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Shankar Ghosh

Hailed as one of the all-time greats of Indian Classical Music, Pandit Shankar Ghosh regaled audiences all over the world with his unique baaj (style) of Tabla playing for over five decades. Universally regarded as an innovative genius, he revolutionized both the art of Tabla solo playing as well as tabla accompaniment. He is the creator of the much acclaimed all-drum orchestra Music of the Drums (later called the Calcutta Drum Orchestra). Sangeet Natak Akademi Award winner Pandit Shankar Ghosh trained under the legendary Guru Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh, Ustad Feroz Khan, Pandit Anath Nath Bose and Pandit Sudarshan Adhikari. Having acquired training under various gharanas, he used this knowledge to create a unique style of playing which is now followed by his students. His monumental contribution to the subject of tabla playing has been held in the highest regard by artistes like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Swapan Chowdhury, Pandit Anindyo Chatterjee and Pandit Kumar Bose. Apart from being an outstanding performer, Shankar ji was a remarkable teacher, having trained over 200 students, many amongst who are known names in the field of Indian classical music. His method, developed over the decades, involves a scientific and documented research of the subject, binding all the aspects together by an immune logic system. In his methods, Pandit Ghosh found brilliant success that worked wonderfully towards building a generation of Tabla players that view the subject with similar logic and dynamism. Pandit Ghosh passed away at a Kolkata hospital at 9 pm on 22nd January 2016, after being critically ill for over a month. His music and knowledge, however, shall not only remain but also widen among students and lovers of music in the time to come.

Ali Ahmed Hussain

Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan was one of the veterans and maestros of the shehnai - an instrument which is an integral part of Indian Classical musical culture. Ustadji was influential in taking the instrument out of wedding receptions and other social functions to the concert stage as well as to various international destinations. He applied his unique and innovative style and reinvented the form of the shehnai by way of its application in gayaki, sur meend, pukaar, tantrakari, baat ki taan, sapat ki taan, jod and jhala, taking it to a new level of performance. It was to Ustadji’s immense credit that he ventured to play on the shehnai many ragas that were traditionally not played on this instrument. He was a Guru of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy between 2012 and 2015.

Veena Sahasrabuddhe

Born in 1948 to an outstanding family of musicians and teachers, Veena Sahasrabuddhe was first trained in kathak dance and then tutored in music by her father, Pandit Shankar Shripad Bodas, disciple of the legendary Pt. Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and her brother, Pandit Kashinath Shankar Bodas. Other mentors include Padmashri Balwant Rai Bhatt, Pandit Vasant Thakar and Pandit Gajananbua Joshi. The style she created for herself retained the fundamental values of Gwalior Gharana while imbibing a few aspects from Kirana and Jaipur gharanas. Veena had been a stage performer since childhood. Apart from Khayal, she was sought after for her rich repertoire of bhajans. She performed at all the prestigious venues and occasions including Tansen Samaroh in Gwalior and Sawai Gandharva in Pune. She represented Indian Classical Music at the Vokalfestival in Stockholm and at the Voices of the World festival in Copenhagen. Her contribution to Indian music earned her innumerable awards and accolades, among them the prestigious Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akedemi Award in 1993. Having performed all over India, Veena Sahasrabuddhe performed in Australia, North America, Europe and the Middle East. She was known and respected for her direct approach and extraordinary intensity of performance. Besides being a popular performer, she was also an extraordinary composer and teacher. Keeping with her goal of propagating the music she loved, her mentorship and training gave the country some prominent names to reckon with, in the Indian Classical Music industry. A few amongst them are Sawani Shinde, Ranjini Ramachandran, Aparna Gurav, Atul Khandekar and Rachana Bodas. Veena Sahasrabuddhe passed away on 29th June 2016 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. She was survived by her husband, Dr. Hari Sahasrabuddhe, daughter and son.

Abdul Rashid Khan

The curtains fell on a rich musical career on Thursday, February 18, with Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan breathing his last. At 107 years of age, the Guru of ITC Sangeet Research Academy was the oldest performer of Hindustani Classical Music. And perform he did until his dying day in his inimitably youthful voice that was both startlingly powerful and uncommonly melodious at the same time. His ability to strike the pure and perfect note in the autumn of his life in fact was nothing short of astonishing. In acknowledgement of his outstanding contribution to music he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2013. Born into a family of great musicians who could be traced back to Ustad Behram Khan, he was initially trained by his uncle, Ustad Bade Yusuf Khan. Further training followed from his elders who had imbibed the Gwalior gayakee. By dint of sheer merit and extraordinary skill, Khan Sahab further developed this style according to his own artistic sensitivities within the Gwalior framework. Apart from khayal, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan sang dhrupad, dhamar and thumri with equal ease and verve. The extensive use of breath control and the Gwalior patterns of layakari were his unparalleled qualities. In a career that spanned nearly 9 decades, he participated in innumerable music conferences and witnessed almost a century of the evolution of Hindustani Classical Music. He received many awards and felicitations from recognised institutions, including the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Banaras Hindu University. He received the ITC Award in 1994, the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009 and was the recipient of the prestigious 35th All India Bhuwalka Award of 2010 for his rich and valued contribution in the field of Indian Classical Vocal Music. Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan was also a prolific writer and an inspired poet, having penned more than two thousand compositions under the pseudonym ‘Rasan Piya’. Many of the 'bandishes' that he sang were his own composition. A guru with ITC SRA since 1994 until his dying day, he trained a number of students


Lakshmi Narayan Mishra

It is with deep regret that ITC SRA announces the passing of veteran musician and tabla exponent, Pandit Lakshmi Narayan Mishra. Lakshmi ji had been admitted at a hospital in Kolkata, where he breathed his last at 1:10am on the 29th of October 2015. Known for his in-depth knowledge of tabla and music in general, he received national and international acclaim for his tabla playing and accompaniment skills. His forte lied in maintaining a perfect balance between his tabla and bayan along with his style and prowess in playing 'Tirkit-Dhirkit' and impeccable accompaniment with Thumri and Dadra renditions. Born in 1938 at Hariharpur Village, Azamgarh U.P., Lakshmi Narayan Mishra started learning tabla at the age of 6 from his uncle, Pandit Baleshwar Prasad Mishra who was based out of Kolkata. His initial training began with Pandit Chandrabali Mishra, also his uncle after which he went on to receive advanced training under stalwarts like Pandi Bundi Maharaj, Pandit Bulbul Maharaj and Pandit Ram Prasad Mishra. Having established himself in the Classical Music field at Kolkata, Pandit Lakshmi Narayan Mishra joined ITC Sangeet Research Academy on the 1st of February 1978 as a tabla accompanist and his association with the Academy continued for over three decades. He performed multiple times at Akhil Bharatiya Sangeet Sammelan and was a much sought after accompanist at Akashvani and Doordarshan. He accompanied vocal and instrumental legends of Indian Classical music fraternity, which include Late Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Late Pandit D.V. Paluskar, Late Vidushi Hirabai Barodekar, Late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Late Pandit Ravi Shakar, Pandit Jasraj and Vidushi Dr. Girija Devi. He also provided accompaniment with Kathak performances by Late Pandit Chitresh Das and Pandit Bachchan Lal Mishra. Having been known and loved for his simplicity, humility and unconditional devotion towards his art, Lakshmi jethu will be sorely missed by the world of music.

Vasundhara Komakali

With the sad demise of Gaanvidushi Padmashri Vasundhara Komakali of Gwalior Gharana, another chapter of Hindustani Classical music ended that saddened the music world all over. Born on 23rd May, 1931 in Jamshedpur, she took her last breath at “Bhanukul”, Dewas on 29th July, 2015. She was brought up in Calcutta where she was an artist at the All India Radio Station, at a time when Ustad Allah Rakha ji was a tabla accompanist there and accompanied her for recordings. She with her family shifted to Bombay in 1944 where she learnt Classical music under the able guidance of the great Guru Dr. B.R. Deodhar, which was also where she met Shivaputra Siddharamaiyyah Komakali ‘Kumar Gandharva’ and later married him in 1962 and relocated to Dewas. Vasundharaji who was lovingly known as Vasu Tai was Kumarji’s student first and a wife later. She performed along with Kumarji for most of his thematic concerts like ‘Geet-Varsha’, ‘Triveni’, ‘Mala Umajalele Bal-Gandharva’, ‘Geet-Hemant’, ‘Thumri Tappa Tarana’. Generally Jugalbandis are performed in classical music but she sang duets with him which created an effect that enraptured the connoisseurs of music. She kept herself out of all the limelight and it was only after Kumarji’s demise in 1992 she became a vocalist in her own right. She started devoting more of her time to music and teaching her daughter Sushri. Kalapini Komakali and her grandson Shri. Bhuvanesh Komakali, who are eminent artists today. Over the years, she had imbibed Kumarji’s music and when she eventually appeared as a solo singer, she was welcomed and applauded. She enthralled audience with her extremely potent and melodious voice. She executed khayal, bhajan and lokgeet embracing the style of her guru Kumar Gandharva. As a performing artist, she travelled extensively to perform in many highly esteemed music festivals including the thematic programme of ‘Geet-Vasant’ based on Holi at ITC SRA with her daughter Kalapini Komkali. She rendered her 'gayaki' as a solo performer and in her later years of performances she demonstrated a lot through bol-banav in raagas such as Nand, Kukubh Bilawal and many more. She published the first and second volumes of the Anoop Raag Vilas series as a reprint and many solo cassettes were released in her name. She carried forward the musical lineage of Pt. Kumar Gandharva. She was awarded with one of the highest citizen awards of India – the Padmashri and also the Sangeet Natak Akademi award. With two of its eminent musicians departed for the heavenly abode, the small city of Dewas where Kumarji and Vasundharaji spent most of their lives devoted to music, will perhaps be reminded of Kabir’s “Ud Jayega Hans Akela….” This article has been contributed by Smt. Sanyukta Kashalkar - Karve, a music research scholar at S.N.D.T Women's University, Churchgate, Mumbai


Uppalapu Srinivas

Only a very few in recent musical history could achieve such glorious success in as quick a time as Uppalapu Srinivas has done. He was a child prodigy and musical phenomenon to whom perfection of tone and execution come as spontaneously as the unfettered flow of his ideas. When he was only six years old, his father, U. Satyanarayana found him playing on his Mandolin. Inspired by the boy's interest in music, he started teaching his son, and subsequently took him to Subbaraju, a classically trained musician, and disciple of the musical stalwart Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. Subbaraju had no experience on the Mandolin, so he would sing Carnatic music, which Srinivas would then play on the Mandolin. In this way the budding Srinivas developed his own style. Over the next four decades, he toured across the world, and collaborated with John McLaughlin, Michael Nyman, Michael Brook amongst other legends. With parental affection, he revived and raised this instrument hitherto unknown in Indian classical music, and took it to a greatly respectable status. He glided over the gamut with ease, traversing four octaves with subtle deflections and suave certainty. Every phrase, every design fell into place in the build up of the Raga. He could evolve and execute the most intricate fraction-ridden swara combinations that would keep any accompanist on edge. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998 by Government of India, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009. He had also started a music school called the Srinivas Institute of World Music (SIOWM) in Chennai, where he taught a number of students. Srinivas passed away on 19th September 2014 in Chennai at the age of 45. He grew into a colossus with probably only the sky as the limit. There remains not a dais, not a festival left in the world where he did not mesmerize his listeners.

