Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta
Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan
was probably the most famous of the three main centres of Sarod playing in North
India in the mid nineteenth century. During this time , three contemporary sarod
players, Enayat Ali (1883 - 1915), Niamatullah Khan(1809 - 1902) and Gulam Ali
, belonging to three different families in the above mentioned centres earned
recognition. All were descendents of Afghan soldiers who played the Rabab (the
ancestor of the modern day Sarod) while marching into war. These soldier cum
musicians came with armies like the Mughal army into India and finally settled
down and started practising Hindustani Raag Sangeet in North India.
Enayat Ali, was the
most well known and one of the finest Sarod players belonging to the Sarod
Gharana of Shahjahanpur. It is interesting to note that all the above three
stalwarts of Sarod playing took extensive training at one point of time from
masters of the Senia Gharana - the Gharana coming down from
Mian Tansen - and thus the Sarod Gharana of Shahjahanpur later on came to
be known as the Senia Shahjahanpore Gharana.
One (or more) of these three are credited with the idea of
modifying the Afghan Rabab by adding a metal fingerboard and metallic strings
and also with the addition of the Chikari (Jhala) and Tarab (sympathetic)
strings. Thus the modern Sarode was born.
Ali was the grandson of another Afghan Rabab player Gulam Bandegi Khan Bangash
who was commissioned as a soldier in the army of Raja Vishwanath Singh of
Rewa. Bandegi Khan trained his son Haider Khan and grandson Ghulam Ali Khan
in the art of Rabab playing. Ghulam Ali also received musical training from
Pyar Khan and Jafar Khan who were distinguished Rabab players (the Senia Rabab,
which was different from the Afghan Rabab ) and direct descendents of Tansen.
Raja Vishwanath Singh gave Ghulam Ali Khan instruction in Dhrupad singing,
the slow, ornate and dignified style of vocal music, that was prevalent then.
Ghulam Ali later became a court musician in Gwalior, the most important musical
center for North Indian music at that time.
Ali Khan had three sons, Hossain Ali (eldest), Murad Ali and Nanne Khan (youngest)
who were all Sarode players. Nanhe Khan's son was the Late Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan
(1888- 1972) one of the noted Sarode players of the last generation. Hafiz Ali's
son Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is one of the most accomplished Sarode players of the
present day .
Md. Ameer Khan
Ali's second son, Murad Ali was childless . He moved to Shahjahanpur and adopted
an orphan boy, Abdullah Khan belonging to one of the musical families of Shahjahanpur
and who under his training became an outstanding Sarod player.
Murad Ali's musical line continued with Ustad Abdullah Khan, whose disciple
Mohammed Ameer Khan was the Guru of the Late Pt. Radhika Mohan Maitra (1917-1981)
a brilliant Sarodiya of the last generation.
Radhika Mohan Maitra
Mohan Maitra also took taleem (musical training) in Dhrupad from Beenkar (Veena
player) Ustad Dabir Khan of Rampur, a direct descendent of Mian Tansen and in
Sitar playing from Ustad Enayat Khan, father of Sitar Nawaz Ustad Vilayat Khan,
of the Etawah Gharana.
Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta is the foremost disciple of Radhika Mohan Maitra
and is one of three most outstanding Sarode players of India today. His playing
reflects the beauty of his Guru's melodic style which is a perfect blend of
the Rababiya and Beenkar traditions and he has developed a personal style and
idiom that is uniquely his own.
Radhika Mohan Maitra's Gharana