Friday, January 3, 2014

My Visit to Sarod Ghar - by Mahima Mishra

It was a rainy day and I was in Gwalior to attend the Tansen Sangeet Samaroh where my husband was performing. The weather was gloomy and the clouds were not ready to relent. It was difficult to perform at the decided venue as it was an open area. The very holy premises of Mian Tansen’s tomb was awash with rain and thus the programme was shifted to another venue. The live telecast was also not possible as the programme could not start at the scheduled time. A recording was thus made to be telecast later. All in all, the entire mood of attending the function at the holy premises of Tansen’s tomb was spoilt. The rain gods had decided otherwise. The programme was good though, and people loved the vocal recital and the intelligent Tabla accompaniment by my talented husband.

The next day, it was sunny and we had to leave by the afternoon. We decided to make hay while the sun was favouring us. The much renowned Sarod Ghar situated in Jiwaji ganj was calling us. We had heard so much about it from our musician friends and the magnetic persona of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan who was born in that house were pulling factors to visit the place. The museum has been housed in the ancestral home of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan who has donated the property to the trust for this purpose. Sarod ghar has an enigmatic aura as it has a history of four generations of Sarod players being born here. The first instruments exhibited were the instruments belonging to Ustad Amjad AliKhanji’s forefathers. The rabab of Ghulam Bandagi Khan Bangash, the Sarods of Nanne Khan, Asghar Ali Khan and Haafiz Ali Khan are part of this collection. Later on the Tanpura of Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, Violin of Allauddin Khan, the Tabla of Ahmed Jaan Thirakwa, Kanthe Maharaj and Kader Bux etc were also added to this collection. A beautiful collection of photographs of Ustad Amjad AliKhan’s childhood, adolescence and various concerts, his sons, awards, contemporaries, ancestors etc provide a wonderful kaleidoscope into the substance of his life.

The sole purpose of setting up this institution was to create awareness and respect for classical music, musicians and the variety of instruments of India. The museum houses a collection of old and contemporary instruments, belonging to great and illustrious musicians of the past, on which they pursued their practice. The other contributions of this museum are that it helps in promoting the rich heritage of the Gwalior Gharana in the field of classical music; it helps in documenting the evolution of the Indian instruments and their playing styles.
The City of Gwalior is famous for its culture with a colourful history going back to the sixth century. Due to its location in the heart of India, it has a unique blend of art, culture and civilizations from all across the country.
Due to lack of time, we could not see the fort of Gwalior and other sites of importance. The visit to Sarod Ghar was a really satiating experience as it was like looking through the window of history at all the jewels embedded in the beautiful fabric of our Indian classical music. The warmth with which we were received at the Sarod Ghar by the caretaker and by the trustee was remarkable and I’ve made a firm resolve to give a second visit to this wonderland soon. This time I will take out extra time, to be able to see all the wonderful and historical aspects of the city.

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