Noted writers UR Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad have paid tribute to vocalist Gangubai Hangal, who died at Lifeline Hospital Hubli (Hubballi) in Karnataka following cardiac and respiratory problems this morning. Ananthamurthy described her as a great Hindustani Classical vocalist, who was prepared to sing at any moment.
In an interview to CNN IBN, Jnanpith Award winner Ananthamurthy recalled the moments he spent with her. He said, "She was a mother of South Indian classical music. Once I sat by her side on a platform and said to her that I felt proud to sit by her side. But she said that it was she who felt more proud than him. She put it in a very simple way."
He added, "She had a great regard for writers and other artistes. She was prepared to sing at any moment. She never stopped singing until she died. She used to tune for other singers, who changed themselves from high caste to low caste. They came from the world, which was not restricted to one thing like doctors or writers. This is a remarkable thing about her."
Talking about Gangubai, playwright Girish Karnad said, "I knew her very well. She was a great vocalist. Bharat Ratna could have been awarded to her. She had a tough life but had a tremendous sense of humour."