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Article: Pt Manikbua Thakurdas:A Legendary Musician No More

By Shubhada Moghe
  Pandit Manikbua Thakurdas, a bastion of the Bhaskarbua Bakhle Gayaki passed away at the age of 92, on October 1, 2002 in Mumbai. He was probably the only Guru to have a repertoire of more than 350 ragas - traditional & rare. He was my only Guru.

Pt. Manikbua Thakurdas was born on November 10, 1910, in a family of musicians & was the 7th generation musician in the Thakurdas lineage. At that time, music luminaries - Vazebua, Balkrishnabua Ichalkaranjikar, Bhatkhande, Bhaskarbua Bakhle, Bande Ali Khan – paid frequent visits to the Thakurdas household. The famous Bal Gandharva was taught by Manikbua’s grandfather Vinayakbua Thakurdas.

Manikbua was groomed by his father, Pt. Yeshwantbua Thakurdas, who was an eminent disciple of Pt. Bhaskarbua Bakhle. He inculcated the Bakhle gayaki, which is a fascinating blend of Gwalior, Agra & Jaipur gharanas, in Manikbua - teaching him Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Thumri, traditionally known & rare ragas & unique compositions. Later, Manikbua also had a spell of learning under Master Krishnarao, also a disciple of Pt. Bakhle.

Manikbua's life revolved around music. From standing first in the All India Music Competition, Baroda, in 1938, where Ustad Faiyaz Khan was the judge, to becoming a court singer at the Baroda & Indore royal courts, giving music direction to Marathi films & the Sangeet Drama "Baiju" in the 1960's, he gave up all fame only to dedicate his life to teaching music, researching & writing books.

His lecture-demonstration series gained tremendous popularity in the eighties. He projected - to give a few examples, that Raga Maru, Gaud are independent ragas or that Raga Gorakhi & Gorakhkalyan are two different ragas or Raga Bhim & Palasi too - are different & have come together as Bhimpalasi or would talk of the subtle differences between Raga Bhimpalasi & Dhani. He would also demonstrate some of the rare ragas like Supriya Todi, Champakali, as also ragas of four swaras like Rasmadhuri.

Manikbua believed that " Sangeet is a form of Aum." His teaching style was simple, methodical and pure. He would make the whole lesson very interesting giving examples from day to day life.

His end came on October 1 - International Music Day. Padmabhushan Dr. Gangubai Hangal said “His contribution to music is unparalleled.” World renowned Sitarist Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan said “His contribution to music is such that no artiste or student can forget. He was an eminent musicologist & a good tutor.”

Manikbua’s death has caused a void in the world of Hindustani classical music.



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