Baby Cried In Pancham, The Maestro was Born—Naming of Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Told by Dr. Amlan Dasgupta
Obtained by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee
Date 20th Februray. 2017
Place Jadavpur University, Department of English
About the speaker Amlan Das Gupta is a Professor of English, Jadavpur University, He has built an archive of North Indian classical music at the School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University. He has also offered a course on the history of North Indian Classical Music. Education – University of Oxford.
Tags Amalendu Dasgupta, Delhi, Radio, Akashvani, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ludhiana, Ali Baksh Khan, Kale Khan, Sarengi, Pancham
Language English, Hindi

Dr.  Amlan Dasgupta Speaks :

Text version:

I heard this story from my father. My father worked for the Radio as a  news, news editor in Delhi in early years of Akashvani, and even though this is a story from Delhi, it is worth thinking about because it involves a figure who was very close to  the Calcutta music scene, that’s Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sahab. Now my father  who was you know, who’s musical taste was entirely built when he was a student in Kolkata then he had gone to work in Delhi, He found a way of visiting Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab when he was staying at  somebody’s  house, some rich person’s house at Delhi. I think this  was that ill fated  visit when he was fed on various kinds of vegetables and so he was very very depressed and then he organised, he did not eat at the house, he organised a  kind of kitchen outside in the lawn and personally supervised it, and he got his ‘Ghee’ from Ludhiana or somewhere like that. That how this stories are. My father went to see him and there were lots of stories. He sat and waited for him, and he even looked at him, hours past, whatever,  so at one point they got talking at least Ghulam Ali Khan he  Sahab started talking. The story is of the variant stories about cow and Dog and Bird and the waves all these things. It was really beautiful stories   that went like this and this amazing this amazing connection that Ghiulam Ali Khan Sahab’s music had with nature, there were various kind of expressing the basic relationship with nature I think that is in story for me. But this story is something different. This story is about, when he was very young and he was lying in the lap of his father Ali Baksh Khan Sahab and there was concert going on in his house, the house of Ali Baksh Khan Sahab in which Kale Khan Sahab was singing and there was somebody else I forget the name, the name is not clear. So both the ustad  were singing and when dono ustad pancham pe khari, and stopped and the sarengiya was about to play the Pancham this child started crying in Pancham. Then dono ustads stopped singing and said ‘Yeh Baccha Kaun Hay’?   ‘Yeh Aapka Ghulam Hai’ That’s why he was called Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab. That’s the story.

Verbatim by Rajeswary Ganguly Banerjee

Note: Although this anecdote describes about an event in Delhi, this is of immense significance. This is connected to Ustd. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan as a baby and the event that was responsible for  his naming as Ghulam Ali is portrayed here. BGK was born in 1902. So, the incident may have happened when he was between 1 to 3 years old.  Khansahib had a very intimate connection with the city of Calcutta. – Editor

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