NEW DELHI - Veteran Indian classical singer Gangubai Hangal, who battled caste and gender prejudices to establish a career that spanned more than seven decades, died yesterday after being briefly hospitalized for respiratory problems. She was 96.
Her grandson, Manoj Hangal, was quoted as saying she had died early yesterday, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
With her powerful, deep voice, Ms. Hangal was often described as more gifted than most male singers of her time, and people had trouble matching her strong vocals with her small frame.
She was one of the best-known singers of Khayal, a style that belonged to the Hindustani, or north Indian, school of classical singing.
She was born in the southern state of Karnataka and trained under Sawai Gandharva, a respected guru.
Born into a family of boatmen, considered low caste in Hinduism’s complex caste structure, Ms. Hangal battled that prejudice, as well as the notion that singing was not an appropriate profession for a woman of her generation.
She died in Hubli, a city in Karnataka state, where she lived, PTI reported.