Gangubaiís concert of life ends
Hindustani singer Gangubai Hangal at her residence in Hubli in this September 2009 picture. She died of cardiac arrest at hospital
Photo: Bhagya Prakash K
HUBLI: The doyenne of Hindustani Classical Music and one of the foremost exponents of the Kirana Gharana, Gangubai Hangal (97) breathed her last at a private hospital here on Tuesday morning following a cardiac arrest, putting an end to an illustrious musical career spanning over more than seven and half decades.
A recipient of more than fifty awards including Padmavibhushan, Padmabhushan and Central Sangeet Natak Academy Award, four honorary doctoral degrees and twenty four titles, Gangubai had the rare honour of being honoured by nine Prime Ministers and five Presidents of India.
The vocalist, who had studied only up to class V, went on to serve as honorary music professor and then as senate member of Karnatak University, Dharwad. Apart from her several performances in and outside the country, she had performed in more than 200 schools and colleges across India for promotion of Indian classical music among younger generation.
Gangubaiía last concert was at Belgaum at the age of 94 years during March 2006. The concert, which lasted for 20 minutes had marked the 75th year of the vocalistís long musical career.
Having successfully fought against bone marrow cancer in 2003, Gangubai had returned home with more enthusiasm. Although disease and age had made her body fragile, she had decided to move on and very rarely declined to participate in public functions in the recent years.
However in the recent months doctors had advised her not to travel. It was in the last month that Gangubai had experienced ďuneasiness and breathing problemĒ and was subsequently hospitalised.
She was discharged on July 12 after being in the hospital for more than a month but was again admitted with breathing problem on July 14. As she developed cardiac problem she was shifted to a super speciality hospital. However her heartís muscle became weaker and on the Monday night she suffered cardiac arrest. But through immediate medical intervention, the doctors were able to resuscitate her and she was subsequently put on ventilator.
Gangubai had another cardiac arrest at around 2 a.m. on Tuesday and a team of expert doctors again succeeded in resuscitating her. But the third cardiac arrest at 7.10 a.m. was fatal, the doctors said.
Gangubaiís mortal remains were immediately shifted to ďGanga LahariĒ, the vocalistís residence at Hubli and soon scores of people arrived at the place to pay last respects.
Deputy Commissioner of Dharwad Darpan Jain, who paid last respects on behalf of the state government said that Gangubaiís funeral would be held with full state honours at Keshwapur Muktidhama in Hubli on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
The vocalist set an example for others to follow by donating her eyes. Gangubai had pledged to donate her eyes to the Eye Bank run Dr M.M. Joshi Eye Institute and her family members allowed Dr M.M. Joshi and his staff to carry out the necessary surgery.
Dr Joshi told the reporters that her eyes were in good condition. There were around 200 visually impaired persons waiting for corneal transplant and two of them would be benefited by the eye donation.
Images: Gangubai Hangal (1913-2009)