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Gayan Samrat

Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan “DILRANG” was one of the top-most vocal artist of the millennium. The departure of Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan, from the scene of Indian Music…


Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab was born in Atrauli dist. Aligarh of Uttar Pradesh. He was the propagator and main stream vocalist of Atrauli Gharana of Daguri Bani (Gobarhar sect.). He is also known as the inventor of the Atrauli (said to be Jaipur) gayaki.

Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab was born in Atrauli on 10th August 1864. His real name was Ghulam Ahmed Khan and “Allahdiya” was his nick name given by his elders in his childhood. In later years he became very famous with the name Allahdiya Khan. His father Khwaja Ahmed Khan Sahab was court musician at Uniara (Rajasthan).

After few years of his birth he went to Jodhpur and Jaipur and spent many years there, his ancestors being the court singers of the Maharaja Jodhpur then. He started learning classical music from his very childhood. In later age, he learnt music from Jahangir Khan Sahab and brother Hyder Khan Sahab, and came with him to Jaipur for the first time. Maharaja Mansingh was the Maharaja of Jaipur in that period.

In very young age Allahdiya Khan Sahab became the court musician of Nawab Kallan Khan Sahab of Jaipur (Brother of Nawab Tonk). Allahdiya Khan Sahab spent a big period of his musical career in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Uniara & Tonk. He stayed in Jaipur for five years and then came to Atrauli to his paternal brother Khairat Ali Khan Sahab. From there he went to Lucknow, Allahabad, Banaras, Patna and Calcutta. After sometime he shifted to Kolhapur and spread music for 35 years. He came to Mumbai in the year 1922. The last more than 20 years of his life were spent in Mumbai. Since 1932 till his death, he spent a lot of time teaching music to his disciples and specially to his paternal nephew Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab, besides his sons and other relatives.

Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab was one of his chief disciples, whom he taught innumerable Ragas and Bandishes. The other disciples of Allahdiya Khan Sahab were Smt. Kesarbai Kerkar, Mogubai Kurdikar and Shirgaonkar sisters.

While in Kolhapur, Khan Sahab rigourously trained his sons Naseeruddin Khan Sahab (Bade) and Badruddin Khan (Ustad Manji Khan Sahab). His son Manji Khan Sahab, was one of the topmost vocalists of the Atrauli (Jaipur) Gharana. Malikurjun Mansoor learnt music form Ustad Manji Khan Sahab. After the demise of Allahdiya khan sahab’s two sons Bhurji khan and Manji khan nobody could take over as a concert artiste within the family. Ustad Azmat Hussain and few disciples kept the torch of the tradition burning. Azizuddin Bhurji khan though had some knowledge and few bandishes, could not perform due to his his health problems.

In Mumbai, Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab, spent most of his time teaching music to his shagirds. For the maximum time he stayed with his nephew Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab. For him and most others he was a great mentor, moral support and a true guardian. In the last days of his life in Mumbai he stayed at the Surveyor building at Babulnath.

A simple ascetic person, Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab was a deeply knowledgeable and a legendary musician. An expert in Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Sanskrit and Marathi. A great composer & innovator. Like most of the great vocalists of his gharana Allahdiya Khan Sahab was a beneficiator and disguised Guru for a number of instrumentalists. Few musicians have deliberately added their names in the list of his disciples. These are the musicians who accompanied him or were present in his company during Khansaheb taalim sessions as a Guru, to his students, like Azmat Hussain, Kesarbai kerkar, Manji khan Bhurji khan and Shirgaonkar sisters. Even Khadim Hussain khan as said by him learnt few Ragas from Allahdiya Khansahab , in his later age.

A fair tall bearded man with a big turban on the head, wearing dhoti shirt & coat, with a very kind nature, were Khan Sahab’s personalities.

Allahdiya Khan Sahab was a very religious person, a staunch Muslim and a patriot. He used to offer “namaz” five times daily. Like other great musicians of the Gharana, he always respected other religions also.

He expired on 16th March 1946 leaving behind a trail of disciples and followers of his innovative singing style (Gayaki).

Note: With reference to the “Toronto Gharana” website we wish to clarify and reveal few matters which are also a fact. It is true that recording of Agra Gharana Ustads are very rare just like other exponents of different Gharanas. First of all Ustad Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab did not belong to Sikandra as by mistake mentioned in “Toronto” (Refer Khan Sahab biodata for details). The precious recordings of other Ustads along with Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab have not been commercially released & exploited, most of the recording material is possessed privately and used for seeking knowledge, by different people & institutions.

Dilrang Academy has a big treasure of classical vocal recording of the stalwarts of Agra Gharana Khurja Gharana and Atrauli (Jaipur) Gharana. It’s only the matter of financial involvement by some good sponsors who can cooperate and get this great job done.

Besides other reason the decline of Gharana sangeet and its stalwarts in general is sheer politics and mainly the internal enmity amongst the noted and mainstream vocalists of different traditional Gharanas. The very structure of traditional musicians family collapsed due to the misunderstanding & dirty diplomacy of few musicians which harmed. Though the huge propagation & music teachings done by many great Ustads (traditional musicians) is uncomparable and historical.

We want to make a special reference to the book “My life” an autobiography of great Ustad Allahdiya khan Sahab, written by Ustad Azizuddin Khan (Baba). Its highly surprising that in this book not a single event is mentioned about the life of Allahdiya khan Sahab, when he spent a major part of his life in Mumbai with his nephew Azmat Hussain Khan Sahab.

In fact Allahdiya Khan Sahab, passed on a huge account of music treasure to Ustad Azmat Hussain, in his later years. Inspite of objections within the family, Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab taught classical bandishes to Azmat Hussain Khan (his paternal nephew).

A memorable incident in 1940s – A famous film company offered a character film role to Ustad Azmat Hussain which he accepted and the shooting schedule also was fixed. Suddenly when Ustad Allahdiya Khan Sahab came to know about it he got extremely annoyed with young Azmat Hussain and stopped talking to him and even did not eat anything for three days. Allahdiya Khan Sahab was against this development. When Azmat Khan Sahab come to know he repented and wept before Allahdiya Khan Sahab and persuaded him to forgive. After this Allahdiya Khan Sahab forgave the young Azmat Hussain and took promise from him to never get involved in film industry. Such was the affection and attachment between Ustad Allahdiya Khan and Ustad Azmat Hussain. We also strongly condemn the unnecessary controversy created in the family tree of Ustad Azmat i.e., the Atrauli (Jaipur) Gharana of Daguri Bani.

After 1940” incident Azmat Hussain literally closed the chapters of his interest in Hindi film industry as an artiste. Several offers came his way afterwards, for film acting and lyrics writing he plainly refused them. He stuck to his commitment, though this also stood as a great loss to his music career. Does anybody realize?

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