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Mogubai Kurdikar (15 July 1904 – 10 February 2001) was a renowned Hindustani classical music vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana.

Mogu Kurdikar was born in the village of Kurdi in the then Portuguese Goa. In 1913, when she was ten years old, her mother, Jayashreebāi, took her to the temple at Zambaulimand arranged for a wandering holyman to teach music to Mogu for a while. Later she took Mogu to a traveling theatre company, the Chandreshwar Bhootnāth Sangeet Mandali, and the company took Mogu in as an actress.

While Mogu was with Chandreshwar Bhootnath Mandali (चन्द्रेश्वर भूतनाथ मंडळी), her mother died in 1914. A legend says that on her deathbed the mother told Mogu that her soul would not rest in peace until Mogu became a famous singer. The theatre company soon went bankrupt, and the rival Sātārkar Stree Sangeet Mandali (सातारकर स्त्री संगीत मंडळी) hired Mogu. She played commendably the parts such as of Kinkini in the play, Punyaprabhāv, and of the heroine Subhadrā in the play with the same name, Subhadrā. During her stint at the Sātārkar Stree Sangeet Mandali (सातारकर स्त्री संगीत मंडळी), Mogu was given lessons in music by Chintobuva Gurav. At the same time, Mogu took lessons in Kathak from Ramlal. She was also trained in Ghazal by Dattaramji Nanodkar. A conflict arose, however, between Mogu and one of the senior women in the theatre company, who then expelled Mogu from the company.

Mogu’s spirits drooped and it also took a toll on her health. In 1919, Mogu was taken by her aunt for medical treatment to Sangli.The visit to Sangli opened a new chapter in her life. While in Sangli, she learnt music under the tutelage of Inayat Khan for a brief while.

Awards and honours

Mogubai Kurdikar was honoured with several awards, prominent among which are the following:

  • Popular title Gaan Tapasvini(गान तपस्वीनी)
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1968)
  • Padma Bhushan (1974)

The Natyasampada Pratishthan in Pune organise an annual Gaan Saraswati Mahotsav music festival to honour the contribution of Kurdikar’s daughter Kishori Amonkar to the field of music. The Gaan Tapasvini Mogubai Kurdikar Award is given at the music festival.

In Kurdikar’s home state of Goa, Margao town’s Swarmanch institution organised an annual Gaan Tapasvini Mogubai Kurdikar Smruti Sangeet Sammelan in her memory.