Mian Tansen to Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and onwards...

Indian Classical Music is vast. The roots of this rich cultural art form run deep, with a multitude of branches. As a seeker of this treasure trove, it can be a daunting task to know which path to take. Through this unique series of blog posts, we shall endeavour to bring to you knowledge that is enriching. Learnings from these can enhance your musical output, thus making your pursuit worth your efforts.

In our very first post, we shall give you a tour of the 'Maihar' gharana, the very foundation of our musical edifice, vis-a-vis the 'Bansuri' or the Indian Flute. We shall give you a glimpse of how this rich legacy has reached our revered Guruji, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, and how it is now being taken forward by Vivek Sonar.


"Legacy is not leaving something for people. It's leaving something in people"

A wise man had uttered these gems a few years ago. The essence of this quote is what this article comprises.

The genesis of the present-day Maihar Gharana traces back its journey to the doyen of Indian Classical Music, Mian Tansen. Then, it was known as the Senia Gharana. It is believed to have then transcended to his daughter Saraswati Devi, who in turn is said to have passed on the legacy to Wazir Khan (a Beenkar or Veena player), a descendent of her family. From thereon the baton was passed on to Allauddin Khan. And it is at this stage, it metamorphosed to the Senia Maihar Gharana. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, son of Allauddin Khan, adapted his learnings to the Sarod, while Pt. Ravi Shankar did the same on the Sitar. Meanwhile, Khansaheb's daughter Roshanara Khan (popularly known as Annapurna Devi) was a Surbahar player and was also the recipient of this legacy. Under her tutelage, the teachings of the Maihar Gharana were transferred to Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Today, the world is witness to that powerful legacy through Panditji's dextrous blowing techniques on the Flute. Over the years, Panditji has enhanced the learnings by adding his own unique ornamentations. Therefore, we will not be far from the truth, if we called this, the 'Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia's style' or even 'the Chaurasia Gharana'!

Our own Vivek Sonar ji is a direct disciple of Panditji and has imbibed the knowledge over the past 21+ years. When each time, Vivek, and the multitude of Guruji's students world-wide, put their flute to their lips, they are actually only replicating Guruji's technique.

Through his innovative myGurukul App, Vivek ji has ensured that this valuable knowledge reaches you all. This music is there for you to take, imbibe, make it your own.

It is a legacy that is not being left for you, but something being left in you!

Written by

Geetha Balsara


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