Padmavati Shaligram

Born in 1918 in Kolhapur, Padmavati Shaligram was one of the senior most vocalists of Hindustani music. She was groomed in the Jaipur – Atrauli tradition by her father and uncle who were students of the legendary Alladiya Khan, the founder of the gharana. She performed in public since she was thirteen and climbed to the height of success and glory very early in life. She was a top ranked performer with the All India Radio, besides featuring in numerous concerts in both the northern and southern states of the country. In her era, she was instrumental in paving the way for classical music to be sung by women from higher social classes and also in contributing greatly to the acceptance and respect of thumri among connoisseurs of classical music. At its 13th Sangeet Sammelan (November 11-13, 2005) ITC SRA rediscovered Padmavati Shaligram for the Kolkata audience after decades, on the platinum jubilee year of her singing career. The sprightly Padmavati came, saw and conquered with her stupendous taans. This apparently frail and petite 86-year-old lady had to be helped on to stage. But all fears for her frailty vanished within the first 2 crystal clear notes that she sang. Her simple and direct approach had an old-world charm. Yet it was scintillating and full of vitality. Endless taan patterns at an electrifying speed used to be her forte in her prime. The mesmerized Kolkata listeners witnessed that the same was just as true then. She sang with passion and a rare rustic appeal and left the stage to a standing ovation. She received the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1988 which is the highest award for arts in India awarded by the Govt. of India. She was awarded the Kalidas Award in 1994-1995 and also by Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal. She performed all over India and Pakistan before partition. Ustad Alar Khan used to accompany her. She also acted in at least 4 Hindi, Marathi and Telugu movies. Padmavati Shaligram passed away on 20th July 2014 in Mumbai at the age of 96.

Dhondutai Kulkarni

Born on 23rd July 1927, Dhondutai Kulkarni, was one of the last living icons of the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana. The legendary Ustad Alladiya Khan, who founded the Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana, made this Gharana unique by its full-throated singing, its complicated Taans, and its vast repertoire of Ragas, which Dhondutai Kulkarni represented with enormous conviction and dexterity. Dhondutai was born in a Brahmin family in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, where her father, Ganpatrao initiated her into music and encouraged her to pursue it seriously at that time despite passive disagreement by her mother. She became an AIR performing artiste at the age of eight. Brought up in Kolhapur, she soon started training under Ustad Bhurji Khan, whose father, Ustad Alladiya Khan, had a special care for Dhondutai. It was not uncommon to find her sitting next to the legendary performer at music festivals. Her training later continued under the mentorship of Laxmibai Jadhav and Ustad Azizuddin Khan, grandson of the legendary Ustad Alladiya Khan. She received most of her repertoire of rare Ragas from Ustad Azizuddin Khan. Thereafter, she spent a long number of years under the immensely distinguished knowledge of Kesarbai Kerkar, ending up as her sole disciple. Her incredible repertoire of Ragas saw to it that she rarely repeated a raga at two consecutive concerts. Dhondutai knew specialty Raga creations made not just by Ustad Alladiya Khan but also Kesarbai Kerkar. Dhondutai had been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1990. She performed in various festivals like Mallikarjun Mansur Music Festival and was also been invited to the "Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar Sangeet Sammelan" since its inception. Dhondutai passed away at 87 in Mumbai on 1st June 2014. She will be remembered not just for her musical excellence, her quality and austerity as a performing artist but also for her invaluable contribution in teaching under the Guru-Shishya Parampara.


Purnima Chaudhuri

Widely acclaimed light classical vocalist, Purnima Chaudhuri passed away on 4th March 2013 at a city hospital in Kolkata. Purnima was initiated into music by Pandit A Kanan and was later rigorously trained by Mahadev Prasad Mishra and Girija Devi, both of Banaras. She had carved a niche for herself as a distinguished exponent of Thumri, Dadra, Tappa etc of the rich Purab ang and Banarasi style. She received the prestigious Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, and was conferred the title of Surmani by the Sursringar Samsad of Bombay. A Sangeet Pravin (M. Mus) from Prayag Sangeet Samity, Allahabad, she was a top grade artiste of Akashvani and Doordarshan and had featured in several National Programmes and Akashvani Sangeet Sammelans as well as on B.B.C. She had rendered her voice in the film "Meeting a Mile Stone" on Ustad Bismilla Khan, produced by N.F.D.C. & Bengali films like 'Chokher Bali’ and 'Harbert'. She also participated in various prestigious Music Conferences in the major cities of India like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Patna, Varanasi, Allahabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Bhopal, Gwalior, Indore, Chandigarh, Bhubaneswar, Goa etc., as well as in UK, USA, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, France and other cities overseas. She had performed in "Thumri" evening organised by Indian Embassy, Washington D.C In this tour other major events were - "Chhandayan" all night classical Music Conference, New York, Asian music performing Arts, Toronto, Ottawa classical music concert, Rag - Mala classical night, Edmonton, India Festival – Amsterdam, and other places of U.S.A. & Canada. Apart from performances she had conducted a number of workshops, participated in leacture demonstrations and seminars on Thumri. She had several CD and cassette releases to her credit. She was the founder of “Swarganga” music circle. Purnima di was also very closely associated with ITC Sangeet Research Academy and her musical contribution towards the academy will be sorely missed.

Zia Fariduddin Dagar

Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar dhrupad vocalist, breathed his last on 8 May 2013 after a brief illness. Ustadji was born in Udaipur in 1932. His father, the illustrious dhrupadiya, late Ustad Ziauddin Dagar, who was a doyen of the Dagar tradition and a Royal Court musician at the Udaipur Palace, Rajasthan, trained him in music both vocally and on the Rudra Veena. After the demise of his father he went on to learn under his elder brother Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar - the late Rudra Veena Maestro. Moving around India in search of livelihood, Ustadji finally settled down in Mumbai in the early Fifties where he continued to keep the tradition of his family alive, thus representing the Nineteenth Generation of Dagars in a magnificent way. Ustadji's dynamic personality and his grandeur were reflected in his music. His ideas on music were not restricted to his traditional learning alone. His particular way of rendering set him totally apart from the rest of his brothers under the same genre. His complex renderings fusing the old and the new struck one with awe yet at the same time had a tender appeal mirroring the persona of the man himself. Master of srutis and blessed with a resonant voice, Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar enthralled audiences both in India and the rest of the world. He performed in many major festivals in India and abroad and was the recipient of prestigious awards like the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, Tagore Ratna Award and Tansen Samman. Ustadji spent years imparting his knowledge of his music and his experiences to numerous students around the world. He leaves behind a rich and vibrant tradition that is being carried on by his students, including his nephew and rudra veena player Bahauddin Dagar, the Gundecha brothers, Uday Bhawalkar, Pushparaj Koshti, Ritwik Sanyal and Nirmalya Dey.

Biresh Roy

It is with deep regret that ITC SRA announces the passing of Pandit Biresh Roy on 28th March 2013. Biresh da had been hospitalised and later passed away at his residence in Kolkata. An eminent exponent of Indian Classical Music, Biresh Roy was born in Calcutta in 1923. Endowed with a mellifluous voice and an innate sense of music, Roy picked up his first whiff of music from his father. In 1933, the 10 year-old Biresh attracted the attention of the renowned maestro Girija Shankar Chakravarty. The legendary musician foresaw a stupendous musical career stretching out before the talented child. The maestro started teaching him music in the traditional (Guru Shishya-Parampara) style, keeping Biresh under his wings in his house. Biresh quickly gained recognition in a few years. From 1939, Biresh began to broadcast and perform regularly. In spite of his early success, Roy never rested on his laurels. He continued to apply himself diligently to music and mastered different forms of classical music such as, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Tappa, Khayal and Thumri. The last two were his forte. His style of singing the Thumri enchanted audiences over and over again. Pandit Biresh Roy performed all over India, as well as in other countries like Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Germany. He also had broadcast musical performances. He worked in Germany as a guest musician of the West German government in 1979. For some time, he was also the Principal of the Classical Music department of ‘Gita Bitan’ – a well-known music institution in India. He joined ITC SRA in the late 80s as a Guru and remained with the Academy till 2008. He approached music with a spirit of love and devotion. Concentrating on the notes of a melody, he conjured up the visions that lie deep within it. Music, according to him, was also a gateway to spiritual realisation.

M.S. Gopalakrishnan

Legendary violinist M.S. Gopalakrishnan (popularly known as MSG) passed away on 3rd January 2013 at a city hospital in Chennai. Born on 10th June 1931 in Mylapore, Chennai, M.S. Gopalakrishnan learnt from his father, late Professor Parur Sundaram Iyer, the famous violinist who had command over both Carnatic and Hindustani Classical Music. MSG learnt both systems from his father and gave his first performance along with his father at age of eight. A top ranking violinist, outstanding soloist and accompanist, MSG had been in the music arena for over fifty years playing both Hindustani and Carnatic Music. MSG’s vast research and riyaaz of violin playing techniques includes the development of the new unique style called the "Parur style" and newer techniques such as one-finger playing, thematic development on single-string octaves to make his violin a more expressive medium. M.S.Gopalakrishnan was a legendary artiste who extended the boundaries of his skill beyond Carnatic Music and won wider recognition amongst audiences all over the world. He accompanied maestros of Hindustani music like Pandit Omkarnath Thakur and Pandit Paluskar who readily accepted the young virtuoso as an accompanist. With the crystal-clear tonal purity of his Carnatic lineage and the emotional impact of the 'Shruti-Bhaav' of the Hindustani gayaki mode, he evolved a unique style of his own which imparted immense depth and dimension to ragas through instrumental music. He was a versatile violin artiste famous for playing melodies, speed, special fingering technique, and bowing technique. His violin tonal quality was very clear, which made his music more melodious. M.S.Gopalakrishnan toured all over the world including countries like USA, UK, Holland, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hongkong. He won numerous awards including the Padma Sri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award. Whether he played a 'Kriti' of Shree Thyagaraja for the rasikas of Carnatic music or a Masitkhani gat for lovers of Hindustani music, M.S.Gopalakrishnan and his audiences shared a rapport which was the key of his popularity the world over. He had recently astounded an audience in Holland by playing a small piece of Beethoven. To an artiste of such boundless genius, the world was truly a stage - and sky not the limit.


Pandit Ravi Shankar

Legendary sitarist and composer, Pandit Ravi Shankar passed away on 11th December, 2012 in California, USA. Born in Varanasi on 7th April 1920, Pandit Ravi Shankar, was India's most esteemed musical Ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the classical music worlds of East and West. As a performer, composer, teacher and writer, he was well known for his pioneering work in bringing Indian music to the West. This however, he did only after long years of dedicated study under his illustrious guru Baba Allaudin Khan and after making a name for himself in India. Always ahead of his time, Ravi Shankar wrote three concertos for sitar and orchestra, last one of which was in 2008. He also authored violin-sitar compositions for Yehudi Menuhin and himself, music for flute virtuoso Jean Pierre Rampal, music for Hosan Yamamoto, master of the Shakuhachi and Musumi Miyashita - Koto virtuoso, and collaborated with Phillip Glass (Passages). George Harrison produced and participated in two record albums, "Shankar Family & Friends" and "Festival of India", both composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar also composed for ballets and films in India, Canada, Europe and the United States, the latter of which includes the films "Charly," "Gandhi," and the "Apu Trilogy". In the period of the awakening of the younger generation in the mid 60's, Ravi Shankar gave three memorable concerts - Monterey Pop Festival, Concert for Bangla Desh, and The Woodstock Festival. Ravi Shankar was an honourary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He received many awards and honours from his own country and from all over the world, including fourteen doctorates, the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, Desikottam,Padma Bhushan of 1967, the Music Council UNESCO award 1975, the Magsaysay Award from Manila, two Grammy's, the Fukuoka grand Prize from Japan, the Polar Music Prize of 1998, the Crystal award from Davos, with the title 'Global Ambassador' to name some. In 1986 Ravi Shankar was nominated as a member of the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of Parliament. Deeply moved by the plight of more than eight million refugees who came to India during the Bangladesh Freedom struggle, Ravi Shankar planned to arrange a concert to collect money for the refugees.This humanitarian concern from Ravi Shankar sowed the seed of the concept for the Concert for Bangladesh. With the help of George Harrison, this concert became the first magnus effort in fund raising, paving the way for many others to do charity concerts. His recording "Tana Mana", released on the private Music label in 1987, brought Mr. Shankar's music into the "New age" with its unique method of combining traditional instruments with electronics. Mr. Shankar had several disciples, many of which are now very succesful concert artists and composers. Perhaps no greater tribute can be paid to this genius than the words of one his colleagues, George Harrison. He once stated that Ravi Shankar is the godfather of World Music.

