Rasa Yatra: My Journey In Music
PT. MALLIKARJUN MANSUR
The man they called ‘the doyen of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana’, ‘the last of the purists’, and more, Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur appeared to be born only to sing which he did from the tender age of 10 to the last days of his life at the age of 82. Hailing from Mansur, a hamlet near Dharwad, he trained in two of the leading gharanas— Gwalior and Jaipur-Atrauli. Panditji’s gayaki was unique in that he successfully amalgamated the two gharanas and evolved a personal identity of his own. Behind his gayaki are not just the two systems of the gharanas, but the ideational styles of three of his gurus, Pt. Neelkanthbua Alurmath of Gwalior Gharana, Ustad Manji Khan and Ustad Burji Khan of the Jaipur- Atrauli Gharana. He was a storehouse of apprachalit ragas, which he performed in many of his mehfils, bringing unforgettable joy to scores of listeners who recall his performances even today. At the entreaty of his many admirers he eventually recorded his journey in music in Kannada in 1980 and called it Rasa Yatra. The book won the Best Book award in Kannada in 1984. Translated into English by his son, Pt. Rajshekhar Mansur in collaboration with his student Dr Chandrika Kamath, it is the heartwarming story of a man who could truly be called a genius, yet remained simple to the core, considering himself not as one who had achieved something in music but as an ardent ‘sadhak’ of sur and laya. It is also a unique record of an essential part of the musical history of our country.
Pt. Rajshekhar Mansur is the son of Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur and the heir to his rich musical legacy.
Following in his father’s august footsteps, he has carved a niche for himself in the field of music. He was a
professor of English at the Karnataka University, Dharwad.