Tribute to a Maestro
Born in 1852, Rehmat Khan was gifted with a voice that was sweet beyond comparison. While yet a boy he became a master musician and used to accompany his father, Haddu Khan of the Gwalior gharana, in open concerts. After the demise of his father, Rehmat Khan took to a nomadic existence, leaving Gwalior and wandering for years throughout North India. Earning his living as a street musician, he eventually found his way to Banaras. It was only in the 1890’s that he came into contact with Vishnupant Chhatre who engaged him as a musician in his ‘circus company’. With Vishnupant’s support Rehmat gave recitals in many princely states and at the turn of the century he took up residence at Kurundwad in a town state.
After the demise of his benefactor, Rehmat lost all interest in performing. With some difficulty, he was persuaded to make a dozen or so recordings for the Gramophone Co. at Bombay, to record his art for posterity. D.V. Paluskar was a great admirer of his music while Abdul Karim Khan, Bhaskar Rao Bakhle and other musicians of the period were highly influenced by his style of music. Rehmat is said to have been a simple man of great charm. Because of his captivating singing style and magnetic recitals he was felicitated with the title of ‘Bhu Gandharva’. Rehmat Khan lived on at Kurundwad till his death in 1922. He lies buried in a small cemetery there