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Pandit Basavraj Rajguru (24 August 1917 – 1991) was born at Yaliwal, a village in the north Karnataka district of Dharwad, a great centre of Hindustani classical music. He was a leading Hindustani vocal musician in the Kirana Gharana (tradition). Due perhaps to his aversion for publicity and his simple and scholarly lifestyle, he never achieved the level of fame of his contemporaries Bhimsen Joshi and Gangubai Hangal of the same gharana. He received many awards, including the Padma Bhushan.

Born into a family of scholars, astrologers and musicians, Basavraj was initiated into classical music at an early age by his father, who was himself a renowned Carnatic musician trained in Tanjavur. Later he trave.

Besides being a great classicalist, Rajaguru was adept at composing and singing vachanas (devotional songs in the Kannada language) which made his music more accessible to the general public of Karnataka state.

Basavaraj was fond of music from a very young age. He would try to persuade drama producers and actors to let him sing in their plays, and first became known while singing for Vamanrao Master’s traveling drama company. When he was 13 years old, he lost his father. His uncle became concerned about his future in drama. By a fortuitous stroke of fate, the blind Ganayogi Panchakshari Gawai discovered Basavraj and with little convincing from the MaTh’s swamiji (head priest of the temple organisation), took the lad into his tutelage. Since then his music embraced a whole new beginning.

The first Pt. Basavaraj Rajguru Memorial National Award was conferred on vocalist Pt. Ullas Kashalkar of Kolkata on 23 August 2011 during the 91st birth anniversary of Pandit Basavaraj Rajguru.

The national award carries a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 and a citation. On the occasion two young musicians Jayateerth Mevundi and Sangeet Katti were conferred the Pt. Basavaraj Rajguru Memorial Yuva Puraskars which carry a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 each and a citation.

Basavraj Rajguru died in July 1991, one of three illustrious Dharwad musicians to do so during this period (Kumar Gandharva died in January 1992 and Mallikarjun Mansur in September 1992).

After his death, his wife and Nachiketa Sharma carried his dead body on 21 July 1991 to Dharwad, where their taxi was greeted by the whole city. Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur paying his last respects to Rajaguru declared, “Even in his death he looks like a king.