The River of Unapprehended Sentiments…

epgfk2bw

 

Drifting across the wind, down the river
towards a frail shack at the river’s bank,
amidst the gardens where the tulips rule;
with sun’s radiating carmine as my boatswain
I sail into the misty waters miles down to the meandering turn.

Desolate shack,
the air redolent with tulips’s scent
and empty glasses reeking with the fumes of beer,

Roseate faces standing at the doors,
adjuring me to dock the boat and join the house.

Moving away from the vital life:
to the elan-vital of the noble souls,
some known faces and some unknown ones:
gathered at the consummation of the herd’s incorporeal blend.

“Am I here to listen to eternity’s call?
or here to see you all?”

Seeking answers in those bewitching eyes
which enticed me from across the meandering river:
on a sojourn to these lands of the Immortal Life.

True that you’re my clan, and this is my land of love and peace
But, I am yet to pay my valediction to those waiting my return up the stream
I honor your love, but so to speak:
I can’t betray those promises I am to keep.

Let me afloat, Up again to the Lands I call home,
and years after,
command the Tramontana to rise above the Mountains in the north,
as it shall blow towards me to deliver your call,
I shall sail again, to this shack of tranquility and peace
down the river, drifting across the wind.

Courtesy of MALVIKA

see link below :

http://malvikasharma.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/gumnaan-jazbaton-ka-yeh-darya/


Columba aspexit

Bingen2

 

 

Columba aspexit per cancellos fenestrae
ubi ante faciem eius
sudando sudavit balsamum
de lucido Maximino.

Calor solis exarsitet in tenebras resplenduit
unde gemma surrexit
in edificatione templi
purissimi cor dis benivoli.

Iste turris excelsa,
de ligno Libani et cipresso facta,
iacincto et sardio ornata est,
urbs precellens artes
aliorum artificum.

Ipse velox cervus cucurrit
ad fontem purissime aque
fluentis de fortissimo lapide
qui dulcia aromata irrigavit.

O pigmentari
qui estis in suavissima viriditate
hortorum regis,
ascendentes in altum
quando sanctum sacrificium
in arietibus perfecistis.

Inter vos fulget hic artifex,
paries templi,
qui desideravit alas aquile
osculando nutricem Sapientiam
in gloriosa fecunditate Ecclesie.

O Maximine,
mons et vallis es,
et in utroque alta edificatio appares,
ubi capricornus cum elephante exivit,
et Sapientia in deliciis fuit.

Tu es fortis
et suavis in cerimoniis
et in choruscatiane altaris,
ascendens ut fumus aromatum
ad columpnam laudis.

Ubi intercedis pro populo
qui tendit ad speculum lucis,
cui laus est in altis

 

 

 

RiesenCodex_477

 

The dove peered in
through the lattices of the windows
where, before its face,
a balm exuded
from incandescent Maximilian.

The heat of the sun burned
dazzling into the gloom:
whence a jewel sprang forth
in the building of the temple
of the purest loving heart.

He, the high tower,
constructed of Lebanon wood and cypress,
has been adorned with jacinth and diamonds,
a city excelling the crafts
of other builders.

This swift hart sped
to the fountain of clearest water
flowing from the most powerful stone
which courses with delightful spices.

O Perfume-Makers,
you who are in the sweetest greenness
of the gardens of the King,
ascending on high
when you have completed the holy sacrifice
with the rams.

This builder shines among you,
the wall of the temple,
who longed for the wings of an eagle,
kissing his nurse Wisdom
in the glorious fecundity of the Church.

O Maximilian,
you are the mount and the valley
and in both you seem a high building,
where the goat went with the elephant
and Wisdom was in rapture.

You are strong
and beautiful in rites
and in the shining of the altar,
mounting like the smoke of perfumes
to the column of praise.

Where you intercede for the people
who stretch towards the mirror of light
to whom there is praise on high.

 

 

Bingen

 

Bibliography

Barth, Prudentiana M., Immaculata Ritscher, and Joseph Schmidt-Görg, eds. Hildegard von Bingen – Lieder. Salzburg: Otto Muller, 1969.
Böckeler, Maura, ed. Der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen Reigen der Tugenden, Ordo Virtutem. Berlin: St Augustinus-Verlag, 1927.
Boelaars, Henri, O.S.B. Le culte de Sainte Hildegarde dans la Congrégation de France. (Manuscript at St Benoit, Quebec.)
Bouré, M.A. Cantique d’apres Ste Hildegarde, vierge de l’Ordre de S. Benôit, Chant premier. Stanbrook Abbey, 1922.
Braun, Johannes. Die heilige Hildegard, Aebtissin bon Rupertsberg (1098-1179). Aus dem Französischen frei bearbeitet. Regensberg: J. Habbel, 1918.
Butler, A. The Lives of the Saints. Revised by H. Thurston and D. Attwater. New York: Sheed and Ward, 1956.
Christoph, Jacques, ed. Sainte Hildegard, 5. Paris: Gallimard, 1942.
Curicque, J.M. Voix prophétiques: ou, Signes, apparitions et prédictions moderns touchant les grands événements de la chrétienté aux XIXe siècle et vers l’approche de la fin des temps. Paris: V. Palmé, 1872.
Drinker, Sophia. Music and Women. New York: Coward-McCann, 1948.
Dronke, Peter. The Medieval Lyric. London: Hutchinson University Library, 1968.
Franche, Paul. Sainte Hildegarde (1098-1179). 3rd ed. Paris: V. Lecoffre, 1903.
Führkotter, Adelgundis. Hildegard von Bingen – Briefweschel. Salzburg: Otto Muller, 1965.
Hildegard von Bingen. Salzburg: Otto Muller, 1972.
Gmelch, Joseph. Die Kompositionem der heiligen Hildegard. Dusseldorf: Schwann, 1913.
Godefridus et Theodoricus. Vita sanctae Hildegardis, auctoribus Godefrido et Theodorico monachis. XII saeculum. In Patrologiae cursus completus, Serie latina, ed. J.P. Migne, 197: 91-130.
Herlihy, David, ed. Medieval Culture and Society. New York: Harper and Row, 1968.
Kilmer, Fred B. and Josephine I. Dooley. ‘A Saint among the drugs’, American Journal of Pharmacy, 99 (1927), 727-748.
Kohl, Johannes, ed. St Hildegard von Bingen, die grosste deutsche Frau: Festschrift zur St Hildegardisjubelfeier. Bingen: Pennrich, 1929.
Lauter, Werner. Hildegard-Bibliographie. Alzey: Verlag der Rheinischen Druckwerkstratte, 1970.
Liebeschultz, Hans. Das allegorische Weltbild der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen. Leipzig: G.B. Teubner, 1930.
Lipphardt, Walther. ‘Hildegard von Bingen: Lieder nach den Handschriften herausgegeeben von P. Barth’, Die Musikforschung, 26 (1973), 531-532.
May, Johannes. Die heilige Hildegard von Bingen, 2. neubearb. München: J. Kosel, 1929.
McDonnell, Ernest W. ‘Hildegarde of Bingen and Belgian mysticiam’, The Beguines and Beghards in Medieval Culture. New Brunswick, N.J.: 1954. Pp. 281-298.
(Meyer), Paula Pardee. The Musical Works of Hildegard of Bingen. Term paper, 1976.
Nordenskiold, Erick. The History of Biology. New York: Tudor, 1928.
Riesch. Helene. Die heilige Hildegard von Bingen. Freiburg: Herder, 1920.
Rings, Mannes Marie, O.P. S. Hildegard, Deutschlands erhabene Prophetin: ein Lebensbild fur das deutsches Volk. Berlin: Druck und Verlag der Germaniz, 1917.
Ritscher, Maria Immaculata, O.S.B.. ‘Kritischer Bericht’, Ergänzungsheft zu Hildegard von Bingen – Lieder. Salzburg: Muller, 1969.
Schmelzeis, J.Ph. Das Leben und Wirken der heiligen Hildegardis, nach den Quellen dargestellt. Nebst einem Anhang Hildeg’scher Lieder mit ihren Melodien. Freiberg: Herder, 1879.
Schmidt-Görg, Joseph. ‘Hildegard von Bingen’. MGG, ed. Friedrich Blume, Kassel: Bärenreiter, 6 (1949-1968), 389-391.
Schrader, Marianna, O.S.B. Die Echtheit des Schrifttums der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen: quellenkritiche Untersuchungen. Köln: Bohlau, 1956.
Singer, Charles. From Magic to Science. New York: Dover, 1958.
Sohler, Sister Rogatia, O.S.B. ‘Hildegard von Bingen’. Sisters Today, 51/5 (198), 291-296.
Steele, Francesca Maria. The Life and Visions of St Hildegarde. London: Heath, Cranton and Ousely, 1914.
Ungrund, Magna, Sister. Die metaphysische Anthropologie der heiligen Hildegard von Bingen. Munster: Aschendorf, 1938.
Ursprung, Otto. ‘Hildegards Drama ‘Ordo virtutem’, Geschichte einer Seele’, Miscelánea en Homenaje a Monseñor Higinio Angleés. Barcelona: Consejo superior de investigadores cientificas, II (1958-1961), 941-958.
Wasmann, Erich, S.J. Die heilige Hildegard von Bingen als Naturforscherin, in Festschrift Georg von Hertling. 1913. Pp. 459-475.
Zueltz, Monika, O.S.B. Hildegard von Bingen. Beuroner Kunstverlag, 1972.

 

Bingen4


A very Short Free Dictionary of Symbols and Terms in Iranian Music

Musicians

A very Short Free Dictionary of Symbols and Terms in Iranian Music

by Mohammad Reza Azadehfar

محمدرضا آزاده فر

(click image above to read on…)

Bild1


The Art of Persian Classical Music

music_persia

 

The Art of Persian Classical Music

Chanté Karimkhani

The history of the culturally rich, diverse, and fascinating Persian Empire provides a glimpse of mystical beauty that has been sadly lost in the modern world …

From the beginning of the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century B.C. to present day Iran under the strict rule of Shiite Islamic clerics, this beautiful and ancient culture has experienced periods of intense wealth and great loss. Despite the many invasions by Greeks, Turks, Mongols, and Arabics, the Persian people were able to retain their rich cultural heritage. Unavoidably, lasting impressions from these invading cultures have left their mark in Persian society. The modern Persian language is itself a product of the Islamic Arabic conquest of Persia in the seventh cen­tury. It has adopted many Arabic alphabetical letters, words and names. At its greatest pinnacle in the Sassanian empire (third to seventh centuries B.C.), Persia extended from Egypt eastward to the Indus River in present-day Pakistan and from Syria into Central Asia. Persia was surrounded by the Romans to the west, the Huns in the northeast, and violent tribes in the north. What remains of the mighty Persian Empire can be found only in the present-day country of Iran. The classical music of the Persian culture reflects the deep sadness of brutal invasions, the complex beauty of nature, and fusion with a higher power of existence. Persian classical music has evolved as a fluid expression of the social and cultural values proudly embodied by the Persian people, as demonstrated by the musical theory system, the role of music in Persian culture, and the creation process of musical performance.

The history of Persian classical music is believed to date back to the very beginnings of the Persian Empire in sixth century B.C.; however, very little documentation of this early art is available. Since Persian classical music is improvised and traditionally learned by ear or rote, there was no need for musical notation. Music was essentially passed down through the centuries by way of the relationship between student and ‘master’ or teacher. The first evidence of Persian music can be found in the writings of ancient Greek historians, which provide evidence for the musical interchange between Greek and Persian music during the Graeco-Persian wars. From the following Sassanian period (226-642 AD), the first evidence of musicians, musical activities, and instrumental descriptions are available. At this time, Persian music and musicians such as the famous virtuoso Barbod enjoyed an exalted status in the magnificent court palaces. Music at this time was mostly performed for royalty and was primarily performed as an accompaniment to Persian poetry.

With the foundational establishment of Islam as the national religion of Persia in the seventh century, a sig­nificant fusion of Arabic and Persian music took place, including instruments, musi­cal terminology, and theoretical principles. As opposed to Persia’s former national religion of Zoroastrianism, Islam regards the arts and most forms of musical performance as sinful. Music lost its social approval and became an illegal public act except in the cases of weddings and private gatherings. This sudden change in the outlook of the musical arts caused drastic changes in the development of Persian classical music.

“By reducing the public practice of
music, Islam transformed Persian music into a metaphysical and mystical art that raised it to the highest spiritual level.”

The musical scene was forced to go underground in seclusion. Although the social status of musicians decreased, musicians were still employed by wealthy, upper-class families to perform music in the secrecy of their homes for private gatherings or parties. By reducing the public practice of music, Islam transformed Persian music into a metaphysical and mysti­cal art that raised it to the highest spiritual level. During the ensuing cruel Turk-Mongol conquest (13th to 15th centu­ries), the great amount of murder and destruction committed against the Persian people provided the motivation for the great Sufi and Dervish mystic orders which viewed music as the most direct path to truth. The beautiful poetic verses written by famous Sufi poets such as Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi express the serious and intricate emotional character of the Persian people. From the beginning of the Persian Empire, Persian classical music and Persian poetry formed an organic relationship with one another, providing support­ing and purposeful expression to the complex topics of loss, beauty, nature, and love.

Persian classical music is organized into twelve ton­al systems called dastgah, meaning organizational system in Persian. In the past, the dastgah concept has been compared to the Western mode and each dastgah has been character­ized with a specific scale; however, the musical concept in Persian classical music is much more complex than a seven-note scale with specific intervals between adjacent tones. Each dastgah embodies its own special repertory of melodies called gusheh-ha (singular gusheh) which are all typically modally independent from one another. In order to tie the various gusheh-ha of a dastgah together, the forud is used. The forud is a melodic cadence that concludes each gusheh and unifies the dastgah as a whole. There is also almost always an introductory section of a dastgah, in addition to the gusheh-ha, called the daramad which “characterizes the dastgah to the listener and musician, contains one principal motif that occurs frequently in performance and at various times at the endings of other gushes, and emphasizes the tonal environment of the tonic.” In essence, the daramad is the most representative portion of a dastgah. The forud concluding each gusheh of a dastgah shows the overall “dependence on the original mode intro­duced in the daramad section of the dastgah.” The daramad and the gusheh-ha of a particular dastgah collectively form the backbone of that dastgah tonal system. The radif of Persian music is essentially Persian music in its entirety: the pieces that compose the repertoire of Persian classical music.

During the twentieth century, numerous theories have been proposed concerning the division of Persian inter­vals, specifically on the classification of the famous middle-eastern microtone. The sudden appeal for this explanation in the twentieth century came as a result of Westernization and the spread of European music around the world, including in Iran. After being exposed to Western classical music, many Persian musicians felt a need for mathematical classifica­tion of the microtone in order to ‘raise the credibility’ of Persian classical music. The significant debate over Persian intervals and a Persian scale demonstrates the social values of the Persian people. During the 20th century, when a great deal of westernization and modernization took place in Iran, there was an apparent social and cultural affinity to make traditional Persian life synchronized with the exciting developments of the Western countries. One of the theories on Persian intervals, proposed by Ali Naqi Vaziri, makes use of measured quarter tones in defining a 24-quarter tone scale which is essentially a further division of the western equidis­tant chromatic 12-note scale. Another theory, proposed by Mehdi Barkesli, attempts to give a highly scientific explana­tion of the Persian scale using mathematical measurements of Pythagorean intervals. Although neither of these theories accurately describes the Persian musical tradition, the impact of Western concepts on the classification of Persian music is apparent. A third major, more recent, and more accurate theory has been developed by Hormoz Farhat. Mr. Farhat’s theory, titled “The Theory of Flexible Intervals,” rests on the belief that any notion of scale or specific interval measure­ment is completely irrelevant to Persian classical music. Mr. Farhat only goes as far as defining 5 types of intervals found in Persian classical music: the semi-tone or minor 2nd, the small and large neutral tones (intervals larger than semi-tone but smaller than whole-tone), the whole-tone or major 2nd, and the plus-tone (larger than whole-tone but smaller than augmented-tone). Beyond these classifications, this theory respects the uniqueness of each interval according to each performer and performance. Of all three theories presented, the theory of flexible intervals best captures the core inten­tion of Persian classical music: allowing the innate creation process of the musician to encourage the inspiration of every individual performance.

True Persian classical music is not the melody col­lection of the dastgah tonal systems. The individual gusheh-ha and characteristic melodic pieces that are learned by all students of Persian music are never literally performed. Instead, they serve as a basic framework for the true creation process of the musician: improvisation. Although the impro­visatory technique rests on the spontaneous expression of a skilled musician, there are specific decisions and guidelines that a musician must choose before a performance. The first decision is deciding which dastgah to play from. The radif of Persian music is set to verses of poetry written by poets such as Rumi, Sa’adi, and Hafez. In fact, it is the meter of the poetry that gives rhythmic shape to most unmeasured Persian musical works. Therefore, poetic significance plays a crucial role in determining which dastgah to perform. The musician then must decide how many gusheh-ha of the chosen dastgah to perform and in what order they will be organized. Again, poetry may play an important role in this decision. Typically, the order of the gusheh-ha is based upon a curve shape in range, beginning with the daramad in the lowest part of the dastgah’s range, gradually rising to a high point, and then falling back down in range toward the forud ending of the piece. In addition to these preliminary decisions, the musician must also predetermine methods for the expansion and embellishment of the gusheh/dastgah backbone. The fine degree of intricate embellishment and ornamentation in Persian classical music is a characteristic found in all Persian arts including architecture, metal work, rug-making, and calligraphy.

Differing greatly from the Western classical music tradition, the Persian classical musician is simultaneously composer, performer, and creator. The fixed elements of a gusheh that are present in all performances of a specific gusheh include “the location and configuration of the tetra­chord, the melodic function of each scale degree, the melodic shape, and characteristic cadence formulae.” The elements of a gusheh that vary according to time and musician con­sist of “elaborations and extensions on the basic melodic framework of the gusheh…repetition and varied repetition, ornamentation, and centonization, or the joining together of familiar motives to produce longer melodies.” As recently as the late twentieth century, selection of a dastgah and even specific gusheh-ha for performance were based upon the time and hour of the day. This practice was highly tied to religious beliefs and Persian cultural values of peaceful co­existence with the natural world. However, in recent years, the musician has been free to choose any desired dastgah for performance, usually targeted for a specific radio or televi­sion audience. Once these choices have been made ahead of time, the actual performance and ultimate creation of the music takes place. The most powerful and desired aspect of performance is when a musician is able to attain a state of hal, the “intense state of the soul…the interior fire which must animate the artist…the creativity gushes forth…the very essence of the music manifests itself.” In the typical ensemble of Persian classical music consisting of an instru­mentalist, a vocalist, and possibly a drummer, the singer is the designated leader of the ensemble and the instrumental­ists surrender some of their musical freedom to the singer.

As previously stated, westernization has had a tremendous impact on Iranian society, Iranian people, and ancient cultural values. The result of musical westernization in Iran is best seen in the capital city of Tehran, the cultural center of the country. The Tehran Symphony’s full concert season of Western classi­cal music, a classical bal­let company, and Western opera performances are several examples of this drastic societal change.

“Differing greatly from the Western
classical music tradition, the Persian classical musician is simultaneously composer, performer, and creator.”

The establishment of Western musi­cal conservatories directed by French musical directors in the 20th century expanded the knowledge of Persian musi­cians in Western music theory, practice, and performance. Although music conservatories in Iran teach both Persian and Western classical music, Persian classical music has become a minority in the cultural scene. After being exposed to the harmonic organization, rhythmic control, and precise modal classifications within Western music, Persian musi­cians in the beginning of the 20th century began to desire the westernization of musical thought. A sudden preoccupation with the musical theory of Persian classical music caused the widespread use of Western notation in traditional Persian music. In order to accomplish notation of the microtone, the accidentals koron, signifying the flattening of a pitch by a microtone, and sori, signifying the raising of a pitch by a microtone, were devised by the first Persian to seek a musi­cal education in Europe, Ali Naqi Vaziri. Mr. Vaziri was also one of the first musicians to notate Persian musical pieces by applying Western harmonization to the Persian radif.

The impact of notation on Persian classical music is best demonstrated in teaching. The modern method of learning a musical art is based upon the relationship between student and a master teacher. The student of Persian music studies to master his teacher’s radif until they are able to improvise by interpreting its melodic sequences. In ancient times however, each Persian musician developed their own version of the radif. Notation makes fast learning of the ra­dif possible. Many musicians from the ancient mystic orders in Persia believed that the mastering of the radif should take years and that skill perfection for the highest level interpreta­tion of the radif should be an ongoing experience throughout the person’s lifetime.

