Ustad Allauddin Khan (ca. 1862 – 6 September 1972) was a Bengali shorodi and multi-instrumentalist, composer and one of the most renowned music teachers of the 20th century in Indian classical music. In 1935, he toured Europe, along with Uday Shankar‘s ballet troupe, and later also worked at his institute, ‘Uday Shankar India Culture Centre’ at Almora for a while. During his lifetime, he composed several ragas and laid the foundation of a modern Maihar Gharana.

Ustad Allauddin Khan teaching Ravi Shankar & his son, Ali Akbar Khan_Bollywoodirect
Ustad Allauddin Khan teaching Ravi Shankar & his son, Ali Akbar Khan Courtesy:

Amongst his recordings which are rare, the most important ones are those he recorded with the All India Radio in 1959–60. He was the father of sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan and Annapurna Devi, and the uncle of Raja Hossain Khan, as well as the guru of Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee, Vasant Rai, Pannalal Ghosh, Bahadur Khan, Sharan Rani, Jyotin Bhattacharya and other influential musicians. He himself was a disciple of many great musicians, including Gopal Chandra Banerjee, Lobo, Munne Khan, and most importantly after a lot of struggle managed to become a shagird of the legendary Veena player, Wazir Khan.
He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour in 1971, and prior to that in 1954, the Sangeet Natak Akademi awarded him with its highest honour, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to Indian music.

Ustad Alauddin Khan taught Ritwik Ghatak the universal language of music.

Ustad Allauddin Khan – A Documentary by Ritwik Ghatak (1963) is a documentary film on Allauddin Khan sponsored by the Sangeet Natak Akademi that talks about his role as a guru of several renowned musicians.  This film was directed by the renowned film-maker Ritwik Ghatak, although his name does not appear in the credits.

Video Courtesy: Arin Paul’s Youtube Channel

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

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