Pandit Vinayakbua Patwardhan


Vinayakbuaji was born in 1898 and he started learning singing in early childhood. At the age of nine years, he received the Miraj Sansthanadhipati Scholarship and was sent to Mumbai to Paluskarji’s Gandharva Mahavidyalaya for training. His sharp intellect and diligence made him his Guru’s favourite disciple. After he attained his ‘Sangeet Praveen’ degree, Guru Paluskarji entrusted to him the responsibility of the Gandharva Vidyalayas of Lahore and Nagpur, for promotion and propagation of music. Prior to that, he had also taught at the Ganesh Sangeet Vidyalaya at Miraj. Maestro B R Deodhar trained under him too.



For a while, Vinayakbuaji worked with Gandharva Natak Company. But to be working in a theatre group merely for an assured monthly remuneration was unacceptable to his Guru Paluskarji. Apart from playing the main role in the theatre group, it was the singing which attracted Vinayakbuaji to the theatre.


Pt. Vinayakbuaji founded the ‘Gandharva Mahavidyalaya’ in Pune in1932.  Because of his extreme love for teaching and promoting music, guidance of Vishnubuaji, his adherence to discipline and having the appropriate experiences to put forth in concerts, the college gained a very high reputation.


By writing seven volumes of  ‘Ragavigyaan’, he has accomplished an incomparable task in the field of music. These books whose contents include a purely scientific description of ragavaishishtya (characteristics features of ragas), chalan (flow), alaap-taan, bandishs (according to Paluskar lipi), pracheen prachalit navnirmiti ( improvisation of prevailing ancient compositions) and dakshinatya  ragas, have undoubtedly played the role of a bible to all music lovers. He regularly sang on Aakaashvaani (National radio). He also released numerous albums of his songs. His album ‘Jayajayavanti Raga’ broke all records. Drutlaya taranas were his speciality. He would invariably conclude his concerts with taranas. Taranas and Vinayakbuaji formed a strong and inseparable bond. The jugalbandi (duet) he presented with his gurubandhu, Narayana Rao Vyas was immensely popular. Connoisseurs were impressed with his layakaari and singing taranas in ad-kuad layas.


He had the good fortune of being honoured with the ‘Padmabhushan’ award by the then President V.V. Giri. Vinayakbuaji excelled at singing khayals of the Gwalior gharana. Owing to his high-pitched, melodious, and strong voice, he could mesmerize the audience. He also enacted a role in the Marathi movie ‘Mazi Laadki’. The first attempt at pedagogical sound recording was made by him.  He always felt it was imperative for the singer to clearly pronounce the words in any bandish. He was completely against distorting words in the boltaan. His concerts would be enlivened when he sang the Thumri or Bhajan. He passed away in 1975.