Performance of Persian classical music has also been greatly affected by western­ization and modernization. Before the 20th century, Persian classical music was rarely performed for public entertainment due to Islamic disapprobation. Relaxed social conditions, increas­ing state support for the arts, and westernization in the 20th century have manifested in a growth of all musical activities in Iran. Persian classical music is now performed by both traditional instruments and western instruments such as the violin and the piano. The use of these Western instruments has caused changes in musical style and instrumental tuning, while placing increasing value on virtuosity of the performer. Western performance aspects, such as the printing of concert programs and standardization of a 90-minute time length for a concert have become widely used in the performance of Persian classical music. Technology has allowed Per­sian classical music to reach a more widespread audience; however, it has also created new performance traditions and permanent changes in musical program structure. Radio has had the effects of shortening performances, imposing a certain degree of standardization on Persian classical music performances, and creating a ‘star system’ which enables certain performers to attain widespread popularity over other performers not heard on the radio. Persian identity is deeply embedded in the ancient tradition of Persian classical music.

As Persian cultural values and beliefs have evolved over time, Persian classical music has simultaneously been transformed. Often associated with the deep, complex, and profound poetry of the great Persian poets, Persian music embodies the penultimate expression of the human soul. Due to the Islamic prohibition of music and arts in Iran, Persian classical music was raised to a mystical art, highly prized for its unification with a superior power of existence. The modernization and westernization of Iran have not only changed the structural components of Persian music in many ways, but have also exposed the art to the world. There is currently more Western interest in Persian classical music than ever before. Perhaps as people listen to this mysteri­ously beautiful Persian art, they attain some type of hal-state where the “world becomes transfigured, unveiling its marvel­ous images, and across an ineffable transparency…offers itself to the direct comprehension of every being capable of sensing.”

 
REFERENCES

Hormoz Farhat, The Dastgāh Concept in Persian Music (Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 7–18, 20–21.

Ella Zonis, Classical Persian Music (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), 2–3, 21, 99, 104- 105, 110–113, 127–129,193,

Loyd Clifton Miller, Music and Song in Persia: The Art of  vāz (Salt Lake City, UT: The University of Utah Press, 1999), 6. Ibid, 13–17. 21-22.

Bruno Nettl, Radif of Persian Music (Champaign, IL: Elephant & Cat, 1992), 19. Farhat, op. cit., 25. Ibid, 21.

Bruno Nettl, “Persian Classical Music in Tehran: The Processes of Change,” in Eight Urban Musical Cultures (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1978), 157–167.

 

 

 

 


A Poet’s Creed

lyric-poetry

 

JORGE      LOUIS      BORGES

Harvard Lectures

A_Peacock


The Mysteries of Entropy

MANTAR_YANTAR_X23

 

 

 

 

The question  what LIFE is and NOT, is a
basic question in the evolution of the human mind
and reflects also the different states of the human mind.

Through recorded history it,s well known that
there are different states of understanding life
itself it,s conditions and it,s so called laws.

The emerging of the sciences from way back
before ancient greek to much older type of civilistations
show remarkable efforts in understanding LIFE by
systematic analytic techniques.

From a spohisticated point of view the noble reader
may take the Text below as an neo-philosophic
approach to the essence of reality.

(R51 Ed.)

                                  WHAT IS LIFE?

ERWIN SCHRODINGER
First published 1944

What is life? The Physical Aspect of the Living
Cell.
Based on lectures delivered under the auspices of
the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies at
Trinity College, Dublin, in February 1943.
To the memory of My Parents

Preface

A scientist is supposed to have a complete and
thorough I of knowledge, at first hand, of some
subjects and, therefore, is usually expected not to
write on any topic of which he is not a life,
master. This is regarded as a matter of noblesse
oblige. For the present purpose I beg to renounce
the noblesse, if any, and to be the freed of the
ensuing obligation. My excuse is as follows: We
have inherited from our forefathers the keen
longing for unified, all-embracing knowledge.
The very name given to the highest institutions
of learning reminds us, that from antiquity to and
throughout many centuries the universal aspect
has been the only one to be given full credit. But
the spread, both in and width and depth, of the
multifarious branches of knowledge by during
the last hundred odd years has confronted us
with a queer dilemma. We feel clearly that we
are only now beginning to acquire reliable
material for welding together the sum total of all
that is known into a whole; but, on the other
hand, it has become next to impossible for a
single mind fully to command more than a small
specialized portion of it. I can see no other
escape from this dilemma (lest our true who aim
be lost for ever) than that some of us should
venture to embark on a synthesis of facts and
theories, albeit with second-hand and incomplete
knowledge of some of them -and at the risk of
making fools of ourselves. So much for my
apology. The difficulties of language are not
negligible. One’s native speech is a closely fitting
garment, and one never feels quite at ease when
it is not immediately available and has to be
replaced by another. My thanks are due to Dr
Inkster (Trinity College, Dublin), to Dr Padraig
Browne (St Patrick’s College, Maynooth) and,
last but not least, to Mr S. C. Roberts. They were
put to great trouble to fit the new garment on me
and to even greater trouble by my occasional
reluctance to give up some ‘original’ fashion of
my own. Should some of it have survived the
mitigating tendency of my friends, it is to be put
at my door, not at theirs. The head-lines of the
numerous sections were originally intended to be
marginal summaries, and the text of every
chapter should be read in continuo. E.S.
Dublin September 1944

Homo liber nulla de re minus quam de morte
cogitat; et ejus sapientia non mortis sed vitae
meditatio est. SPINOZA’S Ethics, Pt IV, Prop.
67

(There is nothing over which a free man ponders
less than death; his wisdom is, to meditate not on
death but on life.)

CHAPTER 1

The Classical Physicist’s Approach to the Subject

This little book arose from a course of public
lectures, delivered by a theoretical physicist to an
audience of about four hundred which did not
substantially dwindle, though warned at the
outset that the subject-matter was a difficult one
and that the lectures could not be termed popular,
even though the physicist’s most dreaded
weapon, mathematical deduction, would hardly
be utilized. The reason for this was not that the
subject was simple enough to be explained
without mathematics, but rather that it was much
too involved to be fully accessible to
mathematics. Another feature which at least
induced a semblance of popularity was the
lecturer’s intention to make clear the fundamental
idea, which hovers between biology and physics,
to both the physicist and the biologist. For
actually, in spite of the variety of topics
involved, the whole enterprise is intended to
convey one idea only -one small comment on a
large and important question. In order not to lose
our way, it may be useful to outline the plan very
briefly in advance. The large and important and
very much discussed question is: How can the
events in space and time which take place
within the spatial boundary of a living organism
be accounted for by physics and chemistry? The
preliminary answer which this little book will
endeavor to expound and establish can be
summarized as follows: The obvious inability of
present-day physics and chemistry to account for
such events is no reason at all for doubting that
they can be accounted for by those sciences.

STATISTICAL PHYSICS. THE
FUNDAMENTAL W DIFFERENCE IN
STRUCTURE

That would be a very trivial remark if it were
meant only to stimulate the hope of achieving in
the future what has not been achieved in the past.
But the meaning is very much more positive, viz.
that the inability, up to the present moment, is
amply accounted for. Today, thanks to the
ingenious work of biologists, mainly of
geneticists, during the last thirty or forty years,
enough is known about the actual material
structure of organisms and about their
functioning to state that, and to tell precisely
why present-day physics and chemistry could not
possibly account for what happens in space and
time within a living organism. The arrangements
of the atoms in the most vital parts of an
organism and the interplay of these arrangements
differ in a fundamental way from all those
arrangements of atoms which physicists and
chemists have hitherto made the object of their
experimental and theoretical research. Yet the
difference which I have just termed fundamental
is of such a kind that it might easily appear slight
to anyone except a physicist who is thoroughly
imbued with the knowledge that the laws of
physics and chemistry are statistical throughout.
For it is in relation to the statistical point of view
that the structure of the vital parts of living
organisms differs so entirely from that of any
piece of matter that we physicists and chemists
have ever handled physically in our laboratories
or mentally at our writing desks. It is well-nigh
unthinkable that the laws and regularities thus
discovered should happen to apply immediately
to the behaviour of systems which do not exhibit
the structure on which those laws and regularities
are based. The non-physicist cannot be expected
even to grasp let alone to appreciate the
relevance of the difference in ‘statistical
structure’ stated in terms so abstract as I have
just used. To give the statement life and colour,
let me anticipate what will be explained in much
more detail later, namely, that the most essential
part of a living cell-the chromosome fibre may
suitably be called an aperiodic crystal. In physics
we have dealt hitherto only with periodic
crystals. To a humble physicist’s mind, these are
very interesting and complicated objects; they
constitute one of the most fascinating
and complex material structures by which
inanimate nature puzzles his wits. Yet, compared
with the aperiodic crystal, they are rather plain
and dull. The difference in structure is of the
same kind as that between an ordinary wallpaper
in which the same pattern is repeated again and
again in regular periodicity and a masterpiece of
embroidery, say a Raphael tapestry, which shows
no dull repetition, but an elaborate, coherent,
meaningful design traced by the great master. In
But the meaning is very much more positive, viz.
that the inability, up to the present moment, is
amply accounted for. Today, thanks to the
ingenious work of biologists, mainly of
geneticists, during the last thirty or forty years,
enough is known about the actual material
structure of organisms and about their
functioning to state that, and to tell precisely
why present-day physics and chemistry could not
possibly account for what happens in space and
time within a living organism. The arrangements
of the atoms in the most vital parts of an
organism and the interplay of these arrangements
differ in a fundamental way from all those
arrangements of atoms which physicists and
chemists have hitherto made the object of their
experimental and theoretical research. Yet the
difference which I have just termed fundamental
is of such a kind that it might easily appear slight
to anyone except a physicist who is thoroughly
imbued with the knowledge that the laws of
physics and chemistry are statistical throughout.
For it is in relation to the statistical point of view
that the structure of the vital parts of living
organisms differs so entirely from that of any
piece of matter that we physicists and chemists
have ever handled physically in our laboratories
or mentally at our writing desks. It is well-nigh
unthinkable that the laws and regularities thus
discovered should happen to apply immediately
to the behaviour of systems which do not exhibit
the structure on which those laws and regularities
are based. The non-physicist cannot be expected
even to grasp let alone to appreciate the
relevance of the difference in ‘statistical
structure’ stated in terms so abstract as I have
just used. To give the statement life and colour,
let me anticipate what will be explained in much
more detail later, namely, that the most essential
part of a living cell-the chromosome fibre may
suitably be called an aperiodic crystal. In physics
we have dealt hitherto only with periodic
crystals. To a humble physicist’s mind, these are
very interesting and complicated objects; they
constitute one of the most fascinating
and complex material structures by which
inanimate nature puzzles his wits. Yet, compared
with the aperiodic crystal, they are rather plain
and dull. The difference in structure is of the
same kind as that between an ordinary wallpaper
in which the same pattern is repeated again and
again in regular periodicity and a masterpiece of
embroidery, say a Raphael tapestry, which shows
no dull repetition, but an elaborate, coherent,
meaningful design traced by the great master. In

calling the periodic crystal one of the most
complex objects of his research, I had in mind
the physicist proper. Organic chemistry, indeed,
in investigating more and more complicated
molecules, has come very much nearer to that
‘aperiodic crystal’ which, in my opinion, is the
material carrier of life. And therefore it is small
wonder that the organic chemist has already
made large and important contributions to the
problem of life, whereas the physicist has made
next to none.

THE NAIVE PHYSICIST’S APPROACH TO
THE SUBJECT

After having thus indicated very briefly the
general idea -or rather the ultimate scope -of our
investigation, let me describe the line of attack. I
propose to develop first what you might call ‘a
naive physicist’s ideas about organisms’, that is,
the ideas which might arise in the mind of a
physicist who, after having learnt his physics
and, more especially, the statistical foundation of
his science, begins to think about organisms and
about the way they behave and function and who
comes to ask himself conscientiously whether
he, from what he has learnt, from the point of
view of his comparatively simple and clear and
humble science, can make any relevant
contributions to the question. It will turn out that
he can. The next step must be to f compare his
theoretical anticipations with the biological facts.
It will then turn out that -though on the whole his
ideas seem quite sensible -they need to be
appreciably amended. In this way we shall
gradually approach the correct view -or, to put it
more modestly, the one that I propose as the
correct one. Even if I should be right in this, I do
not know whether my way of approach is really
the best and simplest. But, in short, it was mine.
The ‘naive physicist’ was myself. And I could not
find any better or clearer way towards the goal
than my own crooked one.

WHY ARE THE ATOMS SO SMALL?

A good method of developing ‘the naive
physicist’s ideas’ is to start from the odd, almost
ludicrous, question: Why are atoms so small? To
begin with, they are very small indeed. Every
little piece of matter handled in everyday life
contains an enormous number of them. Many
examples have been devised to bring this fact
home to an audience, none of them more
impressive than the one used by Lord Kelvin:
Suppose that you could mark the molecules in a
glass of water; then pour the contents of the glass
into the ocean and stir the latter thoroughly so as
to distribute the marked molecules uniformly
throughout the seven seas; if then you took a
glass of water anywhere out of the ocean, you
would find in it about a hundred of your marked
molecules. The actual sizes of atoms lie between
about 1/5000 and 1/2000 the wave-length of
yellow light. The comparison is significant,
because the wave-length roughly indicates the
dimensions of the smallest grain still
recognizable in the microscope. Thus it will be
seen that such a grain still contains thousands of
millions of atoms. Now, why are atoms so
small? Clearly, the question is an evasion. For it
is not really aimed at the size of the atoms. It is
concerned with the size of organisms, more
particularly with the size of our own corporeal
selves. Indeed, the atom is small, when referred
to our civic unit of length, say the yard or the
metre. In atomic physics one is accustomed to
use the so-called Angstrom (abbr. A), which is
the 10throughout the seven seas; if then you took a
glass of water anywhere out of the ocean, you
would find in it about a hundred of your marked
molecules. The actual sizes of atoms lie between
about 1/5000 and 1/2000 the wave-length of
yellow light. The comparison is significant,
because the wave-length roughly indicates the
dimensions of the smallest grain still
recognizable in the microscope. Thus it will be
seen that such a grain still contains thousands of
millions of atoms. Now, why are atoms so
small? Clearly, the question is an evasion. For it
is not really aimed at the size of the atoms. It is
concerned with the size of organisms, more
particularly with the size of our own corporeal
selves. Indeed, the atom is small, when referred
to our civic unit of length, say the yard or the
metre. In atomic physics one is accustomed to
use the so-called Angstrom (abbr. A), which is
the 10lOth part of a metre, or in decimal notation
0.0000000001 metre. Atomic diameters range
between 1 and 2A. Now those civic units (in
relation to which the atoms are so small) are
closely related to the size of our bodies. There is
a story tracing the yard back to the humour of an
English king whom his councillors asked what
unit to adopt -and he stretched out his arm
sideways and said: ‘Take the distance from the
middle of my chest to my fingertips, that will do
all right.’ True or not, the story is significant for
our purpose. The king would naturally I indicate
a length comparable with that of his own body,
knowing that anything else would be very
inconvenient. With all his predilection for the
Angstrom unit, the physicist prefers to be told
that his new suit will require six and a half yards
of tweed -rather than sixty-five thousand
millions of Angstroms of tweed. It thus being
settled that our question really aims at the ratio
of two lengths -that of our body and that of the
atom -with an incontestable priority of
independent existence on the side of the atom,
the question truly reads: Why must our bodies be
so large compared with the atom? I can imagine
that many a keen student of physics or chemistry
may have deplored the fact that everyone of our
sense organs, forming a more or less substantial
part of our body and hence (in view of the
magnitude of the said ratio) being itself
composed of innumerable atoms, is much too
coarse to be affected by the impact of a single
atom. We cannot see or feel or hear the single
atoms. Our hypotheses with regard to them differ
widely from the immediate findings of our gross
sense organs and cannot be put to the test of
direct inspection. Must that be so? Is there an
intrinsic reason for it? Can we trace back this
state of affairs to some kind of first principle, in
order to ascertain and to understand why nothing
else is compatible with the very laws of
Nature? Now this, for once, is a problem which
the physicist is able to clear up completely. The
answer to all the queries is in the affirmative.

THE WORKING OF AN ORGANISM
REQUIRES EXACT PHYSICAL LAWS

If it were not so, if we were organisms so
sensitive that a single atom, or even a few atoms,
could make a perceptible impression on our
senses -Heavens, what would life be like! To
stress one point: an organism of that kind would
most certainly not be capable of developing the
kind of orderly thought which, after passing
through a long sequence of earlier stages,
ultimately results in forming, among many other
ideas, the idea of an atom. Even though we select
this one point, the following considerations
would essentially apply also to the functioning of
organs other than the brain and the sensorial
system. Nevertheless, the one and only thing of
paramount interest to us in ourselves is, that we
feel and think and perceive. To the physiological
process which is responsible for thought and
sense all the others play an auxiliary part, at least
from the human point of view, if not from that of
purely objective biology. Moreover, it will
greatly facilitate our task to choose for
investigation the process which is closely
accompanied by subjective events, even though
we are ignorant of the true nature of this close
parallelism. Indeed, in my view, it lies outside
the range of natural science and very probably of
human understanding altogether. We are thus
faced with the following question: Why should
an organ like our brain, with the sensorial system
attached to it, of necessity consist of an
enormous number of atoms, in order that its
physically changing state should be in close and
intimate correspondence with a highly developed
thought? On what grounds is the latter task of the
said organ incompatible with being, as a whole
or in some of its peripheral parts which interact
directly with the environment, a mechanism
sufficiently refined and sensitive to respond to
and register the impact of a single atom from
outside? The reason for this is, that what we call
thought (1) is itself an orderly thing, and (2) can
only be applied to material, i.e. to perceptions or
experiences, which have a certain degree of
orderliness. This has two consequences. First, a
physical organization, to be in close
correspondence with thought (as my brain is
with my thought) must be a very well-ordered
organization, and that means that the events that
happen within it must obey strict physical laws,
at least to a very high degree of accuracy.
Secondly, the physical impressions made upon
that physically well-organized system by other
bodies from outside, obviously correspond to the
perception and experience of the corresponding
thought, forming its material, as I have called it.
Therefore, the physical interactions between our
system and others must, as a rule, themselves
possess a certain degree of physical orderliness,
that is to say, they too must obey strict physical
laws to a certain degree of accuracy.
dence with thought (as my brain is
with my thought) must be a very well-ordered
organization, and that means that the events that
happen within it must obey strict physical laws,
at least to a very high degree of accuracy.
Secondly, the physical impressions made upon
that physically well-organized system by other
bodies from outside, obviously correspond to the
perception and experience of the corresponding
thought, forming its material, as I have called it.
Therefore, the physical interactions between our
system and others must, as a rule, themselves
possess a certain degree of physical orderliness,
that is to say, they too must obey strict physical
laws to a certain degree of accuracy.

PHYSICAL LAWS REST ON ATOMIC
STATISTICS AND ARE THEREFORE ONLY
APPROXIMATE

And why could all this not be fulfilled in the case
of an organism composed of a moderate number
of atoms only and sensitive already to the impact
of one or a few atoms only? Because we know
all atoms to perform all the time a completely
disorderly heat motion, which, so to speak,
opposes itself to their orderly behaviour and does
not allow the events that happen between a small
number of atoms to enrol themselves according
to any recognizable laws. Only in the cooperation
of an enormously large number of
atoms do statistical laws begin to operate and
control the behaviour of these assemblies with an
accuracy increasing as the number of atoms
involved increases. It is in that way that the
events acquire truly orderly features. All the
physical and chemical laws that are known to
play an important part in the life of organisms
are of this statistical kind; any other kind of
lawfulness and orderliness that one might think
of is being perpetually disturbed and made
inoperative by the unceasing heat motion of the
atoms.

THEIR PRECISION IS BASED ON THE
LARGE OF NUMBER OF ATOMS
INTERVENING
FIRST EXAMPLE (PARAMAGNETISM)
Let me try to illustrate this by a few examples,
picked somewhat at random out of thousands,
and possibly not just the best ones to appeal to a
reader who is learning for the first time about
this condition of things -a condition which in
modern physics and chemistry is as fundamental
as, say, the fact that organisms are composed of
cells is in biology, or as Newton’s Law in
astronomy, or even as the series of integers, 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, …in mathematics. An entire newcomer
should not expect to obtain from the following
few pages a full understanding and appreciation
of the subject, which is associated with the
illustrious names of Ludwig Boltzmann and
Willard Gibbs and treated in textbooks under the
name of ‘statistical thermodynamics’. If you fill
an oblong quartz tube with oxygen gas and put it
into a magnetic field, you find that the gas is
magnetized. The magnetization is due to the fact
that the oxygen molecules are little magnets and
tend to orientate themselves parallel to the field,
like a compass needle. But you must not think
that they actually all turn parallel. For if you
double the field, you get double the
magnetization in your oxygen body, and that
proportionality goes on to extremely high field
strengths, the magnetization increasing at the rate
of the field you apply. This is a particularly clear
example of a purely statistical law. The
orientation the field tends to produce is
continually counteracted by the heat motion,
which works for random orientation. The effect
of this striving is, actually, only a small
preference for acute over obtuse angles between
the dipole axes and the field. Though the single
atoms change their orientation incessantly, they
produce on the average (owing to their enormous
number) a constant small preponderance of
orientation in the direction of the field and
proportional to it. This ingenious explanation is
due to the French physicist P. Langevin. It can
be checked in the following way. If the observed
weak magnetization is really the outcome of rival
tendencies, namely, the magnetic field, which
aims at combing all the molecules parallel, and
the heat motion, which makes for random
orientation, then it ought to be possible to
increase the magnetization by weakening the
heat motion, that is to say, by lowering the
temperature, instead of reinforcing the field. That
is confirmed by experiment, which gives the
magnetization inversely proportional to the
absolute temperature, in quantitative agreement
with theory (Curie’s law). Modern equipment
even enables us, by lowering the temperature, to
reduce the heat motion to such insignificance
that the orientating tendency of the magnetic
field can assert itself, if not completely, at least
sufficiently to produce a substantial fraction of
‘complete magnetization’. In this case we no
longer expect that double the field strength will
double the magnetization, but that the latter will
increase less and less with increasing field,
approaching what is called ‘saturation’. This
expectation too is quantitatively confirmed by
experiment. Notice that this behaviour entirely
depends on the large numbers of molecules
which co-operate in producing the observable
magnetization. Otherwise, the latter would not be
an constant at all, but would, by fluctuating quite
irregularly of from one second to the next, bear
witness to the vicissitudes of pe the contest
between heat motion and field.
Notice that this behaviour entirely
depends on the large numbers of molecules
which co-operate in producing the observable
magnetization. Otherwise, the latter would not be
an constant at all, but would, by fluctuating quite
irregularly of from one second to the next, bear
witness to the vicissitudes of pe the contest
between heat motion and field.

