Hirabai Barodekar

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Hirabai Barodekar
Birth name Champākali
Born (1905-05-30)30 May 1905
Baroda, India
Died 20 November 1989(1989-11-20) (aged 84)
Genres Khyal, Thumris, Ghazals, and Bhajans
Occupation(s) Vocal Hindustani Classical Music
Years active 1920–1989

Hirābai Barodekar[1] (30 May 1905 – 20 November 1989) was an Indian Hindustāni classical music singer, of Kirana gharana.[2] She also sang along with her younger sister, Saraswati Rane, whom she also trained, in jugalbandi style.[3][4]

Early life and background[edit]

Hirabai was born as Champākali to Kirānā Gharānā master Ustād Abdul Karim Khān and Tārābāi Māne, who belongs to Gomantak Maratha Samaj. Tarabai was the daughter of Sardār Māruti Rāo Māne, a brother of princely Barodā state's "Rajmātā" during the middle of the 19th century. Abdul Karim Khan was the court musician in Baroda when Tarabai was young, and he taught her music. The two fell in love and decided to get married; but Tarabai's parents disapproved of the alliance, and the couple had to leave the state (along with Abdul Karim's brother, Ustād Abdul Haq Khān). The couple moved to Bombay (Mumbai), and had two sons: Suresh or Abdul Rehmān, and Krishnā; and three daughters: Champākali, Gulāb, and Sakinā or Chhotutāi. In their adult lives, the five respectively became known as Sureshbābu Māne, Krishnarāo Māne, Hirābāi Badodekar, Kamalābāi Badodekar, and Sarswatibāi Rāne.

She had her initial training from her brother Sureshbabu Mane and later training from the doyen of Kirana Gharana, Ustād Abdul Wahid Khān, who was a cousin of her father, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. (In 1922, Hirabai's parents had parted company; thus Hirabai received only limited musical lessons from her father.)

Singing career[edit]

Hirabai Badodekar was top most artist of her time. Hirabai was an expert in Khyāl, Thumri, Marāthi Nātya Sangeet, and Bhajan. She is credited with having popularised Hindustāni Classical Music among the masses. She was truly pioneer of concerts by women artists in India. She the real pioneer and was the first female artist who introduced ticketed concerts in India. She was always amazingly popular on stages and her shows were jam-packed. A very fragile, honey voice, emotive factor, peaceful and exorbitant vocal clarity are her strengths. She was admired by the real class and those were mass. Her amazing rendition of 'Taar Sa' was very popular and became her hallmark. She made Kirana gharana more popular and rich.

Hirabai acted in several movies, including "Suvarna Mandir", "Pratibhā", "Janābāi", and "Municipality". She also started a music school, "Nutan Sangeet Vidyālaya", to teach music to girls. The school staged several plays.

In addition receiving in-numerous awards and titles as they all were actually proud to get announced for her, she was respected and asked to sing our national song " vandemadaram" at Red-fort Delhi during the independence day on 15–1 Aug, 947.It is said that "Her renditions and voice could cure a sick man" as her music had access the corner stone. She always a kind of more educating than entertaining and it is proved she can never be reservati[clarification needed] for any period and may guide and teach every generation.

Hirabai became a recording artist very early in her career. (Her 78 rpm recordings have been re-released on cassettes by RPG in their Classical Gold series). She was titled as "Gaanhira" (a singing diamond). Her nature was so down to earth and peaceful which was truly ideal.


Hirabai received several awards, including the Sangeet Nātak Akādemi Award (1955)[1] and the Padma Bhushan Award (1970).[5] Vishnudas Bhave Award for her contribution to theatre. She was chosen to sing the national anthem, Vande Mātaram, from the Red Fort in India's capital Delhi on the day India received its independence from the British Raj (15 August 1947). She visited China and the East African countries as a part of an Indian Delegation in 1953. She was titled "Gaan kokila" (nightingale of India) by Sarojini Naidu. An annual music festival is held in Mumbai by her disciple Dr Prabha Atre by the name 'Sureshbabu – Hirabai Smruti Sangeet Samaroh' since 1992, which becomes one of the major festival of music in the country .


She was married to Shri. Manikrao Gandhi- Barodekar. She passed through various troubles in her life especially to family requirements and the dependents to her were huge.Despite being such a talented and a blessed soul she was more ill treated and tactfully handled by people around to get her down. But she was so peaceful and truly ideal by herself.


  1. ^ a b "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. 
  2. ^ "Hirabai Barodekar". music.calarts.edu. 
  3. ^ Wade, Bonnie C. (1994). Khyāl: creativity within North India's classical music tradition. Cambridge University Press Archive. p. 196. ISBN 0-521-25659-3. 
  4. ^ "Kirana Gharana". 
  5. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 

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