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Hindustani Music 10- Life of a Legend


Shubham1 Hey guys, thanks for a great response on my last article based on the string instruments used in Hindustani Music. This article as told previously will be based on the famous and the legendary musicians which changed Hindustani music as it is today, few of them are-

  1. Ustad Miyan Tansen
  2. Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar
  3. Pt. Vishnu Digambar Bhatkhande
  4. Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
  5. Proff. B R Deodhar
  6. Swami Haridas
  7. Pt. D.V Paluskar
  8. Ustad Allaudin Khan
  9. Ustad Allah Rakha Khan
  10. Ustad Zakir Hussain
  11. Ustad Faiyyaz Khan
  12. Pt. Omkarnath Thakur
  13. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
  14. Ustad Amir Khan
  15. Pt. Ravi Shankar etc. etc.


These are a very few names who have contributed significantly in the field of music. In fact a very important and critical aspect of music i.e. writing music; was discovered by Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Pt. Vishnu Digambar Bhatkhande in their own 2 different formats; known as the Bhatkhande swarlipi and the Vishnu Digambar swarlipi named after their creators. A format in which we can write music is known as ‘Swarlipi. I’ll highlight the differences between these 2 swarlipis in my coming articles. Now, a very short overview of the lives of these two personalities


Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar Born on 18th August 1872 this famous musician was a Hindustani vocalist.vishnudigambar He is known for singing the original version of the famous bhajan Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. At a very tender age this musician; due to some firecracker mishap lost his eyesight and because he was living in a small town there was no immediate treatment. The boy’s talent was recognised by the then King of Miraj and he was sent under the guidance of a very learned musician Pt. Balakrishnabuwa Ichalkaranjikar. After learning for 11 years under this master Paluskar Ji went on to different parts of Northern India to study the different musical traditions. In those times music was not available to the common man as it was only performed in royal courts or temples, and contrary to the common belief Paluskar Ji wanted music to be a part of common man’s life. While traveling throughout the country he did something which was criticized by all; he organised a public concert. On 5th May 1901 he established the Gandharva Mahavidyala in Lahore, Pakistan; the very first school were music was taught to anyone and everyone and that too free of cost. This school also was criticized by all as it broke the traditional method of learning music i.e. the Guru-Shishya parampara in which the Shishya (Student) lives with the Guru (Master) for years to learn music. In September 1908 Paluskar Ji established another branch of this school in Bombay. After the partition the school was permanently shifted to Mumbai, its current headquarters. As the number of students increased he took heavy loans and built a new building as well as a hostel. To repay these loans he organized V. D Stamphuge public concerts. Once when he was on a concert tour in 1924 the creditors sold his properties and recovered their money and the school was shut. But later in 1931 a board by the name of ‘Akhil Bhartiya Gandharva Mandal’ was formed by his disciples and the school was reopened to its current location in Vashi, Mumbai. Paluskar Ji had a vision to preserve music for ages, for this he invented a special technique to write music known as the Vishnu Digamber Swarlipi. This Vishnu Digambar Swarlipi is followed till date by many musicians. Paluskar ji died in 1931 on the 21st day of August and Indian Government released a commemorative stamp in his honour. He wrote many books on Hindustani Music and took out classical music from the gharanas and bought them to masses. These books are available even till date in many leading book stores of India. There is a long list of his disciples some of which are-

  1. Pt. Vinayak Rao Patwardhan
  2. Pt. Omkarnath Thakur
  3. Proff. B R Deodhar
  4. Pt. Shankar Rao Vyas


You can watch a documentary on the life of Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar by following the link given below-

Hoping that you all liked the video; I would like to keep this article short and it here. I’ll tell you about the life of Pt. Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande in the next article. Please do read, share and comment on this article.

Also; do listen to the original version of the bhajan Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram by following this link-

I myself am a musician learning vocal music at a renowned music school in Delhi. You can reach out to me on Facebook ( or write an e-mail at

Thank You

Shubham Mittal :-)



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