SECOND EXAMPLE (BROWNIAN
MOVEMENT, DIFFUSION)

If you fill the lower part of a closed glass vessel
with fog, pt consisting of minute droplets, you
will find that the upper or boundary of the fog
gradually sinks, with a well-defined velocity,
determined by the viscosity of the air and the
size and the specific gravity of the droplets. But
if you look at one of the droplets under the
microscope you find that it does not permanently
sink with constant velocity, but performs a very
irregular movement, the so-called Brownian
movement, which corresponds to a regular
sinking only on the average. Now these droplets
are not atoms, but they are sufficiently small and
light to be not entirely insusceptible to the
impact of one single molecule of those which
hammer their surface in perpetual impacts. They
are thus knocked about and can only on the
average follow the influence of gravity. This
example shows what funny and disorderly
experience we should have if our senses were
susceptible to the impact of a few molecules
only. There are bacteria and other organisms so
small that they are strongly affected by this
phenomenon. Their movements are determined
by the thermic whims of the surrounding
medium; they have no choice. If they had some
locomotion of their own they might nevertheless
succeed in on getting from one place to another but
with some difficulty, since the heat motion
tosses them like a small boat in a rough sea. A
phenomenon very much akin to Brownian
movement is that of diffusion. Imagine a vessel
filled with a fluid, say water, with a small
amount of some coloured substance dissolved in
it, say potassium permanganate, not in uniform
concentration, but rather as in Fig. 4, where the
dots indicate the molecules of the dissolved
substance (permanganate) and the concentration
diminishes from left to right. If you leave this
system alone a very slow process of ‘diffusion’
sets in, the at permanganate spreading in the
direction from left to right, that is, from the
places of higher concentration towards the places
of lower concentration, until it is equally
distributed of through the water. The remarkable
thing about this rather simple and apparently not
particularly interesting process is that it is in no
way due, as one might think, to any tendency or
force driving the permanganate molecules away
from the crowded region to the less crowded one,
like the population of a country spreading to
those parts where there is more elbow-room.
Nothing of the sort happens with our
permanganate molecules. Every one of them
behaves quite independently of all the others,
which it very seldom meets. Everyone of them,
whether in a crowded region or in an empty one,
suffers the same fate of being continually
knocked about by the impacts of the water
molecules and thereby gradually moving on in
an unpredictable direction -sometimes towards
the higher, sometimes towards the lower,
concentrations, sometimes obliquely. The kind
of motion it performs has often been compared
with that of a blindfolded person on a large
surface imbued with a certain desire of ‘walking’,
but without any preference for any particular
direction, and so changing his line
continuously. That this random walk of the
permanganate molecules, the same for all of
them, should yet produce a regular flow towards
the smaller concentration and ultimately make
for uniformity of distribution, is at first sight
perplexing -but only at first sight. If you
contemplate in Fig. 4 thin slices of
approximately constant concentration, the
permanganate molecules which in a given
moment are contained in a particular slice will,
by their random walk, it is true, be carried with
equal probability to the right or to the left. But
precisely in consequence of this, a plane
separating two neighbouring slices will be
crossed by more molecules coming from the left
than in the opposite direction, simply because to
the left there are more molecules engaged in
random walk than there are to the right. And as
long as that is so the balance will show up as a
regular flow from left to right, until a uniform
distribution is reached. When these
considerations are translated into mathematical
language the exact law of diffusion is reached in
the form of a partial differential equation

§p/§t= DV2P

which I shall not trouble the reader by
explaining, though its meaning in ordinary
language is again simple enough. The reason for
mentioning the stern ‘mathematically exact’ law
here, is to emphasize that its physical exactitude
must nevertheless be challenged in every
particular application. Being based on pure
chance, its validity is only approximate. If it is,
as a rule, a very good approximation, that is only
due to the enormous number of molecules that
co-operate in the phenomenon. The smaller their
number, the larger the quite haphazard deviations
we must expect and they can be observed under
favourable circumstances.
chance, its validity is only approximate. If it is,
as a rule, a very good approximation, that is only
due to the enormous number of molecules that
co-operate in the phenomenon. The smaller their
number, the larger the quite haphazard deviations
we must expect and they can be observed under
favourable circumstances.

THIRD EXAMPLE (LIMITS OF ACCURACY
OF MEASURING)
The last example we shall give is closely akin to
the second c one, but has a particular interest. A
light body, suspended by a long thin fibre in
equilibrium orientation, is often used by
physicists to measure weak forces which deflect
it from that position of equilibrium, electric,
magnetic or gravitational forces being applied so
as to twist it around the vertical axis. (The light
body must, of course, be chosen appropriately
for ! the particular purpose.) The continued effort
to improve the accuracy of this very commonly
used device of a ‘torsional balance’, has
encountered a curious limit, most interesting in
itself. In choosing lighter and lighter bodies and
thinner and longer fibres -to make the balance
susceptible to weaker and weaker forces -the
limit was reached when the suspended body
became noticeably susceptible to the impacts of
the heat motion of the surrounding molecules
and began to perform an incessant, irregular
‘dance’ about its equilibrium position, much like
the trembling of the droplet in the second
example. Though this behaviour sets no absolute
limit to the accuracy of measurements obtained
with the balance, it sets a practical one. The
uncontrollable effect of the heat motion
competes with the effect of the force to be
measured and makes the ;t’ law single deflection
observed insignificant. You have to multiply
never-observations, in order to eliminate the
effect of the Brownian Being movement of your
instrument. This example is, I think, particularly
illuminating in our present investigation. For our
to the organs of sense, after all, are a kind of
instrument. We can see in the how useless they
would be if they became too sensitive.

THE \/n RULE

So much for examples, for the present. I will
merely add that there is not one law of physics or
chemistry, of those that are relevant within an
organism or in its interactions with its
environment, that I might not choose as an
example. The second detailed explanation might
be more complicated, but the salient point would
always be the same and thus the description
would become monotonous. But I should like to
add one very important quantitative statement
concerning the degree of inaccuracy to be
expected in any physical law, the so-called \/n
law. I will first illustrate it by a simple example
and then generalize it. If I tell you that a certain
gas under certain conditions of pressure and
temperature has a certain density, and if I
expressed this by saying that within a certain
volume (of a size relevant for some experiment)
there are under these conditions just n molecules
of the gas, then you might be sure that if you
could test my statement in a particular moment
of time, you would find it inaccurate, the
departure being of the order of \/n. Hence if the
number n = 100, you would find a departure of
about 10, thus relative error = 10%. But n = 1
million, you would be likely to find a departure
of about 1,000, thus relative error = 1\10%. Now,
roughly speaking, this statistical law is quite
general. The laws of physics and physical
chemistry are inaccurate within a probable
relative error of the order of 1/ \/Vn, where n is
the number of molecules that co-operate to bring
about that law -to produce its validity within
such regions of space or time (or both) that
matter, for some considerations or for some
particular experiment. You see from this again
that an organism must have a comparatively
gross structure in order to enjoy the benefit of
fairly accurate laws, both for its internal life and
for its , interplay with the external world. For
otherwise the number of co-operating particles
would be too small, the ‘law’ too inaccurate. The
particularly exigent demand is the square root.
For though a.million is a reasonably large
number, an accuracy of Just 1in 1,000 is not
overwhelmingly good, If a thing claims the
dignity of being a ‘Law of Nature.

CHAPTER 2

The Hereditary Mechanism

THE CLASSICAL PHYSICIST’S
EXPECTATION, FAR FROM BEING
TRIVIAL, IS WRONG
Thus we have come to the conclusion that an
organism and all the biologically relevant
processes that it experiences must have an
extremely ‘many-atomic’ structure and must be
safeguarded against haphazard, ‘single-atomic’
events attaining too great importance. That, the
‘naive physicist’ tells us, is essential, so that the
organism may, so to speak, have sufficiently
accurate physical laws on which to draw for
setting up its marvellously regular and well-
ordered working. How do these conclusions,
reached, biologically speaking, a priori (that is,
from the purely physical point of view), fit
in with actual biological facts? At first sight one
is inclined to think that the conclusions are little
more than trivial. A biologist of, say, thirty years
ago might have said that, although it was quite
suitable for a popular lecturer to emphasize the
importance, in the organism as elsewhere, of
statistical physics, the point was, in fact, rather a
familiar truism. For, naturally, not only the body
of an adult individual of any higher species, but
every single cell composing it contains a
‘cosmical’ number of single atoms of every kind.
And every particular physiological process that
we observe, either within the cell or in its
interaction with the cell environment, appears -or
appeared thirty years ago -to involve such
enormous numbers of single atoms and single
atomic processes that all the relevant laws of
physics and physical chemistry would be
safeguarded even under the very exacting
demands of statistical physics in respect of large
numbers; this demand illustrated just now by the
\/n rule. Today, we know that this opinion would
have been a mistake. As we shall presently see,
incredibly small groups of atoms, much too
small to display exact statistical laws, do play a
dominating role in the very orderly and lawful
events within a living organism. They have
control of the observable large-scale features
which the organism acquires in the course of its
development, they determine important
characteristics of its functioning; and in all this
very sharp and very strict me biological laws are
displayed. I must begin with giving a brief
summary of the situation in biology, more
especially in genetics -in other words, I have to
summarize the present state of knowledge in a
subject of which I am not a master. This cannot
be helped and I apologize, particularly to any
biologist, for the dilettante character of my
summary. On the other hand, I beg leave to put
the prevailing ideas before you more or less
dogmatically. A poor theoretical physicist could
not be expected to produce anything like a
competent survey of the experimental evidence,
which consists of a large number of long and
beautifully interwoven series of breeding
experiments of truly unprecedented ingenuity on
the one hand and of direct observations of the
living cell, conducted with all the refinement of
modern microscopy, on the other.
-
ordered working. How do these conclusions,
reached, biologically speaking, a priori (that is,
from the purely physical point of view), fit
in with actual biological facts? At first sight one
is inclined to think that the conclusions are little
more than trivial. A biologist of, say, thirty years
ago might have said that, although it was quite
suitable for a popular lecturer to emphasize the
importance, in the organism as elsewhere, of
statistical physics, the point was, in fact, rather a
familiar truism. For, naturally, not only the body
of an adult individual of any higher species, but
every single cell composing it contains a
‘cosmical’ number of single atoms of every kind.
And every particular physiological process that
we observe, either within the cell or in its
interaction with the cell environment, appears -or
appeared thirty years ago -to involve such
enormous numbers of single atoms and single
atomic processes that all the relevant laws of
physics and physical chemistry would be
safeguarded even under the very exacting
demands of statistical physics in respect of large
numbers; this demand illustrated just now by the
\/n rule. Today, we know that this opinion would
have been a mistake. As we shall presently see,
incredibly small groups of atoms, much too
small to display exact statistical laws, do play a
dominating role in the very orderly and lawful
events within a living organism. They have
control of the observable large-scale features
which the organism acquires in the course of its
development, they determine important
characteristics of its functioning; and in all this
very sharp and very strict me biological laws are
displayed. I must begin with giving a brief
summary of the situation in biology, more
especially in genetics -in other words, I have to
summarize the present state of knowledge in a
subject of which I am not a master. This cannot
be helped and I apologize, particularly to any
biologist, for the dilettante character of my
summary. On the other hand, I beg leave to put
the prevailing ideas before you more or less
dogmatically. A poor theoretical physicist could
not be expected to produce anything like a
competent survey of the experimental evidence,
which consists of a large number of long and
beautifully interwoven series of breeding
experiments of truly unprecedented ingenuity on
the one hand and of direct observations of the
living cell, conducted with all the refinement of
modern microscopy, on the other.

THE HEREDITARY CODE-SCRIPT
(CHROMOSOMES)

Let me use the word ‘pattern’ of an organism in
the sense in be which the biologist calls it ‘the
four-dimensional pattern’, meaning not only the
structure and functioning of that organism in the
adult, or in any other particular stage, but the
whole of its ontogenetic development from the
fertilized egg the cell to the stage of maturity,
when the organism begins to reproduce itself.
Now, this whole four-dimensional pattern is
known to be determined by the structure of that
one cell, the fertilized egg. Moreover, we know
that it is essentially determined by the structure
of only a small part of that cell, its large nucleus.
This nucleus, in the ordinary ‘resting state’ of the
cell, usually appears as a network of chromatine,
distributed over the cell. But in the vitally
important processes of cell division (mitosis and
meiosis, see below) it is seen to consist of a set
of particles, usually fibre-shaped or rod-like,
called the chromosomes, which number 8 or 12
or, in man, 48. But I ought really to have written
these illustrative numbers as 2 X 4, 2 X 6, …, 2 X
24, …, and I ought to have spoken of two sets, in
order to use the expression in the customary
strict meaning of the biologist. For though the
single chromosomes are sometimes clearly
distinguished and individualized by shape and
size, the two sets are almost entirely alike. As we
have shall see in a moment, one set comes from
the mother (egg cell), one from the father
(fertilizing spermatozoon). It is these
chromosomes, or probably only an axial skeleton
fibre of what we actually see under the
microscope as the chromosome, that contain in
some kind of code-script the entire pattern of the
individual’s future development and of its
functioning in the mature state. Every complete
set of chromosomes contains the full code; so
there are, as a rule, two copies of the latter in the
fertilized egg cell, which forms the earliest stage
of the future individual. In calling the structure
of the chromosome fibres a code-script we mean
that the all-penetrating mind, once conceived by
Laplace, to which every causal connection lay
immediately open, could tell from their structure
whether the egg would develop, under suitable
conditions, into a black cock or into a speckled
hen, into a fly or a maize plant, a rhododendron,
a beetle, a mouse or a woman. To which we may
add, that the appearances of the egg cells are
very often remarkably similar; and even when
they are not, as in the case of the comparatively
gigantic eggs of birds and reptiles, the difference
is not been so much the relevant structures as in

the nutritive material which in these cases is
added for obvious reasons. But the term
code-script is, of course, too narrow. The
chromosome structures are at the same time
instrumental in bringing about the development
they foreshadow. They are law-code and
executive power -or, to use another simile, they
are architect’s plan and builder’s craft -in one.
added for obvious reasons. But the term
code-script is, of course, too narrow. The
chromosome structures are at the same time
instrumental in bringing about the development
they foreshadow. They are law-code and
executive power -or, to use another simile, they
are architect’s plan and builder’s craft -in one.

GROWTH OF THE BODY BY CELL
DIVISION (MITOSIS)
How do the chromosomes behave in
ontogenesis? The growth of an organism is
effected by consecutive cell met divisions. Such
a cell division is called mitosis. It is, in the life of
a cell, not such a very frequent event as one
might expect, considering the enormous number
of cells of which our body is composed. In the
beginning the growth is rapid. The egg divides
into two ‘daughter cells’ which, at the next step,
will produce a generation of four, then of 8, 16,
32, 64, …, etc. The frequency of division will not
remain exactly the same in all parts of the
growing body, and that will break the regularity
of these numbers. But from their rapid increase
we infer by an easy computation that on the
average as few as 50 or 60 successive divisions
suffice to produce the number of cells in a grown
man -or, say, ten times the number, taking into
account the exchange of cells during lifetime.
Thus, a body cell of mine is, on the average, only
the 50th or 60th ‘descendant’ of the egg that was

I.
IN MITOSIS EVERY CHROMOSOME IS
DUPLICATED
How do the chromosomes behave on mitosis?
They duplicate -both sets, both copies of the
code, duplicate. The process has been intensively
studied under the microscope and is of
paramount interest, but much too involved to
describe here in detail. The salient point is that
each of the two ‘daughter cells’ gets a dowry of
two further complete sets of chromosomes
exactly similar to those of the parent cell. So all
the body cells are exactly alike as regards their
chromosome treasure. However little we
understand the device we cannot but think that it
must be in some way very relevant to the
functioning of the organism, that every single
cell, even a less important one, should be in
possession of a complete (double) copy of the
code-script. Some time ago we were told in the
newspapers that in his African campaign General
Montgomery made a point of having every
single soldier of his army meticulously informed
of all his designs. If that is true (as it conceivably
might be, considering the high intelligence and
reliability of his troops) it provides an excellent
analogy to our case, in which the corresponding
fact certainly is literally true. The most
surprising fact is the doubleness of the
chromosome set, maintained throughout the
mitotic divisions. That it is the outstanding
feature of the genetic mechanism is most
strikingly revealed by the one and only departure
from the rule, which we have now to discuss.

REDUCTIVE DIVISION (MEIOSIS) AND
FERTILIZATION (SYNGAMY)

Very soon after the development of the
individual has set in, a group of cells is reserved
for producing at a later stage the so-called
gametes, the sperm cells or egg cells, as the case
may be, needed for the reproduction of the
individual in maturity. ‘Reserved’ means that
they do not serve other purposes in the meantime
and suffer many fewer mitotic divisions. The
exceptional or reductive division (called meiosis)
is the one by which eventually, on maturity, the
gametes posed to are produced from these
reserved cells, as a rule only a short time before
syngamy is to take place. In meiosis the double
chromosome set of the parent cell simply
separates into two single sets, one of which goes
to each of the two daughter cells, the gametes. In
other words, the mitotic doubling of the number
of chromosomes does not take place in meiosis,
the number remains constant and thus every
gamete receives only half -that is, only one
complete copy of the code, not two, e.g. in man
only 24:, not 2 X 24: = 4:8. Cells with only one
chromosome set are called haploid (from Greek
ap…., single). Thus the gametes are haploid,
the ordinary body cells diploid (from Greek
.p…, double). Individuals with three, four,
…or generally speaking with many chromosome
sets in all their body cells occur occasionally; the
latter are then called triploid, tetraploid, …,
polyploid. In the act of syngamy the male
gamete (spermatozoon) and the female gamete
(egg), both haploid cells, coalesce to form the
fertilized egg cell, which is thus diploid. One of
its chromosome sets comes from the mother, one
from the father.

HAPLOID INDIVIDUALS

One other point needs rectification. Though not
indispensable for our purpose it is of real
interest, since it shows that actually a fairly
complete code-script of the ‘pattern’ is contained
in every single set of chromosomes. There are
instances of meiosis not being followed shortly
after by fertilization, the haploid cell (the
‘gamete’) under-going meanwhile numerous
mitotic cell divisions, which result in building up
a complete haploid individual. This is the case in
the male bee, the drone, which is produced
parthenogenetically, that is, from non-fertilized
and therefore haploid eggs of the queen. The
drone has no father! All its body cells are
haploid. If you please, you may call it a grossly
exaggerated spermatozoon; and actually, as
everybody knows, to function as such happens to
be its one and only task in life. However, that is
perhaps a ludicrous point of view. For the case is
not two quite unique. There are families of plants
in which the haploid gamete which is produced
by meiosis and is called a spore in the such cases
falls to the ground and, like a seed, develops into
a the true haploid plant comparable in size with
the diploid. Fig. 5 is a rough sketch of a moss,
well known in our forests. The leafy lower part is
the haploid plant, called the gametophyte,
because at its upper end it develops sex organs
and gametes, which by mutual fertilization
produce in the ordinary way the diploid plant,
the bare stem with the capsule at the top. This is
called the sporophyte, because it produces, by
meiosis, the spores in the capsule at the top.
When the capsule opens, the spores fall to the
ground and develop into a leafy stem, etc. The
course of events is appropriately called
alternation of generations. You may, if you
choose, look upon the ordinary case, man and the
animals, in the same way. But the ‘gametophyte’
is then as a rule a very short-lived, unicellular
generation, spermatozoon or egg cell as the case
may be. Our body corresponds to the sporophyte.
Our ‘spores’ are the reserved cells from which, by
meiosis, the unicellular generation springs.
after by fertilization, the haploid cell (the
‘gamete’) under-going meanwhile numerous
mitotic cell divisions, which result in building up
a complete haploid individual. This is the case in
the male bee, the drone, which is produced
parthenogenetically, that is, from non-fertilized
and therefore haploid eggs of the queen. The
drone has no father! All its body cells are
haploid. If you please, you may call it a grossly
exaggerated spermatozoon; and actually, as
everybody knows, to function as such happens to
be its one and only task in life. However, that is
perhaps a ludicrous point of view. For the case is
not two quite unique. There are families of plants
in which the haploid gamete which is produced
by meiosis and is called a spore in the such cases
falls to the ground and, like a seed, develops into
a the true haploid plant comparable in size with
the diploid. Fig. 5 is a rough sketch of a moss,
well known in our forests. The leafy lower part is
the haploid plant, called the gametophyte,
because at its upper end it develops sex organs
and gametes, which by mutual fertilization
produce in the ordinary way the diploid plant,
the bare stem with the capsule at the top. This is
called the sporophyte, because it produces, by
meiosis, the spores in the capsule at the top.
When the capsule opens, the spores fall to the
ground and develop into a leafy stem, etc. The
course of events is appropriately called
alternation of generations. You may, if you
choose, look upon the ordinary case, man and the
animals, in the same way. But the ‘gametophyte’
is then as a rule a very short-lived, unicellular
generation, spermatozoon or egg cell as the case
may be. Our body corresponds to the sporophyte.
Our ‘spores’ are the reserved cells from which, by
meiosis, the unicellular generation springs.

