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Bhimsen Joshi: A Divine Voice

By Uday Dandavate | PUBLISHED: 27, Jan 2011, 19:39 pm IST | UPDATED: 20, Dec 2012, 19:24 pm IST

Bhimsen Joshi: A Divine Voice

As soon as I read the news of Pandit Bhimsen Joshiʼs passing on the Internet, the tune “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” started reverberating in my head. I realized that his voice has been immortalized in the memory of every Indian, long before his mortal remains would be consigned to the flames.

Pandit Bhimsen Joshiʼs voice had a magical effect. It had a depth that can be compared only to the depth from which one feels the breath while doing yogasana. It sends vibrations gushing through the veins, creating a rhythmic resonance with the heartbeat.

I have personally experienced my soul while listening to Bhimsen Joshi because I could feel his singing touching my soul. When I hear his “Khshetra Viththal, Tirtha Vitthal”, I experience a sense of divine surrender, though I am not a religious person.

The aura he created with his singing can only be compared to the feelings I have experienced when I looked at the Grand Canyon or during my days in Panchgani when I looked at the stars in the sky on a clear night or took a boat ride that brought me very close to Niagara Falls. It is an experience never to be forgotten because it leaves a deep and permanent impression on oneʼs whole being.

As a Maharashtrian, I am proud that he hailed from my state and created his art in my mother tongue. At the same time, I have his Kannada songs in my collection, which have the same effect on me as the Marathi songs. That makes me better appreciate how universal the impact of his voice was.

Though he was awarded Bharat Ratna – the highest civilian award in 2008 – he earned that place in every Indians heart long before being officially recognized for being a Bharat Ratna. Bhimsen Joshiʼs voice will continue to reverberate in our souls forever.


# As an avid world traveler, a passionate champion of co-creation, a political columnist, and a design activist, Uday works with a wide range of people and organizations at different levels. His curiosity for people, cultures, and change has drawn him to fields as diverse as anthropology, psychology, communication, sociology, marketing, politics, and design.

Uday is a co-founder of SonicRim, a global design-research consulting practice, based out of Columbus, Ohio, and San Francisco, California. At SonicRim he is focused on helping his clients cultivate capacity for co-imagining the future and co-creating solutions that help improve the lives of everyday people. He often pushes his clients beyond their comfort zones to identify unexplored opportunities for experience innovation through co-creation.

Outside of SonicRim, Uday is a relentless design activist, searching for ways to rally people around Macro issues. He often hits the road conducting workshops at colleges, and in companies championing causes as diverse as “co-creation,” “design with India” and “sustainability.” He coined the term, MacroDesign, recognizing the need for designers to participate in the public policy domain. He is often invited to write for design and political magazines, and speak in front of corporate, not-for-profit, and academic audiences about change, innovation, and co-creation.

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