Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
In Mahabharata, the longest epic, there were five brothers who were jointly called Pandavas. They represented the quintessential goodness and were the main players in the epic pitted against the Kauravas whose eldest brother Duryodhana hated them intensely and it was family feud which ended in the elimination of so many glorious persons.
Each of five brothers has some unique quality. Bhimsen is said to have immense power and strength. Any person possessing the extraordinary strength is compared to Bhim. Then in India was a classical singer who was not only Bhimsen by name and but by his genius also. He died in beginning of the year 2011 at Pune. He became a household name with the song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” extolling the unity in diversity of our country. This song was sung by many famous men and women of arts. Beginning of the song was done by the immortal Bhimsen Joshi.
Music is a human activity which brings one to nearest of the God. After all why did the humans created music? Because it gives the extreme bliss to the singer as well as the listener. Ragas seemed to have been created by the Gods. In the Hindu mythology, Goddess Saraswati is depicted as playing a Veena. Anyone who has seen Bhimsen singing can easily say that when he sang he was communicating with the God himself. How much hard work of practicing the music he must have done. One cannot imagine how easily today’s singer begin thinking themselves as greats. Singers like Bhimsen spent their whole lives practicing and practicing and perfecting the art.
He was great in singing the Bhajans also. He did not let himself confined to the school he learned from but was an experimenter. He never shied away from imbibing what was the best in other schools. I heard him saying in an interview that the true artist is a one type of thief but the greatness lies in retelling it in one’s own way. He was awarded Bharat Ratna the highest honour of India in 2009.
He had another passion which seems to be so incompatible with his singing. It was the driving. He used to drive the cars himself after a freak accident when his driver nearly overturned the car. After this decided to drive the vehicle by himself.