Celebrated Masters

Shrikrishna Narayan Ratanjankar

S N Ratanjankar

Shrikrishna Narayan Ratanjankar `Sujan` occupied a pre-eminent position in the spectacular developments in the field of Hindustani music in the 20th century. A foremost disciple of Chatur Pandit Bhatkhande and a ganda-bandh shagird of the great Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ratanjankar was an excellent performer, a learned scholar and a great guru with a number of accomplished disciples. His ascetic simplicity, his dedication to and personal sacrifice for the propagation of classical music are legendary.

Born in Bombay on January 1, 1900, Ratanjankar first trained under Pt. Krishnam Bhat of Karwar and then under Pt. Anant Manohar Joshi
(Antu Bua). However, it was the influence of Pt. Bhatkhande which shaped his career and life for the next sixty years. In 1917, with a scholarship by Baroda State, Bhatkhande placed Ratanjankar under the tutelage of the legendary vocalist, Ustad Faiyaz Khan.
Besides being a graduate and a polished musician, he was already a profound scholar in music when in his early 20s. By common consent, Ratanjankar was regarded as the leading musicologist of his generation, and the indisputable successor of Bhatkhande as a supreme authority on historical and musicological questions. Ratanjankar went on to become professor and subsequently, Principal of Marris College of Music, founded by Bhatkhande.

During his tenure, Marris College came to be regarded as a place of pilgrimage by most famous Hindustani musicians. He remained committed to Bhatkhande`s Music College through difficult times, even parting with his salary to pay the other staff members whenever there was a financial crunch. Later, when Indira Kala Sangeet University was inaugurated in Khairagarh (Madhya Pradesh), Ratanjankar was appointed Vice-Chancellor. He was also associated with AIR as the chairman of the Music Auditions Board.

Pt Ratanjankar wrote several hundred compositions, in Hindi and Sanskrit under the pen name, Sujan. He experimented on new types of compositions like Varnams from Carnatic music. He also composed several new ragas like Marga-Bihag, Kedar Bahar, Sawani Kedar, which, having stood the test of time, have gained acceptance and popularity. He also wrote several musical operas. His Abhinava – Rag Manjari, in three parts, contains several of his compositions. As a member of the Syllabus-Committee, he wrote and published Sangeet Shiksha and Taan Sangraha in three parts each.His selfless obsession with teaching produced a string of distinguished musicians such as S.C.R. Bhat, Chidanand Nagarkar, K.G. Ginde, Dinkar Kaikini, etc. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan in 1957. His death on 14th February 1974, was described by many as the end of an era.