Friday, May 13, 2011

Ustad Chand Khan and Dilli Gharana...

Daniel Neumann raised a few questions on the existence of Delhi Gharana once. According to Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkahnde, a gharana can exists when it has a different style of presenting the raagas. The difference largely is in the context of the performing patterns. However, Daniel Neumann must have got his answers when Ustad Chand Khan replied to his objections. The problem with the Gharana of Delhi has been that they have not been awarded due recognition in any sphere. Well there are a number of reasons for Delhi Gharana not getting due recognition in the recent past.
1) The previous two generations of Delhi Gharana were not involved in full time vocal music, they were Sarangi players. Those Sarangi players were in fact very good singers also, but they had taken up playing Sarangi under vow.
2) The second reason being that after partition, there was a lack of accountability, that who actually represents the Gharana. The people in Pakistan who are direct descendants of Miyan Achpal and Miyan Tanras Khan, claim to be the one’s who are representing the Gharana.
3) The lack of recognition by the government, the leading institutions and the leading contemporaries of the times. In recent times, it was noticed that in a few books and movies in this context, there was no mention of Delhi Gharana.
The story is quite different from this. Actually, after tracing back the origins of Ustad Chand Khan’s family traditions, it can be seen that Meer Bula Kalawant, who was one of the two court musicians of Baadshah Shams Iltumish was the paternal ancestor of Ustad Chand Khan. Now, Meer Bula Kalawant was a contemporary to Hazrat Amir Khusrau. The descendants of this very family were the court singh of Maharaja Nahar Singh of Ballabhgarh, in Haryana. Raja Nahar Singh was the ruler of 101 villages in and around Ballabhgarh. Two of the court musicians of his times were Meer Allahbuqsh and Meer Umarbaqsh. Ustad Chand Khan represented the fourth generation after Meer Umarbaqsh. All of the generations except Sangi Khan and Mamman Khan were court vocalists, not accompanists. So, the doubt about Delhi Gharana not being a Vocal Gharana is not worth raising. The same tradition of vocal music was taken up by Ustad Chand Khan and it has been carried for ward by Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan who still lives in Suwiwalan at his ancestral place called ‘Mausiqui Manzil’. ... A beautiful rendering of Puriya Dhanashree by Ustad Naseer Ahmed Khan ... Jog Kauns by Usyad Iqbal Ahmed Khan ... Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan @ Harballabh Festival Jallandhar ... Miyan Ki Todi, Ustad Naseer Ahmed Khan
Presently the tradition of Delhi Gharana has been burdened on Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan. The traditions of vocalism was carried forward by the disciples of Miyan Tanras Khan. Badshah Bahadursijhah Zafar was the last Emperor of the Mughals in India and during his times, it it believed that the Gharana was officially established by a disciple of Miyan Achpal. Miyan Tanras Khan was a disciple of Miyan Achpal. Also, the birth of the Patiala Gharana took place when two people named Ali Buqsh and Fateh Ali were presented to Miyan Tanras Khan to accept them as disciples. At that time, Miyan Tanras Khan was in Jaipur.
Well, it is very painful to know that people question and criticize probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest Gharana of Khayal Gayaki. Khayal started from Hazrat Amir Khusrau Dehalvi, and since the traditions have been carried forward by the family of people who were contemporaries of his. Delhi Gharana, is the home for Khayal. It has had disturbing times. But, it still remains to be one of the quest for a Khayal lover. Ustad Naseer Ahmed Khan, another great vocalist of the century was also a part of the Delhi tradition. It is pretty ironic, the whole situation of Delhi Gharana itself. But the recent developments and the steps that are being taken to correct and put everything right in place will prove to be successful. 
Written by Kovid Rathee for HarmoNYom (5/8/2011):

Delhi Gharana: The Delhi Gharana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The highlights of Delhi Gharana are its pleasing vistaar and exquisite compositions.
Founders: Ustad Mamman Khan
Exponents: Ustad Chand Khan, Ustad Nasir Ahmed Khan, Ustad Usman Khan, Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Pandit Krishna Bisht. 


  1. Great piece of art... Good work

  2. The credit of Khayal to Amir Khusrou is another hearsay and continuation of every thing in Hindustani music credited to Amir Khusrau. There is no evidence of Khayal at that time. There is no history of any khayal before Haddu & Hassu Khans, it was all Dhrupad.