The gate of the iconic Ganguly House (Gaurikunj), legendary Kishore Kumar's ancestral house in Khandwa's Bombay Bazaar area, is rusting. It is perhaps an apt image to indicate how Madhya Pradesh government has treated the memory of this iconic singer and actor, whose lifelong attachment to his ancestral house is well known to his admirers.
The house, which once resonated with Kishore's trademark yodelling, now lies in a dilapidated condition.
Even 27 years after Kishore Kumar's death, the MP government is yet to construct a memorial worthy of the legendary artist's stature. Neither has it acquired Kumar's ancestral house, where he was born and spent his formative years for its proper upkeep and conversion into a museum. The house has ten spacious rooms, a hall and a wide terrace, all decaying. This heritage doesn't even feature on the state's tourism map or literature.
In October 2012, the then state culture minister Laxmikant Sharma had stated that the MP government wanted to convert Kumar's ancestral place into a museum but needed the approval of his family members. However, the matter was never seriously pursued and nothing materialised.
Kishore Kumar was born in Khandwa on August 4, 1929 in a two-storey haveli, where he and his actor brothers Ashok and Anoop Kumar spent their formative years.
Residents of Khandwa are not happy with the way Kishore's memory, the house which he loved so much, is being treated, be it by its owners or the state government. "It pains us to see how Kishore Da's house is crumbling, with its damp walls, peeling plaster and cobwebs hanging from the ceiling corners. This is not how his memory should be treated," said Sanjay Kotwaley, who runs a small cable business in Khandwa.
Another Khandwa resident, Ajay Gupta, a shopkeeper, rued, "Even Kishore Kumar's statue doesn't look like him. Everybody knows it is here, but nobody can do anything about it. What surprises me most is that the MP government, which spends crores on cultural evenings and artistic performances, has not made any serious efforts to save this national heritage structure or create a worthy memorial site. The government can do it if it wishes, however, it seems there is no will."
The property is presently with Kishore Kumar’s nephew’s son Arjun Kumar Ganguly, who is busy with his job and doesn’t have much time to visit Khandwa often to look after the property. Though Kishore left his birthplace for Mumbai, he had declared that he should be brought back to Khandwa for his last rites. Accordingly, when he expired on October 13, 1987, he was brought to Khandwa for cremation.