THE OUTSTANDING RELEVANCE OF
THE REDUCTIVE DIVISION

The important, the really fateful event in the
process of reproduction of the individual is not
fertilization but meiosis. One set of
chromosomes is from the father, one from the
mother. Neither chance nor destiny can interfere
with that. Every man owes just half of his
inheritance to his mother, half of it to his father.
That one or the other strain seems often to
prevail is due to other reasons which we shall
come to later. (Sex itself is, of course, the
simplest instance of such prevalence.). But when
you trace the origin of your inheritance back to
your grandparents, the case is different. Let me
fix attention on my paternal set of chromosomes,
in particular on one of them, say No.5. It is a
faithful replica either of the No.5 my father
received from his father or of the No.5 he had
received from his mother. The issue was decided
by a 50:50 chance in the meiosis taking place in
my father’s body in November 1886 and
producing the spermatozoon which a few days
later was to be effective in begetting me. Exactly
the same story could be repeated about
chromosomes Nos. 1, 2, 3, …,24 of my paternal
set, and mutatis mutandis about every one of my
maternal chromosomes. Moreover, all the 48
issues are fi entirely independent. Even if it were
known that my paternal it chromosome No.5
came from my grandfather Josef Schrodinger,
the No.7 still stands an equal chance of being
either also from him, or from his wife Marie, nee
Bogner.

CROSSING-OVER. LOCATION OF
PROPERTIES

But pure chance has been given even a wider
range in mixing the grandparental inheritance in
the offspring than would appear from the
preceding description, in which it has been
tacitly assumed, or even explicitly stated, that a
particular chromosome as a whole was either
from the grandfather or back to from the
grandmother; in other words that the single
chromosomes are passed on undivided. In actual
fact they are not, or on one of not always. Before
being separated in the reductive division, No.5
my say the one in the father’s body, any two
‘homologous’ chromosomes come into close
contact with each other, during chance in which
they sometimes exchange entire portions in the
way illustrated in Fig. 6. By this process, called
‘crossing-over’, days later two properties situated
in the respective parts of that chromosome will
be separated in the grandchild, who will follow
the grandfather in one of them, the grandmother
in the other one. The act of crossing-over, being
neither very rare nor very issues are frequent, has
provided us with invaluable information
regarding the location of properties in the
chromosomes. For a full account we should have
to draw on conceptions not introduced before the
next chapter (e.g. heterozygosy, dominance,
etc.); but as that would take us beyond the range
of this little book, let me indicate the salient
point right away. If there were no crossing-over,
two properties for which the same chromosome
is responsible would always be passed on in
mixing together, no descendant receiving one of
them without receiving the other as well; but two
properties, due to different it has been
chromosomes, would either stand a 50:50 chance
of being separated or they would invariably be
separated -the latter when they were situated in
homologous chromosomes of the same ancestor,
which could never go together. These rules and
chances are interfered with by crossing-over.
Hence the probability of this event can be
ascertained by registering carefully the
percentage composition of the off-spring in
extended breeding experiments, suitably laid out
for at the purpose. In analysing the statistics, one
accepts the suggestive working hypothesis that
the ‘linkage’ between two properties situated in
the same chromosome, is the less frequently
broken by crossing-over, the nearer they lie to
each other. For then there is less chance of the
point of exchange lying between them, whereas
properties located near the opposite ends of the
chromosomes are separated by every crossing-
over. (Much the same applies to the
recombination of properties located in
homologous chromosomes of the same ancestor.)
In this way one may expect to get from the
‘statistics of linkage’ a sort of ‘map of properties’
within every chromosome. These anticipations
have been fully confirmed. In the cases to which
tests have been thoroughly applied (mainly, but
not only, Drosophila) the tested properties
actually divide into as h many separate groups,
with no linkage from group to group, as there are
different chromosomes (four in Drosophila).
Within every group a linear map of properties
can be drawn up which accounts quantitatively
for the degree of linkage it between any two of
that group, so that there is little doubt h that they
actually are located, and located along a line, as
the rod-like shape of the chromosome suggests.
Of course, the scheme of the hereditary
mechanism, as drawn up here, is still rather
empty and colourless, even slightly naive. For
we have not said what exactly we understand by
a property. It seems neither adequate nor
possible to dissect into discrete ‘properties’ the
pattern of an organism which is essentially a
unity, a ‘whole’. Now, what we actually state in
any particular case is, that a pair of ancestors
were different in a certain well-defined respect
(say, one had blue eyes, the other brown), and
that the offspring follows in this respect either
one or the other. What we locate in
the chromosome is the seat of this difference.
(We call it, in technical language, a ‘locus’, or, if
we think of the hypothetical material structure
underlying it, a ‘gene’.) Difference of by
property, to my view, is really the fundamental
concept rather than property itself,
of being separated or they would invariably be
separated -the latter when they were situated in
homologous chromosomes of the same ancestor,
which could never go together. These rules and
chances are interfered with by crossing-over.
Hence the probability of this event can be
ascertained by registering carefully the
percentage composition of the off-spring in
extended breeding experiments, suitably laid out
for at the purpose. In analysing the statistics, one
accepts the suggestive working hypothesis that
the ‘linkage’ between two properties situated in
the same chromosome, is the less frequently
broken by crossing-over, the nearer they lie to
each other. For then there is less chance of the
point of exchange lying between them, whereas
properties located near the opposite ends of the
chromosomes are separated by every crossing-
over. (Much the same applies to the
recombination of properties located in
homologous chromosomes of the same ancestor.)
In this way one may expect to get from the
‘statistics of linkage’ a sort of ‘map of properties’
within every chromosome. These anticipations
have been fully confirmed. In the cases to which
tests have been thoroughly applied (mainly, but
not only, Drosophila) the tested properties
actually divide into as h many separate groups,
with no linkage from group to group, as there are
different chromosomes (four in Drosophila).
Within every group a linear map of properties
can be drawn up which accounts quantitatively
for the degree of linkage it between any two of
that group, so that there is little doubt h that they
actually are located, and located along a line, as
the rod-like shape of the chromosome suggests.
Of course, the scheme of the hereditary
mechanism, as drawn up here, is still rather
empty and colourless, even slightly naive. For
we have not said what exactly we understand by
a property. It seems neither adequate nor
possible to dissect into discrete ‘properties’ the
pattern of an organism which is essentially a
unity, a ‘whole’. Now, what we actually state in
any particular case is, that a pair of ancestors
were different in a certain well-defined respect
(say, one had blue eyes, the other brown), and
that the offspring follows in this respect either
one or the other. What we locate in
the chromosome is the seat of this difference.
(We call it, in technical language, a ‘locus’, or, if
we think of the hypothetical material structure
underlying it, a ‘gene’.) Difference of by
property, to my view, is really the fundamental
concept rather than property itself,
notwithstanding the apparent linguistic out for
and logical contradiction of this statement. The
differences of Its the properties actually are
discrete, as will emerge in the next chapter when
we have to speak of mutations and the dry
scheme hitherto presented will, as I hope, acquire
more life each colour.

MAXIMUM SIZE OF A GENE

We have just introduced the term gene for the
hypothetical same material carrier of a definite
hereditary feature. We must now the stress two
points which will be highly relevant to our every
investigation. The first is the size -or, better, the
maximum size -of such a carrier; in other words,
to how small a volume can we trace the location?
The second point will be the permanence of a
gene, to be inferred from the durability of the
hereditary pattern. As regards the size, there are
two entirely independent estimates, one resting
on genetic evidence (breeding experiments), the
other on cytological evidence (direct microscopic
inspection). The first is, in principle, simple
enough. After having, in the way described
above, located in the chromosome a considerable
number of different (large-scale) features (say of
the Drosophila fly) within a particular one of its
chromosomes, to get the required estimate we
need only divide the measured length of that
chromosome by the number of features and
multiply by the cross-section. For, of course, we
count as different only such features as are
occasionally separated by crossing-over, so that
they cannot be due to the same (microscopic or
molecular) structure. On the other hand, it is
clear that our estimate can only give a maximum
size, because the number of features isolated by
in this genetic analysis is continually increasing
as work goes on. The other estimate, though
based on microscopic inspection, is really far
less direct. Certain cells of Drosophila (namely,
those of its salivary glands) are, for some reason,
enormously enlarged, and so are their
chromosomes. In them you distinguish a
crowded pattern of transverse dark bands across
the fibre. C. D. Darlington has remarked that the
number of these bands (2,000 in the case he
uses) is, though, considerably larger, yet roughly
of the same order of magnitude as the number of
genes located in that chromosome by breeding
experiments. He inclines to regard these bands as
indicating the actual genes (or separations of
genes). Dividing the length of the chromosome,
measured in a normal-sized cell by their number
(2,000) he finds the volume of a gene equal to a
cube of edge 300 A. Considering the roughness
of the estimates, we may regard this to be also
the size obtained by the first method. the size obtained by the first method.

SMALL NUMBERS

A full discussion of the bearing of statistical
physics on all the facts I am recalling -or
perhaps, I ought to say, of the bearing of these
facts on the use of statistical physics in the living
cell will follow later. But let me draw attention at
this point to the fact that 300 A is only about 100
or 150 atomic distances in a liquid or in a solid,
so that a gene contains certainly not more than
about a million or a few million atoms. That
number is much too small (from the \/v point of
view) to entail an orderly and lawful behaviour
according to statistical physics -and that means
according to physics. It is too small, even if all
these atoms played the same role, as they do in a
gas or in a drop of liquid. And the gene is most
certainly not just a homogeneous drop of liquid.
It is probably a large protein molecule, in which
every atom, every radical, every heterocyclic
ring plays an individual role, more or less
different from that played by any of the other
similar atoms, radicals, or rings. This, at any
rate, is the opinion of leading geneticists such as
Haldane and Darlington, and we shall soon have
to refer to genetic experiments which come very
near to proving it.

PERMANENCE

Let us now turn to the second highly relevant
question: What degree of permanence do we
encounter in hereditary properties and what must
we therefore attribute to the material structures
which carry them? The answer to this can really
be given without any special investigation. The
mere fact that we speak of hereditary properties
indicates that we recognize the permanence to be
of the almost absolute. For we must not forget
that what is passed on by the parent to the child
is not just this or that peculiarity, a hooked nose,
short fingers, a tendency to rheumatism,
haemophilia, dichromasy, etc. Such features we
may conveniently select for studying the laws of
heredity. But actually it is the whole (fourdimensional)
pattern of the ‘phenotype’, the all
the visible and manifest nature of the individual,
which is reproduced without appreciable change
for generations, permanent within centuries though
not within tens of thousands of years -and
borne at each transmission by the material in a
structure of the nuclei of the two cells which
unite to form the fertilized egg cell. That is a
marvel -than which only one is greater; one that,
if intimately connected with it, yet lies on a
different plane. I mean the fact that we, whose
total being is entirely based on a marvellous
interplay of this very kind, yet if all possess the
power of acquiring considerable knowledge
about it. I think it possible that this knowledge
may advance to little just a short of a complete
understanding -of the first marvel. The second
may well be beyond human understanding.

CHAPTER 3

Mutations

‘JUMP-LIKE’ MUTATIONS -THE
WORKING-GROUND OF NATURAL
SELECTION

The general facts which we have just put forward
in evidence of the durability claimed for the gene
structure, are perhaps too familiar to us to be
striking or to be regarded as convincing. Here,
for once, the common saying that exceptions
prove the rule is actually true. If there were no
exceptions to the likeness between children and
parents, we should have been deprived not only
of all those beautiful experiments which have
revealed to us the detailed mechanism of
heredity, but also of that grand, million-fold
experiment of Nature, which forges the species
by natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Let me take this last important subject as the
starting-point for presenting the relevant facts again
with an apology and a reminder that I am
not a biologist. We know definitely, today, that
Darwin was mistaken in regarding the small,
continuous, accidental variations, that are bound
to occur even in the most homogeneous
population, as the material on which natural
selection works. For it has been proved that they
are not inherited. The fact is important enough to
be illustrated briefly. If you take a crop of
pure-strain barley, and measure, ear by ear, the
length of its awns and plot the result of your
statistics, you will get a bell-shaped curve as
shown in Fig. 7, where the number of ears with a
definite length of awn is plotted against the
length. In other words: a definite medium length
prevails, and deviations in either direction occur
with certain frequencies. Now pick out a group
of ears (as indicated by blackening) with awns
noticeably beyond the average, but sufficient in
number to be sown in a field by themselves and
give a new crop. In making the same statistics
for this, Darwin would have expected to find the
corresponding curve shifted to the right. In other
words, he would have expected to produce by
selection an increase of the average length of the
awns. That is not the case, if a truly pure-bred
strain of barley has been used. The new
statistical curve, obtained from the selected crop,
is identical with the first one, and the same
would be the case if ears with particularly short
awns had been selected for seed. Selection has
no effect -because the small, continuous
variations are not inherited. They are obviously
not based on the structure of the hereditary
substance, they are accidental. But about forty
years ago the Dutchman de Vries discovered that
in the offspring even of thoroughly pure-bred
stocks, a very small number of individuals, say
two or three in tens of thousands, turn up with
small but ‘jump-like’ changes, the expression
‘jump-like’ not meaning that the change is so
very considerable, but that there is a
discontinuity inasmuch as there are no
intermediate forms between the unchanged and
the few changed. De Vries called that a mutation.
The significant fact is the discontinuity. It
reminds a physicist of quantum theory -no
intermediate energies occurring between two
neighbouring energy levels. He would be
inclined to call de Vries’s mutation theory,
figuratively, the quantum theory of biology. We
shall see later that this is much more
than figurative. The mutations are actually due to
quantum jumps in the gene molecule. But
quantum theory was but two years old when de
Vries first published his discovery, in 1902.
Small wonder that it took another generation to
discover the intimate connection!
statistical curve, obtained from the selected crop,
is identical with the first one, and the same
would be the case if ears with particularly short
awns had been selected for seed. Selection has
no effect -because the small, continuous
variations are not inherited. They are obviously
not based on the structure of the hereditary
substance, they are accidental. But about forty
years ago the Dutchman de Vries discovered that
in the offspring even of thoroughly pure-bred
stocks, a very small number of individuals, say
two or three in tens of thousands, turn up with
small but ‘jump-like’ changes, the expression
‘jump-like’ not meaning that the change is so
very considerable, but that there is a
discontinuity inasmuch as there are no
intermediate forms between the unchanged and
the few changed. De Vries called that a mutation.
The significant fact is the discontinuity. It
reminds a physicist of quantum theory -no
intermediate energies occurring between two
neighbouring energy levels. He would be
inclined to call de Vries’s mutation theory,
figuratively, the quantum theory of biology. We
shall see later that this is much more
than figurative. The mutations are actually due to
quantum jumps in the gene molecule. But
quantum theory was but two years old when de
Vries first published his discovery, in 1902.
Small wonder that it took another generation to
discover the intimate connection!

THEY BREED TRUE, THAT IS, THEY ARE
PERFECTLY INHERITIED

Mutations are inherited as perfectly as the
original, correctly unchanged characters were.
To give an example, in the first crop of barley
considered above a few ears might turn up
with awns considerably outside the range of
variability shown in Fig. 7, say with no awns at
all. They might represent a de Vries mutation
and would then breed perfectly true, that is to
We must say, all their descendants would be
equally awnless. Hence a mutation is definitely a
change in the hereditary without treasure and has
to be accounted for by some change in the
hereditary substance. Actually most of the
important breeding experiments, which have
revealed to us the mechanism of by a heredity,
consisted in a careful analysis of the
offspring obtained by crossing, according to a
preconceived plan, mutated (or, in many cases,
multiply mutated) with non-mutated or with
differently mutated individuals. On the other
hand, by virtue of their breeding true, mutations
are a suitable material on which natural selection
may work and produce the species as described
by Darwin, by eliminating the unfit and letting
the fittest survive. In Darwin’s theory, you
just have to substitute ‘mutations’ for his ‘slight
accidental variations’ (just as quantum theory
substitutes ‘quantum jump’ for ‘continuous
transfer of energy’). In all other respects little
change was necessary in Darwin’s theory, that is,
if I am correctly interpreting the view held by the
majority of biol ogists.

LOCALIZATION, RECESSIVITY AND
DOMINANCE

We must now review some other fundamental
facts and notions about mutations, again in a
slightly dogmatic manner, without showing
directly how they spring, one by one, from the
experimental evidence. We should expect a
definite observed mutation to be caused by a
change in a definite region in one of the
chromosomes. And so it is. It is important to
state that we know definitely, that it is a change
in one chromosome only, but not in the
corresponding ‘locus’ of the homologous
chromosome. Fig. 8 indicates this schematically,
the cross denoting the mutated a locus. The fact
that only one chromosome is affected is revealed
when the mutated individual (often called
‘mutant’) is crossed with a non-mutated one. For
exactly half of the offspring exhibit the mutant
character and half the normal one. That is what is
to be expected as a consequence of the
separation of the two chromosomes on meiosis
in the mutant as shown, very schematically, in
Fig. 9. This is a ‘pedigree’, representing every
individual (of three consecutive generations)
simply by the pair of chromosomes in question.
Please realize that if the mutant had both its
chromosomes affected, all the children would
receive the same (mixed) inheritance, different
from that of either parent. But experimenting in
this domain is not as simple as would appear
from what has just been said. It is complicated
by the second important fact, viz. that mutations
are very often latent. What does that mean? In
the mutant the two copies of the code-script are
no longer identical; they present two different
‘readings’ or ‘versions’, at any rate in that one
place. Perhaps it is well to point out at once that,
while it might be tempting, it would nevertheless
be entirely wrong to regard the original version
as ‘orthodox’, and the mutant version as ‘heretic’.
We have to is regard them, in principle, as being
of equal right -for the normal characters have
also arisen from mutations. What actually
happens is that the ‘pattern’ of the individual, as a
general rule, follows either the one or the other
rte version, which may be the normal or the
mutant one. The -version which is followed is
called dominant, the other, recessive; in other
words, the mutation is called dominant or
recessive, according to whether it is immediately
effective in changing the pattern or not.
Recessive mutations are even more frequent than
dominant ones and are very important, though at
first they do not show up at all. To affect the
pattern, they have to be present in both
chromosomes (see Fig. 10). Such individuals can
be produced when two equal recessive mutants
happen to be crossed with each other or when a
mutant is crossed with itself; this is possible in
hermaphroditic plants and even happens
spontaneously. An easy reflection shows that in
these cases about one-quarter of the offspring
will be of this type and thus visibly exhibit the
mutated pattern.
general rule, follows either the one or the other
rte version, which may be the normal or the
mutant one. The -version which is followed is
called dominant, the other, recessive; in other
words, the mutation is called dominant or
recessive, according to whether it is immediately
effective in changing the pattern or not.
Recessive mutations are even more frequent than
dominant ones and are very important, though at
first they do not show up at all. To affect the
pattern, they have to be present in both
chromosomes (see Fig. 10). Such individuals can
be produced when two equal recessive mutants
happen to be crossed with each other or when a
mutant is crossed with itself; this is possible in
hermaphroditic plants and even happens
spontaneously. An easy reflection shows that in
these cases about one-quarter of the offspring
will be of this type and thus visibly exhibit the
mutated pattern.

