Pandit Omkarnath Thakur

Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, an icon of north Indian Classical music, a reputed vocalist who could impress class and mass with his performance, a researcher in Indian musicology, a knowledgable Guru, a capable administrator, an impressive orator having knowledge of many Indian languages and an educationalist was born on 24th june 1897 in small village of Gujarat state of India

His Childhood passed in poverty as father Mr.Gaurishankar left his job of army and became a saint, leaving all responsibility of children and family on wife Zaverba. She worked very hard for livelihood and son omkar, as a child helped mother in earning bread and also helped his father for daily needs. Though intelligent and talented singer he could not complete his schooling due to family responsibility. His formal education was only up to 5th standard, but he was self educated man and later due to his scholarly research in music he was awarded D.Lit. by two prestigious universities of India. He was the first musician to receive ‘padmashri’ award by Government of India.

His music Guru was Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, a very welknown devoted Guru and a reformer of Indian music. After five six years of intense training in music omkarnathji developed his own style of singing gradually. During his regorous sadhana of music he visualized different Ragas and Raginis and their moods.

In 1933 he was selected as representative of Indian music, to participate in world music conference at Florence-Italy. He travelled through many countries of Europe, giving his Performances and lectures on Indian music, impressing all scholars and Listeners. The tour was abruptly concluded due to sad news of demise of his wife Indiradevi with the newly born baby. It was very hard for him to overcome this shocking incident.

In 1950 He became a founder Principal of college of music and fine Arts in Banaras Hindu University – Varanasi and worked for seven years, establishing the college on sound foundation. He expired on 29th Dec. 1967 after a Prolonged illness, at Mumbai.

His main contribution towards Indian music are as following:

  1. A new and well designed curriculam for classical vocal music learners was implemented by him and he also wrote six volumes of text book ‘Sangitanjali’. In all these volumes there are two parts, the first part devoted to musicology and the second part is devoted to Ragas, their detailed descriptions, compositions. It was a novel idea to combine both these aspects in detail in music text book.

  2. His research book ‘Pranav Bharti’ written in Hindi language was a scholarly book entinely on Indian musicology. He tried to establish links between modern north Indian Bilawal scale with Bharat’s Shadajgram and madhyamgram. He differed in many theories established by late Pandit V.N.Bhatkhande. The modern musicologists of India accept many of Omkarnathji’s theories.

  3. He realised and popularised the aesthetic aspects of music and gave many lecture Demonstretions on this aspect of music. He established that Raga improvisation is not just gimmicks of notes but all Ragas have their different mood, different age, gender. All Ragas have different inner identity (Bhav Roop) His thoughts on aesthetics aspects of music influenced largely the music world of India.

  4. The music college he  established at Banaras Hindu university is now known as faculty of music and Performing Arts. It is a Very welknown and prestigious institution of India imparting music education to many students and researchers.