Deva Reddy, himself a blind Hindustani musician, runs a music school-cum-hostel for visually challenged girls.
In a quiet corner of suburban Bangalore is a small, but extraordinary music school. Founded and run by a visually challenged classical-musician, with help from wife and student, it houses 15 visually challenged girls who receive accommodation, food, clothes, and music training all free of cost!
Vidwan Deva Reddy N. Chinchali, Managing Trustee, Pandit Puttaraj Gawai Trust for Disabled, has not only rewritten his own destiny but is also changing that of many similarly-disadvantaged girls.
Born into a simple farmer’s family in Yelavathi village near Gadag, Deva Reddy displayed an inclination for music from childhood. He joined the local music gurukula, the Veereshwara Punyashrama, passed his senior examination, moved to Bangalore and joined the Ramana Maharishi School for the Blind and completed his 10th class. Later, he secured a job as classical-music teacher, and gave performances in India and UK. Currently, he teaches in a government high-school.
Deva Reddy tells us he noticed many young, visually challenged girls being turned away from the Veereshwara Punyashrama, when he was a student, as it was then a boys-only facility. “I resolved to do something for such disadvantaged girls as soon as I had the means.”
So, after he married and acquired the minimum resources to support himself and his family, he set up Gawai Trust which helped him open and run this facility for visually challenged girls. Students are taught classical, light-classical and instrumental music. Deva Reddy manages this music-school-cum hostel with the same simple philosophy that guided him all his life: God will Give. And reinforcing this touching faith are the steady earnings from concerts by him and his students and donations from admirers and friends.
Deva Reddy performs Hindustani and light music both individually and with his students. His accompanist is his former student and competent tabla-player, M.J. Hareesh, also visually challenged. Deva Reddy’s wife Asha grew up in an orphanage. She is empathetic because of the circumstances in which she grew up and mothers the young girls with the same care she bestows on her own two children. Looking around at the clean, spacious flat rich in natural light and fresh air, the nutritious food laid out, the decent clothes, observing how carefully they are taught, and the host of musical instruments at their disposal, one can’t help thinking how fortunate these girls are.Deva Reddy says any visually handicapped or otherwise disabled girls with a flair for music are welcome to join his free-of-cost hostel and also receive free musical training too from him. “There are vacancies. Will you tell people?” he asks us. Deva Reddy’s grit and determination puts “normal” people like us to shame.
For details, contact: Deva Reddy N. Chinchali, Pandit Puttaraj Gawai Trust for Disabled, Bangalore. Tel: 94487 06585 or 94497 87979.