INTRODUCING SOME TECHNICAL
LANGUAGE

I think it will make for clarity to explain here a
few technical terms. For what I called ‘version of
the code-script’ -be it the original one or a mutant
one -the term ‘allele’ has been; adopted. When
the versions are different, as indicated in Fig. 8,
the individual is called heterozygous, with
respect to that locus. When they are equal, as in
the non-mutated individual or in the case of Fig.
10, they are called homozygous. Thus a recessive
allele influences the pattern only when
homozygous, whereas a dominant allele
produces the same pattern, whether homozygous
or only heterozygous. Colour is very often
dominant over lack of colour (or white). Thus,
for example, a pea will flower white only when it
has the ‘recessive allele responsible for white’ in
both chromosomes in question, when it is
‘homozygous for white’; it will then breed true,
and all its descendants will be white. But one ‘red
allele’ (the other being white; ‘heterozygous’) will
make it flower red, and so will two red alleles
(‘homozygous’). The difference of the latter two
cases will only show up in the offspring,
when the heterozygous red will produce some
white descendants, and the homozygous red will
breed true. The fact that two individuals may be
exactly alike in their outward appearance, yet
differ in their inheritance, is so important that an
exact differentiation is desirable. The geneticist
says they have the same phenotype, but different
genotype. The contents of the preceding
paragraphs could thus be summarized in the
brief, but highly technical statement: A recessive
allele influences the phenotype only when the
genotype is homozygous. We shall use these
technical expressions occasionally, but shall
recall their meaning to the reader where
necessary.

THE HARMFUL EFFECT OF
CLOSE-BREEDING

Recessive mutations, as long as they are only
heterozygous, are of course no working-ground
for natural selection. If they are detrimental, as
mutations very often are, they will nevertheless
not be eliminated, because they are latent. Hence
quite a host of unfavourable mutations may
accumulate and do no immediate damage. But
they are, of course, transmitted to that half of the
offspring, and that has an important application
to man, cattle, poultry or any other species, the
good physical qualities of which are of
immediate concern to us. In Fig. 9 it is assumed
that a male individual (say, for concreteness,
myself) carries such a recessive detrimental
mutation heterozygously, so that it does not
show up. Assume that my wife is free of it. Then
half of our children (second line) will also carry
it -again heterozygously. If all of them are again
mated with non-mutated partners (omitted from
the diagram, to avoid reed confusion), a quarter
of our grandchildren, on the average, will be
affected in the same way. No danger of the evil
ever becoming manifest arises, unless of equally
affected individuals are crossed with each other,
when, as an easy reflection shows, one-quarter of
their children, being homozygous, would
manifest the damage. Next to self-fertilization
(only possible in hermaphrodite plants) the
greatest danger would be a marriage between a
son and a daughter of mine. Each of them
standing an even chance of being latently
affected or not, one-quarter of these incestuous
unions would be dangerous inasmuch as
one-quarter of its children would manifest the
damage. The danger factor for an incestuously
bred child is thus 1: 16. In the same way the
danger: factor works out to be 1 :64 for the
offspring of a union between two (‘clean-bred’)
grand-children of mine who are first cousins.
These do not seem to be but overwhelming odds,
and actually the second case is usually tolerated.
But do not forget that we have analysed the
consequences of only one possible latent injury
in one partner of the ancestral couple (‘me and
my wife’). Actually both of them are quite likely
to harbour more than one latent deficiency of this
kind. If you know that you yourself harbour a
definite one, you have to reckon with l out of 8
of your first cousins sharing it! Experiments with
plants and animals seem to indicate that in
addition to comparatively rare deficiencies of a
serious kind, there seem to be a host of minor
ones whose chances combine to deteriorate the
offspring of close-breeding as a whole. Since we
are no longer inclined to eliminate failures in the
harsh way the Lacedemonians used to adopt in
the Taygetos mountain, we have to take a
particularly serious view about these things in
the case of man, were natural selection of the
fittest is largely retrenched, nay, turned to the
contrary. The anti-selective effect of the modern
mass slaughter of the healthy youth of all nations
is hardly outweighed by the consideration that in
more primitive conditions war may have had a
positive value in letting the fittest survive.
of your first cousins sharing it! Experiments with
plants and animals seem to indicate that in
addition to comparatively rare deficiencies of a
serious kind, there seem to be a host of minor
ones whose chances combine to deteriorate the
offspring of close-breeding as a whole. Since we
are no longer inclined to eliminate failures in the
harsh way the Lacedemonians used to adopt in
the Taygetos mountain, we have to take a
particularly serious view about these things in
the case of man, were natural selection of the
fittest is largely retrenched, nay, turned to the
contrary. The anti-selective effect of the modern
mass slaughter of the healthy youth of all nations
is hardly outweighed by the consideration that in
more primitive conditions war may have had a
positive value in letting the fittest survive.

GENERAL AND HISTORICAL REMARKS

The fact that the recessive allele, when
heterozygous, is completely overpowered by the
dominant and produces no visible effects at all,
is amazing. It ought at least to mentioned that
there are exceptions to this behaviour. When
a homozygous white snapdragon is crossed with,
equally homozygous, crimson snapdragon, all
the immediate descendants are intermediate in
colour, i.e. they are pink (not crimson, as might
be expected). A much more important case of
two alleles exhibiting their influence
simultaneously occurs in blood-groups -but we
cannot enter into that here. I should not be
astonished if at long last recessivity should turn
our to be capable of degrees and to depend on
the sensitivity of the tests we apply to examine
the ‘phenotype’. This is perhaps the place for a
word on the early history of genetics. The
backbone of the theory, the law of inheritance, to
successive generations, of properties in which
the parents differ, and more especially the
important distinction recessive-dominant, are due
to the now world famous Augustininan Abbot
Gregor Mendel (1822-84). Mendel knew nothing
about mutations and chromosomes. In his
cloister gardens in Brunn (Brno) he made
experiments on the garden pea, of first which he
reared different varieties, crossing them and
watching their offspring in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, …,
generation. You might say, he experimented with
mutants which he found ready-made in nature.
The results he published as early as 1866 in the
Proceedings of the Naturforschender Verein in
Brunn. Nobody seems to have been particularly
interested in the abbot’s hobby, and nobody,
certainly, had the faintest idea that his discovery
would in the twentieth century become the
lodestar of an entirely new branch of science,
easily the most interesting of our days. His paper
was forgotten and was only rediscovered in
1900, simultaneously and independently, by
Correns (Berlin), de Vries (Amsterdam) and
Tschermak may (Vienna).

THE NECESSITY OF MUTATION BEING A
RARE EVENT

So far we have tended to fix our attention on
harmful mutations, which may be the more
numerous; but it must be definitely stated that we
do encounter advantageous mutations as well. If
a spontaneous mutation is a small step in the
development of the species, we get the
impression that some change is ‘tried out’ in
rather a haphazard fashion at the risk n, as of its
being injurious, in which case it is automatically
eliminated. This brings out one very important
point. In order to be suitable material for the
work of natural selection, mutations must be rare
events, as they actually are. If they were so
frequent that there was a considerable chance of,
say, a dozen of different mutations occurring in
the same individual, the injurious ones would, as
a rule, predominate over the advantageous ones
and the species, instead of being improved by
selection, would remain unimproved, or would
perish. The comparative conservatism which
results from the high degree of permanence of
the genes is essential. An analogy might be
sought in the working of a large manufacturing
plant in a factory. For developing better
methods, innovations, even if as yet unproved,
must be tried out. But in order to ascertain
whether the innovations improve or decrease the
output, it is essential that they should be
introduced one at a time, while all the other parts
of the mechanism are kept constant.

MUTATIONS INDUCED BY X-RAYS

We now have to review a most ingenious series
of genetical research work, which will prove to
be the most relevant feature of our analysis. The
percentage of mutations in the offspring, the
so-called mutation rate, can be increased to a
high multiple of the Small natural mutation rate
by irradiating the parents with X-rays or .-rays.
The mutations produced in this way differ in no
way (except by being more numerous) from
those occurring spontaneously, and one has the
impression that every ‘natural’ mutation can also
be induced by X-rays. In Drosophila many
special mutations recur spontaneously again and
to you again in the vast cultures; they have been
located in the chromosome, as described on pp.
26-9, and have been given special names. There
have been found even what are called say, on
‘multiple alleles’, that is to say, two or more
different ‘versions’ and ‘readings’ -in addition to
the normal, non-mutated one -of the same place
in the chromosome code; that means not only
two, but three or more alternatives in that
particular one ‘locus’, any two of which are to
each other in the relation ‘dominant-recessive’
when they occur simultaneously in their
corresponding loci of the two homologous
chromosomes. The experiments on X-ray26-9, and have been given special names. There
have been found even what are called say, on
‘multiple alleles’, that is to say, two or more
different ‘versions’ and ‘readings’ -in addition to
the normal, non-mutated one -of the same place
in the chromosome code; that means not only
two, but three or more alternatives in that
particular one ‘locus’, any two of which are to
each other in the relation ‘dominant-recessive’
when they occur simultaneously in their
corresponding loci of the two homologous
chromosomes. The experiments on X-rayproduced
mutations give the impression that
every particular ‘transition’, say from the normal
individual to a particular mutant, or conversely,
has its individual ‘X-ray coefficient’, indicating
the percentage of the offspring which turns out to
have mutated in that particular way, when a unit
dosage of X-ray has been applied to the parents,
before the offspring was engendered.

FIRST LAW. MUTATION IS A SINGLE
EVENT

Furthermore, the laws governing the induced
mutation rate are extremely simple and
extremely illuminating. I follow here the report
of N. W. Timofeeff, in Biological Reviews, vol.
IX, 1934. To a considerable extent it refers to
that author’s own beautiful work. The first law is
(I) The increase is exactly proportional to the
dosage of rays, so that one can actually speak (as
I did) of a coefficient of increase. We are so used
to simple proportionality that we are liable to
underrate the far-reaching consequences of this
simple law. To grasp them, we may remember
that the price of a commodity, for example, is
not always proportional to its amount. In
ordinary times a shopkeeper may be so
much every impressed by your having bought six
oranges from him, that, on your deciding to take
after all a whole dozen, he may give it to you for
less than double the price of the six. In times of
scarcity the opposite may happen. In the present
case, we conclude that the first half-dosage of
radiation, while causing, say, one out of a
thousand descendants to mutate, has not
influenced the rest at all, either in the way of
predisposing them for, or of immunizing them
against, mutation. For otherwise the second
half-dosage would not cause again just one out
of a thousand to mutate. Mutation is thus not an
accumulated effect, brought about by
consecutive small portions of radiation
reinforcing each other. It must consist in some
single event occurring in one chromosome
during irradiation. What kind of event?

SECOND LAW. LOCALIZATION OF THE
EVENT

This is answered by the second law, viz. (2) If
you vary the quality of the rays (wave-length)
within wide limits, from soft X-rays to fairly
hard .-rays, the coefficient remains constant,
provided you give the same dosage in so-called
r-units, that is to say, provided you measure the
dosage by the total amount standard substance
during the time and at the place where the
parents are exposed to the rays. As standard
substance one chooses air not only for
convenience, but also for the reason that organic
tissues are composed of elements of the same
atomic weight as air. A lower limit for the
amount of ionizations or allied processes
(excitations) in the tissue is obtained simply by
multiplying the number of ionizations in air by
the ratio of the densities. It is thus fairly obvious,
and is confirmed by a more critical investigation,
that the single event, causing a mutation, is just
an ionization (or similar process) occurring
within some ‘critical’ volume of the germ cell.
What is the size of this critical volume? It can be
estimated from the observed mutation rate by a
consideration of this kind: if a dosage of 50,000
ions per cm3 produces a chance of only 1:1000
for any particular gamete (that finds itself in the
irradiated district) to mutate in that particular
way, we conclude that the critical volume, the
‘target’ which has to be ‘hit’ by an ionization
for that mutation to occur, is only 1/1000 of
1/50000 of a cm3, that is to say, one fifty-
millionth of a cm3. The numbers are not the right
ones, but are used only by way of illustration. In
the actual estimate we follow M. Delbruck, in a
paper by Delbruck, N.W. Timofeeffand K.G.
Zimmer, which will also be the principal source
of the theory to be expounded in the following
two chapters. He arrives there at a size of only
about ten average atomic distances cubed,
containing thus only about 103 = a thousand
atoms. The simplest interpretation of this result
is that there is a fair chance of producing that
mutation when an ionization (or excitation)
occurs not more than about ’10 atoms away’ from
some particular spot in the chromosome. We
shall discuss this in more detail presently. The
Timofeeff report contains a practical hint which I
cannot refrain from mentioning here, though it
has, of course, no bearing on our present
investigation. There are plenty of occasions in
modern life when a human being has to be
exposed to X-rays. The direct dangers involved,
as burns, X-ray cancer, sterilization, are well
known, and protection by lead screens, lead-
loaded aprons, etc., is provided, especially for
nurses and doctors who have to handle the rays
regularly. The point is, that even when these
imminent dangers to the individual are
successfully warded off, there appears to be the
indirect danger of small detrimental mutations
being produced in the germ cells -mutations of
the kind envisaged when we spoke of the
unfavourable results of close-breeding. To put it
drastically, though perhaps a little naively, the
injuriousness marriage between first cousins
might very this well be increased by the fact that
their grandmother had served for a long period as
an X-ray nurse. It is not a point that need worry
any individual personally. But any possibility of
gradually infecting the human race with
unwanted latent mutations ought to be a matter
of concern to the community.
-rays. The direct dangers involved,
as burns, X-ray cancer, sterilization, are well
known, and protection by lead screens, lead-
loaded aprons, etc., is provided, especially for
nurses and doctors who have to handle the rays
regularly. The point is, that even when these
imminent dangers to the individual are
successfully warded off, there appears to be the
indirect danger of small detrimental mutations
being produced in the germ cells -mutations of
the kind envisaged when we spoke of the
unfavourable results of close-breeding. To put it
drastically, though perhaps a little naively, the
injuriousness marriage between first cousins
might very this well be increased by the fact that
their grandmother had served for a long period as
an X-ray nurse. It is not a point that need worry
any individual personally. But any possibility of
gradually infecting the human race with
unwanted latent mutations ought to be a matter
of concern to the community.

CHAPTER 4

The Quantum-Mechanical Evidence
Thus, aided by the marvellously subtle
instrument of X-rays (which, as the physicist
remembers, revealed thirty years ago really the
detailed atomic lattice structures of crystals), the
united efforts of biologists and physicists have of
late succeeded in reducing the upper limit for the
size of the microscopic structure, being
responsible for a definite large-scale feature of
the individual-the ‘size of a gene’ -and reducing
it far below the estimates obtained on pp. 29-30.
We are now seriously faced with the question:
How can we, from the point of view of statistical
physics, reconcile the facts that the gene
structure seems to involve only a comparatively
small number of atoms (of the order of 1,000 and
possibly much less), and that value nevertheless
it displays a most regular and lawful activity with
a durability or permanence that borders
upon the miraculous? Let me throw the truly
amazing situation into relief once again. Several
members of the Habsburg dynasty have a
peculiar disfigurement of the lower lip
(‘Habsburger Lippe’). Its inheritance has been
studied carefully and published, complete with
historical portraits, by the Imperial Academy In
Vienna, under the auspices of the family. The
feature proves to be a genuinely Mendelian
‘allele’ to the normal form of the lip. Fixing our
attention on the portraits of a member of the
family in the sixteenth century and of his
descendant, living in the nineteenth, we may
safely assume that the material gene structure,
responsible for the abnormal feature, has been
carried on from generation to generation through
the centuries, faithfully reproduced at every one
of the not very numerous cell divisions that lie
between. Moreover, the number of atoms
involved in the responsible gene structure is
likely to be of the same order of magnitude as in
the cases tested by X-rays. The gene has been
kept at a temperature around 98°F during all that
time. How are we to understand that it has
remained unperturbed by the disordering
tendency of the heat motion for centuries? A
physicist at the end of the last century would
have been at a loss to answer this question, if he
was prepared to draw only on those laws of
Nature which he could explain and which he
really understood. Perhaps, indeed, after a short
reflection on the statistical situation he would
have answered (correctly, as we shall see): These
material structures can only be molecules. Of the
existence, and sometimes very high stability, of
these associations of atoms, chemistry had
already acquired a widespread knowledge at the
time. But the knowledge was purely empirical.
The nature of a molecule was not understood the
strong mutual bond of the atoms which keeps
a molecule in shape was a complete conundrum
to everybody. Actually, the answer proves to be
correct. But it is of limited value as long as the
enigmatic biological stability is traced back only
to an equally enigmatic chemical stability. The
evidence that two features, similar in appearance,
are based on the same principle, is always
precarious as long as the principle itself is
unknown.

EXPLICABLE BY QUANTUM THEORY

In this case it is supplied by quantum theory. In
the light of present knowledge, the mechanism of
heredity is closely related to, nay, founded on,
the very basis of quantum theory. This theory
was discovered by Max Planck in 1900. Modern
genetics can be dated from the rediscovery of
Mendel’s paper by de Vries, Correns and
Tschermak (1900) and from de Vries’s paper on
mutations (l901-3). Thus the births of the two
great theories nearly coincide, and it is small
wonder that both of them had to reach a certain
maturity before the connection could emerge. On
the side of quantum theory it took more than a
quarter of a century till in 1926-7 the quantum
theory of the chemical bond was outlined in its
general principles by W. Heitler and F. London.
The Heitler-London theory involves the most
subtle and intricate conceptions of the latest
development of quantum theory (called ‘quantum

mechanics’ or ‘wave mechanics’). A presentation
without the use of calculus is well-nigh
impossible or would at least require another little
volume each like this. But fortunately, now that
all work has been done and has served to clarify
our thinking, it seems to be possible to point out
in a more direct manner the connection between
‘quantum jumps’ and mutations, to pick out at the
moment the most conspicuous item. That is what
we attempt here.
without the use of calculus is well-nigh
impossible or would at least require another little
volume each like this. But fortunately, now that
all work has been done and has served to clarify
our thinking, it seems to be possible to point out
in a more direct manner the connection between
‘quantum jumps’ and mutations, to pick out at the
moment the most conspicuous item. That is what
we attempt here.

QUANTUM THEORY -DISCRETE STATES –
QUANTUM JUMPS
The great revelation of quantum theory was that
features of a discreteness were discovered in the
Book of Nature, in context in which anything
other than continuity seemed to be absurd
according to the views held until then. The first
case of this kind concerned energy. A body on
the large scale changes its energy continuously.
A pendulum, for instance, that is set swinging is
gradually slowed down by the resistance of the
air. Strangely enough, it proves necessary
to admit that a system of the order of the atomic
scale behaves differently. On grounds upon
which we cannot enter here, we then have to
assume that a small system can by its very nature
possess only certain discrete amounts of energy,
called its peculiar energy levels. The transition
from one state to another is a rather mysterious
event, which is usually called a quantum Jump.
But energy is not the only characteristic of a
system. Take again our pendulum, but think of
one that can perform different kinds of
movement, a heavy ball suspended by a string
from the ceiling can be made to swing in a north-
south or east-west or any other direction or in a
circle or in an ellipse. By gently blowing the ball
with a bellows, it can be made to pass
continuously from one state of motion to other.
For small-scale systems most of these or similar
characteristics -we cannot enter into details change
discontinuously. They are ‘quantized’,
just as the energy is. The result is that a number
of atomic nuclei, including their bodyguards of
electrons, when they find themselves close to
each other, forming ‘a system’, are unable by
their very nature to adopt any arbitrary
configuration we might think of. Their very
nature leaves them only a very numerous but
discrete series of ‘states’ to choose from. We
usually call them levels or energy levels, because
the energy is a very relevant part of the
characteristic. But it must be understood that the
complete description includes much more than
just the energy. It is virtually correct to think of a
state as meaning a definite configuration of all
the corpuscles. The transition from one of these
configurations to another is a quantum jump. If
the second one has the greater energy (‘is a
higher level’), the system must be supplied from
outside with at least the difference of the two
energies to make the transition possible. To a
lower level it can change spontaneously on the
spending the surplus of energy in radiation.

MOLECULES

Among the discrete set of states of a given
selection of atoms in such a state form a
molecule. The point to stress here is, that the
molecule will of necessity have a certain
stability; the configuration cannot change, unless
at least the energy difference, necessary to ‘lift’ it
to the next higher level, is supplied from outside.
Hence this level difference, which is a well-
defined quantity, determines quantitatively the
degree of stability of the molecule. It will be
observed how intimately this fact is linked with
the very basis of quantum theory, viz. with the
discreteness of the level scheme. I must beg the
reader to take it for granted that this order of
ideas has been thoroughly checked by chemical
facts; and that it has proved successful in
explaining the basic fact of chemical valency and
many details about the structure of molecules,
their binding-energies, their stabilities at
different temperatures, and so on. I am speaking
of the Heitler-London theory, which, as I said,
cannot be examined in detail here.

