GURUSHRI KUBERNATH APPASWAMY TANJORKAR
The universal truth given by Lord Krishna in ‘BHAGWADGITA’ i.e. Karmanye Vadhikaraste—– stands true when we study the Life of Gurushri Kubernath Appaswamy Tanjorkar, an authority of Bharatnatyam. He not only performed this dance, but also dedicated his life for the sake of this art. To day he is no more but his principles and image are well preserved and maintained to be continued by his family. He was religiously, follower of this art in its classical, pure Gurukul form without any compromise. Some may call it as ‘Rigid’ but this rigidness is a must when one has to learn any art. Take an example of ‘Vocal’ if one does not follow the basic rules, it becomes semi-classical.
Gurushri Kubernathji was born in December 25th,1917 at Kuber Bhandari,Karnali which is the most important place of pilgrimage on the bank of the River Narmada. As we say that the Art is in his blood, his great grand parents,grand parents, his father Thanjavur Nattuvanar Appaswamy and his mother Thanjavur Kantimatiammal were all Bharatnatyam artists and musicians. He was fortunate that the basic learning started at an early age. Very few know that he was a very good MRIDANGAM player as well. In his youth he studied Bharatnatyam under the famous Gurushri Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai (Grandson of the great Ponniah Pillai of Tanjore Quartet) at his Gurukul. With Bharatnatyam learning he had also learnt Carnatik Classical Sangeet under the training of Gurushri Balkrishna Pillai. The hard work and strict discipline of years has shaped him perfectly. He had also studied Hindustani Classical music under famous Aftab-E-Mausiki Ustad Faiyaz Khan of Agra Gharana.
In 1941 he was appointed as Dance-Teacher in Bhatkhande College of Music, Lucknow. An artist is never satisfied in one place. He always kept on moving like flowing water. He came back to Vadodara and was appointed as ‘Nattuvanar’ (Bharatnatyam Director) in the Royal Court of Baroda State from 1948 to 1950. Finally he was selected as Professor of Dance in the Faculty of Performing Arts of M. S. University of Baroda in 1950 and from there retired in 1981.
After retirement from the services, as he said he was totally free to fulfill the ambition of his life and the result was establishment of “Tanjore Nritya Shala” in 1983 and later on in 1993 the Public Trust ‘Tanjore Dance Music and Art Research Centre’. Knowledge does not increase if kept at one place; it is always to be shared, to pass on to next generation. He trained thousands of students and many outstanding like Late Kum. Pratibha Pandit, Late Madhubhai Patel, Padmashree Pushpa Bhuyan (Pushpanjali Cultural Academy), Smt. Ilakshi Thakor, Smt.Jyotika Mahen (Dept. of Dance, M.S.University), Smt. Neha Parikh (Canada), Smt. Parul Patel and many more.
He founded the ‘Tanjore Dance Music and Art Research Centre’ and presently it has achieved remarkable strength. Till this date so many students from our Institute have performed ‘ARANGETRAL”. The main aim behind this establishing Trust is the age-old compositions, which are precious from the art point of view, he wished to propagate and spread this for a wide sphere. This trust extends help to those activities which works for the true upliftment and spread of Bharatnatyam.
He saved many of his outstanding compositions, which were totally designed and composed by him. Few names are ‘Sankshipt Bhagwat”, “Radha-nu-Shamnu”, “Meera Bhajan”, “Navkar Mantra”, “Bhukhana Bhujang”, “Damaru”, “Eta Irandu Pesum” and “Madhurashtakam. These items are applauded very highly when presented in the Programmes of our Institute as well as other sponsored programmes.”
He traveled to South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, France and many other places in Europe
To Commemorate Gurushri Kubernath Tanjorkar, for his achievements and dedication in the classical dance Bharatnatyam and to the art field, Vadodara Mahanagar Seva Sadan has named the stretch of the Road from Uma Char Rasta towards Kaladarshan in Vadodara, Gujarat as “Gurushri Kubernath Tanjorkar Marg”.The years of pains taken by him for Bharatnatyam were appreciated by President of India in 1994 and was awarded “SANGEET NATAK AKADEMI AWARD”. He was also recipient of “GUJARAT SANGEET NATAK AKADEMI AWARD”, “SARANG DEV AWARD’ Of Mumbai, “TRIVENI AWARD”, ” SANSKARBHARTI AWARD”, “ITC AWARD” and many others.
Gurushri welcomed those who were sincere, dedicated for the sake of Bharatnatyam because Bharatnatyam was his life and for which he lived for. At present both institutes namely Tanjore Nritya Shala and Tanjore Dance Music & Art Research Centre has having 6 branches in Gujarat which is strictly following of objects and Principles laid down by Late Gurushri Kubernath Tanjorkar under the able guidance of his son-disciple Gurushri Ramesh Tanjorkar and daughter-in-law Gurusmt.Leela Tanjorkar and their family and students at present.