Pandit Manas Chakraborty

Noted vocalist of the Kotali gharana , Pandit Manas Chakraborty passed away on December 12, 2012 after a brief illness. Born in the year 1941, Pandit Manas Chakraborty was raised in a traditional and illustrious family of scholars and classical musicians. He received his training from his father Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakraborty, himself a renowned and highly respected vocalist. He used to set his Khayal Gayaki in accordance with the character of the raga and achieved an integrated oneness of the eternal Indian spirit. His Thumris have created a landmark in the evolution of Hindustani-Music. He mastered the fundamental and pervading spirit of Indian classical music and earned for himself a significant place among the best known performers of recent times. His performance career began when he gave vocal support to his father at conferences all over India. He was an institution in himself, known for his distinct ragadari. His contribution as a guru was also immense. Attached to the West Bengal Rajya Sangeet Academy, he had many disciples established in the music world. He released a cassette ‘Gan-Shikhi-Gan-Gai’ from the Rajya Sangit Academy, along with Pandit Jnanprakash Ghosh. With several records, cassettes and CDs to his credit, released By HMV, EMI, CBS And Other Recording Companies. Pt. Manas Chakraborty, was a versatile genius who unsurpassed mastery of all languages of Khayal, Thumri and various other semi-classical styles of music such as Tappa, Bhajan, Ragpradhan etc. Most of his own created bandishes were noted by his pseudonym ‘Sadasant’ and he was distinctively adored among the music-lovers.

Meera Banerjee

The empress of Patiala Gayaki, Vidushi Meera Banerjee passed away on the night of June 27, 2012. Born in Meerut on 28th March 1930, Vidushi Meera Banerjee was initiated into music by her musicologist father, Shailendra Kumar Chatterjee. This was followed by a brief period of training under Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri. She started performing for All India Radio when she was barely thirteen and was honoured with the title of ‘Gitashree’ in 1944. In 1950, she started learning from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali. The fifties and sixties were a particularly prolific period for her. She performed extensively, both in India and abroad and several of her long playing discs were released. She married Prasun Banerjee in February 1957, who joined her as a disciple of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Together they recorded several duets, which were also released on disc. Meera Banerjee’s performances drew appreciation from senior and contemporary musicians wherever she went. Truly a living legend in her time, she received several coveted awards, including the ITC award in 1996 and the West Bengal State Academy Award in 1999. She lent her voice to the Bengali feature film ‘Atithi’ and her song received the best music award in an International Festival. Her many successful music students prove her capability as a consummate trainer. But perhaps the fittest tribute to Meera Banerjee’s singing came from none other than her Ustad himself. He once commented that when Meera sang, it meant profound satisfaction for the entire soul.

Pandit Sohanlal Sharma

By virtue of his ingenuity of expression and a spontaneous outflow of powerful emotions through the Harmonium, Pandit Sohanlal Sharma, captivated the hearts of lovers of Indian Classical Music.. Born on August 28, 1942, he was initially tutored by his musician father, the Late Pandit Narayan Prasad in a musical ambience at home. He later enriched himself through effective talim from the late Laxman Prasad Jaipurwalle and also from the Late Ustad Aminuddin Khan Dagar and went on to achieve immeasurable heights of esteem. His relentless efforts in his field enabled him not only to contribute priceless improvisation to the genre but also to add to the grandeur of Bharatiya Shastriya Sangeet. He gave the art of Harmonium Playing a new dimension by incorporating into it the different melodies of Sitar, Sarod, Shehnai and Violin and his rendering of ‘Sruti’. ‘Gamak’ and ‘Mir’ in the instrument, a mammoth task, was widely hailed for his wizardry. It is a small wonder that Sohanlalji accompanied almost all the leading vocal artist of eminence for the last forty-five years, including the likes of Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, Vidushi Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Amir Khan Saheb, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit A Kanan, Vidushi Shipra Bose and many others. His solo recitals mesmerized audiences at home and abroad and he also performed several ‘Jugalbandis’ with such great artists as Pandit V G Jog, Sri Indranil Bhattacharya, Pandit Manilal Nag, Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan and others. His death on 25th May 2012 was an irreparable loss to the world of Hindustani Classical Music.


Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee

Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee, a profoundly accomplished Hindustani Classical instrumentalist of the Etawah Gharana passed away in the wee hours of 27th October, 2011. Pandit Kashinath Mukherjee had successfully kept aloft the taalim of the great Ustad Vilayat Khan. He enthralled veterans, amateurs and the uninitiated alike over the years with the sheer merit, dexterity and the irresistible appeal and force of his music. Kashinath Mukherjee was born in Kolkata on January 8, 1925, into an aristocratic family with a rich cultural heritage. Inspired by his father Shital Chandra Mukherjee, a learned Dhrupad exponent, Kashinath trained under Srinivas Nag (a disciple of Ustad Enayet Khan) for twelve years. His elder brother, the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who went on to become a renowned filmmaker, was also a student of Srinivas Nag, learning Esraj. After the passing away of his guru, he continued his taalim under the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan, son of Enayat Khan. For the five years that he remained with the Ustad, he kept away completely from public appearances, as directed by his master. His insatiable hunger for learning later led him to luminous maestros such as Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Keramatullah Khan and Ustad Amir Khan. He also learned from Amir Khan until the latter`s death. Pandit Mukherjee participated in major concerts both at home and abroad. He was the recipient of the ITC Award among others. Ramprapanna Bhattacharya and Abhik Mukherjee are among his most prominent disciples. May his soul rest in peace.

Sultan Khan

One of India's most celebrated musicians, Ustad Sultan Khan passed away in Mumbai on November 27 after a prolonged illness. He was 71. Born on April 15, 1940 at Sikar in Rajasthan, Sultan Khan was known for his mastery over sarangi and had played a key role in raising the status of the sarangi from a peripheral accompanying instrument to one for solo performance. He belonged to the eighth generation of a family of accomplished sarangi players, being the grandson of Ustad Azim Khan and the son of Ustad Gulab Khan. He gave his first performance at the All-India Conference at the age of 11. Although he never directly learned from Ustad Amir Khan, Sultan Khan's style was greatly inspired by his gayaki. His was a rare combination of perfect command over the instrument and rich emotional rendering of melody. He had accompanied Pandit Ravi Shankar on George Harrison’s Dark Horse tour in 1974. He was also on the soundtracks of films like Gandhi and In Custody besides performing at Prince Charles’ 50th birthday celebration in 1997. Though his father and grandfather were noted sarangiyas and vocalists of their time, Sultan Khan remained primarily an instrumentalist till a few years ago when filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali changed his life forever. When he sang his first song in the film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, the Ustad was almost 60. Not many thought he would go beyond being a one-film wonder. He went on to become one of the highest paid playback singers - creating magic both with his sarangi and his singing. Sultan Khan was also a member of the Indian fusion group Tabla Beat Science, with Zakir Hussain and American bassist, Bill Laswell. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honor, in 2010 and was also the recipient of numerous other awards, including a two-time Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, a Gold Medal from the Maharashtra government, and the American Academy of Artists Awards. He is survived by his wife, his son Sabir Khan also a well-known Sarangi player and two daughters.

Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar

Padma Bhushan Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar, the senior-most dhrupad artist belonging to the illustrious Dagar family, passed away on Wednesday, 27th July 2011, at 10:20PM at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. He had suffered a massive paralytic stroke on 19 December 2010 which had left the right side of his body paralysed and made him lose his speech as well. Over the last couple of days, his condition worsened due to extreme congestion and suspected internal bleeding around the lungs. The end finally came due to a massive heart attack while he was on a ventilator at the ICU of the hospital. Khansahib was among the most eminent musicians the country produced in the 20th century. Born in Alwar, Rajasthan in 1927, he was the only son of Padma Bhushan Ustad Allahbande Rahimuddin Khan Dagar. Initiated into music at the age of 5, he learnt from his father until the latter's death in 1975 and also had the opportunity to learn from his eminent uncles - Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar, Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar, Ustad Imamuddin Khan Dagar and Ustad Hussainuddin Khan Dagar - enabling him to achieve the total mastery of the 12 mool siddhant and 40 alankars which are intricate to the Dagarbani tradition of dhrupad. Apart from vocal music, Khansahib was also adept at playing the Rudra Veena, an instrument he learnt for over 12 years, as well as the Sitar. He had performed at all prominent festivals and venues in India and abroad and his recordings have been published in Switzerland, Germany, Italy and India. During the course of his long performing career, he received numerous awards and honours the prominent among which are the Sangeet Ratna (1956), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1993), Dhrupad Ratna (1993), Kalidas Samman (2002), Lifetime Achievement Award by Govt. of NCT of Delhi (2007), Padma Bhushan (2008) and Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna (2010). Ustadji was also associated with ITC SRA in the early days of the Academy. His loss has been mourned by musicians, connoisseurs and students alike. He is survived by his wife Mrs. Naheed Dagar and daughter Mrs. Saba Ghayyur.

Pandit Jagdish Prasad

It is with deep regret that ITC SRA announces the passing of Pandit Jagdish Prasad on July 18, 2011. Jagdish ji had been hospitalised about 2 weeks ago and passed away at a nursing home in Kolkata at 9.30 am. Pandit Jagdish Prasad was initially groomed under the guidance of his father Pandit Badri Prasad, who was the court musician of the former principality of Raigarh, Madhya Pradesh. Later he was under the tutelage of none other than legendary artiste Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan of Patiala gharana. Under the tutelage of both these Gurus, he enriched his repertoire in both classical and semi-classical music and could sing khayal and thumri with equal command. He joined ITC-SRA in 1977. A gifted musician, he performed throughout the country and abroad with the ITC-SRA team. He left the Academy in 1984 and later joined Khairagarh University in Madhya Pradesh as a lecturer. He continued to serve the cause of music and performed all over the world.

Ustad Asad Ali Khan

Rudra Veena maestro Ustad Asad Ali Khan died in New Delhi in the early hours of June 14, 2011 at the age of 74. He is survived by three daughters and two sons. Ustad Asad Ali Khan was one of the most celebrated custodians of the fading Rudra Veena (or Been) tradition, representing the Jaipur Beenkar Gharana. His family traditions go back seven generations to the 18th century when his ancestors were royal musicians in the princely court of Jaipur. His great grandfather, the legendary Ustad Rajab Ali Khan and his grandfather, Ustad Musharraf Khan were famous been players in the court of Alwar. In the early decades of this century, his father Ustad Sadik Ali Khan (1883-1964) moved to the court at Rampur. Ustad Asad Ali Khan was born in 1937 and began his rigorous training under his father, practising at least 14 hours a day, for over fifteen years. The undisputed master of Rudra Veena, his command over its exacting technique and his virtuosity on this instrument were unparalleled. He was noted for the purity of his style as well as the mood of profound contemplation that his music evoked. Very few musicians practise the Rudra Veena as its technique is so exacting, but Asad Ali was actively involved in preserving this ancient art form. Ustad Asad Ali Khan taught music at the University of Delhi and also conducted courses on the Rudra Veena in the USA. The numerous awards and honors that came his way included the Sangeet Shiromani Award from the Lalit Kala Academy of Kanpur, Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1985, Tiruna Dhrupad Award, Kashi in 1988 , Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, Delhi in 1989 , the Tansen Award in 1994, ITC Sangeet Research Academy Award, Kolkata in 2007 and the Padma Bhushan in 2008. He was a top grade artiste of All India Radio and participated in Radio Sangeet Sammelans, National Programmes and music conferences all over India and abroad. His foremost disciple is his son Zaqu Haider who is actively mastering the instrument and hopes to carry on the tradition. May his soul rest in peace.

Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri

Harmonium maestro Ustad Mehmood Dhaulpuri died after a prolonged illness in New Delhi in the early hours of May 25, 2011. He is survived by three daughters and two sons. He was 58. Born on March 23, 1954 in the Dhaulpur District of Rajasthan, Mehmood Dhaulpuri was one of the country's acclaimed harmonium players. He received his early training from his grandfather, Ustad Buddha Khan and was finally groomed by Ustad Nasir Ahmed Khan of the Delhi gharana. Gradually, he developed a style of his own and soon became a front ranking harmonium player who accompanied legendary vocalists like Parween Sultana, the late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Girija Devi and many other luminaries of Indian classical music. Dhaulpuri became the first harmonium artiste to be awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India. Accompaniment, according to the late maestro, meant not only following the vocalist, but doing so with a certain intellect through which the accompanist must show his own spark of genius. Apart from his deep commitment and dedication to the world of Hindustani Classical Music and the harmonium, Dhaulpuri resolutely upheld the composite secular cultural fabric of the nation. Born a Muslim, he spent many years living in temple precincts in Delhi, and was a long time supporter of SAHMAT raising his voice against communal forces through the power and strength of his music.

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

Legendary vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who enthralled generations of connoisseurs with his renditions of Hindustani classical music, passed away in a Pune hospital on Monday, January 24, 2011 after a prolonged illness. He would have been 88 in February. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was one of the most venerable musicians of Indian Classical music and a powerful figure on the Hindustani music concert platform. An artistic genius, Bhimsenji enjoyed phenomenal popularity for over six decades. He demonstrated power and passion in his recitals and his voice, which commanded worship all over the world, resounded with its acknowledged majesty. Bhimsen Joshi was born on February 14, 1922 in the village of Gadag in the Dharwad district of Karnataka. His grandfather was a popular keertankaar. His father Gururaj was a Sanskrit scholar and a noted educationist. Bhimsenji took an extraordinary interest in music from early childhood and started taking lessons from local musicians Chinnappa Kurtakoti and Shyamacharya. A chance hearing of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan’s rendition of Basant became the turning point in his life. Realising that the small village could not offer the kind of musical training he was seeking, Bhimsen fled home. This was followed by years of financial hardship, sleepless nights, days without a square meal and various odd jobs to earn his livelihood. These odd jobs included domestic chores in the houses of noted artistes in his endless quest for a proper guru and some music lessons. Venturing across the length and breadth of the country, sometimes earning his ticket through singing Bhajans and Abhangs in trains, he came across great musicians like Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, Raj Bhaiya Poochwale, Krishnarao Pandit, Vismawadev Chatterjee and finally Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan. Patwardhan made him go to Kundgol and learn from Pandit Sawai Gandharva, the well-known disciple of Ustad Abdul Karim. Bhimsenji spent the next five or six years in rigorous riyaz. When he was twenty one, he was already broadcasting on All India Radio , first from Lucknow and then from Mumbai. He evolved as a popular concert artiste around the same time. Always clad in simple spotless white kurta and pyjama, Bhimsenji was known to command the immediate musical surrender of his audience. His vilambit was endowed with an aesthetic expanse and serenity. His taans were forceful and his bhajans steeped in devotion. Though he sang essentially in the Kirana Gharana style, his gayaki was a rich synthesis of other styles like Jaipur-Atrauli, Agra, Patiala etc. You can detect in his music the shades of past Ustads, but the embellishments were all his own. He was equally at ease in khayals, thumris, bhajans and natya-sangeets. In the forays he made outside the classical fold, Joshi lent his voice as a playback singer for several films, and also acted in a few Kannada plays. But it was his devotional music that added immensely to his popularity. His concerts took him around the world and he was showered with numerous awards, including the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and in 2008, the Bharat Ratna, India`s highest civilian award. Bhimsen Joshi led a quiet and simple life in Pune, deeply immersed in his music. The rich array of honours, accolades and distinction that came his way made no difference to him. He was a man who loved and lived his life, in all its romance and intensity, a point that comes through, so eloquently and vividly in his music. The maestro's last public performance was during the Sawai Gandharva annual music festival in 2007 – a festival that he had initiated in 1953, in memory of his guru. Bhimsenji leaves behind three sons and a daughter.


Satyanarayan Mishra

It is with deep regret that we announce the demise of our past scholar, Satyanarayan Mishra on July 12, 2010. Satyanarayan, who had been a teacher in the vocal department of Bhatkhande Music College, Dehradun for more than a decade, was born in Varanasi in May, 1961. He was a descendant of both the Senia as well as Banaras gharanas. He was initially trained by his illustrious father, Pandit Shrichandra Mishra, and then by Smt. Girija Devi, after his father’s death. He was a scholar of ITC SRA between 1978 and 1983. He held a Masters degree in vocal music and Hindi literature and was a recipient of several awards including the Surmani award (1991) and Saptarshi Samman (1995). ‘Sattu Bhaiya’, as he was fondly known as amongst his co-scholars at the Academy, was a regular performer. He was also a poet, writer and composer, having worked with Kelucharan Mohapatra, Birju Maharaj and other eminent artistes of India.

Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee

Acharya Bimalendu Mukherjee, the veteran exponent of the renowned Imdadkhani Gharana, whose contributed greatly to music both as a performer and as a Guru, died on 22nd Jan 2010 . Acharya Bimalendu Mukherjee was born in an art-loving Bengali family at Chinsurah, West Bengal, on 2nd January 1925. He did his schooling from Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh) and later acquired a Masters Degree, obtaining a first class, in Geology in 1948, from Calcutta University. He began his career as a Geologist in 1949 and subsequently moved to Bhilai, which became his permanent home. He introduced to the people of Bhilai many fine artists of India and their works. He won acclaim for his stage performances and radio broadcasts between 1940 - 1960. After the sixties, he was busy with his administrative responsibilities, assignments and obligations, which allowed him little time for stage performances. When he took voluntary retirement in 1983 as General Manager (Mines) and Additional Director CRMM SAIL to join the Khairagarh University as Vice Chancellor, forty organizations united to felicitate him for his long years of service to the Bhilai community. Pandit Mukherjee was primarily a Sitarist, though proficient in almost all traditional Indian instruments like RudraVeena, Saraswati Veena, Surbahar, Sursingar, Mandrabahar, Dilruba, Esraj, Tar Shehnai, Sarod and Pakhavaj. He was equally adept in vocal music. Among his numerous pupils are his son, Budhaditya Mukherjee, his grandson Bijoyaditya and Anupama Bhagwat. His contributions to the family of stringed musical instruments are the unique "Aditya Veena" - named after his son - and the "Bijoy Veena" - named after his grandson. He had also revived the 'Ektantri' single-stringed Veena - an instrument referred to by Sharangdev - and the Sur Kanan. Besides, he had experimented, modified and improved the structure and tonal quality of many stringed instruments like the Sitar , Sarod, Surbahar, Rudraveena, Esraj, Guitar, Dilruba and the Veena. Pandit Mukherjee had been constantly experimenting with the Western and Eastern philosophy of medical treatment. He created Raga Anandamayee in Thaat Kafi, which his son recorded in a novel way on the Sitar . This recording, was successfully experimented on patients of hypertension. He also wrote treatises and commentaries on musical subjects. His article published by "All India Kashiraj Trust's Dhrupada Varshiki' issue (Dhrupada Annual) on the importance of intricate technical aspects of stringed instruments is most enlightening.

Pandit Dinkar Kaikini

Pandit Dinkar Kaikini, the veteran Hindustani classical singer, died of a cardiac arrest at his residence in Mumbai, on the morning of January 23, 2010. Amongst the most learned exponents of khayal, Dinkar Kaikini represented the assimilated musical learning of the Gwalior and Agra gharanas, having trained under stalwarts like Omkarnath Thakur, S N Ratanjankar and S C R Bhatt. He performed widely over a career spanning several decades and served on various committees and examination boards. Born on October 2, 1927, Dinkar Kaikini was all of seven years when he attended a concert that was to change his life forever. In one evening, he had the rare opportunity of hearing three greats of a Golden Age in Hindustani Sangeet: Ustad Alladiya Khan, Ustad Faiyaz Khan and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Upon hearing Ustad Faiyaz Khan, the young boy knew that he must devote his life to this art form and to the particular style of Faiyaz Khan Saheb himself. And thus began a lifelong journey dedicated to the mastery, propagation and furthering of Hindustani Raagsangeet. His first guru was Pandit Karekatte Nagesh Rao, a veteran exponent of the Patiala Gharana. He then trained under Pandit Omkarnath Thakur of the Gwalior Gharana for a couple of years. He was about eleven years old when he joined Marris College, Lucknow, where he received the heart of his taalim from his Guruji, Pandit S.N. Ratanjankar, disciple of Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande and Ustad Faiyaz Khan. Along with other shishyas, like S.C.R. Bhatt, Chidanand Nagarkar and K G Ginde, Kaikini spent his formative years receiving the rigorous training that helped him develop a keen sense of aesthetics as well as a passion for teaching and imparting knowledge. As a grand finale to this, he received the prestigious Bhatkhande Gold Medal for Khayal singing in 1943, following his performance in the final Bachelor of Music examination. Dinkar Kaikini`s career as a musician was a testament to his limitless creativity: it exhibited a profound versatility and commitment to the art. He has devoted his life to performing, composing and teaching. His performing career started in 1946 and flourished thereafter. He toured widely internationally and served as an ambassador for Hindustani music, not only as a performing musician, but also as an educator. He also held prominent positions in the music field. He spent long years with All India Radio, starting in 1954, first as composer and then Producer. He was also Assistant Director for the Directorate, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This was followed by a long tenure as Principal at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan`s Music and Dance School, Mumbai. As Principal, Kaikini furthered his longstanding belief in promoting music through education and awareness. Throughout his life, Kaikini had been a prolific composer, having composed hundreds of compositions in styles like khayal, dhrupad, dhamar, thumri and bhajan, as well as several new ragas. He also composed for large choruses and set music for films and the ballet production, `Discovery of India` with Pandit Ravi Shankar. In recognition of his tremendous contribution to music, the honours that came his way have been numerous. These include the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Tansen Award, Sangeet Ratna (Swar Sadhana Samitee, Mumbai), Sharangdev Award (Sur Singar Samsad) and the ITC Award, to name just a few. Kaikini's entire family is deep into music. His wife Shashikala, radio vocalist and recently retired as the Principal of Bhavan’s College of Music and Dance. His younger son, Yogesh Samsi is a reputed tabla player and his daughter Aditi is a classical singer based in Bangalore. Pandit Dinkar Kaikini’s legacy lives on. At the condolence meeting to be held in his memory on the evening of January 27th, stalwarts of Hindustani classical music like Pandit Arvind Parikh, Dr Ashok Ranade, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Ustad Zakir Hussain will reminisce about their association with the maestro.


