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Puttaraja Kavi Gavai is no more

Staff Correspondent

He enabled economic empowerment of thousands through music



Puttaraja Gavai

Hubli: Pandit Puttaraja Kavi Gavai, musician and reformer who successfully used the power of Hindustani classical music to bring about economic empowerment and social transformation, especially among the visually impaired and the destitute, is no more. He was 97.

He was ailing for a while and the end came at noon on Friday at the Veereshwara Punyashrama in Gadag where he was moved, as he wished, from a Belgaum hospital after he stopped responding to treatment. He leaves thousands of disciples whom he empowered through music besides lakhs of devotees.

The funeral will be held at Gadag on Saturday afternoon.

Born to Revaiah Venkatapurmath and Siddamma on March 3, 1914 at Devara Hospete in Hangal taluk of Haveri district, Puttaiah spent his childhood at Devagiri in Haveri taluk after he lost his father and his vision. His brother-in-law Chandrashekharaiah, who took care of him, discovered his ear for music and sent him to Panchakshari Gavai's ashram in Gadag. It was his guru who renamed him and trained him, eventually naming him his successor.

Puttaraja continued the tradition of his guru, whose Veereshwara Punyashrama empowered the destitute and people with disabilities by teaching them music.

Padma Bhushan

Shortly before his last birthday, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. It topped a series of honours, including the prestigious Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 2007, the Rajyotsava Award (1970) and an honorary doctorate by Karnatak University (1975).

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