Jitendra Abhisheki
Background information
Birth nameGanesh Balawant Nawathe[1]
Born(1929-09-21)21 September 1929[2]
Mangeshi, Portuguese India (present-day Goa, India)
Died7 November 1998(1998-11-07) (aged 69)
Pune, Maharashtra, India
GenresClassical, semi-classical, devotional, musical theatre
Occupation(s)Singer, composer, music teacher
Years active1929–1998

Ganesh Balawant Nawathe, better known as Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki (21 September 1929 – 7 November 1998), was an Indian vocalist, composer and scholar of Indian classical, semi-classical, and devotional music. While he distinguished himself in Hindustani music, he is also credited for the revival of the Marathi musical theatre in the 1960s. Jitendra Abhisheki has been praised as being "among the stalwarts of Hindustani classical music who mastered other musical forms such as thumri, tappa, bhajan, and bhavgeet. His work in Marathi natyasangeet is well-known."[3]

An annual Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki Mahotsav is held, and the last was held in mid-October 2018 at the Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha in Kothrud, Maharashtra.[3] In Goa, a Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki Music Festival held at the local Kala Academy also reached its 14th edition in 2018.[4]

Early life and background

Jitendra was born in priestly Padye Karhade Brahmin family[5] in Mangeshi, Goa. His family was traditionally attached to the Mangeshi Temple of Shiva. His father, Balawantrao aka Bikambhat, was a half-brother of Deenanath Mangeshkar and the temple priest and a Kirtankar (performer of Kirtana, a devotional music style). Balawantrao taught Jitendra the basic principles of Hindustani classical music. Jitendra received further training in vocal music from Jagannathbua Purohit of Agra Gharana, Azmat Hussain Khan of Khurja Gharana, and Gullubhai Jasdanwala of Jaipur Gharana. Abhisheki was also well known for his renditions of his Marathi Natya Sangeet compositions like "Guntatá Hrdáya Hai", "He Suránno Chandra Vhá" and other songs/Marathi ghazals such as "Májhe Jívana Gáne", "Kaivalyáchya", "Sarvátmaka sarveshvara", "Kátá rute kunálá" etc.[citation needed]


After receiving a degree in Sanskrit literature, he joined All India Radio (AIR) at Mumbai for a brief period, when he came in contact with several musicians and also got an opportunity to display his musical talents by composing several pieces for radio programs. Around this time, he received a scholarship from the Indian Government for advanced training in Hindustani classical music under Azmat Hussain Khan.

He composed the padas (songs performed live during play) for the Katyar Kaljat Ghusali play.[6]

He composed vocal as well as background scores for 25 Marathi plays. After receiving a Homi Bhabha fellowship in the late sixties, he taught at a music school run in the USA by sitarist Ravi Shankar. He maintained his ties to his homeland of Goa through his association with the Kala Academy, counseling and guiding students from that state.


Abhisheki died on November 7, 1998, in Pune, after a prolonged illness related to diabetes that he was previously hospitalized for.[7]


The Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki Sangeet Mahotsav is held annually in Goa.[8]


Besides son Shounak Abhisheki, Abhisheki's well-known musical disciples include Asha Khadilkar, Devaki Pandit, Shubha Mudgal, Mohankumar Darekar, Hemant Pendse, Ajit Kadkade, Raja Kale, Prabhakar Karekar, Vijay Koparkar, Sameer Dublay, Dr. Hrishikesh Majumdar, Dr Mrs Madhuri Joshi, Mahesh Kale

Awards and recognitions


  1. ^ "Hindustani Classical Vocalist Ganesh Nawathe". 20 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Jitendra Abhisheki". www.jitendraabhisheki.com. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Abhisheki festival from October 26 - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Mudgal, Raikar in lineup for Pt Jitendra Abhisheki music festival - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Jitendra Abhisheki - ECLP 2367 - (Condition 85-90%)". ngh.co.in. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  6. ^ "Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki". IMDb. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki dead". The Hindu. 8 November 1998.
  8. ^ "6th edition of Pt Jitendra Abhisheki Sangeet Mahotsav to be held from Jan 7-9 | Pune News - Times of India". The Times of India.