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Tribute to a Maestro

Inayat Khan

Inayat Khan

Ustad Inayat Khan was born in 1894 in Uttar Pradesh into a family of musicians. His father was sitar maestro Imdad Khan, who taught him the sitar and surbahar in the family style. He later learned from dhrupadiyas Allabande Khan and Zakiruddin Khan, after his father’s death. Initially a court musician of Indore, Inayat married Bashiran Begum, daughter of khayal singer Bandeh Hassan Khan and settled with his family in Calcutta. In 1924, he shifted to Gouripur in Mymensingh (now in Bangladesh), where he became court musician for Raja Brajendra Kishore Roy Choudhury.

Inayat Khan was a master of Sitar and Surbahar. He developed the gayaki ang in sitar, which his father had developed for the surbahar. He gave a new dimension to crafting and manufacture of the sitar and his structural modifications of the instrument are still used in the instruments of today whilst his musical contributions are standardized practice for today`s musicians. The flair with which he played made him the greatest musician of his generation and his legendary recordings illustrate and record the contributions he made to music.

At a time when interest in national culture was strong, fuelled by the struggle for independence, he brought sitar music out from its rarefied existence to mass audiences. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was a musical collaborator and personal friend and each inspired the other to take their art to dizzying new heights.

Ustad Inayat Khan dedicated his life to music; He played, taught and lived with an equal passion to strengthen the name of his gharana and the profile of classical music in his country. No other instrumentalist in his time had such depth, mastery, knowledge and the ability to organize and systematize the instrumental style.

Inayat Khan died young, in 1938 and it was left to his wife, Bashiran Begum to help train her young sons, Vilayat and Imrat, after her husband’s untimely death.


Select Artist Name Gharana Raga Structure Duration Action
Inayat Khan Imdadkhani Bageshri Alaap 3.04
Inayat Khan Imdadkhani Poorvi Alaap 3.14
Inayat Khan Imdadkhani Jogia 2.28
Inayat Khan Imdadkhani Piloo Gat 3.12

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