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Treasures from the Past

Ishtiaq Hussain Khan

Ishtiaq Hussain Khan

Born circa 1907, at Rampur, Ustad Ishtiaq Hussain Khan was Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan`s eldest son. He began learning from his father at the age of five, and he would get up at 5 A.M., do kharaj practice (lower or base notes) for three hours, till breakfast, and revert to doing more vocal exercises (palte) for another couple of hours. In keeping with the regimen preferred by ustads of this gharana, he would spend the night in further practice.

His first performance was at age eleven, at the court of Rampur and was rewarded with precious gifts. By age 16, he was already in employment as a court musician with a fixed salary. With the permission of the nawab, he began broadcasting from Lucknow station in 1940 and thereafter began participating in music festivals in Kanpur, Allahabad, and Banaras. In 1945 he accompanied his father to Calcutta for a music conference and won accolades from critics.

His firat and sapat taans (covering two octaves) in particular were considered extraordinary, with the fast-paced note combinations resembling "a string of flawless pearls". His repertoire included some rare ragas, like Gaundgiri and Jaij Bilawal. He also specialized in soz singing and marsia (elegy recited during Mohurram). In fact, he would travel to Sahaswan specially to perform soz during Mohurram every year. His maternal uncle, Ustad Fida Hussain Khan, also influenced his music.

When Rampur became the first princely state to merge with the newly independent India in 1947 and the state`s department of culture was disbanded, he left Rampur and travelled across Bombay, Baroda, Jaipur, Patiala, Gwalior, Hyderabad and Patna, participating in mehfils. Following his father`s death in 1964, he moved to Delhi to teach at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra where he remained till 1978 before ITC`s Sangeet Research Academy at Kolkata appointed him a guru at SRA.

He died on 7 November 1980, before he could fully garner the recognition that was due to him by virtue of his musical competence, but was always considered a worthy successor to his father


Select Artist Name Gharana Raga Structure Duration Action
Ishtiaq Hussain Khan Rampur Sahaswan Bageshri 8.36
Ishtiaq Hussain Khan Rampur Sahaswan Bihag 16.20
Ishtiaq Hussain Khan Rampur Sahaswan Darbari Kanhada 15.03
Ishtiaq Hussain Khan Rampur Sahaswan Kamod 27.07

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