THEIR STABILITY DEPENDENT ON
TEMPERATURE

We must content ourselves with examining the
point which is of paramount interest for our
biological question, namely, the stability of a
molecule at different temperatures. Take our
system of atoms at first to be actually in its state
of lowest energy. The physicist would call it a
molecule at the absolute zero of temperature. To
lift it to the next higher state or level a definite
supply of energy is required. The simplest way
of trying to supply it is to ‘heat up’ your
molecule. You bring it into an environment of
higher temperature (‘heat bath’), thus allowing
other systems (atoms, molecules) to impinge
upon it. Considering the entire irregularity of
heat motion, there is no sharp temperature limit
at which the ‘lift’ will be brought about with
certainty and immediately. Rather, at any
temperature (different from absolute zero) there
is a certain smaller or greater chance for the lift
to occur, the chance increasing of course with the
temperature of the heat bath. The best way
to express this chance is to indicate the average
time you will have to wait until the lift takes
place, the ‘time of expectation’. From an
investigation, due to M. Polanyi and E. Wigner,
the ‘time of expectation’ largely depends on the
ratio of two energies, one being just the energy
difference itself that is required to effect the lift
(let us write W for it), the other one
characterizing the intensity of the heat motion at
the temperature in question (let us write T for the
absolute temperature and kT for the
characteristic energy). It stands to reason that the
chance for effecting the lift is smaller, and hence
that the time of expectation is longer, the higher
the lift itself compared with the average heat
energy, that is to say, the greater the ratio W:kT.
What is amazing is how enormously the time of
expectation depends on comparatively small
changes of the ratio W:kT. To give an example
(following Delbruck): for W 30 times kT the
time of expectation might be as short as 1\10s.,
but would rise to 16 months when W is 50 times
kT, and to 30,000 years when W is 60 times kT!
to express this chance is to indicate the average
time you will have to wait until the lift takes
place, the ‘time of expectation’. From an
investigation, due to M. Polanyi and E. Wigner,
the ‘time of expectation’ largely depends on the
ratio of two energies, one being just the energy
difference itself that is required to effect the lift
(let us write W for it), the other one
characterizing the intensity of the heat motion at
the temperature in question (let us write T for the
absolute temperature and kT for the
characteristic energy). It stands to reason that the
chance for effecting the lift is smaller, and hence
that the time of expectation is longer, the higher
the lift itself compared with the average heat
energy, that is to say, the greater the ratio W:kT.
What is amazing is how enormously the time of
expectation depends on comparatively small
changes of the ratio W:kT. To give an example
(following Delbruck): for W 30 times kT the
time of expectation might be as short as 1\10s.,
but would rise to 16 months when W is 50 times
kT, and to 30,000 years when W is 60 times kT!

MATHEMATICAL INTERLUDE

It might be as well to point out in mathematical
language -for those readers to whom it appeals the
reason for this enormous sensitivity to
changes in the level step or temperature, and to
add a few physical remarks of a similar kind.
The reason is that the time of expectation, call it
t, depends on the ratio W/kT by an exponential
function, thus t = teW/kT. t is a certain small
constant of the order of 10-13 or 10-14S. Now, this
particular exponential function is not an
accidental feature. It recurs again and again in
the statistical theory of heat, forming, as it were,
its backbone. It is a measure of the improbability
of an energy amount as large as W gathering
accidentally in some particular part of the
system, and it is this improbability which
increases so enormously when a considerable
multiple of the ‘average energy’ kT is required.
Actually a W = 30kT (see the example quoted
above) is already extremely rare. That it does not
yet lead to an enormously long time of
expectation (only 1/10s. in our example) is, of
course, due to the smallness of the factor T. This
factor has a physical meaning. It is of the order
of the period of the vibrations which take place
in the system all the time. You could, very
broadly, describe this factor as meaning that the
chance of accumulating the required amount W,
though very small, recurs again and again ‘at
every vibration’, that is to say, about 1013 or 1014
times during every second.

FIRST AMENDMENT

In offering these considerations as a theory of the
stability of the molecule it has been tacitly
assumed that the quantum jump which we called
the ‘lift’ leads, if not to a complete disintegration,
at least to an essentially different
configuration of the same atoms -an isomeric
molecule, as the chemist would say, that is, a
molecule composed of the same atoms in a
different arrangement (in the application to
biology it is going to represent a different ‘allele’
in the same ‘locus’ and the quantum jump will
represent a mutation). To allow of this
interpretation two points must be amended in our
story, which I purposely simplified to make it at
all intelligible. From the way I told it, it might be
imagined that only in its very lowest state does
our group of atoms form what we call a molecule
and that already the next higher state is
‘something else’. That is not so. Actually the
lowest level is followed by a crowded series of
levels which do not involve any appreciable
change in the configuration as a whole, but only
correspond to those small vibrations among the
atoms free which we have mentioned above.
They, too, are ‘quantized’, but with
comparatively small steps from one level to the
next. Hence the impacts of the particles of the
‘heat bath’ may suffice to set them up already at
fairly low temperature. If the molecule is an
extended structure, you may conceive these
vibrations as high-frequency sound waves,
crossing the molecule without doing it any harm.
So the first amendment is not very serious: we
have to disregard the ‘vibrational fine-structure’
of the level scheme. The term ‘next higher level’
has to be understood as meaning the next level
that corresponds to a relevant change of
configuration.

SECOND AMENDMENT

The second amendment is far more difficult to
explain, involve because it is concerned with
certain vital, but rather complicated, features of
the scheme of relevantly different levels. The
atoms free passage between two of them may be
obstructed, quite apart from the required energy
supply; in fact, it may be obstructed even from
the higher to the lower state. Let us start from the
empirical facts. It is known to the chemist that
the same group of atoms can unite in more than
one way to form a molecule. Such molecules are
called isomeric (‘consisting of the same parts’).
Isomerism is not an exception, it is the rule. The
larger the molecule, the more isomeric
alternatives are offered. Fig. II shows one of the
simplest cases, the two kinds of propyl alcohol,
both consisting of 3 carbons (C), 8 hydrogens
(H), 1 oxygen (0). The latter can be interposed
between any hydrogen and its carbon, but only
the two cases shown in our figure are different
substances. And they really are. All their
physical and chemical constants are distinctly
different. Also their energies are different, they
represent ‘different levels’. The remarkable fact is
that both molecules are perfectly stable, both
behave as though they were ‘lowest states’.
There are no spontaneous transitions from either
state towards the other. The reason is that the
two configurations are not neighbouring
configurations. The transition from one to the
other can only take place over intermediate
configurations which have a greater energy than
either of them. To put it crudely, the oxygen has
to be extracted from one position and has to
be inserted into the other. There does not seem to
be a way of doing that without passing through
configurations of considerably higher energy.
The state of affairs is sometimes figuratively
pictured as in Fig. 12, in which I and 2 represent
the two isomers, 3 the ‘threshold’ between them,
and the two arrows indicate the ‘lifts’, that is to
say, the energy supplies required to produce the
transition from state I to state 2 or from state 2 to
state I, respectively. Now we can give our
‘second amendment’, which is that transitions of
this ‘isomeric’ kind are the only ones in which we
shall be interested in our biological application.
It was these we had in mind when explaining
‘stability’ on pp. 49-51. The ‘quantum jump’
which we mean is the transition from one
relatively stable molecular configuration to
another. The energy supply required for the
transition (the quantity denoted by W) is not the
actual level difference, but the step from the
initial level up to the threshold (see the arrows
in Fig. 12). Transitions with no threshold
interposed between the initial and the final state
are entirely uninteresting, and that not only in
our biological application. They have actually
nothing to contribute to the chemical stability of
the molecule. Why? They have no lasting effect,
they remain unnoticed. For, when they occur,
they are almost immediately followed by a
relapse so into the initial state, since nothing
prevents their return.
larger the molecule, the more isomeric
alternatives are offered. Fig. II shows one of the
simplest cases, the two kinds of propyl alcohol,
both consisting of 3 carbons (C), 8 hydrogens
(H), 1 oxygen (0). The latter can be interposed
between any hydrogen and its carbon, but only
the two cases shown in our figure are different
substances. And they really are. All their
physical and chemical constants are distinctly
different. Also their energies are different, they
represent ‘different levels’. The remarkable fact is
that both molecules are perfectly stable, both
behave as though they were ‘lowest states’.
There are no spontaneous transitions from either
state towards the other. The reason is that the
two configurations are not neighbouring
configurations. The transition from one to the
other can only take place over intermediate
configurations which have a greater energy than
either of them. To put it crudely, the oxygen has
to be extracted from one position and has to
be inserted into the other. There does not seem to
be a way of doing that without passing through
configurations of considerably higher energy.
The state of affairs is sometimes figuratively
pictured as in Fig. 12, in which I and 2 represent
the two isomers, 3 the ‘threshold’ between them,
and the two arrows indicate the ‘lifts’, that is to
say, the energy supplies required to produce the
transition from state I to state 2 or from state 2 to
state I, respectively. Now we can give our
‘second amendment’, which is that transitions of
this ‘isomeric’ kind are the only ones in which we
shall be interested in our biological application.
It was these we had in mind when explaining
‘stability’ on pp. 49-51. The ‘quantum jump’
which we mean is the transition from one
relatively stable molecular configuration to
another. The energy supply required for the
transition (the quantity denoted by W) is not the
actual level difference, but the step from the
initial level up to the threshold (see the arrows
in Fig. 12). Transitions with no threshold
interposed between the initial and the final state
are entirely uninteresting, and that not only in
our biological application. They have actually
nothing to contribute to the chemical stability of
the molecule. Why? They have no lasting effect,
they remain unnoticed. For, when they occur,
they are almost immediately followed by a
relapse so into the initial state, since nothing
prevents their return.

CHAPTER 5

Delbruck’s Model Discussed and Tested

THE GENERAL PICTURE OF THE
HEREDITARY SUBSTANCE

From these facts emerges a very simple answer
to our question, namely: Are these structures,
composed of comparatively few atoms, capable
of withstanding for long periods the disturbing
influence of heat motion to which the hereditary
substance is continually exposed? We shall
assume the structure of a gene to be that of a
huge molecule, capable only of discontinuous
change, which consists in a rearrangement of the
atoms and leads to an isomeric molecule. The
rearrangement may affect only a small region of
the gene, and a vast number of different
rearrangements may be possible. The energy
thresholds, separating the actual configuration
from any possible isomeric ones, have to be high
enough (compared with the average heat energy
of an atom) to make the change-over a rare
event. These rare events we shall identify with
spontaneous mutations. The later parts of this
chapter will be devoted to putting this general
picture of a gene and of mutation (due mainly
to! the German physicist M. Delbruck) to the
test, by comparing it in detail with genetical
facts. Before doing so, we may fittingly make
some comment on the foundation and general
nature of the theory.

THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PICTURE

Was it absolutely essential for the biological
question to dig up the deepest roots and found
the picture on quantum mechanics? The
conjecture that a gene is a molecule is today, I
dare say, a commonplace. Few biologists,
whether familiar with quantum theory or not,
would disagree with it. On p. 47 we ventured to
put it into the mouth of a pre-quantum physicist,
as the only reasonable explanation of the
observed permanence. The subsequent
considerations about isomerism, threshold
energy, the paramount role of the ratio W:kT in
determining the probability of an isomeric
transition -all that could very well be introduced
to our purely empirical basis, at any rate without
drawing on quantum theory. Why did I so
strongly insist on the quantum-mechanical
periods the point of view, though I could not
really make it clear in this little book and may
well have bored many a reader? Quantum
mechanics is the first theoretical aspect which
accounts from first principles for all kinds of
aggregates of atoms actually encountered in
Nature. The Heitler-London bondage is a unique,
singular feature of the theory, not invented for
the purpose of explaining the chemical bond. It
comes in quite by itself, in a highly interesting
and puzzling manner, being forced upon us by
entirely different considerations. It proves to
correspond exactly with the observed chemical
facts, and, as I said, it is a unique feature, well
enough understood to tell with reasonable
certainty that ‘such a thing could not happen
again’ in the further development of quantum
theory. Consequently, we may safely assert that
there is no alternative to the molecular
explanation of the hereditary substance. The
physical aspect leaves no other possibility to
account for itself and of its permanence. If the
Delbruck picture should fail, we would have to
give up further attempts. That is the first point I
wish to make.
comes in quite by itself, in a highly interesting
and puzzling manner, being forced upon us by
entirely different considerations. It proves to
correspond exactly with the observed chemical
facts, and, as I said, it is a unique feature, well
enough understood to tell with reasonable
certainty that ‘such a thing could not happen
again’ in the further development of quantum
theory. Consequently, we may safely assert that
there is no alternative to the molecular
explanation of the hereditary substance. The
physical aspect leaves no other possibility to
account for itself and of its permanence. If the
Delbruck picture should fail, we would have to
give up further attempts. That is the first point I
wish to make.

SOME TRADITIONAL MISCONCEPTIONS

But it may be asked: Are there really no other
endurable structures composed of atoms except
molecules? Does not a gold coin, for example,
buried in a tomb for a couple of thousand years,
preserve the traits of the portrait stamped on it? It
is true that the coin consists of an enormous
number of atoms, but surely we are in this case
not inclined to attribute the mere preservation of
shape to the statistics of large numbers. The
same remark applies to a neatly developed batch
of crystals we find embedded in a rock, where it
must have been for geological periods without
changing. That leads us to the second point I
want to elucidate. The cases of a molecule, a
solid crystal are not really different. In the light
of present knowledge they are virtually the
same. Unfortunately, school teaching keeps up
certain traditional views, which have been out of
date for many years and which obscure the
understanding of the actual state of
affairs. Indeed, what we have learnt at school
about molecules does not give the idea that they
are more closely akin to the solid state than to
the liquid or gaseous state. On the contrary, we
have been taught to distinguish carefully
between a physical change, such as melting or
evaporation in which the molecules are
preserved (so that, for example, alcohol, whether
solid, liquid or a gas, always consists of the same
molecules, C2H6O), and a chemical change, as,
for example, the burning of alcohol, C2H6O +
302 = 2C02 + 3H2O, where an alcohol molecule
and three oxygen molecules undergo a
rearrangement to form two molecules of carbon
dioxide and three molecules of water. About
crystals, we have been taught that they form
three-fold periodic lattices, in which the structure
of the single molecule is sometimes
recognizable, as in the case of alcohol, and most
organic compounds, while in other crystals, e.g.
rock-salt (NaCI), NaCI molecules cannot be
unequivocally delimited, because every Na atom
is symmetrically surrounded by six CI atoms,
and vice versa, so that it is largely arbitrary what
pairs, if any, are regarded as molecular partners.
Finally, we have been told that a solid can be
crystalline or not, and in the latter case we call it
amorphous.

DIFFERENT STATES OF MATTER

Now I would not go so far as to say that all these
statements and distinctions are quite wrong. For
practical purposes they are sometimes useful.
But in the true aspect of the structure of matter
the limits must be drawn in an entirely different
way. The fundamental distinction is between the
two lines of the following scheme of ‘equations’:

molecule = solid = crystal.
gas = liquid = amorphous.

We must explain these statements briefly. The
so-called amorphous solids are either not really
amorphous or not really solid. In ‘amorphous’
charcoal fibre the rudimentary structure of the
graphite crystal has been disclosed by X-rays. So
charcoal is a solid, but also crystalline. Where
we find no crystalline structure we have to
regard the thing as a liquid with very high
‘viscosity’ (internal friction). Such a substance
discloses by the absence of a well-defined
melting temperature and of a latent heat of
melting that it is not a true solid. When heated it
softens gradually and eventually liquefies
without discontinuity. (I remember that at the
end of the first Great War we were given in
Vienna an asphalt-like substance as a substitute
for coffee. It was so hard that one had to use a
chisel or a hatchet to break the little brick into
pieces, when it would show a smooth, shell-like
cleavage. Yet, given time, it would behave as a
liquid, closely packing the lower part of a vessel
in which you were unwise enough to leave it for
a couple of days.). The continuity of the gaseous
and liquid state is a well-known story. You can
liquefy any gas without discontinuity by taking
your way ‘around’ the so-called critical point. But
we shall not enter on this here.

THE DISTINCTION THAT REALLY
MATTERS

We have thus justified everything in the above
scheme, except the main point, namely, that we
wish a molecule to be regarded as a solid =
crystal. The reason for this is that the atoms
forming a molecule, whether there be few or
many of them, are united by forces of exactly the
same nature as the numerous atoms which build
up a true solid, a crystal. The molecule presents
the same solidity of structure as a crystal.
Remember that it is precisely this solidity on
which we draw to account for the permanence of
the gene! The distinction that is really important
in the structure of small matter is whether atoms
are bound together by those Heitler-London
forces or whether they are not. In a solid and in a
molecule they all are. In a gas of single atoms (as
scheme, except the main point, namely, that we
wish a molecule to be regarded as a solid =
crystal. The reason for this is that the atoms
forming a molecule, whether there be few or
many of them, are united by forces of exactly the
same nature as the numerous atoms which build
up a true solid, a crystal. The molecule presents
the same solidity of structure as a crystal.
Remember that it is precisely this solidity on
which we draw to account for the permanence of
the gene! The distinction that is really important
in the structure of small matter is whether atoms
are bound together by those Heitler-London
forces or whether they are not. In a solid and in a
molecule they all are. In a gas of single atoms (as
e.g. think mercury vapour) they are not. In a gas
composed of molecules, only the atoms within
every molecule are linked in this thirty way.

THE APERIODIC SOLID

A small molecule might be called ‘the germ of a
solid’. Starting from such a small solid germ,
there seem to be two different ways of building
up larger and larger associations. One is the
comparatively dull way of repeating the same
structure in three directions again and again.
That is the way followed in a growing crystal.
Once the periodicity is established, there is no
definite limit to the size of the aggregate. The
other way is that of building up a more and more
extended aggregate without the dull device of
repetition. That is the case of the more and more
complicated organic moleculein which every
atom, and every group of atoms, plays an
individual role, not entirely equivalent to that of
many others (as is the case in a periodic
structure). We might quite properly call that an
aperiodic crystal or solid and express our
hypothesis by saying: We believe a gene -or
perhaps the whole chromosome fibre -to be an
aperiodic solid.

THE VARIETY OF CONTENTS
COMPRESSED IN THE MINIATURE CODE

It has often been asked how this tiny speck of
material, nucleus of the fertilized egg, could
contain an elaborate code-script involving all the
future development of the organism. A wellordered
association of atoms, endowed with
sufficient resistivity to keep its order
permanently, appears to be the only conceivable
material structure that offers a variety of possible
(‘isomeric’) arrangements, sufficiently large
to embody a complicated system of
‘determinations’ within a small spatial boundary.
Indeed, the number of atoms in such a structure
need not be very large to produce an almost
unlimited number of possible arrangements. For
illustration, think of the Morse code. The two
different signs of dot and dash in well-ordered
groups of not more than four allow thirty
different specifications. Now, if you allowed
yourself the use of a third sign, in addition to dot
and dash, and used groups of not more than ten,
you could form 88,572 different ‘letters’; with
five signs and groups up to 25, the number is
372,529,029,846,19 1,405. It may be objected
that the simile is deficient, because our two
Morse signs may have different composition
(e.g. .–and .-) and thus they are a bad analogue
for isomerism. To remedy this defect, let us pick,
from the third example, only the combinations of
exactly 25 symbols and only those containing is
exactly 5 out of each of the supposed 5 types (5
dots, 5 dashes, etc.). A rough count gives you the
number of combinations as more
62,330,000,000,000, where zeros on the right
stand for figures which I have not taken the
trouble to compute. Of course, in the actual case,
by no means ‘every’ arrangement of the group of
atoms will represent a possible molecule;
moreover, it is not a question of a code to be
adopted arbitrarily, for the code-script must itself
be the operative factor bringing about the
development. But, on the other hand, the number
chosen in the example (25) is still very small,
and we have envisaged only the simple
arrangements in one line. What we wish to
illustrate is simply that with the molecular
picture of the gene it is no longer inconceivable
that the miniature code should precisely
correspond with a highly complicated and
specified plan of development and should
somehow contain the means to put it into
operation.

COMPARISON WITH FACTS: DEGREE OF
STABILITY; DISCONTINUITY OF
MUTATIONS

Now let us at last proceed to compare the
theoretical picture cha with the biological facts.
The first question obviously is, whether it can
really account for the high degree of permanence
we observe. Are threshold values of the required
amount -high multiples of the average heat
energy kT -reasonable, are they within the range
known from ordinary chemistry? That question
is trivial; it can be answered in the affirmative
without inspecting tables. The molecules of any
substance which the chemist is able to isolate at a
given temperature must at that temperature have
a lifetime of at least minutes. That is putting it
mildly; as a rule they have much more. Thus the
threshold values the chemist encounters are of
necessity precisely of the order of magnitude
required to account for practically any degree of
permanence the biologist may encounter; for we
recall from p. 51 that thresholds varying within a
range of about 1:2 will account for lifetimes
ranging from a fraction of a second to tens of
thousands of years. But let me mention figures,
for future reference. The ratios W/kT mentioned
by way of example on p. 51, viz.
mildly; as a rule they have much more. Thus the
threshold values the chemist encounters are of
necessity precisely of the order of magnitude
required to account for practically any degree of
permanence the biologist may encounter; for we
recall from p. 51 that thresholds varying within a
range of about 1:2 will account for lifetimes
ranging from a fraction of a second to tens of
thousands of years. But let me mention figures,
for future reference. The ratios W/kT mentioned
by way of example on p. 51, viz.

