Source: The Hindu; Author: Kuldeep Kumar; Photo Courtesy: K. Bhagya Prakash

Himself suffering from impaired vision, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar was a great visionary who made it the mission of his life to propagate music among the educated middle classes that had started to make their appearance in the latter half of the 19th Century as a result of India’s encounter with British colonial education and administration. Born on August 18, 1872, Paluskar sanitised a whole lot of lewd and erotic compositions, turned to the medieval saint poets to make use of their devotional songs, and also composed his own bhajans in order to make our music palatable to the new kind of audiences. Till then available to only the members of the aristocracy and the mercantile capitalist classes, music was liberated from these narrow confines and brought into the public domain due to Paluskar’s untiring efforts. He also showed great patriotism and political wisdom by establishing a close link with the anti-colonial nationalist movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. Ever since it was established in 1939 by the late Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in the Capital has been celebrating Paluskar’s birth anniversary every year by organising a grand music festival. Maintaining its tradition, it held the four-day Vishnu Digambar Jayanti Sangeet Samaroh at India Habitat Centre (August 16 to 18) and at FICCI auditorium (August 19) to celebrate his 140th birth anniversary.

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Aesthetic appeal: Venkatesh Kumar. File photo : K. Bhagya Prakash