Lucknow-Shajehanpur sarod gharana connecting Calcutta—Irfan Muhammad Khan speaks

Told by Ustd. Irfan Muhammad Khan
Obtained by Prof. Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Troilee Dutta
Date 27 September, 2016
Place Residence of Prof. Sanjoy Bandopadhyay, 3/1/1D, Padmapukur Road, Kolkata 700092
On Irfan Muhammad Khan Irfan Md. Khan is an established Sarod Player. The scion of Lucknow Shahjanpur Gharana Sarod player. He represents the Lucknow-Shahjahanpur Gharana which has produced eminent Sarod players like Ustad Enayet Khan (1790-1883), Ustad Asadullah Khan Kaukab (1852-1919), Ustad Karamatuilah Khan (1848-1933), Prof. Sakhawat Hussain Khan (1875-1955), also his illustrious father Ustad Umar Khan (1916-1982) and his uncle Ustad Ilyas Khan (1924-1989) the famous Sitar player of Lucknow.
Key-words 1880, Enayet Khan, sarodiya, sarod, Kolkata, Kashem Ali Khan, 1887, England, Atta Khan, Murshidabad, Niyamatullah Khan, Wazed Ali, Basat Khan, Karamatullah Khan, Lucknow, Metiaburuj, 1872, Kobila, Bhawal State, Shafayet Khan, Junagarh, Shakhawat Khan, Shahjahanpur, Nepal, Delhi, Pratibha Debi, Devi, Sangeet sabha, Kaukab Khan, haren Sheel, Sil, Gobar Guha, Banjo, sarod, Dhiren Bose, Kali Pal, Paul, J.C. Bose, Jagadish Chandra, Hirendra nath Chattopadhyay, Pratap Chandra Chandra, Kedara, madhyam, Kaukabh
Language Hindi [also include some English and Bengali sentences.]

Ustd. Irfan Muhammad Khan speaks:

Text Version:

You come from a great inheritance, please share some anecdotes of your family related to Kolkata.

During 1880s, my ancestor InnayatKhan , the sarod maestro came to Kolkata. He stayed here for a while then went to Jaydevpur,Bhawal estate. Kashim Ali Khan also joined him there. Queen Victoria’s coronation silver jubilee was during that time, in 1887, and Innayat Khan was sent to England by Bengal Jamindaar Association to play at the Durbaar. He was accompanied by a Tabla player named Atta Khan of Murshidabad.

How was Wazed Ali Khan related to all these?

Niyamatullah Khan was related to Wazed Ali Khan. In 1856 when Wazed Ali Khan was deposed, he was sent to Kolkata with his full court. Basatkhan accompanied him here along with some singers and musicians. NiyamatullahKhan also came here along with his two sons, Kaukab Khan and Karamatullah Khan.Niyamatullahhad a relationship with the king for almost thirty years, both in Lucknow and Kolkata. Then he went to Nepal and to fill his empty post Innayat Khan had arrived. When Wazed Ali Shah passed away, he went to Bhawal Estate in Komilla. It was the custom of the day and these local kings were the real patrons then. Afterwards he went to England and he was the first Indian musician who went to England. When he returned, he came back to jaydebpur and spent his last days there.

His son Shafayat Khan took his post in Bhawal estate as court musician. He was also attached to Junagadh, Gujrat. He stayed in Junagadh for a while and then returned. He sentShakhawat Khan Sahabin Bengal. Shakhawat Khan sahib was a young lad then, only fifteen or twenty years of age. He stayed in Jaydebpur for a little and then escaped and went to Lucknow. He was asked why he was staying back, why he didn’t return to his job? He was very reluctant at first, he made some excuses and then he disclosed the real reason for his escape.

Everyday the Rajasaab took the young musician along with him to visit the grave of his earlier GurujiKashim Ali Khan to show respect and told Sakhawat Saab that he would do the same for him too. The young man was frustrated to see his future tomb every day. He was also a bit superstitious, he could not stand this torture daily. So, he escaped and didn’t return.

Niyamatullah khan returned from Nepal and stayed in Delhi where he took his last breath.His sons made their home here in Kolkata, Metiabruz. Pratibha Debi requested Kaukab Khan to be the Principal of her music school Sangeet Sabha. There the Jamindars took music as their hobby because it was costly. But I must say this, my ancestors made agreat mistake to teach this upper-class people. They took it as a mere hobby, nothing serious. But I think, if they taught common folk it would be better, real learners would then get a chance and they would become immortal through their disciples.

Among his desciples were HarenShil who learnt Surbahar, Gobor Guha who was a famous body builder learnt Banjo and Sarod. Dhiren Bose was a famous sarod player, Kali Pal learnt Esraj. Sarat Bose, scientist J.C.Bose learnt Sarod from my ancestors. Harindranath Chattopadhyay, the husband of Sarojini Naidu, Pratap Chandra Chandra also learnt Sarod. They were quite eccentric and loyal to my ancestors. Once HarenShil was learning Kedar and suddenly a part of a chandelier dropped down when madhyam was played. The sound of broken glass beautifully twined with the madhyam and HarenShil asked his servant to break the entire Belgian chandelier to create the beauty of the sound again. Such was their eccentricity.



Data processed at SAP-DRS Lab, Department of Instrumental Music, Rabindra Bharati University.