Interview with violin teacher of Babasaheb Ambedkar

Friends: While surfing on the net today I came across an item in the Marathi paper Maharashtra Times which may be of interest to you. This is an interview taken by Mr.Ramakant Jadhav of Mr. Balwant Sathe ( Bal Sathe) who taught violin to Dr.Babasaheb Ambedkar. Sathe is 85 years old and still runs a school of violin teaching in Mumbai.

The following is a translation of the interview in an abridged form:

Q: Mr. Sathe, who recommended your name as violin teacher to Babasaheb?

A: In the year 1950 Mr.Rege, the librarian of Siddhartha College, introduced me to Babasaheb. In the beginning I and my elder brother both were reluctant to give lessons to such an elderly and scholarly man like Babasaheb. But after meeting him and experiencing the playful atmosphere he received us in we noticed the sense of humor of Babasaheb( and agreed.)

Q: When did you gave your first lesson to Babasaheb and how many years did he study?

A: When in 1950 he came to Mumbai from Delhi, for two or three months I and my elder brother Nana used to go to his residence and give him lessons, as per his convenient time. During his stay in Mumbai he learned violin for approximately two years. His health was not that great and his hands used to pain by the movement of the bow. “A little rest and then some lesson” was the mode of the musical practice.

Q: How was he finding time in the midst of the assembly of the visitors?

A:To tell you, we ourselves used feel guilty for holding him from the important visitors. These well-known people- party workers, people coming from different far off places- used to wait for the lessons to be over and once over they used to rush to him for discussions on topics ranging form court cases to appeals to party affairs.

Q: How did his violin lessons stop?

A: Babsaheb’s hands used to experience pain. He afterwards developed liking in painting and started learning it. Violin lessons then stopped. Babasaheb returned to Delhi. I afterwards heard that some Mukherjee was giving him lessons in violin in Delhi. I feel extremely lucky to have come in the company of such an epoch-making man, a scholar on the pretext of giving him lessons in violin. I consider meeting him as the greatest reward life has offered me.

( Taken and translated from ‘Maharashtra Times” dated 9th January 2001)

Courtesy ―


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