In a bid to pay its tribute to the man with a golden voice, the legendary vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is all set to name its Kala academy (arts academy) after him. Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said this will be an apt tribute to the vocalist. Senior civic officials said the process will be initiated soon.
The Hindustani classical vocalist, who has also been awarded the Bharat Ratna, passed away on January 24 after prolonged illness. Said Shewale, “Joshi needs to be accorded the highest honour possible. Hence, as far as the BMC is concerned, we will be naming our academy after him so that his name continues to be an inspiration for future generations to come.”
A senior civic official, on condition of anonymity said, “We will now bring forth a proposal to the effect before the civic general body and after it has been approved, we will begin the procedure to rename it. Since no monetary transactions are involved, the process should be smooth.”
The civic body’s own version of the Kala academy is a wing dedicated to promoting art & culture among civic school students. It primarily deals with promoting both fine arts and applied arts. It recently held a drawing competition for children from civic schools. However, over the past few years, education department officials alleged civic neglect in its activities.
Even the decision to name the academy after the legendary vocalist has not gone down well with its staff. “The academy has been formed to encourage all kinds of arts, like singing, dancing, painting, photography, sculpture and so on. We are not contesting Pandit’s work but naming it after a vocalist will send out a wrong message. It will then seem as if the academy is restricted to promoting singing,” said an official from the academy.
However, Shewale said the academy’s functioning will soon get a boost. “As announced by Aditya Thackeray, the new wing to be formed for cultural issues will be given an expansive role in encouraging arts of all kinds. Hence, there is no question of curtailing any roles.”