Manik Govind Bhide (1935 – September 13, 2023) was a celebrated Hindustani classical music vocalist hailing from Kolhapur and later based in Mumbai. Notable for being a student of Kishori Amonkar and the guru and mother of Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande, she was an exponent of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana.
Early Life and Training
Born Manik Potnis in Kolhapur, Manik Bhide was encouraged by her parents to immerse herself in the world of music. She began her classical training under the tutelage of Madhukar Sadolikar, also from the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana.
Later in life, she married scientist Govind Bhide, and the couple moved to Mumbai around 1964. It was here that a family friend, Vamanrao Deshpande, introduced her to his guru, Mogubai Kurdikar. Although Kurdikar was not present at the time, Manik Bhide met Kishori Amonkar and became her student after hearing her sing.
Training with Kishori Amonkar
Bhide’s relationship with her guru, Kishori Amonkar, was both rewarding and demanding. Despite being under stress due to Amonkar’s renowned temperament, Bhide remained committed. For over a decade, she accompanied Amonkar in every concert. However, the relationship hit a rocky phase in 1981, leading Bhide to discontinue her training with Amonkar and focus on teaching. The two later reconciled after several decades.
Manik Bhide graced most of the major music conferences in India and was a regular performer for All India Radio. Her voice was not just an instrument but a bridge to a rich cultural heritage that she carried with dignity.
Upon the recommendation of Mogubai Kurdikar, Manik Bhide began teaching her daughter, Ashwini, the nuances of the Jaipur-Atrauli gayaki. Apart from her daughter, she also taught Geetika Varde among many others, leaving an indelible mark on the next generation of classical vocalists.
Her discography includes the album The Sanctity of Parampara released in 1987 by Rhythm House. The album features Raag Nayaki Kanada and Raag Bihag, with Baban Manjrekar on the harmonium, Omkar Gulvady on the tabla, and Vandana Shirodkar on the tanpura.
For her contributions to Hindustani classical music, Manik Bhide was honored with the Bharat Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar in 2018, presented by Arvind Parikh.
The passing of Manik Govind Bhide on September 13, 2023, marked the end of an era but her musical legacy lives on. Her contributions to the Hindustani classical music scene, both as a performer and a teacher, have left an everlasting impact. She was not just a singer but a guardian of an age-old tradition, passing it down to the next generation with the same purity and dedication with which it was taught to her.
Through her music and teachings, Manik Bhide has left an indelible imprint on the hearts of music enthusiasts and will continue to inspire generations to come.