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Musical honour for Pt Vidhyadhar Vyas

Musical honour for Pt Vidhyadhar Vyas


By Meena Banerjee


Dr. Mallikarjun Mansur Memorial National Trust, Dharwad, Karnatak bestowed its highest musical honor on Pt Vidyadhar Vyas, the beacon of Paluskar Parampara of Gwalior gharana. This prestigious award is special because it is named after one of the most revered musicians of Dharwad region that has gifted many legendary vocalists such as Ganavidushi Gangubai Hangal, Swarasamrat Basavaraj Rajguru and Mallikarjun Mansoor apart from Venkatesh Kumar and Kaivalya Kumar, the acclaimed performers and gurus of this generation.


Vidyadhar Vyas, a highly learned vocalist, educationist, administrator and multilingual orator is, perhaps, the most worthy recipient of ‘Dr. Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur National Award’ that carries a shawl, a Maanpatra and a purse of one lakh. The glittering traditional ceremony held at Dharwad on 31 December 2023, the birthday of Pt Mallikarjun Mansur, was organised with a lot of respect. Trust member Venkatesh Kumar, Kaivalya Kumar, Somnath Mardur and several other musicians were also present among other dignitaries.


Born on the last day of 1910 in Mansur village of Dharwad district, a young Mallikarjun was in the drama company. Dr. Nilkantha Buwa Mirajkar recognised this young boy's latent talent, took him to Miraj and trained him in classical music. With incessant practice, he became the beacon of his state’s rich cultural tradition. On the national scene he won the Padma Vibhushan, instituted by the Indian Government. The Department of Kannada and Culture, Government of Karnataka has established this National Trust in1997. Since then, under the aegis of the trust, the residence of Mallikarjun Mansur has been renovated as a museum and a school in order to protect and nurture music. The trust organises two annual programmes in memory of Dr. Mallikarjun Mansur.  


Ironically Vidyadhar Vyas, the worthy son of Pandit Narayan Rao Vyas, initially carved a niche in the arena of Marathi Natya Sangeet as Atul Vyas. Later he focused on classical music and its treaties along with the immortal bhajans rendered by Pt D.V. Paluskar. The award ceremony concluded with a memorable performance by the erudite vocalist. After his brilliant presentation of raga Bhup, highlighting the characteristics of his gharana, he portrayed Nand and sang a Kannada devotional song as a tribute to Mallikarjun Mansur, who would sing this raga and bhajan frequently. 


The year 2024 arrived with another award for Vidhyadhar Vyas - the SMIPAC Lifetime Achievement Award. SMIPAC Trust was founded by Delhi based tabla maestro Shailendra Mishra, with an aim to propagate, encourage and diversify the rich culture of India by making it available to future generations around the world. For this it promotes artists, students and musically and aesthetically inclined people through scholarships, memberships and exposure to perform on stage and also to listen to the maestros.


The melodically delighting event took place in Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi on 10th February featuring several upcoming and renowned artistes. Vyas, a great believer in ‘edutainment’ (a blend of education and entertainment) enthralled his listeners with his unique style of presentation.