At 87, the award-winning musician has been forgotten
HUBLI: Sitting in a room at an old-age home at Navanagar in Hubli, which used to be a kitchen, the 87-year-old man looks forlorn.
Since November, the tiny, dimly lit room has been the world of Gajananan R. Nimbaragi because he cannot move about on his own. He depends on his wife, Pramila, who is 76, to help him about. She stays in an old-age home meant for women near by. After he finishes his dinner, she leaves and returns the next morning.
He once enthralled music lovers as an accompanying artiste at All-India Radio (AIR), Dharwad, playing the violin, the flute, the sitar, the tabla and the harmonium from 1948 to 1979. Till a year ago he taught music at his son’s house in Hassan.
He was chosen for the T. Chowdiah National Award conferred by the State Government in 2003 and the Karnataka Kala Tilaka Award given by the Karnataka Sangeet Nrutya Academy (1992-93) and several other awards.
All the awards and titles he received during his musical career of more than five decades are no longer with him. They are probably in the official staff quarters of AIR, which was allotted to his younger son Madhav, who served as an accompanying artiste at AIR, Hassan, till his untimely death last year.
His elder son Vadiraj is an artiste at AIR, Dharwad. Mr. Nimbaragi has a daughter, Sumitra, who lost her husband and now stays with her daughter.
He has many disciples who have gained recognition at the State and national levels. They include Raghavendra Manavalli, B.R. Patil, Radha Gadagkar, Achyut Gadagkar, Madhuri Kher, Manik Kher, Sanjiv Namannavar, Chinmaya Namannavar, Nagaraj Jadhav, Shabbir Ahmed, Asha Jantli and M.S. Tatti. But none of them know about the plight of their guru.
After Madhav’s death a year ago, he stayed for a short while at Vadiraj’s house in Dharwad. After being asked to leave, the old couple were helped by a well-wisher and they ended up at Vivekananda Vruddhashrama run by Sneha Education and Development Organisation in Hubli. Another well-wisher helped them get the honorarium of Rs. 500 meant for artistes, which is used for medical treatment.
Since January, Vadiraj has started sending them Rs. 200 a month. “But do we really need money now,” asks Pramila.