USTAD VILAYAT HUSSAIN KHAN ‘PRAN PIYA’ : AN INTRODUCTION

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Agara Gharana had been one of the most eminent and affluent Gharanas of tradition system in the world of Indian Hindustani classical music. There are ample of Agara stalwarts in today’s domain, who are extremely successful and working a lot for the up-gradation of Indian music. Some of the radically distinguished and knowledgeable personalities of Agara Gharana, which do not belong to their family in particular, yet patronized a lot  in making the Gharana prestigious and illustrious include: Pt. Bhaskar Bua Bakhle, Pt. Jagannath Bua Purohit,  Pt. Dilip Chandra Vedi, Dr. Sumati Mutatkar , Pt. Babanrao Haldankar,  and  many more. Maximum of these great people had been the disciples of Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, one of the leading creator and mentor of Agara Gharana.

We generally associate Ustad Faiyyaz Khan when we perceive the Agara vocalism and lineage. After Ustad Faiyyaz Khan, Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan is considered as an accomplished promoter and patron of Agara Gharana vocalism.

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan had been the pride of Agara Gharana on account of his multi-dimensional musical potential and immense talent. He is known for his remarkable contributions in bringing the Gharana to the place where it exists. His compositions are still taught in music institutions and considered as most significant and prosperous.

LIFE JOURNEY & GURUS

Due to the sudden, early demise of his Father Natthan Khan, Ustadji had to migrate to Jaipur to stay with his grand-Uncle Mohammad Baksh. He continued his music lessons in Jaipur under the guidance of Mohammad Baksh. Later, he had been groomed by exuberant legendaries. In his self-written book ‘sangeetagyon ke sansmaran’, he has quoted about his 42 Gurus and also about what particular stuff (gayaki, cheezein) from which particular guru. For example, he learnt the Dhrupads of Bhairav & Lachchasakh from Pt. Vishambhardin known as Vishwanath, the Munshi of Jaipur. Mohanta Shri hariballavji, the Acharya of Jaipur taught him the Dhrupads of Hindol, alahiya-bilawal, Bhimpalasi, Multani, Yaman-Kalyan, Bihag, Jaijaywanti, Shree, and Gaur-Malhar. In the same manner, he has referred to each single teacher in his book, by whom he was instructed. This approach depicts the perspective of humility and graciousness in his character.

HIS STYLE OF VOCALISM

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan’s music embodied all that was pure, authentic, and elevating as exemplified by his distinguished Father, Natthan Khan. His Gayaki worked as a healing and meditative therapy for the audience who still memorize his music with zeal and peace at heart. His vocalism automatically depicted his inner attitude full of sanctity and simplicity. He had an individualistic Gayaki. According to Pt. Arun Kashalkar, “Simplicity- which was one of the prime behavioral trait of Khan Saheb, is exhibited in his single Bandish. One who has skills to make the upper layer of art easier, that artiste has in him the great blessings of deepness of thoughts and intense intelligence. Khan Saheb was one of them.”    “His Raga expositions rendered in a stentorian voice (tinged with a slightly nasal tone in the upper register) were impeccable in their neatness, form and design.”

He had a superb command on Laya and Tala. According to M.R Gautam, “He was the master of  Tala.” He had a resplendent variety of Taans and Boltaans and the series of Taans were well-organized and truly ornamental. The melodic portraitures were judiciously embellished with Boltaans and Tihayis, often of great subtlety and complexity, but not once would he ever skip the Tala or stray from the laya, even when the percussion titan like Ahmed Jaan Thirukwa was there to challenge him on stage.

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan has always been the source of inspiration for all the music lovers and musicologists in the terms of music as well as attitude. We can easily find distinguished musicians but it’s hard to find the people possessing the combination of good musicians, and equally good human beings. Ustadji will always be in mind to acknowledge the combination of these two traits.

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