Sunday, August 01, 2010

Anjanibai Malpekar

I remembered this day of 1974 when we got a message of passing away of Smt Anjanibai Malpekar. What I wasn't aware that the day was August 1st. Swarmandakini has profiles of musical maestroes. This is what it says about Smt Anjanibai Malpekar.

Anjanibai was born in musicians' family in Goa on 22nd April, 1883. She started learning music from Ustad Nazeer Khan at a tender age of 8 years. She used to learn from Ustad and then practise for herself and the sessions would extend up to 10-12 hours every day. She had stated that Ustad first taught her Raga Yaman for three and a half years and then Bhairavi for one and a half years.(both the ragas together covered all the twelve notes of the octave). After the two ragas were thoroughly mastered by Anjanibai, he taught her many other special Ragas. He also taught her Sangeet Shashtra and the method of writing notation for Bandishes.

She made her debut in a public performance in Mumbai at the age of 16 years. The performance was so exhilarating that she received an award of Rupees five thousand, which she handed over to her Guru. Ustad Nazeer Khan. After the first performance in Mumbai, her reputation spread across the music community in the country and she received invitations for participating in conventions all over the country. She commanded respect as a talented artist of a very high calibre. In the meantime she married Seth Wasanji Ved. While she was close to reaching the summit of popularity her voice got badly affected after a performance in 1904, making it impossible for her to sing. As the voice could not be restored after a yearlong treatment, someone suggested to her name of a spiritual Guru. Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon, near Pune. She approached him and her voice got miraculously corrected after consuming prasad - clove & sugar given by Guru as blessing She then continued to learn under Ustad Nazeer Khan and started giving public performances again. However, death of Ustad Nazeer Khan in 1920, was too severe a loss for her to sustain and created a void in her life which could not be filled. She lost interest in giving public performances and preferred to lead a spiritual life. After her last public performance in Town hall of Mumbai, in 1923 when she was barely 40 years old she retired from giving public performance.

Although she had cut herself off from public performances, she continued to offer guidance to senior musicians, such as, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Shrimati Kishori Amonkar, Pt. T.D. Janorikar, Begum Akhtar and Naina Devi. In appreciation of her extraordinary contribution to Hindustani classical music, she was awarded Fellowship of the Sangeet Natak Academy at the hands of the First President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad. She led a meritorious life up to the age of 91 years when she passed away on 1st August, 1974.



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