Mallikarjun Mansur
Mansur on a 2014 stamp of India
Mansur on a 2014 stamp of India
Background information
Birth nameMallikarjun Bheemrayappa Mansur
Born(1910-12-31)31 December 1910
Mansur, Bombay Presidency, British India (in present-day Dharwad, Karnataka, India)
Died12 September 1992(1992-09-12) (aged 81)
Dharwad, Karnataka, India
GenresHindustani classical music
Occupation(s)Vocalist music performer
Years active1928 – 1992
LabelsHMV, Music Today, Inreco

Pandit Mallikarjun Bheemaraayappa Mansur, (31 December 1910 – 12 September 1992) was a Hindustani classical singer from Karnataka. He sang in the khyal genre and belonged to the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana.[1][2]

Early life and background

Mallikarjun was born on 31 December 1910, at Mansur, a village five kilometres west of Dharwad, Karnataka.[1][3][4] According to his biography, he was born on an Amavasya day. His father, Bheemaraayappa, was the village headman,[3] a farmer by occupation and an ardent lover and patron of music. He had four brothers and three sisters. His elder brother Basavaraj owned a theatre troupe, and thus at age nine Mallikarjun did a small role in a play.[1]

Spotting the talent in his son, Mallikarjun's father engaged him to a travelling Yakshagana (Kannada theatre) troupe. The owner of this troupe took a liking to the tender and melodious voice of Mallikarjun and encouraged him to sing different types of compositions during the drama-performances. Hearing one such performance, he was picked up by Appaya Swamy under whom he had his initial training in Carnatic music. Sometime later, he was introduced to Hindustani music under Nilkanth Bua Alurmath of Miraj who belonged to the Gwalior gharana. The latter brought him to Alladiya Khan (1855–1946), the stalwart and the then patriarch of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana, in the late 1920s, who referred him to his elder son, Manji Khan. Following Manji Khan's untimely death, he came under the tutelage of Manji Khan's younger brother Bhurji Khan. This grooming under Bhurji Khan had the most important influence on his style of singing.[1][5]


Mallikarjun Mansur at a concert

Mansur was well known for his command over a large number of rare (aprachalit) ragas such as Shuddh Nat, Asa Jogiya, Hem Nat, Lachchhasakh, Khat, Shivmat Bhairav, Kabir Bhairav, Bihari, Sampoorna Malkauns, Lajawanti, Adambari Kedar, Ek Nishad Bihagda and Bahaduri Todi, as well as his constant, mercurial improvisations in both melody and metre without ever losing the emotional content of the song. Initially, his voice and style resembled that of Manji Khan and Narayanrao Vyas, but gradually he developed his own style of rendition.

He also remained music director with His Master's Voice (HMV) and later music advisor to All India Radio's Dharwad station.[1][5]


He received all three national Padma Awards:


Mansur wrote an autobiographical book titled Nanna Rasayatre (Kannada: ನನ್ನ ರಸಯಾತ್ರೆ) in Kannada,[9] which has been translated into English as a book titled My Journey in Music by his son, Rajshekhar Mansur.

Personal life

Mansur was married to Gangamma. He had seven daughters and a son, Rajashekhar Mansur. Amongst Mansur's children, Rajashekhar and Neela Kodli are vocalists.[10]

Mansur recovered from an illness after being in coma for two weeks in April 1992. On 12 September that year, he died after he developed breathing complications due to lung cancer, in Dharwad. He was given a state funeral.[1][11]


The residence of Mallikarjun Mansur, Mrutyunjaya, today houses a museum in his memory. The museum is managed by Dr. Mallikarjun Mansur National Memorial Trust functioning under the Department of Kannada and Culture, State Government of Karnataka. Every year the Trust organises a National Concert on 12 and 13 September to commemorate his death anniversary, with artists from his legacy performing in the morning at the museum and invited artists performing later in the evening. The Trust annually announces three awards on 31 December to commemorate his birth anniversary.[citation needed]

Indian documentary film director Nandan Kudhyadi made Rasayatra about the musician in 1994, it won the National Film Awards for Best Non-Feature Film, Best Non-Feature Film Cinematography, and Best Non-Feature Film Editing.[12]

To mark his birth centenary, a three-day music festival was organised in Dharwad and Hubli from 1 to 3 January 2011, wherein singers from across India performed and performances were held at the Kariyamma Devi temple premises at his birthplace Mansur village.[13][14] His ancestral home in Mansur was also converted into a memorial.[15]

In 2013, a five audio CD collection, "Akashvani Sangeet" of his music including rare "Vachana Gayana" renditions, was released by All India Radio archives at a ceremony held at Srijana Rangamandir at the Karnatak College Dharwar campus.[16]

In September 2014, a postage stamp featuring Mansur was released by India Post commemorating his contributions to music.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "ITC SRA's Tribute to a Maestro: Mallikarjun Mansur". ITC Sangeet Research Academy website. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Mallikarjun Mansur Biography". Underscore records. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Mallikarjun Mansur Biography". Dharwad district website. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  4. ^ "Weekend musical feast". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 15 September 2006. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  5. ^ a b Bonnie C. Wade (1984). Khyāl: Creativity Within North India's Classical Music Tradition. CUP Archive. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-521-25659-9.
  6. ^ "Padma Awards - Interactive Dashboard". Government of India website. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954–2007)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 April 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  8. ^ "SNA: List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Puraskar winners (Akademi Fellows)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  9. ^ "Award for Balamuralikrishna". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Aching for Gouri..." The Hindu. 4 September 2003. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Mallikarjun Mansur passes away". The Indian Express. 13 September 1992. p. 1.
  12. ^ "Rasayatra - The Travelling Song". Indian Diplomacy. 31 May 2012. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021.
  13. ^ "A musical tribute to Mansur: The event was part of the centenary celebrations of the maestro". The Hindu. 2 January 2011. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Mansur memory". The Hindu. 31 December 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  15. ^ "Mansur's house to be converted into a memorial: Rs. 1 crore to be spent on the ancestral structure". The Hindu. 7 January 2011. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2024.
  16. ^ "All India Radio releases five CDs of recordings of Mallikarjun Mansur". The Hindu. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  17. ^ Govind, Ranjani (3 September 2014). "Four of eight commemorative stamps feature musical legends from State". The Hindu newspaper. Archived from the original on 26 January 2023. Retrieved 13 March 2024.