Ustad Shafi Ahmed Khan

Erstwhile guru of ITC SRA, Ustad Shafi Ahmed Khan passed away on Monday, December 21, 2009, at 9.30 pm, at the age of 81. Born in 1928 in Atrauli, Shafi Ahmed Khan of the Agra gharana was the senior-most exponent of the Atrauli-Agra gharana. Initially trained by his illustrious Sufi father, Ejaz Hussain Khan, at an early age, he came under the tutelage of his uncle, Nanhe Khan at Mumbai, from the age of ten. He continued his training with Aftab-e-Mausiki, Faiyaz Khan and Ata Hussain Khan at Baroda. He returned to Mumbai in 1944 to soak in the musical and melodious influence of several other masters of the Agra gharana like Latafat Hussain Khan, Anwar Hussain Khan, Khadim Hussain Khan and Azmat Hussain Khan. In 1946, he moved to Kolkata to continue training under Ata Hussain Khan. Shafi Ahmed Khan presented his first public recitals at the Shivpur Music Conference and the Tansen Music Conference. He later continued his music education under another uncle, Vilayat Hussain Khan, to further hone his skills. Technical excellence and aesthetic appeal were the hallmarks of Shafi Ahmed Khan’s performances, revealing the depth of his understanding of music. They also demonstrated the consummate musical skills of this great musician. Besides singing common ragas, he did major work in reviving many forgotten ragas. An A-top grade artiste of All India Radio, he had been a performer for over 40 years. Shafi Ahmed Khan was responsible for introducing the study of Hindustani Classical Music at the Aligarh Muslim University, which he joined in 1956. He remained there for more than three decades and went on to become Head of the Music Dept. He joined ITC SRA in 1996 and remained here, teaching numerous students till 2005. Ustadji is survived by his wife, four sons and five daughters. ITC SRA offers its deepest condolences to the bereaved family.

Vidushi Dipali Nag

Vidushi Dipali Nag, our beloved Dipalidi, passed away peacefully yesterday, on December 20, 2009 at 12 noon. She was at her son, Dr Dipankar Nagchaudhuri’s home in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Following a major cerebral attack while in Kolkata 4 months ago, she had been critically ill for several months. Dipalidi, who was the former Head of the Scientific Research Department, was also its Advisor at the time of her death. Her bright, indomitable spirit will be sorely missed by all of us at ITC SRA. May her soul rest in peace. Very few people leave an indelible impression in our lives through a personality that is forceful, yet amiable, dominant yet graceful and, principled yet flexible. Such a personality was Vidushi Smt Dipali Nag, who breathed her last on Sunday, 20 December, 2009 at the age of 87 years. She was in Gandhinagar, Gujarat at her son’s residence, at the time of her death. Dipali Nag was born on February 22, 1922 at Darjeeling. Her father, Shri Jiban Chandra Talukdar, was a Professor of History in Agra. A Postgraduate in English, Dipali Nag took to Hindustani Classical Music at an early age and received training from eminent musicians like Ustad(s) Faiyaz Khan, Basheer Khan and Tassaduq Hussain Khan, all of Agra gharana. She started broadcasting from All India Radio in 1939 and her recordings with HMV and other Recording companies were also in the same year. Since she developed a love for Raag-based Bengali songs also, she recorded a number of such compositions, which became immensely popular. She was about twenty years old when she married Dr. B D Nag Chowdhury, an eminent scientist and the Scientific Advisor to Mrs Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India. A versatile person, Dipali Nag authored books and articles that earned her great renown, delivered lectures in different parts of the globe and participated in numerous concerts. She received numerous awards from prestigious institutions and was an important member of reputed Universities and Central Selection Committees. She had access to dignitaries of the highest order. Since 1979 she had been the Advisor of the Research Department of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata. When it came to organizing a Seminar or a Workshop or a Music Conference, Dipalidi, as she was fondly known as, was the central figure for proper planning and immaculate execution. In those days when women singers from cultivated homes were almost a rarity, Dipali Nag stood out as a source of inspiration, pioneering the spread of Classical and semi-classical music among the ladies. A versatile personality, she will always be remembered as a spirited lady and a fine human being.

Vidushi Gangubai Hangal

The doyenne of the Kirana gharana, Gangubai Hangal, who mesmerized audiences with her melodious voice for over seven decades, died at a hospital in Hubli on July 21st 2009. The frail 97 yr old was suffering from severe chest congestion and anemia. Despite being diagnosed with bone cancer in 2002, it was her "never say die spirit" which made Gangubai battle the disease for three years and survive. On December 15, 2005 Gangubai, affectionately known as "Baiji" among the music fraternity, gave her first concert to a select audience after recovering from cancer and had been performing since then. Undeterred by her failing health, the renowned musician was still teaching music to her disciples who came from as far as Mumbai and Sangli in Maharashtra. Gangubai is survived by her two sons Narayan Rao and Babu Rao. Her daughter Krishna Hangal, who was trained by her in music passed away in 2004, causing Gangubai great sadness in her old age. Vidushi Gangubai Hangal was born in 1913 to a family of hereditary courtesan musicians from Hangal, a small village near Dharwad in North Karnataka, India. Other than her mother Smt Ambabai, Gangubai owed her musical training to Shri Krishnacharya, Shri Dattopant Desai and most significantly, to Pandit Rambhau Kundgolkar, better known as Sawai Gandharva, to whom her mother took her for training. Thereafter she was justifiably the torch bearer of the Kirana gharana, the main architect of which was Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Another strong influence on Gangubai`s music, though indirect, was the Agra gharana singer Zohrabai. Gangubai`s stage debut took place in Mumbai, at the Bombay Music Circle, where she was heard by several eminent musicians. After her debut, Jaddan Bai (mother of film actress Nargis) convinced her to participate in a music conference in Calcutta, where she was awarded a gold medal by the Maharaja of Tripura. In 1924, on the opening day of the Indian National Congress session in Belgaum, Gangubai sang the National Anthem when she was only 11 years old. In 1928 her family shifted to Hubli where she lived ever since. In her long and distinguished career spanning nearly 80 years, Gangubai Hangal retained a pre-eminent position amongst the most outstanding vocalists of Hindustani classical music. A recipient of more than 50 awards, including the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, four honorary doctoral degrees and 24 titles, Ms. Hangal had the rare honour of being felicitated by nine Prime Ministers and five Presidents. Karnataka University awarded her an honorary doctorate degree. She was also nominated by the Government of Karnataka to the Legislative Assembly in recognition of her service to music. She created history by giving a public concert at the age of 94. .

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan

Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib was born on April 14, 1922 in the village of Shibpur, Comilla, in present-day Bangladesh (then East Bengal), to revered musician and teacher, Baba Allauddin Khansahib and Madina Begum. Soon after his birth, the family returned to Maihar (in present day Madhya Pradesh, India) where his father was the primary court musician for the Maharaja of the princely state. He began his studies in music at the age of three, studying vocal music from his father and drums from his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. His father also trained him on several other instruments, but decided finally that he must concentrate on the sarod and on vocal music. For over twenty years, he trained, practising18 hours a day. After that, his father continued to teach him until he was over 100 years old. He gave his first public performance when he was 13 and made his first recording in Lucknow when he was 20. The next year, he became the court musician to the Maharaja of Jodhpur, working there for seven years until the Maharaja's untimely death. The state of Jodhpur bestowed upon him his first title, that of Ustad, or Master Musician, when he was a relatively young man. His father merely laughed at the thought! But later, when the patriarch was a centenarian, he told his son one day that he was very proud of him: "I am so pleased with your work in music that I will do something which is very rare. As your Guru and father, I am giving you a title, Swara Samrat (Emperor of Melody)." Many years later, Khansahib received the title of Hathi Saropao and Dowari Tajeem at the Jodhpur Palace's Golden Jubilee Celebration in 1993. At the request of Lord Menuhin, Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib first visited the United States in 1955 and performed an unprecedented concert at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also made the first Western LP recording of Indian classical music and was the first to perform Indian music on US television on Allistair Cooke's Omnibus, sowing the seed for the wave of popularity of Indian music in the 1960's. Khansahib founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Kolkata in 1956. Later, recognising the extraordinary interest and abilities of his Western students, he began teaching in America in 1965. In 1967, he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music, which moved to Marin County, California, the following year, maintaining a teaching schedule of 6 classes a week for 9 months of the year. He also opened a branch of his college in Basel, Switzerland, run by his disciple Ken Zuckerman, where he used to teach once a year. Khansahib had composed and recorded music for films throughout his career. He composed extensively in India beginning with "Aandhiyan" by Chetan Anand (1953) and went on to create music for "House Holder" by Ivory/Merchant (their first film), "Khudita Pashan" (or "Hungry Stone") for which he won the "Best Musician of the Year" award, "Devi" by Satyajit Ray and, in America, "Little Buddha" by Bernardo Bertolucci. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1967 and Padma Vibhushan in 1989, as well as a plethora of other awards and honours. In 1997, Khansahib received the National Endowment for the Arts' prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, the United States' highest honour in the traditional arts, which was presented by Mrs. Hillary Clinton at a ceremony in the White House. This followed a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1991. He was nominated for the Grammy awards five times between 1970 and 1998. On June 18, 2009, he passed away in San Francisco in the US after a prolonged kidney ailment. He was 87 years old. He is survived by his wife Mary, three sons and a daughter.

Vidushi Malabika Kanan

Around 12.30pm on Tuesday 17th February, 2009, Hindustani classical vocalist and ITC SRA guru, Vidushi Malabika Kanan passed away at Mohan Clinic, Mudiali, Kolkata. Born on 27th December 1930 in Lucknow, the graceful, beautiful and talented Malabika was one of the foremost women khayal exponents of the country. Well known for her distinctive ability to maintain both the traditional purity of the khayal form and the aesthetic beauty of a raga, she had a rich repertoire of current as well as rare ragas and bandishes. An extremely tuneful voice, a rich, structured and dignified style in the slow 'Khayals' and 'alaaps', and ease and variety in 'taans' are some of the qualities that made Malabika an outstanding musician. The timbre of her voice has sweetness, accuracy, pliability, a wide range and ‘Taiyari’. Malabika started her musical training when she was four years old. Her first guru was her father, the late Rabindralal Roy, a well-known musicologist and a disciple of Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande. She received systematic training from him in dhrupad, dhamar and khayal for a number of years. She also learnt Rabindrasangeet from Santidev Ghosh and Suchitra Mitra. Travelling to many parts of the country with her father, Malabika had the advantage of living with, and learning from him. At 15, she gave her first performance on All India Radio (AIR), singing Raga Ramkali and she went on to become a regular broadcaster. She was 16 when she gave her first performance at the Tansen Sangeet Samaroh. From then on, she participated in many prestigious national concerts, conferences, National Programmes and Radio Sangeet Sammelans. She married the noted singer, Pandit A. Kanan on 28th Feb. 1958 and from this association, Malabika's style gained a new dimension. She assimilated many features from her husband's Kirana style and also learnt Thumri from him. She sang bhajans with equal élan and was a great lover of D V Paluskar’s music. Following in her husband's footsteps, she became a guru of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy on 2nd July, 1979 and was also on its Experts Committee for many years. Among the numerous honours she received were the ITC Award for 1995 and the highly coveted Sangeet Natak Akademy Award for the year 1999-2000.

