Sudhakar Karandikar was my first guru and a key influence in my music education. He was born in 1944 in Satara, Maharashtra, in a family that had deep roots in the Gwalior school. His father, Shivrambuwa, was a disciple of Anant Manohar Joshi and later, of Sureshbabu Mane of Kirana.
Karandikar imbibed the basics of Hindustani vocal from his father, and by age 16 had attained the Sangeet Visharad degree. Great musicians often visited their home, among them Narayanrao Vyas, Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik, Gajananrao Joshi, Vinayakrao Patwardhan, Ram Marathe and so on. He benefited from these interactions. Additionally he was a fortunate recipient of Vinayakrao Patwardhan’s guidance and encouragement.
In 1970 at the age of 26, Karandikar moved to Goa and assumed a teaching position at the Swami Vivekananda School of Music in Panjim. From that point onwards Goa was to be his karmabhoomi, an association that continues to this day. Those were the days when there were very few resources available in Goa for seekers of Hindustani music. To us living in Panjim, Guru Karandikar’s arrival was a godsend.
Subordinating his own ambition and dedicating himself to the task of grooming the next generation of musicians was a personal sacrifice on Karandikar’s part. It meant that he effectively forsook his own promising career as a performing artiste. For the next several decades he immersed himself in teaching, working selflessly with no expectation of rewards or honours.
In due course, he came to be recognized as a musical savant of great distinction. Balkrishna Kelkar, Chandrakant Vernekar, Sumedha Desai, accomplished vocalists well-known in Goa and its surrounds, were groomed by him. Hema Sardesai cut her singing teeth under Guru Karandikar, as did Nisha Nigalye-Parasnis, the Hindustani vocalist. It is significant that with almost all of his pupils, he began from ground zero and turned them into a finished article.
Later, Karandikar served on Goa University’s Faculty of Music until his retirement a few years ago. Today, he is active doing what he loves most: teaching.