Team Digital Goa
Noted harmonium player Pandit Tulshidas Borkar has been conferred with India’s third highest civilian award – Padma Shri. 81 year old Pt Borkar is an only goan recipient of Padma award this year, which is declared on the eve of India’s republic day.
Born 18 November 1934 in Borim village of Ponda taluka of Goa, Pt Tulshidas Borkar is an Indian musician, known for playing harmonium solo and his syle of accompanying in Hindustani rag sangeet and allied forms.
Acclaimed as a performer par excellence, brilliant composer and revered Guru, Pandit Tulsidas Borkar is one of the most outstanding musicians of India. A leading name in the field of harmonium playing, Tulsidasji had his initial lessons in Music from his mother Jaishreebai Borkar’. Later he started learning the Harmonium from ‘Vishnupant Vashta’ and at the same time had the opportunity of being guided by ‘Chhota Gandharva’, the eminent vocalist, on the art of Harmonium accompaniment. However, a major part of his training in Harmonium was between 1957 and 1967 under the guidance of the harmonium maestro ‘Pt. Madhukar Pednekar’, better known as ‘P.Madhukar’.

In his endeavor to acquire knowledge, he had the opportunity of receiving valuable guidance from some veteran vocalists like ‘Pt. S.C.R.Bhatt’, ‘Pt .K.G.Ginde’, ‘Pt. Rajaram Shukla’, ‘Pt. Murli Manohar Shukla’, ‘Pt. Ram Marathe’ and instrumentalists like ‘Pt. Devendra Murdeshwar (Flute)’ and ‘Pt. A.P.Phatak (Violin)’ from whom he got to learn the intricacies of the Khayal tradition of North Indian (Hindustani) Classical Music.

Tulsidas Borkar gained initial fame as an ‘Organ player’ in Marathi theatrical music. He accompanied several leading actor-singers of Marathi theatre between the years 1950 and 1980.He also had the privilege of accompanying many stalwarts in the field of Hindustani Classical Music like Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur, Pandit Firoz dastrur, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Basavraj Rajguru, Pandit Y. B. Joshi, Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki, Pandit Ram Marathe, Pandita Gangubai Hangal, Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Pandita Shobha Gurtu and Dr. Prabha Atre to name a few.

Apart from being a reputed harmonium accompanist, Tulsidas Borkar has also been acclaimed as a great soloist and has been commercially recorded by many reputed Record Labels all over the world. Tulsidasji has participated in most of the prestigious music festivals in the country and toured extensively for concerts in U.K, Europe, Indonesia, U.S.A, and Arabian Gulf countries.

As a music composer, he has composed music for theatrical productions like “Sangeet Pandharpur”, “Bakul Phula” and various other musical productions. The many disciples whom he has groomed as renowned performers and composers of today, proves his invaluable contribution as a Guru. Among his disciples are Sudhir Nayak, Seema Mestri-Shirodkar, Kedar Naphade, Shriram Hasabnis and Niranjan Lele – all gaining acclaim as excellent harmonium players of the younger generation. Borkarji’s noble mission of imparting his knowledge has led him to authoring a book on the art of playing the harmonium titled ‘Samvadini Sadhana’ which has been published in Hindi and Marathi. He has also been instrumental in designing a syllabus for Harmonium students which has been accepted and recognized by the Pune University (Lalit Kala Kendra) and University of Kolhapur (Shivaji Vidyapeeth).

He has also designed a new model modifying the physical structure of the Harmonium by raising the level of the Keyboard, which was crafted and manufactured by Dashrath Bengude. He has extensively researched in terms of improving the tonal quality, tuning and other technical aspects of the Harmonium, thereby giving different visual and sound dimensions to the instrument.