh Shetty, Kappu

    Mon, Aug 10 2009

    Dwani pratishtana has been spreading Kannada culture in UAE and this is another great work in identifying & introducing Gangubhai Hanagals contribution to the Musical World to the UAE Kannadigas. Congratulations Dwani Pratishtana & keep up the good work.

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  • Harish Shetty, Kaup/Dubai

    Sun, Aug 09 2009

    Dhwani Prathishtana is only one association organising meaningfull kannada programmes in UAE.Congratulations to members of Dhwani Prathishtana for their dedicated Kannada works.

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