Bhavrang: A Pastoral Poet

By Dr. Rajiv Trivedi



Padmashri Sangeetacharya Bhavrang Pandit Balvantrai Bhatt, born to Smt. Harkunvar and Shri Gulabrai Bhatt in Bhavnagar Gujrat on 23rd September 1921 had a natural ear for music and his inclination turned into expertise under the tutelage of Sangeetmartand Pandit Omkarnath Thakur right from 1938 to 1967. He mastered the Gwalior style of singing and is renowned for his exquisite yet complex layakari, moving presentation of Bhajans and Slokas and above all his aesthetic compositions.

Balwant Rai ji started performing on radio at Bombay when he was 12 years old. He could handle JalTarang, Israj, Harmonium and Tabla as skillfully as he could sing. He presented the first-ever JalTarang recital on radio in 1933. He is an A grade artiste of AIR even today.

Having lost his eyesight at an early age, he was blessed with an Inner Light that suffuses his persona. A musician by urge, he is a poetlsietning[1].jpg (2264 bytes) with 1300 compositions in various vocal styles of Dhruv-pad, Dhamar, Khayal, Tarana, Trivat, Chaturang, Lakshan-geet etc. to his credit. He has worked copiously on books of his own and of his mentor Pandit Omkarnath Thakur. The present day music faculty of BHU is indebted to Pt. Balwant Rai for having served it for 31 years ever since the inception of parent music institution in 1950 known then as Kala Sangeet Bharati.

With students spread all over the globe, it does not surprise one to learn that despite his busy tenure of teaching, writing, performing and social commitments as the Chairman for over twenty years of the Varanasi chapter of National Federation of Blind, Bhavrang ji could find time to tour Afghanistan, Nepal, Canada, and United States of America.

A few of the several honours and awards that vied to decorate, respect and adorn this self-radiant soul are mentioned below:



First in Tansen Vishnu Digambar competitons organised by All India Music Conference, Calcutta


Gujrati poem "Atmadarshan" awarded in International Literary Competition by Jewish Braille Society, USA


U.P. Sangeet Natak Academy Award


Gujrat State Sangeet Nritya Natak Academy Awards


Padmashri conferred by Govt. of India


Honoured by Bhavnagar University


Honoured by Gritma


Honoured by Sanskar Bharati


Declared a Ratna-member of U.P. Sangeet Natak Academy

Under the International Music Education Scheme, Balwant Rai ji got 65 rare Raga-s recorded at Pennsylvania University. Prof. Herald S. Powers supervised this unique feat. In 1964 the first part of his now famous book of compositions, Bhavrang Lahri was published. The second volume appeared in 1974 and third in 1982. Recently some of his music recordings have released as Compact discs. The first one, Unsung Maestro has three pieces, Raga Patamanjari, Suha Kanhada {Layakari}) and a bhajan in Bhairavi. The second entitled Just Listen has two peices, Raga Chhayanat and Layakari in Bageshri. The third, Bhakti Gaan is a collection of prayers and bhajans.

Active despite his age, his residence at Nariya, Varanasi is considered a pious abode of musical learning and Bhavrang ji never shies away from instructing the willing pupil. He has passed on his passion to teach to his children. His daughter Layleena Bhatt is teaching dance at Women's College, B.H.U. while younger daughter Geetsudha Parikh teaches Sitar at Rajasthan College of Arts in Jaipur.

He breathed his last on 2nd May 2016. In his last days he was singing Ram-Bhajans. A musician celebrated same peace he offered the world with his music. (note added on 02-05-2016)


Note: In the picture above Pt. Balvant Rai Bhatt on dais with others.

References :

Music of Pandit Balvantrai Bhatt is available at leading music stores or can be ordered direct from
1. Trimurti Electronic Co., Shastri Market Varanasi.
2. Sri.Rajendra Bhatt, 38 / 2  Bimanagar, Satellite Road AHMEDABAD, GUJRAT  Tel. 09825008724 or from
3. Dr. Smt Geetsudha Pareek, Plot No.10; Ittar Ki Mor, Chaugan Stadium, Gangauri Bazar, JAIPUR, Tel: 91-141-2318182; +919460676067

Naman -- Indore, Dec. 2nd 2001

Link to other Indian artistes


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