Pandit Ramashray Jha

Pandit Ramashray Jha (Ramrang) was born on August 11, 1928 in Darbhanga, Bihar.He received his initial training in Hindustani classical music from his father Pandit Sukhdev Jha and uncle Shri Madhusudan Jha. He was later trained by Pandit Bholanath Bhatt in Dhrupad, Khayal and Thumri. He also spent about 15 years of his youth with a drama company in Varanasi, which gave him a taste of popular folk music. He went on to become a distinguished composer, musician and scholar of Indian Classical Music. Appointed a teacher in 1955 in the Department of Music and Performing Arts, Allahabad University, he retired as Head the Department in 1989. Pandit Jha was a distinguished teacher of music, teaching a number of eminent musicians over several decades. His Khayal compositions are rendered by many vocalists of repute. A regular performer, he was made fellow of the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1982. He created new Ragas like Mangalgujari, Tilakmalhar, Vishnukalyan, Chandravali, among others. In a composition titled Sangeet Ramayan, he published nearly 500 compositions set to Ragas and Talas. Apart from compositions of music he also published a number of books and articles in prestigious newspapers and journals. Pandit Ramashray Jha passed away on January 1, 2009, in Kolkota, following complications wrought by heart surgery.


Pandit Firoz Dastur

Pandit Firoz Dastur, a doyen of the Kirana Gharana, was born in 1918 in a Parsi family to parents who had a deep love for music and poetry. Initially he opted to act and sing in films and was a well known name in the film industry in 1930s. Later he began learning Hindustani music from Krishnarao Jaokar, a disciple of the legendary Khansaheb Abdul Karim Khan. He took advanced training from Sawai Gandharva, one of the greatest exponents of the Kirana Gharana. In a singing career that had spanned almost six decades, Panditji had enthralled audiences both in India and abroad. In addition to performances at prestigious conferences like the All India Music Conference, Sadarang, Sarva Bharatiya Surdas Sangeet Sammelan, Sur Singar Sansad and Tansen Music Festival, Panditji had participated in every Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav since 1952. A Faculty Member of Hindustani Classical Music at Bombay University since the inception of its Department of Music in 1969, the many honours and awards he received included the prestigious Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1986), Tansen Award, Maharastra State Gaurav Puraskar, Honorary Doctorate of the South Gujarat University and others. A great teacher, he had trained musicians like Srikant Deshpande (grandson of Sawai Gandharva), Milind Chittal, sudha Divekar, Achut Abhyankar and others. ITC Sangeet Research Academy humbly acknowledges his contribution to classical vocal music and mourns his sad demise on May 9, 2008.

Padma Vibhushan Pandit Kishan Maharaj

In a career spanning more than fifty years, Pandit Kishen Maharaj dominated the world of Indian classical percussion as a true representative of the Banaras Gharana. One of the finest tabla players of our time, he was born on the auspicious day of Sri Krishna Janamashtami in the year 1923, in the holy city of Banaras. His father Pandit Hari Maharaj was his first teacher. After his father’s untimely death, his training was taken over by his uncle, Pandit Kanthe Maharaj, one of the great old masters and himself a disciple of Pandit Baldeo Sahai, grandson of Pandit Ram Sahai, the founder of the Banaras Gharana. Challenging the prevailing practice, his mission of taking the tabla to its well-deserved status of respect proved to be highly successful. His career began at the tender age of eleven years. Within a few years, he was sharing the stage with stalwarts of the time. His immense versatility in accompaniment, whether with instrumental music, different genres of vocal music or dance has been acknowledged the world over. His ability to play cross rhythms and produce complex calculations, particularly in tihai patterns, had made him one of the most respected and popular tabla players of our time. His abilities had been recognized time and again. In 1969 he received the title of Sangeet Samrat from the Prayag Sangit Samiti. In 1972 the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi honoured him. The Padmashri came his way in 1973, while in 1984 he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award. The Hafiz Ali Khan Award came his way in 1986. In 2002, the President of India awarded him the Padma Vibhushan while in that year he was also the recipient of the second Ustad Inayat Khan Memorial award for his contribution to Indian classical music. He had toured abroad extensively and had participated in several prestigious events. Evolving his own style, the highlight of which was his skilled layakari, he had trained several disciples in the Guru-Shishya Parampara, many of whom are top-ranking performers of today. He was regularly called upon to talk to aspiring musicians and share with them his principles and experiences. He unfailingly instilled self esteem and confidence, guiding them towards the ideals that he had lived by. A veritable paragon of talent, Maharajji will be sorely missed by musicians and music lovers all over the world. He passed away a little before midnight on 4th May, 2008.

Shanti Sharma

Shanti Sharma had her initial training from Shri Sangameshwar Gudur and later became one of the foremost disciples of Pandit Amarnath, after which she received guidance from Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. A regular performer on TV and AIR, she had also participated in major music conferences all over India, including the ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Delhi (2002). Her music had been appreciated by connoisseurs for its purity and seriousness. Critics had described her as being in the true mould of the late Ustad Amir Khan in spirit and content, being contemplative and serene in the vilambit portion with a systematic alap based on the Meru Khand tradition, while her fast khayals and taranas were replete with polished and fluent sargams and tanas. A dedicated teacher, she had been on the music faculty of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, where a number of gifted students had been under her guidance. She passed away unexpectedly on April 22, 2008.

Sipra Bose

Gifted with a deep, rich and melodious voice, a delectable sense of aesthetics and arresting stage presence, Sipra Bose had proved her worth not only as an accomplished khayal exponent but also as a very able specialist in Thumri, Ghazal and Dadra. Her career in music began in her early teens under the guidance of the Late Sangeetacharya Chinmoy Lahiri. She had always upheld the traditional intricacies of khayal from the renowned Lucknow gharana - a rich musical heritage that had been handed down to her from her guru in a system known as the Guru Shishya Parampara. She had also learnt from the legendary Begum Akhtar as well as Naina Devi. For pure classical music, she received training under the guidance of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Her captivating voice with its intricate delicacies, her controlled eloquence and the lyrical grace made each performance not just memorable but truly magical. Her enunciation of Urdu, enriched by her spontaneous expression had put her in a niche amongst the Ghazal performers of Bengal. Bengal lost a bright star on April 22, 2008 when she passed away after a massive heart attack.

Sharan Rani

Sarod virtuoso Sharan Rani passed away at her residence in New Delhi at around 8 am on Tuesday morning 8th April 2008, a day before her 80th birthday. She had been combating cancer for some time. Born in 1929 in Delhi, Sharan Rani was the first woman to take up the Sarod. A disciple of great music maestros Ustad Allaudin Khan and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, she belonged to the Maihar Senia gharana. She had been performing on the concert stage from an early age and had toured countries like the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Sharan Rani has authored the book The Divine Sarod: its Origin, Antiquity and Development in India since BC 2nd century. She was an avid collector of rare musical instruments and set up the Sharan Rani Backliwal Gallery in the National Museum in Delhi, displaying nearly 450 classical instruments. A set of four postage stamps, featuring four instruments from her gallery, was also released in 1998. For her achievement in music, Sharan Rani was awarded the Padma Shri in 1968 and the Padma Bhushan some years later, the Sahitya Kala Parishad Award in Delhi in 1974, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani Instrumental Music in 1986 and the Rajiv Gandhi National Excellence award among others. She is survived by her businessman-husband Sultan Singh Backliwal and daughter Radhika.

Pandit S C R Bhat

Pandit S.C.R.Bhat was one of the senior-most disciples of Padmabhushan Acharya Ratanjankar. Like his guru, he dedicated his entire life to the cause of Hindustani music, working selflessly for the propagation of this invaluable aspect of our ancient culture. His honesty and large-heartedness made him one of the most revered Gurus. After initial training in Swaragyan for two years from Pandit Krishna Bhat Honnavar, a disciple of Ustad Kale Khan of Patiala gharana, Pandit Bhat was trained in the intricacies and the finer aspects of 'Raag Sangeet' by Acharya Rantanjankar, starting at Lucknow's Marris College of Music (now called the Bhatkhande Vidyapeeth). This Guru-Shishya relationship lasted for over thirty-five years. Along with Pandit K.G.Ginde, Pandit Bhat ranked among the leading exponents of Dhrupad-Dhamar gayaki. His teaching career started at Vanasthali Balika Vidyapeeth (Rajasthan) in 1943. In 1946, at the behest of his Guru, he joined Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mumbai, as a senior music teacher. In 1963 he joined the Shree Vallabh Sangeetashram at Sion as its Vice-Principal. For his unparalleled teaching skill and command over known and rare ragas, he was conferred the title of "Sangeet Acharya" (Doctorate in Music) by Swamiji of Shree Vallabh Sangeetashram, Sion. He was also a recipient of the Tansen Sanman (1993) and the Karnataka Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1999-2000) The Sur Singar Samsad had conferred upon him the title of “Sharang Dev”and in recognition of his merit as a great Guru, Shri Chitrapur Math, Shirali honoured him with the title of "Mahamahopadhyaya". Despite all his achievements and knowledge, Pandit S.C.R.Bhat, affectionately called "Nand-Mam" by his disciples was a simple, almost ascetic man, dedicated to his music and teaching, a guru who gave all he had to anyone who asked for it, without holding back or asking for anything in return. He breathed his last at the age of 90, at Mumbai on February 14, 2008.


Dr (Mrs) Sumati Mutatkar

Dr (Mrs) Sumati Mutatkar breathed her last at 6.50 a.m. on February 28, 2007, at a private hospital in Kolkata. She was 91 and is survived by her daughter. She had been suffering from bronchial asthma and was admitted to hospital on February 24 with an acute breathing problem. Also suffering from chest infection, she finally succumbed to pneumonitis. Dr Mutatkar had been a performer, teacher, and administrator. Known for her wide performing range from the dhrupad-dhamar and khayal, to the lighter tappa-thumri, she had been a broadcaster and concert artiste for decades. A prominent pupil of Pandit S.N.Ratanjankar, she had also learnt from Pandit Rajabhaiya Poochwale (Gwalior gharana), Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan (Agra gharana), Pandit Anant Manohar Joshi and Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan (Rampur gharana). At All India Radio in 1953 she had been Director of Music and subsequently became Deputy Chief Producer of Music. In 1968 she joined the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Delhi University, retiring in September 1981 as Dean of the Faculty. She was elected a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1979. In 1991 she was awarded the Padma Shri and the following year she received the ITC award. The Kalidas Samman came in 2001 and she also received the Akashvani Samman. Widely traveled and widely published, she was looked upon as a fund of knowledge and information on matters musical. A frequent visitor and a regular participant of seminars organised by the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, she will be sorely missed by all those who knew her.

Sunil Bose

Born in Chamba State, Himachal Pradesh, in 1916, Shri Sunil Bose, son of Late Dr. A. B. Bose, Chief Medical Officer of the State, was a very distinguished musician and music educator. After his initial education, he joined a Textile Engineering Course in Ahmedabad. In 1936 he joined the Marris College of Music, Lucknow, and completed his ‘Bachelor of Music’ degree. He was under the direct tutelage of Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Dr. S. N. Ratanjankar, Shri D. T. Joshi, Ustad Ata Hussain Khan and others and drew inspiration from many renowned musicians of various gharanas. The harvest of such illustrious associations combining with his rich talim, launched him as a successful performer at an early age. An ‘A’ Class Vocalist of All India Radio, he had featured several times in the National Programmes. He had taken part in various music conferences in different parts of India, and for 10 years, from 1959, he served as the Head of Department (Classical Music), of the Music Teachers’ Training College, Calcutta, Government of West Bengal. Despite his fame, he was an extremely amiable person. To keep up the traditional teaching and proper guidance of the scholars, he served as a resident expert at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy since February 1978. The recipient of the prestigious ITC Award for the year 2000, during his tenure he groomed musicians like Vidushi Shubhra Guha, Shri Jainul Abedin and many others. A senior guru of the Academy keeping the traditional values of the Agra gharana alive, he retired in April 2004. Around 9 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, 2007, he succumbed to a severe attack of pneumonia, leaving behind his grieving family and a host of students and admirers. He will be particularly missed at ITC SRA, where only less than a fortnight ago, he was here in our midst, a welcome presence, to participate in the Homecoming Festival, a grand reunion of our old scholars.


