Puttaraj Gawai dedicates Padma Bhushan to students

Staff Correspondent

He says he is happy that he got the award

Hubli: “Nanaga prashasti bandiddu bhala santosha ageti” (I feel very happy on being selected for the award) “It is an award to my visually impaired students and thousands of devotees” This is what the nonagenarian musician Pandit Puttaraj Gawai, who will be celebrating his 97th birthday on March 3, had to say after being informed that he had been conferred the Padma Bhushan.

Although he is unable to speak much because of his age, the musician thanked the Government for recognising her service to the world of music.

Born in 1914, Puttaraj Gawai continued the tradition of his guru Sri Panchakshari Gawai who established Vireshwara Punyashrama to make the visually impaired, people with physical disabilities and the destitute self-reliant by teaching them music.

Pandit Puttaraj Gawai, who plays several instruments besides being a vocalist, used to teach music to students until recently. Now, because of his failing health, he has now stopped teaching music.

He heads a theatre company “Sri Kumareshwara Krupa Poshita Pandit Panchakshari Gawaiyavara Natya Sangh” which was established about five decades back to support scores of artistes of “company theatre”.

Pandit Puttaraj Gawai has written “Basava Purana” in Hindi. Recognising his achievement, he was honoured by the then President of India Dr. Babu Rajendra Prasad in the year 1961. He received honorary doctorate by Karnatak University in 1975. In 2007, the Madhya Pradesh Government presented him the “Kalidas Samman”. The other awards that he has got include Karnataka Rajyotsava Award (1970), Kanaka Purandara Prashasti (1998), Nadoja Prashasti (1998), Kendra Sahitya Nataka Academy award (1999), Basavashri Award (2002).

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