Deepa Ganesh

Events are on across venues in Hubli and Dharwad

The day began with an offering of bhajans by over ten artistes

Recital by Gangubai's disciple Sulabha Dutt Neeralgi at museum

Hubli: In Hubli, March 5 will never be the same again. Hundreds of people would stream into Gangubai Hangal's home ‘Ganga Lahari' from early in the morning to wish the doyenne of the Kirana Gharana on her birthday. It used to be a happy day for her, meeting and talking to people. And she personally ensured that every one got pedha and tea.

To celebrate the birthday of the late singer, the Gangubai Hangal Music Foundation has organised a mammoth three-day Indian Music, Dance and Folk Festival across seven venues in Hubli and Dharwad, beginning on Friday. “Swaranjali” kicked off at the Gangubai Gurukul Trust in Hubli. On the sprawling five-acre land on which the Government is constructing a residential music school, the day began with an offering of bhajans by over ten artistes.

Amidst a gathering of well-wishers and family members, 90-year-old Patil Puttappa offered prayers at her samadhi. Everyone in the informal gathering seemed to have been touched by the graciousness of Gangubai in one way or the other and all had stories to share. Clarinet player and chairperson of Sangeeta Nritya Academy Narasimhalu Vadavati said, “It's sad that today we do not have Ajji in our midst. But I can feel her presence and hear her immortal music ringing in my ears from the time I entered this premise.” He later played her favourite raga, “Shuddh Sarang”.

At the museum

At Gangotri, the house in which Gangubai was born and that is now a museum, the festivities started with a recital by Gangubai's disciple Sulabha Dutt Neeralgi. Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad, Darpan Jain, also the president of the Gangubai Gurukul Trust, made floral offerings to the maestro's portrait. He said that he had sought an annual maintenance grant of Rs. 1. 5 crore from the Government for Gangotri. “The gurukul is being done up to international standards and students will be given a stipend of Rs. 3,000 towards boarding and lodging expenses,” he said.

Facilities

The building, that is now 80 per cent complete, is likely to be inaugurated in July, around the time of her first death anniversary. The gurukul will have six houses for the gurus and 30 houses for the students, along with a canteen, library and research centre.

An exclusive auditorium will be part of the second phase, he said. The selection will be on an all-India basis, and there will be visiting faculty as well.

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