Dr B D Nagchaudhuri

Renowned nuclear physicist Dr. Basanti Dulal Nagchaudhuri passed away on 25th June, 2006, at 3.00 a.m., following a cerebral stroke. His direct association with the ITC Sangeet Research Academy began in 1982 when he became Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and for a while a member of the Management Committee. One of the pioneers of nuclear and environmental sciences in India, he distinguished himself as an administrator and author, sharing his vast knowledge with academic communities all over the world. Graduating from Benaras Hindu University, he completed his Masters’ from Allahabad University and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Subsequently he taught and was involved in research at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Calcutta University, and later became its Director. One of his path-breaking achievements at that time was to set up the country’s first cyclotron – an apparatus for accelerating charged atomic particles revolving in a magnetic field in an electrical field. Thereafter he was involved in research at University of California, Berkeley and University of Illinois, Urbana III, where he went later as a visiting professor. Lincoln Lecturer, U.S.A. in 1966-67, he became a Member of the Planning Commission of India in 1970. From 1969-72 he was Chairman of the Cabinet Committee of Science & Technology, Government of India, and for a while during this period he had the dual responsibility of being the Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. That was when he initiated a high-secret feasibility study for building long-range ballistic missiles – a task which had been assigned by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1974 he became Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, making a valuable contribution during the University’s formative stage. A powerful science communicator, he edited the popular magazine ‘Science and Culture’ and had also been Chairman of the National Committee on Environmental Planning & Co-ordination, Govt. of India; Member, Senior Scientific Advisory Committee of United Nations Environmental Programmes; Chairman, Science & Technology Manpower Committee, Government of India; Member of the Board of Trustees, International Foundation for Science (Stockholm), Visiting Professor, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and Chairman, Research Advisory Council, National Physical Laboratory, Delhi. An erudite, soft-spoken man with a wonderful sense of humour, he was a visionary who strived to ensure that there was a fruitful interaction between nuclear and environmental sciences. He is survived by his wife, son and his family. His wife, noted vocalist Shrimati Dipali Nag is presently the Adviser, Scientific Research Department, ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Pandit T.D.Janorikar

Pandit T. D. Janorikar (Late), one of the foremost exponents of the Bhendibazar gharana died on November 23, 2006. Born in 1921 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, he started learning music when he was 8 years old with the famous exponent of the Gwalior gharana, Pandit Vinayak Rao Patwardhan. After the demise of his initial guru, he became a student of the great Ustad Aman Ali Khan, founder and Khalifa of the Bhendibazar gharana, and some years later he came under the tutelage of Vidushi Anjanibai Malpekar His style reflected the characteristics of both the stalwarts of the gharana – systematic presentation of the bandish and its embellished improvisation according to the structure of the Raga, tremendous breath control and aesthetically rich rendition of alap. Besides giving successful performances all over the country, Pandit Janorikar (Late) had also given due attention to imparting training to the younger generation of musicians. He had been a guru of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy from November 1989 to June 1991, when he left due to compelling health reasons. He excelled in giving lecture-demonstrations explaining the distinctive features of the Bhendibazar gharana. Among other awards, in 2000 he received the 'Sangeet-Shikskak Gaurav Puraskar' from the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Pune.

Shrimati Saraswatibai Rane

93-year old classical and natyasangeet exponent Shrimati Saraswatibai Rane passed away at Pune on Tuesday October 10, 2006. This year she had won the ITC award presented at the ITC Sangeet Sammelan in Delhi. Youngest daughter of the legendary maestro of the Kirana gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Sahib, she was initiated into music by her illustrious brother Shri Sureshbabu Mane. She had also learnt from such celebrities as her sister Shrimati Hirabai Barodekar, Ustad Nathan Khan of the Jaipur gharana and Pandit B R Deodhar of the Gwalior gharana. Working on stage in her mother’s ‘Nutan Sangeet Natak Mandali’, with luminaries like Bal Gandharva, Master Krishnarao, Vinayakbuwa Patwardhan, Sawai Gandharva and Meenakshi Shirodkar, musicals like ‘Soubhadra’, Sanchaya Kollo’ and ‘Ekacha Pyala’ brought her fame. She also acted in a Marathi film ‘Savitri’ and later took to playback singing for Marathi and Hindi films. However, in order to concentrate on the performance of Hindustani classical music, she had to virtually stop accepting offers for playback singing. By then she was a regular performer for All India Radio and had also made several gramophone records with ‘His Master’s Voice’, apart from her countrywide concert tours. Her renderings of Ragas Chandrakauns, Basant Bahar, Yaman and the immortal numbers ‘Ghanashyam Nayani Aalaa’, ‘Jaa Ghevuni Sandesh Pakhara’, the duets with her sister Shrimati Hirabai Barodekar remain ever popular. She also had the honour of singing the Maharashtra Geet on the very first Maharashtra Day, the 1st of May, along with her sister. Younger listeners will probably remember her rendering Raga Shudh Kalyan with her grand daughter Shrimati Meena Faterpekar in the movie ‘Bhumika’ by the renowned director Shyam Benegal.

Asgari Bai

Renowned Dhrupad singer Asgari Bai passed away on August 9, 2006, at Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, after a prolonged illness. 88 years old, she was undergoing treatment for several ailments for the past year. She is survived by four sons and three daughters. Born in 1918 at Bijawar in Madhya Pradesh`s Chhatarpur district to a family of musicians, she learnt and nurtured singing since childhood. Her mother Nazir Begum was a court singer for the erstwhile royal family of Bijawar, while her grandmother Balayat Bibi adorned the court of Ajaygarh, a princely state. Trained under the guidance of Ustad Zahur Khan, Asgari Bai acquired extraordinary expertise in dhrupad to reign as the main court singer for the Orchha dynasty. She was also invited by other royal families to treat music lovers to her spellbinding performances. Known for her versatility and capacity to present a synthesis of diverse ragas and talas, Asgari Bai went on to regale the world of music and connoisseurs of art even after the country`s independence. Married to Agra-based businessman Chamanlal Gupta who predeceased her, she gradually won recognition from the state government and carved a niche for herself despite several ups and downs. She was a recipient of several awards, including the Tansen Samman (December 1985), Sikhar Samman (February 1986), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (February 1987) and Padmashri (1990). Anguished over squabbles between her children on government grants, she had once expressed the desire to return the honours bestowed on her in order to maintain the dignity of the awards. Her association with the ITC Sangeet Research Academy goes back to 1997 when she was the recipient of the ITC Award at the ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Delhi.

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Legendary maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan passed away at 2.20 a.m. on Monday, August 21, 2006. A symbol of Muslim-Hindu unity, it was through his untiring efforts that the shehnai was taken from the confines of wedding halls and naubatkhanas to the international stage. Born at Bhirung Raut Ki Gali, Dumraon, Bihar on March 21, 1916, he was the second son of Paigambar Khan and Mitthan. Named Qamaruddin to rhyme with Shamsuddin, their first son, he was renamed Bismillah when his grandfather, Ustad Rasool Bux Khan uttered Bismillah after looking at the newborn. His ancestors were court musicians of the princely states of India, his father being in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh of Dumraon Estate, Bihar. He received his training under his uncle, the late Ali Baksh 'Vilayatu', a shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath temple. Starting his career as an accompanist to his uncle, his first public performance was at the age of 14 at the All India Music Conference, Allahabad, in 1930. His second performance at the Music Conference at the Lucknow exhibition was greatly appreciated and he was awarded gold medals. However, it was only after his performance at the All India Music Conference at Kolkata in 1937, where he won three gold medals, that he was fully accepted as a talented musician. Ustadji had the rare honour of performing at Delhi's Red Fort on the eve of India's Independence in 1947. Again, it was Khan Sahib who played Raga Kafi from the Red Fort on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony, on January 26, 1950. His recital had almost become an integral part of the Independence Day Celebrations telecast on Doordarshan on August 15th every year. After the Prime Minister's speech from Red fort in Old Delhi, Doordarshan would broadcast a live performance by the maestro, a tradition that had been begun in the days of Pandit Nehru. The Lucknow station of All India Radio was inaugurated with his music and for a long time it was the daily custom of every All India Radio station to start the day’s transmission with his renderings of the morning ragas. Performing at all the important venues in India, he had also played in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Canada, USA, USSR, Japan, Hong Kong, various countries in Europe and almost every capital city across the world. Awarded the Bharat Ratna in 2001, he also had the distinction of being one of the few people to be awarded all the top four civilian awards, receiving the Padma Shri in 1961, Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 1980. A 1956 Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, the Ustad was made a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1994. In 1980 the Govt of Madhya Pradesh gave him the Tansen award while in 1992 the Republic of Iran awarded him ‘Talar Mausiquee’. He was also given honourary doctorates by Vishwa Bharati University, Marathwada University and Benaras Hindu University. A devout Muslim, he worshipped Goddess Saraswati as well and often played at various temples and on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi, besides playing at the famous Vishwanath temple. Despite his fame, his lifestyle retained its old world charm, his chief mode of transport being the cycle rickshaw. A man of tenderness, he believed in remaining private, following the maxim that musicians are supposed to be heard and not seen. His concept of music was very beautiful and his vision, superb. He once said, "Even if the world ends, music will still survive." On his demise, the Government of India declared one day of national mourning. He is survived by five sons, three daughters and a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Kumar Prasad Mukherjee

Kumar Prasad Mukherjee was a true symbol of a bygone era of this country. A multi-faceted personality, he had achieved and contributed a great deal in various spheres of life. He was the epitome of refined education, polished living, accomplishment and a high degree of culture. Born in 1927, into a well-known Bengali family, it was his father, Shri Dhurjati Prasad Mukherjee, the well-known musicologist and litterateur of his time, who provided young Kumar Prasad with the excellent education and all-round guidance, which would leave a deep impression throughout his life. Kumar Prasad acquired a Master's Degree in both Economics and Sociology from the University of Lucknow. In his professional career he had been a member of the Industrial Management Pool, Government of India and retired as the senior most Director and Deputy Chairman of Coal India Limited. Having grown up amongst eminent musicians, authors and intellectuals of yesteryears, he had been fortunate enough to receive all his training from them. He had his early instruction in music from Professor Rabindra Lall Roy, the Chairman, Delhi University, Department of Music. Next he received taalim from the doyen of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana , Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan, Padma Bhushan . He also learnt from Ustad Ata Hussain Khan, son of the famous Ustad Mehboob Khan ( Daras Piya) and brother-in-law of the great scion of the Agra gharana , Aftab-e-Mausiki Ustad Faiyaz Khan. With such a treasure-trove of taalim , his knowledge and erudition was a force to contend with. He performed on All India Radio and Doordarshan for over 30 years and also featured in several National Programmes and Radio Sangeet Sammelans. Besides regular performances all over the country, he gave lecture-demonstrations at reputed musical institutions around the country. His achievements and contributions were no less in the field of literature. He possessed a keen sense of humour and was widely known as an interesting convers-ationalist. He was a true raconteur and was acclaimed for his lucid articles and essays. He was also a music critic in The Statesman for quite some time. He wrote a number of Bengali books on music and cricket, his other passion. His very first novel KUDRAT-RANGI-BIRANGI received the Rabindranath Tagore Purashkar and was translated into Hindi by the redoubtable Shrimati Dipali Nag. MEHFIL, MAJLISH, KHAYAL-O-HINDUSTANI SANGEETER ABAKSHAY and DISHI GAAN O BILITI KHELA are some of the other books he had written . He received the title of " Pandit " from Gana Kala Parishad in the year 1972. This highly talented personality was also an ace photographer with several exhibitions to his credit. His association with ITC SRA goes back more than a decade. He had been a member of the Academy's Experts Committee till 2005 and was involved in our Gharana Project funded by the Ford Foundation. Kumar da , as he was affectionately addressed, breathed his last on the night of May 14, 2006, at 11:15 pm, finally succumbing to a terminal disease that he had withstood with his usual savoir-faire. At the time of his demise, he had been the Vice-Chairman of West Bengal Rajya Sangeet Academy.