W/kT = 30,50,60,

producing lifetimes of 1/10s, 16 months, 30,000
years, respectively, correspond at room
temperature with threshold values of

0.9, 1.5, 1.8

electron-volts. We must explain the unit
‘electron-volt’, which is rather convenient for the
physicist, because it can be visualized.
For highly example, the third number (1.8)
means that an electron, accelerated by a voltage
of about 2 volts, would have acquired just
sufficient energy to effect the transition by
impact. (For comparison, the battery of an
ordinary pocket flash-light has 3 volts.). These
considerations make it conceivable that an
isomeric change of configuration in some part of
our molecule is, produced by a chance
fluctuation of the vibrational energy, can actually
be a sufficiently rare event to be interpreted as a
spontaneous mutation. Thus we account, by the
very principles of quantum mechanics, for the
most amazing fact about mutations, the fact by
which they first attracted de Vrie’s attention,
namely, that they are ‘jumping’ variations of any
intermediate forms occurring.

STABILITY OF NATURALLY SELECTED
GENES

Having discovered the increase of the natural
mutation rate by any kind of ionizing rays, one
might think of attributing the natural rate to the
radio-activity of the soil and air and to cosmic
radiation. But a quantitative comparison with the
X-ray results shows that the ‘natural radiation’ is
much too weak and could account only for a
small fraction of the natural rate. Granted that we
have to account for the rare natural mutations by
chance fluctuations of the heat motion, we must
not be very much astonished that Nature has
succeeded in making such a subtle choice of
threshold values as is necessary to make
mutation rare. For we have, earlier in these
lectures, arrived at the conclusion that frequent
mutations are detrimental to evolution.

Individuals which, by mutation, acquire a gene
configuration of insufficient stability, will have
little chance of seeing their ‘ultra-radical’, rapidly
mutating descendancy survive long. The species
will be freed of them and will thus collect stable
genes by natural selection.

THE SOMETIMES LOWER STABILITY OF
MUTANTS

But, of course, as regards the mutants which
occur in our breeding experiments and which we
select, qua mutants, for studying their offspring,
there is no reason to expect that they should all
show that very high stability. For they have not
yet been ‘tried out’ -or, if they have, they have
been ‘rejected’ in -the wild breeds -possibly for
too high mutability. At any rate, we are not at all
astonished to learn that actually some of these
mutants do show a much higher mutability than
the normal ‘wild’ genes.

TEMPERATURE INFLUENCES UNSTABLE
GENES LESS THAN STABLE ONES This

enables us to test our mutability formula, which
was

t=teW/kT

(It will be remembered that t is the time of
expectation for a mutation with threshold energy
W.) We ask: How does t change with the
temperature? We easily find from the preceding
formula in good approximation the ratio of the
value of t at temperature T + 10 to that at
temperature T.

‘T+10/’T=e-10W/kT2

The exponent being now negative, the ratio is,
naturally, there smaller than I. The time of
expectation is diminished by raising the
temperature, the mutability is increased. Now
that can be tested and has been tested with the fly
Drosophila in the range of temperature which the
insects will stand. The result was, at first sight,
surprising. The low mutability of wild genes was
distinctly increased, but the comparatively high
mutability occurring with some of the already
mutated genes was not, or at any rate was much
less, increased. That is just what we expect on
comparing our two formulae. A large value of
W/kT, which according to the first formula is
required to make t large (stable gene), will,
according to the second one, make for a small
value of the ratio computed there, that is to say
for a considerable increase of mutability with
temperature. (The actual values of the ratio seem
to lie between about 1/2 and 1/5. The reciprocal,
2.5, is what in an ordinary chemical reaction we
call the van’t Hoff factor.) call the van’t Hoff factor.)

HOW X-RAYS PRODUCE MUTATION

Turning now to the X-ray-induced mutation rate,
we have already inferred from the breeding
experiments, first (from the proportionality of
mutation rate, and dosage), that some single
event produces the mutation; secondly (from
quantitative results and from the fact that the
mutation rate is determined by the integrated
ionization density and independent of the
wave-length), that this single event must be an
ionization, or similar process, which has to take
place inside a certain volume of only about 10
atomic-distances-cubed, in order to produce a
specified mutation. According to our picture, the
energy for overcoming the threshold must
obviously be furnished by that explosion-like
process, ionization or excitation. I call it
explosion-like, because the energy spent in one
ionization (spent, incidentally, not by the X-ray
itself, but by a secondary electron it produces) is
well known and has the comparatively enormous
amount of 30 electron-volts. It is bound to be
turned into enormously increased heat motion
around the point where it is discharged and to
spread from there in the form of a ‘heat wave’, a
wave of intense oscillations of the atoms. That
this heat wave should still be able to furnish the
required threshold energy of 1 or 2 electron-volts
at an average ‘range of action’ of about ten
atomic distances, is not inconceivable, though it
may well be that an unprejudiced physicist might
have anticipated a slightly lower range of action.
That in many cases the effect of the explosion
will not be an orderly isomeric transition but a
lesion of the chromosome, a lesion that becomes
lethal when, by ingenious crossings, the
uninjured partner (the corresponding
chromosome of the second set) is removed
and replaced by a partner whose corresponding
gene is known to be itself morbid -all that is
absolutely to be expected and it is exactly what is
observed.

THEIR EFFICIENCY DOES NOT DEPEND
ON SPONTANEOUS MUTABILITY

Quite a few other features are, if not predictable
from the picture, easily understood from it. For
example, an unstable mutant does not on the
average show a much higher X-ray mutation rate
than a stable one. Now, with an explosion
furnishing an energy of 30 electron-volts you
would certainly not expect that it makes a lot of
difference whether the required threshold energy

is a little larger or a little smaller, say 1 or 1.3
volts.

REVERSIBLE MUTATIONS

In some cases a transition was studied in both
directions, say from a certain ‘wild’ gene to a
specified mutant and back from that mutant to
the wild gene. In such cases the natural mutation
rate is sometimes nearly the same, sometimes
very different. At first sight one is puzzled,
because the threshold to be overcome seems to
be the same in both cases. But, of course, it need
not be, because it has to be measured from the
energy level of the starting configuration, and
that may be different for the wild and the
mutated gene. (See Fig. 12 on p. 54, where ‘I’
might refer to the wild allele, ’2′ to the mutant,
whose lower stability would be indicated by the
shorter arrow.) On the whole, I think, Delbruck’s
‘model’ stands the tests fairly well and we are
justified in using it in further considerations

CHAPTER 6

Order, Disorder and Entropy

A REMARKABLE GENERAL CONCLUSION
FROM THE MODEL

Let me refer to the phrase on p. 62, in which I
tried to explain that the molecular picture of the
gene made it at least conceivable that the
miniature code should be in one-to-one
correspondence with a highly complicated and
specified plan of development and should
somehow contain the means of putting it into
operation. Very well then, but how does it do
this? How are we going to turn ‘conceivability’
into true understanding? Delbruck’s molecular
model, in its complete generality, seems to
contain no hint as to how the hereditary
substance works, Indeed, I do not expect that any
detailed information on this question is likely to
come from physics in the near may future. The
advance is proceeding and will, I am sure,
continue to do so, from biochemistry under the
guidance of physiology and genetics. No detailed
information about the functioning of the
genetical mechanism can emerge from a
description of its structure so general as has been
given above. That is obvious. But, strangely
enough, there is just one general conclusion to be
obtained from it, and that, I confess, was my
only motive for writing this book. From
Delbruck’s general picture of the hereditary
subustance it emerges that living matter, while
not eluding the ‘laws of physics’ as established
up to date, is likely to involve ‘other laws of
physics’ hitherto unknown, which, however, once
they have been revealed, will form just as
integral a part of this science as the former.
‘other laws of
physics’ hitherto unknown, which, however, once
they have been revealed, will form just as
integral a part of this science as the former.

ORDER BASED ON ORDER

This is a rather subtle line of thought, open to
misconception in more than one respect. All the
remaining pages are concerned with making it
clear. A preliminary insight, rough but not
altogether erroneous, may be found in the
following considerations: It has been explained
in chapter 1 that the laws of physics, as we know
them, are statistical laws. They have a lot to do
with the natural tendency of things to go over
into disorder. But, to reconcile the high
durability of the hereditary substance with its
minute size, we had to evade the tendency to
disorder by ‘inventing the molecule’, in fact, an
unusually large molecule which has to be a
masterpiece of highly differentiated order,
safeguarded by the conjuring rod of quantum
theory. The laws of chance are not invalidated by
this ‘invention’, but their outcome is modified.
The physicist is familiar with the fact that the
classical laws of physics are modified by
quantum theory, especially at low
temperature. There are many instances of this.
Life seems to be one of them, a particularly
striking one. Life seems to be orderly and lawful
behaviour of matter, not based exclusively on its
tendency to go over from order to disorder, but
based partly on existing order that is kept up. To
the physicist -but only to him -I could hope to
make my view clearer by saying: The living
organism seems to be a macroscopic system
which in part of its behaviour approaches to that
purely mechanical (as contrasted with
thermodynamical) conduct to which all systems
tend, as the temperature approaches absolute
zero and the molecular disorder is removed. The
non-physicist finds it hard to believe that really
the ordinary laws of physics, which he regards as
the prototype of a part inviolable precision,
should be based on the statistical tendency of
matter to go over into disorder. I have given
examples in chapter 1. The general principle
involved is the famous Second Law of
Thermodynamics (entropy principle) and its
equally famous statistical foundation. On pp. 6974
I will try to sketch the bearing of the entropy
principle on the large-scale behaviour of a living
organism -forgetting at the moment all that is
known about chromosomes, inheritance, and so
on.

LIVING MATTER EVADES THE DECAY
TO EQUILIBRIUM

What is the characteristic feature of life? When
is a piece of matter said to be alive? When it
goes on ‘doing something’, moving, exchanging
material with its environment, and so forth, and
that for a much longer period than we would
expect of an inanimate piece of matter to ‘keep
going’ under similar circumstances. When a
system that is not alive is isolated or placed in a
uniform environment, all motion usually comes
to a standstill very soon as a result of various
kinds of friction; differences of electric or
chemical potential are equalized, substances
which tend to form a chemical compound do so,
temperature becomes uniform by heat
conduction. After that the whole system fades
away into a dead, inert lump of matter. A
permanent state is reached, in which no
observable events occur. The physicist calls this
the state of thermodynamical equilibrium, or of
‘maximum entropy’. Practically, a state of this
kind is usually reached very rapidly.
Theoretically, it is very often not yet an absolute
equilibrium, not yet the true maximum of
entropy. But then the final approach to
equilibrium is very slow. It could take anything
between hours, years, centuries,… To give an
example -one in which the approach is still fairly
rapid: if a glass filled with pure water and a
second one filled with sugared water are placed
together in a hermetically closed case at constant
temperature, it appears at first that nothing
happens, and the impression of complete
equilibrium is created. But after a day or so it is
noticed that the pure water, owing to its higher
vapour pressure, slowly evaporates and
condenses on the solution. The latter overflows.
Only after the pure water has totally evaporated
has the sugar reached its aim of being equally
distributed among all the liquid water
available. These ultimate slow approaches to
equilibrium could never be mistaken for life, and
we may disregard them here. I have referred to
them in order to clear myself of a charge
of Inaccuracy.

IT FEEDS ON ‘NEGATIVE ENTROPY’

It is by avoiding the rapid decay into the inert
state of ‘equilibrium’ that an organism appears so
enigmatic; so much so, that from the earliest
times of human thought some special
non-physical or supernatural force (vis viva,
entelechy) was claimed to be operative in the
organism, and in some quarters is still claimed.
How does the living organism avoid decay? The
obvious answer is: By eating, drinking, breathing
and (in the case of plants) assimilating. The
technical term is metabolism. The Greek word ()
means change or exchange. Exchange of what?
Originally the underlying idea is, no doubt,
exchange of material. (E.g. the German for
metabolism is Stoffwechsel.) That the exchange
of material should be the essential thing is
absurd. Any atom of nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur,
etc., is as good as any other of its kind; what
could be gained by exchanging them? For a
while in the past our curiosity was silenced by
being told that we feed upon energy. In some
very advanced country (I don’t remember
whether it was Germany or the U.S.A. or both)
you could find menu cards in restaurants
indicating, in addition to the price, the energy
content of every dish. Needless to say, taken
literally, this is just as absurd. For an adult
organism the energy content is as stationary as
the material content. Since, surely, any calorie is
worth as much as any other calorie, one cannot
see how a mere exchange could help. What then
is that precious something contained in our food
which keeps us from death? That is easily
answered. Every process, event, happening -call
it what you will; in a word, everything that is
going on in Nature means an increase of the
entropy of the part of the world where it is going
on. Thus a living organism continually increases
its entropy -or, as you may say, produces
positive entropy -and thus tends to approach the
dangerous state of maximum entropy, which
is of death. It can only keep aloof from it, i.e.
alive, by continually drawing from its
environment negative entropy -which is
something very positive as we shall immediately
see. What an organism feeds upon is negative
entropy. Or, to put it less paradoxically, the
essential thing in metabolism is that the
organism succeeds in freeing itself from all the
entropy it cannot help producing while alive.
s: By eating, drinking, breathing
and (in the case of plants) assimilating. The
technical term is metabolism. The Greek word ()
means change or exchange. Exchange of what?
Originally the underlying idea is, no doubt,
exchange of material. (E.g. the German for
metabolism is Stoffwechsel.) That the exchange
of material should be the essential thing is
absurd. Any atom of nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur,
etc., is as good as any other of its kind; what
could be gained by exchanging them? For a
while in the past our curiosity was silenced by
being told that we feed upon energy. In some
very advanced country (I don’t remember
whether it was Germany or the U.S.A. or both)
you could find menu cards in restaurants
indicating, in addition to the price, the energy
content of every dish. Needless to say, taken
literally, this is just as absurd. For an adult
organism the energy content is as stationary as
the material content. Since, surely, any calorie is
worth as much as any other calorie, one cannot
see how a mere exchange could help. What then
is that precious something contained in our food
which keeps us from death? That is easily
answered. Every process, event, happening -call
it what you will; in a word, everything that is
going on in Nature means an increase of the
entropy of the part of the world where it is going
on. Thus a living organism continually increases
its entropy -or, as you may say, produces
positive entropy -and thus tends to approach the
dangerous state of maximum entropy, which
is of death. It can only keep aloof from it, i.e.
alive, by continually drawing from its
environment negative entropy -which is
something very positive as we shall immediately
see. What an organism feeds upon is negative
entropy. Or, to put it less paradoxically, the
essential thing in metabolism is that the
organism succeeds in freeing itself from all the
entropy it cannot help producing while alive.

WHAT IS ENTROPY?

Let me first emphasize that it is not a hazy
concept or idea, but a measurable physical
quantity just like of the length of a rod, the
temperature at any point of a body, the heat of
fusion of a given crystal or the specific heat of
any given substance. At the absolute zero point
of temperature (roughly -273°C) the entropy of
any substance is zero. When you bring the
substance into any other state by slow, reversible
little steps (even if thereby the substance changes
its physical or chemical nature or splits up into
two or more parts be of different physical or
chemical nature) the entropy increases by an
amount which is computed by dividing every
little portion of heat you had to supply in that
procedure by the absolute temperature at which it
was supplied -and by summing up all these small
contributions. To give an example, when you
melt a solid, its entropy increases by the amount
of the heat of fusion divided by the temperature
at the more melting-point. You see from this,
that the unit in which entropy is measured is
cal./C (just as the calorie is the unit of heat or the
centimetre the unit of length).

THE STATISTICAL MEANING OF
ENTROPY

I have mentioned this technical definition simply
in order to remove entropy from the atmosphere
of hazy mystery that frequently veils it. Much
more important for us here is the bearing on the
statistical concept of order and disorder, a
connection that was revealed by the
investigations of Boltzmann and Gibbs in
statistical physics. This too is an exact
quantitative connection, and is expressed by
entropy = k log D,
where k is the so-called Boltzmann constant ( =
3.2983 . 10-24 cal./C), and D a quantitative
measure of the atomistic disorder of the body in
question. To give an exact explanation of this
quantity D in brief non-technical terms is
well-nigh impossible. The disorder it indicates is
partly that of heat motion, partly that which
consists in different kinds of atoms or molecules
being mixed at random, instead of being neatly
separated, e.g. the sugar and water molecules in
the example quoted above. Boltzmann’s equation
is well illustrated by that example. The gradual
‘spreading out’ of the sugar over all the water
available increases the disorder D, and hence
(since the logarithm of D increases with D) the
entropy. It is also pretty clear that any supply of
heat increases the turmoil of heat motion, that is
to say, increases D and thus increases the
entropy; it is particularly clear that this should be
so when you melt a crystal, since you thereby
destroy the neat and permanent arrangement of
the atoms or molecules and turn the crystal
lattice into a continually changing random
distribution. An isolated system or a system in a
uniform environment (which for the present
consideration we do best to include as the part of
the system we contemplate) increases its entropy
and more or less rapidly approaches the inert
state of maximum entropy. We now recognize
this fundamental law of physics to be just the
natural tendency of things to approach the
chaotic state (the same tendency that the books
of a library or the piles of papers and
manuscripts on a writing desk display) unless we
obviate it. (The analogue of irregular heat
motion, in this case, is our handling those objects
now and again to without troubling to put them
back in their proper places.
state (the same tendency that the books
of a library or the piles of papers and
manuscripts on a writing desk display) unless we
obviate it. (The analogue of irregular heat
motion, in this case, is our handling those objects
now and again to without troubling to put them
back in their proper places.

ORGANIZATION MAINTAINED BY
EXTRACTING ‘ORDER’ FROM THE
ENVIRONMENT

How would we express in terms of the statistical
theory the marvellous faculty of a living
organism, by which it delays the decay into
thermodynamical equilibrium (death)? We said
before: ‘It feeds upon negative entropy’,
attracting, as it were, a stream of negative
entropy upon itself, to compensate the entropy
increase it produces by living and thus to
maintain itself on a stationary and fairly low
entropy level. If D is a measure of disorder, its
reciprocal, l/D, can be regarded as a direct
measure of order. Since the logarithm of l/D is
just minus the logarithm of D, we can write
Boltzmann’s equation thus:

-(entropy) = k log (l/D).

Hence the awkward expression ‘negative entropy’
can be he replaced by a better one: entropy,
taken with the negative sign, is itself a measure
of order. Thus the device by which an organism
maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of
he orderliness ( = fairly low level of entropy)
really consists continually sucking orderliness
from its environment. This conclusion is less
paradoxical than it appears at first sight. Rather
could it be blamed for triviality. Indeed, in the
case of higher animals we know the kind of
orderliness they feed upon well enough, viz. the
extremely well-ordered state of matter in more or
less complicated organic compounds, which
serve them as foodstuffs. After utilizing it they
return it in a very much degraded form -not
entirely degraded, however, for plants can still
make use of it. (These, of course, have their most
power supply of ‘negative entropy’ the sunlight)

NOTE TO CHAPTER 6

The remarks on negative entropy have met with
doubt and Opposition from physicist colleagues.
Let me say first, that if I had been law catering
for them alone I should have let the discussion
turn on free energy instead. It is the more
familiar notion in this context. But this highly
technical term seemed linguistically too near to
energy for making the average reader alive to the
contrast between the two things. He is likely to
take free as more or less an epitheton
ornans without much relevance, while actually
the concept is a rather intricate one, whose
relation to Boltzmann’s order-disorder principle
is less easy to trace than for entropy and ‘entropy
taken with a negative sign’, which by the way is
not my invention. It happens to be precisely the
thing on which Boltzmann’s original
argument turned. But F. Simon has very
pertinently pointed out to me that my simple
thermodynamical considerations cannot account
for our having to feed on matter ‘in the extremely
well ordered state of more or less complicated
organic compounds’ rather than on charcoal or
diamond pulp. He is right. But to the lay reader I
must explain that a piece of un-burnt coal or
diamond, together with the amount of oxygen
needed for its combustion, is also in an
extremely well ordered state, as the physicist
understands it. Witness to this: if you allow the
reaction, the burning of the coal, to take place, a
great amount of heat is produced. By giving it
off to the surroundings, the system disposes of
the very considerable entropy increase entailed
by the reaction, and reaches a state in which it
has, in point of fact, roughly the same entropy as
before. Yet we could not feed on the carbon
dioxide that results from the reaction. And so
Simon is quite right in pointing out to me, as he
did, that actually the energy content of our food
does matter; so my mocking at the menu cards
that indicate it was out of place. Energy is
needed to replace not only the mechanical energy
of our bodily exertions, but also the heat we
continually give off to the environment. And that
we give off heat is not accidental, but essential.
For this is precisely the manner in which we
dispose of the surplus entropy we continually
produce in our physical life process. This seems
to suggest that the higher temperature of the
warm-blooded animal includes the advantage of
enabling it to get rid of its entropy at a quicker
rate, so that it can afford a more intense life
process. I am not sure how much truth there is in
this argument (for which I am responsible, not
Simon). One may hold against it, that on the
other hand many warm-blooders are protected
against the rapid loss of heat by coats of fur or
feathers. So the parallelism between body
temperature and ‘intensity of life’, which I
believe to exist, may have to be accounted for
more directly by van’t Hoff’s law, mentioned on

p. 65: the higher temperature itself speeds up the
chemical reactions involved in living. (That it
actually does, has been confirmed

experimentally in species which take the
temperature of the surroundings.).
h take the
temperature of the surroundings.).

