To bring the classic to the masses
Vinay Chandra Maudgalya, a prominent classics teacher, responsible for the revival of classical music in Delhi, passed away today in 1995. His life would witness an explosion of creativity and talent in the city.
A black and white still of Vinay Chandra Maudgalya; Source: Public Domain

Died on 19th March 1995

To take classic music to the common masses remains something of a feat - and Vinay Chandra Maudgalya would be handily achieving that. Born in Pune, he would be heavily educated into classical music by the maestro Vinayakrao Patwardhan, into the Gwalior Gharana.

Barely 21 years of age, he would be sent to Delhi by 1939 to set up a school for classical music and spread it to as many people as he could. Delhi was quite literally devoid of much cultural scenery back in the 1940s - the Mughal patronage houses long gone, and the British uninterested due to economic crunch and constant warring.

He would be faced with a tremendous task - and in that time, only elite industrialists of Delhi were remotely interested in classical mehfils, or some houses which had become upwardly mobile with British rule. However, all these would not serve him well, as he needed students, and students were hard to come.

His first students would come from his friends’ families, and thus started the career of one of the greatest musical schools, the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya. While not the first one at Delhi, it would still serve to create that spark missing from the cultural scene of the city.

As government-run academies bloomed in the city, he would aim to create much more beyond just musical performers - he would want to create a class of people who also loved classical music, so that it might become self sustaining and flourishing in the future.

Starting the annual music festival, the VIshnu Digambar Samaroh,it  would become the biggest festival of its time, held in the Maudgalya home in Connaught place.

Bade Ghulam Khan, Ravi Shankar, Bhimsen Joshi, Narayan Rao Vyas, Ali Akbar Khan, all these names would grace the school - even as they faced troubles with finding a large enough audience.

Maudgalya would expand his school and his following, eventually building up a larger institution, with its own choir, and giving timeless music like Hind desh ke niwasi. He would pass away on the 19th of March, 1995.

Chaitanya Rawat Author
Hello! I'm Chaitanya. Among the interests already mentioned, I also like video gaming and idle traveling around the city, for food and sights! History is my passion, and if you want to talk about my work, do drop me an email!

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