Ajit Narain Haksar

Mr. A.N.Haksar, the first Indian Chairman of our Company, passed away in New Delhi, on Thursday, May 19, 2005. His cremation took place on Saturday, May 21, 2005. Born in Gwalior in 1925, Mr. Haksar was educated at Doon School and at Allahabad University. He did his MBA at the Harvard Business School and joined the Imperial Tobacco Company as a Marketing Assistant in 1948. He was appointed to the Board as Marketing Director in 1966 and became Deputy Chairman two years later. Mr.Haksar became the first Indian Chairman of the Company in 1969 and retired on 11th January, 1983 after a distinguished career spanning more than 34 years. As Chairman of the Company, Mr. Haksar was responsible for sowing the seed which led to the transformation of the then Imperial Tobacco Company into a vibrant ‘Indian’ Company, committed not only to the creation of shareholder value, but to making a substantial contribution to the nation as well. His leadership of the Company was anchored in the belief that ‘the best means of growth come from within.’ The first phase of the Company’s diversification into Hotels and Paperboards took place under his leadership. Mr.Haksar was one of those exceptional persons who combined professional excellence with outstanding entrepreneurial and leadership qualities. The ITC Board, at its meeting this morning, May 27, 2005, paid glowing tributes to the significant contribution made by Mr. Haksar to the Company and observed a moment of silence as a mark of respect to his departed soul. Mr. Haksar is survived by his wife, Mrs.Madhuri Haksar, his daughter, Nina Channa and his son, Anant Narain Haksar. Members of the ITC family will remember Mr.Haksar with warmth and affection.


J Narayan

We at ITC SRA mourn the passing away of Mr. J Narayan on 9th January 2004 at Hyderabad. Mr. J Narayan ('Nari' as he was fondly called) joined ITC Limited in 1960 and retired in 1991 as Deputy Chairman. Since then he had been a member of Board of Trustees of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy. He leaves behind his wife, Suma and two daughters, Sandhya and Udaya. May his soul rest in peace and find solace in his heavenly abode.

Pandit A Kanan

One of the senior most Gurus of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Pandit A Kanan died at the AMRI Apollo Hospitals, Kolkata on September 12, 2004. The end came at 8 pm. The mortal remains of the departed soul were kept at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy from 11 a.m to 1.30 p.m the followng day. Born in Madras on June 18, 1922, Pandit A Kanan was renowned for his individual gayaki. Gifted with a very melodious voice, vocal music was his hobby right from youth. But it was his passion for cricket, at which he excelled, that eventually paved the way for his future career. Pandit A.Kanan began his career with the Railways at the age of 18. While visiting Mumbai to play a cricket match, Kanan happened to visit All India Radio (AIR) and decided to get his voice tested. The AIR personnel were completely stunned to disbelief when they heard the youngster’s exquisite voice. AIR immediately offered him a programme. Pandit Kanan took his first firm step into the world of music! Enthused and inspired, the young Kanan returned to Hyderabad to start his tryst with Hindustani Classical Music. His first tutor was Shri Lahanu Babu Rao. His job with the Railways later brought him to Kolkata, where he resumed his training under a new guru, the late Shri Girija Shankar Chakraborty. It was during these two years of training that Kanan made his mark. He won many prizes and enormous acclaim. As a result, when the time came for Kanan to leave Kolkata, he was persuaded by his many admirers to leave his job and stay on! And so, as destiny would have it, Pandit Kanan settled down in Kolkata to concentrate solely on his music. His formal debut at the All Bengal Music Conference in 1943 was a resounding success. He never looked back after that. Kanan later came in contact with the legendary Ustad Amir Khan and interacted with him extensively. Pandit Kanan’s singing style was singularly his own. It suited his own personality and spirit. His rendition of the ragas of ‘Hamsadhwani’, ‘Rageshri’, and ‘Jog’, among others, made him an extremely popular khayal singer not only in Kolkata but throughout the country. A top grade AIR artiste, Kanan had performed in all the important music conferences in the country, including National Programmes and Radio Sangeet Sammelans. He had also lent his voice to many films, the music of which became legendary– Meghe Dhaka Tara, Basant Bahar, Jadu Bhatta and Megh Malhar, to name but a few. He has enriched the music world not only through his music but also through the enormous service he has rendered towards the cause of Hindustani classical music. Pandit Kanan had probably trained more students than any other guru. His generosity and his helpfulness, especially towards his numerous students and his fellow artistes, was legendary. It was often at the cost of his own well-being. In the 50s, he, along with other musicians, founded the Calcutta Music Circle. He later went on to become one of the first gurus to join ITC Sangeet Research Academy. He played a major role in its establishment and foundation. He was also a member of its Experts Committee. Pandit Kanan received the prestigious ITC Award for 1993-1994 and the Sangeet Natak Academi award in the year 1995.

Shobha Gurtu

Noted vocalist Shobha Gurtu died at her Worli residence in central Mumbai on September 27, 2004, following a cardiac arrest. She was 78. Known as the ‘Thumri Queen’, Gurtu's career spanned over five decades. Born in Belgaum in 1925, Shobha Gurtu hailed from a family in which melody ruled and rhythm had a shrine. She received her initial lessons in music from her mother Srimati Menakabai Shirodkar, a noted dancer of her time who also was trained in vocal music in the Atrauli Jaipur ‘Gayaki’ of Ustad Alladiya Khan. Later, Shobha had the privilege of receiving advanced training from Ustads of the eminence of Nathan Khan, in classical singing, and Ghamman Khan, in light classical and popular music. Her father-in-law, Pandit Narayan Nath Gurtu, the erudite scholar and musician, also gave her valued guidance and direction in her pursuit of music. The grand dame of Thumri was thoroughly steeped in pure Classical Music. But she was better known for her light Classical Music. Shobha Gurtu was considered to be in a class by herself not merely because of the unique qualities of her warm and sensuous voice that blended strength with suppleness and vigour with grace. It was equally much the unique combination of talent and soul that she brought to bear on her music. She evolved a technique that let her negotiate, with equal ease, everything from thumri, dadra, hori, kajri and chaiti to ghazal, bhajan and Marathi Natya Sangeet, with all regional and stylistic variations blended subtly. A popular broadcaster and television artiste, she regularly featured in major musical events held all over the country. She had also created the musical scores for several Marathi and Hindi movies and had also lent her voice to the silver screen. Shobha Gurtu was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Padma Bhusan. She is survived by two sons. Shobha’s association with ITC-SRA harks back to the early 80s. ITC-SRA considers itself honoured and privileged to have had Shobha grace several of its Sangeet Sammelans, where her ethereal music had thrilled audiences. She was also invited to perform at the Music Festival of India in 1997, which celebrated 50 years of India’s independence. The glittering, star-studded affair, organised by ITC-SRA on behalf of World Music Inc., was held at the Carnegie Hall in USA.

Ustad Vilayat Khan

The greatest of musicians, an epoch-maker and a visionary, Ustad Vilayat Khan passes away on the night of Saturday, March 13, 2004. He was 76 and breathed his last at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai. His body was flown to Kolkata for the last rites. Ustad Vilayat Khan has been widely acclaimed as the architect of the modern Sitar. For over six decades, Khansahib mesmerized his audience with his magnificent gayaki-ang Sitar baaz, creating what is universally accepted as the Vilayatkhani baaz. Born in Gouripur (now in Bangladesh), he was the son of the legendary Sitar maestro Ustad Inayat Khan. Vilayat's ancestors belonged to the famous Etawah gharana also known as the Imdadkhani gharana, named after his famous grandfather. The loss of his father and guru at an early age only spurred young Vilayat on in his dedicated pursuit of musical excellence. He continued his taalim from his maternal grandfather, Ustad Bande Hussain Khan (a well-known vocalist) and his paternal uncle, Ustad Wahid Khan. All through, he was meticulously guided and monitored by his mother, Bashiran Begum. The training combined with his stubborn perseverance in riyaaz and his indomitable obsession to become the torchbearer of his great family tradition shaped him into one of the finest Sitar maestros on the contemporary scene. In fact, even as a young man, he rose to the status of a musical celebrity of international fame. A creative genius like Vilayat was not content with mere presentation of his parent baaz. He remodelled the Sitar in many ways like removing the second gourd, changing the strings and tuning system. His technical contribution, exquisitely attuned to the various gradations of Raga delineation, elucidative in practical exposition, has become a reference point for the art of perfect Sitar playing. Vilayat’s music represents technical wizardry coloured by his romantic temperament and a high aesthetic sensibility. He took taans to speeds previously unimaginable and did so with immaculate precision and clarity and at the same time, uncompromising on the raagdari. His vocal taalim enriched his deep understanding and translation of the subtlest nuances of the human voice on his instrument. To enhance the gayaki ang of playing, he often burst into singing the bandish, be it khayal, thumri or a bhatiali dhun, following it up with a precise reproduction on his Sitar. For his magnificent solos, his immemorial duets, Ustad Vilayat Khan will live on in the hearts of millions for time immemorial, as the Shahenshah of Sitar.

Pandit V G Jog

Pandit Vishnu Govind Jog, the internationally acclaimed violin maestro of India, died at his south Kolkata residence on Saturday, January 31, 2004 after a prolonged illness. He was 83. According to family sources, the maestro was suffering from respiratory problems for the past few years. The Executive Director of ITC SRA, Amit Mukerjee, accompanied by gurus Girija Devi, Shruti Sadolikar and Ulhas Kashalkar visited his home to pay their last respects. Hailing from Maharashtra, Pandit Jog began his training at the age of twelve and was subsequently groomed under some of the finest musicians of India, like Baba Allauddin Khan and Pandit S. N. Ratanjankar. To Pandit Jog goes the credit of single-handedly transforming a western musical instrument, the violin, into a major and independent instrument in Hindustani Classical Music. He was unquestionably the 'Violin Samrat' for all time to come. Pandit Jog performed in all the major concert stages of the world. The Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, and the Madison Square Garden of New York have been the venues of his scintillating performances. He had also won numerous awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award, the ITC award and the Padma Bhushan, All these eloquently reflect the universal recognition of his dedicated contributions to Hindustani Classical instrumental Music. His extensive knowledge and skilful artistry are legendary among lovers of Indian Classical Music all over the world. He was associated with All India Radio (AIR), Kolkata. He was also a distinguished Member of the Experts Committee of the ITC Sangeet Research Academy. A condolence meeting was held at ITC SRA on February 4, 2004. Both gurus and shishyas paid homage to and mourned the demise of the great maestro. Girija Devi, Dipali Nag, Shruti Sadolikar and Kumar Mukherjee spoke of their long-time association with the legend. All of them remembered the wonderful human being that the maestro was.

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