Home > Uncategorized > A piece of history…

A piece of history…

I was reading about the history of Gwalior Gharana in an interview with Pandit Laxman Krishnarao Pandit and came across this piece of history. What passionate people the days gone by have produced!

There was a court musician during the time of Daultarao Scindia called Ustad Nathan Pir Bakhsh and his maternal grandsons were the legendary Haddu, Hassu and Nathu Khan. The main musician in the court at the time was Ustad Bade Mohammad Khan who was famous for his taanbaazi. The trouble however was that there was a relationship of professional jealousy between Ustad Nathan Pir Bakhsh and Ustad Bade Mohammad Khan due to which the latter refused to teach the former’s maternal grandsons even though they belonged to the same tradition of Shah Sadarang. The king solved this problem by asking Haddu and Hassu Khan to sit under his throne hidden from the eyes of Ustad Bade Mohammad Khan while he sang in the court! The two youngsters were already talented and knowledgeable and with this impetus to their style, they picked up quickly and became good singers of khayal gayaki in their own right. This can be said to be the critical moment in the development of khayal gayaki and all the other gharanas of khayal thus owe their existence to Gwalior.
One day the king asked Ustad Bade Mohammad Khan to sing and asked Haddu and Hassu Khan to follow. Bade Mohammad Khan saheb was amazed at the singing prowess of the two youngsters and felt betrayed. He left the court but did something nasty before leaving. There is a particular taan called the ‘kadak bijli ki taan’ which can only be employed once during a performance due to the pressure it puts on the lungs. Bade Mohammad Khan praised Hassu Khan and asked him to take the same taan a second time. When Hassu Khan took the taan, his lungs got ruptured. Ustad Nathan Pir Bakhsh tied his turban around Hassu Khan’s chest and asked him to complete the taan even if it meant his death! Hassu Khan died prematurely but Haddu Khan lived on and taught many people and remained an unparalleled khayal singer all his life.
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  1. August 22, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    Some of it may be nostalgia but I have birth related sentimentality attached to that city so I couldn’t possibly be objective 🙂

  2. August 26, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Hey Shefaly! Good to see you commenting here!

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