CHAPTER 7

Is Life Based on the Laws of Physics?

NEW LAWS TO BE EXPECTED IN THE
ORGANISM

What I wish to make clear in this last chapter is,
in short, that from all we have learnt about the
structure of living matter, we must be prepared to
find it working in a manner that cannot be
reduced to the ordinary laws of physics. And that
not on the ground that there is any ‘new force’ or
what not, directing the behaviour of the single
atoms within a living organism, but because the
construction is different from a anything we have
yet tested in the physical laboratory. To put it
crudely, an engineer, familiar with heat engines
only, will, after inspecting the construction of an
electric motor, be prepared to find it working
along principles which he does not yet
understand. He finds the copper familiar to him
in kettles used here in the form of long, wires
wound in coils; the iron familiar to him in levers
and bars and steam cylinders here filling the
interior of those coils of copper wire. He will be
convinced that it is the same copper and the same
iron, subject to the same laws of Nature, and he
is right in that. The difference in construction is
enough to prepare him for an entirely different
way of functioning. He will not suspect that an
electric motor is driven by a ghost because it is
set spinning by the turn of a switch, without
boiler and steam. If a man never contradicts
himself, the reason must be that he virtually
never says anything at all.

REVIEWING THE BIOLOGICAL
SITUATION

The unfolding of events in the life cycle of an
organism exhibits an admirable regularity and
orderliness, unrivalled by anything we meet with
in inanimate matter. We find it controlled by a
supremely well-ordered group of atoms, which
represent only a very small fraction of the sum
total in every cell. Moreover, from the view we
have formed of the mechanism of mutation we
conclude that the dislocation of just a few atoms
within the group of ‘governing atoms’ of the
germ cell suffices to bring about a well-defined
change in the large-scale hereditary
characteristics of the organism. These facts are
easily the most interesting that science has
revealed in our day. We may be inclined to find
them, after all, not wholly unacceptable. An
organism’s astonishing gift of concentrating a
‘stream of order’ on itself and thus escaping that
the decay into atomic chaos -of ‘drinking
orderliness’ from a suitable environment -seems
to be connected with the presence of the
‘aperiodic solids’, the chromosome molecules,
which doubtless represent the highest degree of
well-ordered atomic association we know of much
higher than the ordinary periodic crystal in
virtue of the individual role every atom and
every radical is playing here. To put it briefly,
we witness the event that existing order displays
the power of maintaining itself and of producing
orderly events. That sounds plausible enough,
though in finding it plausible we, no doubt, draw
on experience concerning social organization and
other events which involve the activity of
organisms. And so it might seem that
something like a vicious circle is implied.

SUMMARIZING THE PHYSICAL
SITUATION

However that may be, the point to emphasize
again and again is that to the physicist the state
of affairs is not only not plausible but most
exciting, because it is unprecedented. Contrary to
the common belief the regular course of events,
governed by the laws of physics, is never the
consequence one well-ordered configuration of
atoms -not unless that configuration of atoms
repeats itself a great number of times, either as in
the periodic crystal or as in a liquid or in a gas
composed of a great number of identical
molecules. Even when the chemist handles a
very complicated molecule in vitro he is always
faced with an enormous number of like
molecules. To them his laws apply. He might tell
you, for example, that one minute after he has
started some particular reaction half of the
molecules will have reacted, and after a second
minute three-quarters of them will have done so.
But whether any particular molecule, supposing
you could follow, its course, will be among those
which have reacted or among those which are
still untouched, he could not predict. That is a
matter of pure chance. This is not a purely
theoretical conjecture. It is not that we can never
observe the fate of a single small group of atoms
or even of a single atom. We can, occasionally.
But whenever we do, we find complete
irregularity, co-operating to produce regularity
only on the average. We have dealt with an
example in chapter 1. The Brownian movement
of a small particle suspended in a liquid is
completely irregular. But if there are many
similar particles, they will by their irregular
movement give rise to the regular phenomenon
of diffusion. The disintegration of a single
radioactive atom is observable (it emits a
projectile which causes a visible scintillation on
a fluorescent screen). But if you are given a
single radioactive atom, its probable lifetime is
much less certain than that of a healthy sparrow.
Indeed, nothing more can be said about it than
this: as long as it lives (and that may be for
thousands of years) the chance of its blowing up
within the next second, whether large or small,
remains the same. This patent lack of individual
determination nevertheless results in the exact
exponential law of decay of a large number of
radioactive atoms of the same kind.
of diffusion. The disintegration of a single
radioactive atom is observable (it emits a
projectile which causes a visible scintillation on
a fluorescent screen). But if you are given a
single radioactive atom, its probable lifetime is
much less certain than that of a healthy sparrow.
Indeed, nothing more can be said about it than
this: as long as it lives (and that may be for
thousands of years) the chance of its blowing up
within the next second, whether large or small,
remains the same. This patent lack of individual
determination nevertheless results in the exact
exponential law of decay of a large number of
radioactive atoms of the same kind.

THE STRIKING CONTRAST

In biology we are faced with an entirely different
situation. A single group of atoms existing only
in one copy produces orderly events,
marvellously tuned in with each other and us
number of with the environment according to
most subtle laws. I said existing only in one
copy, for after all we have the example of the
egg and of the unicellular organism. In the
following stages of a higher organism the copies
are multiplied, that is true. But to what extent?
Something like 1014 in a grown mammal, I
understand. What is that! Only a millionth of the
number of molecules in one cubic inch of air.
Though comparatively bulky, by coalescing they
would form but a tiny drop of liquid. And look at
the way they are actually distributed. Every cell
harbours just one of them (or two, if we bear in
mind diploidy). Since we know the power this
tiny central office has in the isolated cell, do they
not resemble stations of local government
dispersed through the body, communicating with
each other with great ease, thanks to the code
that is common to all of them? Well, this is a
fantastic description, perhaps less becoming a
scientist than a poet. However, it needs no
poetical imagination but only clear and sober
scientific reflection to recognize that we are here
obviously faced with events whose regular and
lawful unfolding is guided by a ‘mechanism’
entirely different from the ‘probability
mechanism’ of physics. For it is simply a fact of
observation that the guiding principle in every
cell is embodied in a single atomic association
existing only one copy (or sometimes two) -and
a fact of observation that it may results in
producing events which are a paragon of
orderliness. Whether we find it astonishing or
whether we find it quite plausible that a small
but highly organized group of atoms be capable
of acting in this manner, the situation is
unprecedented, it is unknown anywhere else
except in living matter. The physicist and the
chemist, investigating inanimate matter, have
never witnessed phenomena which they had to
interpret in this way. The case did not arise and
so our theory does not cover it -our beautiful
statistical theory of which we were so justly
proud because it allowed us to look behind the
curtain, to watch the magnificent order of exact
physical law coming forth from atomic and
molecular disorder; because it revealed that the
most important, the most general, the
all-embracing law of entropy could be
understood without a special assumption ad hoc,
for it is nothing but molecular disorder itself.

TWO WAYS OF PRODUCING
ORDERLINESS

The orderliness encountered in the unfolding of
life springs from a different source. It appears
that there are two different ‘mechanisms’ by
which orderly events can be produced: the
‘statistical mechanism’ which produces
order from disorder and the new one, producing
order from order. To the unprejudiced mind the
second principle appears to be much simpler,
much more plausible. No a doubt it is. That is
why physicists were so proud to have fallen in
with the other one, the ‘order-from-disorder’
principle, which is actually followed in Nature
and which alone conveys an understanding of the
great line of natural events, in the first place of
their irreversibility. But we cannot expect that
the ‘laws of physics’ derived from it suffice
straightaway to explain the behaviour of
living matter, whose most striking features are
visibly based to a large extent on the ‘order-fromorder’
principle. You would not expect two
entirely different mechanisms to bring about the
same type of law -you would not expect your
latch-key, to open your neighbour’s door as well.
We must therefore not be discouraged by the
difficulty of interpreting life by the ordinary laws
of physics. For that is just what is to be expected
from the knowledge we have gained of the
structure of living matter. We must be prepared
to find a new type of physical law prevailing in
it. Or are we to term it a non-physical, not to say
a super-physical, law?

THE NEW PRINCIPLE IS NOT ALIEN TO
PHYSICS

No. I do not think that. For the new principle that
is involved is a genuinely physical one: it is, in
my opinion, nothing else than the principle of
quantum theory over again. To explain this, we
have to go to some length, including a
refinement, not to say an amendment, of the
assertion previously made, namely, that all
physical laws are based on statistics. This
assertion, made again and again, could not fail
to arouse contradiction. For, indeed, there are
phenomena whose conspicuous features are
visibly based directly on the ‘order-from-order’
principle and appear to have nothing to do with
statistics or molecular disorder. The order of the
solar system, the motion of the planets, is
maintained for an almost indefinite time. The
constellation of principle this moment is directly
connected with the constellation at any particular
moment in the times of the Pyramids; it can
be traced back to it, or vice versa. Historical
eclipses have been calculated and have been
found in close agreement with historical records
or have even in some cases served to correct the
accepted chronology. These calculations do not
imply any statistics, they are based solely on
Newton’s law of universal attraction. Nor does
the regular motion of a good clock or any similar
mechanism appear to have anything to do with
statistics. In short, all purely mechanical events
seem to follow distinctly and directly
the ‘orderhave to go to some length, including a
refinement, not to say an amendment, of the
assertion previously made, namely, that all
physical laws are based on statistics. This
assertion, made again and again, could not fail
to arouse contradiction. For, indeed, there are
phenomena whose conspicuous features are
visibly based directly on the ‘order-from-order’
principle and appear to have nothing to do with
statistics or molecular disorder. The order of the
solar system, the motion of the planets, is
maintained for an almost indefinite time. The
constellation of principle this moment is directly
connected with the constellation at any particular
moment in the times of the Pyramids; it can
be traced back to it, or vice versa. Historical
eclipses have been calculated and have been
found in close agreement with historical records
or have even in some cases served to correct the
accepted chronology. These calculations do not
imply any statistics, they are based solely on
Newton’s law of universal attraction. Nor does
the regular motion of a good clock or any similar
mechanism appear to have anything to do with
statistics. In short, all purely mechanical events
seem to follow distinctly and directly the ‘orderfrom-
order’ principle. And if we say
‘mechanical’, the term must be taken in a wide
sense. A very useful kind of clock is, as you
know, based on the regular transmission of
electric pulses from the power station. I
remember an interesting little paper by Max
Planck on we have the topic ‘The Dynamical and
the Statistical Type of Law’ (‘Dynamische und
Statistische Gesetzmassigkeit’). The distinction is
precisely the one we have here labelled as ‘order
from order’ and ‘order from disorder’. The object
of that paper was to show how the interesting
statistical type of law, controlling large-scale
events, is constituted from the dynamical laws
supposed to govern the small-scale events, the
interaction of the single atoms and molecules.
The latter type is illustrated by large-scale
mechanical phenomena, as the motion of the
planets or of a clock, etc. Thus it would appear
that the ‘new’ principle, the order-from-order
principle, to which we have pointed with great
solemnity as being the real clue to the
understanding of life, is not at all new to physics.
Planck’s attitude even vindicates priority for it.
We seem to arrive at the ridiculous conclusion
that the clue to the understanding of life is that it
is based on a pure mechanism, a ‘clock-work’ in
the sense of Planck’s paper, The conclusion is
not ridiculous and is, in my opinion, not entirely
wrong, but it has to be taken ‘with a very big
grain of salt’.

THE MOTION OF A CLOCK

Let us analyse the motion of a real clock
accurately. It is not at all a purely mechanical
phenomenon. A purely mechanical clock would
need no spring, no winding. Once set in motion,
it would go on forever. A real clock without a
spring stops after a few beats of the pendulum,
its mechanical energy is turned into heat. This is
an infinitely complicated atomistic process. The
general picture the physicist forms of it compels
him to admit that the inverse process is not
entirely impossible: a springless clock might
suddenly begin to move, at the expense of the
heat energy of its own cog wheels and of the
environment. The physicist would have to say:
The clock experiences an exceptionally in tense
fit of Brownian movement. We have seen in
chapter 2 (p. 16) that with a very sensitive
torsional balance (electrometer or galvanometer)
that sort of thing happens all the time. In the case
of a clock it is, of course, infinitely unlikely.
Whether the motion of a clock is to be assigned
to the dynamical or to the statistical type of
lawful events (to use Planck’s expressions)
depends on our attitude. In calling it a dynamical
phenomenon we fix attention on the regular
going that can be secured by a comparatively
weak spring, which overcomes the small
disturbances by heat motion, so that we may
disregard them. But if we remember that without
a spring the clock is gradually slowed down by
friction, we find that this process can only be
understood as a statistical phenomenon.
However insignificant the frictional and heating
effects in a clock may be from the practical point
of view, there can be no doubt that the second
attitude, which does not neglect them, is the
more fundamental one, even when we are faced
with the based on a regular motion of a clock
that is driven by a spring. For it must not be
believed that the driving mechanism really does
away with the statistical nature of the process.
The true physical picture includes the possibility
that even a regularly going clock should all at
once invert its motion and, working backward,
rewind its own spring -at the expense of the heat
of the environment. The event is just a little less
likely than a ‘Brownian fit’ of a clock without
driving mechanism.

CLOCKWORK AFTER ALL STATISTICAL
Let us now review the situation. The ‘simple’

case we have analysed is representative of many
others -in fact of all such appear to evade the
all-embracing principle of molecular statistics.
Clockworks made of real physical matter (in
contrast to imagination) are not true ‘clockothers -in fact of all such appear to evade the
all-embracing principle of molecular statistics.
Clockworks made of real physical matter (in
contrast to imagination) are not true ‘clockworks’.
The element of chance may be more or
less reduced, the likelihood of the clock suddenly
going altogether wrong may be infinitesimal, but
it always remains in the background. Even in the
motion of the celestial bodies irreversible
frictional and thermal torsional influences are not
wanting. Thus the rotation of the earth is slowly
diminished by tidal friction, and along with
this of course, reduction the moon gradually
recedes from the earth, which would not happen
if the earth were a completely rigid
rotating sphere. Nevertheless the fact remains
that ‘physical clock-works’ visibly display very
prominent ‘order-from-order’ features -the type
that aroused the physicist’s excitement when he
encountered them in the organism. It seems
likely that the two cases have after all something
in common. It remains to be seen what this is
and what is the striking difference which makes
case of the organism after all novel and
unprecedented.

NERNST’S THEOREM
When does a physical system -any kind of
association atoms -display ‘dynamical law’ (in
Planck’s meaning) ‘clock-work features’?
Quantum theory has a very short answer to this
question, viz. at the absolute zero of temperature.
As zero temperature is approached the molecular
disorder ceases to have any bearing on physical
events. This fact was, by the way, not discovered
by theory, but by carefully investigating
chemical reactions over a wide range of
temperatures and extrapolating the results to zero
temperature -which cannot actually be reached.
This is Walther Nernst’s famous ‘Heat Theorem’,
which is sometimes, and not unduly, given the
proud name of the ‘Third Law of
Thermodynamics’ (the first being the energy
principle, the second the entropy principle).
Quantum theory provides the rational foundation
of Nernst’s empirical law, and also enables us to
estimate how closely a system must approach to
the absolute zero in order to display an
approximately ‘dynamical’ behaviour. What
temperature is in any particular case already
practically equivalent to zero? Now you must not
believe that this always has to be a very low
temperature. Indeed, Nernst’s discovery was
induced by the fact that even at room
temperature entropy plays a astonishingly

insignificant role in many chemical reactions
(Let me recall that entropy is a direct measure of
molecular disorder, viz. its logarithm.).

THE PENDULUM CLOCK IS VIRTUALLY
AT ZERO TEMPERATURE
What about a pendulum clock? For a pendulum
clock room temperature is practically equivalent
to zero. That is the reason why it works
‘dynamically’. It will continue to work as it does
if you cool it (provided that you have removed
all traces of oil!). But it does not continue to
work if you heat it above room temperature, for
it will eventually melt.

THE RELATION BETWEEN CLOCKWORK
AND ORGANISM .
That seems very trivial but it does, I think, hit the
cardinal point. Clockworks are capable of
functioning ‘dynamically’, because they are built
of solids, which are kept in shape by London-
Heider forces, strong enough to elude the
disorderly tendency of heat motion at ordinary
temperature. Now, I think, few words more are
needed to disclose the point of resemblance
between a clockwork and an organism. It is
simply and solely that the latter also hinges upon
a solid –the aperiodic crystal forming the
hereditary substance, largely withdrawn from the
disorder of heat motion. But please do not accuse
me of calling the chromosome fibres just the
‘cogs of the organic machine’ -at least not
without a reference to the profound physical
theories on which the simile is based. For,
indeed, it needs still less rhetoric to recall the
fundamental difference between the two and to
justify the epithets novel and unprecedented in
the biological case. The most striking features
are: first, the curious distribution of the cogs in a
many-celled organism, for which I may refer to a
very the somewhat poetical description on p. 79;
and secondly, by fact that the single cog is not of
coarse human make, but is the finest masterpiece
ever achieved along the lines of the Lord’s
quantum mechanics.

Epilogue

On Determinism and Free Will
As a reward for the serious trouble I have taken
to expound the purely scientific aspects of our
problem sine ira et studio, I beg leave to add my
own, necessarily subjective, view of the
philosophical implications. According to the
evidence put forward in the preceding pages the
space-time events in the body of a living being
which correspond to the activity of its mind, to

its self conscious or any other actions, are
(considering also their complex structure and the
accepted statistical explanation of
physico-chemistry) if not strictly deterministic at
any rate statistico-deterministic. To the physicist
I wish to emphasize that in my opinion, and
contrary to the opinion upheld in some quarters,
quantum indeterminacy plays no biologically
relevant role in them, except perhaps by
enhancing their purely accidental character in
such events as meiosis, natural and X-ray(considering also their complex structure and the
accepted statistical explanation of
physico-chemistry) if not strictly deterministic at
any rate statistico-deterministic. To the physicist
I wish to emphasize that in my opinion, and
contrary to the opinion upheld in some quarters,
quantum indeterminacy plays no biologically
relevant role in them, except perhaps by
enhancing their purely accidental character in
such events as meiosis, natural and X-rayinduced
mutation and so on -and this is in any
case obvious and well recognized. For the sake
of argument, let me regard this as a fact, as I
believe every unbiased biologist would, if there
were not the well-known, unpleasant feeling
about ‘declaring oneself to be a pure mechanism’.
For it is deemed to contradict Free Will as in
warranted by direct introspection. But immediate
experiences in themselves, however various and
disparate they be, are logically incapable of
contradicting each other. So let us see whether
we cannot draw the correct, non-contradictory
conclusion from the following two premises: (i)
My body functions as a pure mechanism
according to the Laws of Nature. (ii) Yet I know,
by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am
directing its motions, of which I foresee the
effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in
which case I feel and take full responsibility for
them. The only possible inference from these
two facts is, I think, that I –I in the widest
meaning of the word, that is to say, every
conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I’ -am
the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of
the atoms’ according to the Laws of
Nature. Within a cultural milieu (Kulturkreis)
where certain conceptions (which once had or
still have a wider meaning amongst other
peoples) have been limited and specialized, it is
daring to give to this conclusion the simple
wording that it requires. In Christian terminology
to say: ‘Hence I am God Almighty’ sounds both
blasphemous and lunatic. But please disregard
these connotations for the moment and consider
whether the above inference is not the closest a
biologist can get to proving also their God and
immortality at one stroke. In itself, the insight is
not new. The earliest records to my knowledge
date back some 2,500 years or more. From the
early great Upanishads the recognition
ATHMAN = BRAHMAN upheld in (the
personal self equals the omnipresent,
all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian
thought considered, far from being blasphemous,
to represent the quintessence of deepest insight

into the happenings of the world. The striving of
all the scholars of Vedanta was, after having
learnt to pronounce with their lips, really to
assimilate in their minds this grandest of all
thoughts. Again, the mystics of many centuries,
independently, yet in perfect harmony with each
other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal
gas) have described, each of them, the
unique experience of his or her life in terms that
can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS
SUM (I have become God). To Western
ideology the thought has remained a stranger, in
spite of Schopenhauer and others who stood for
it and in spite of those true lovers who, as they
look into each other’s eyes, become aware that
their thought and their joy are numerically one not
merely similar or identical; but they, as a
rule, are emotionally too busy to indulge in clear
thinking, which respect they very much resemble
the mystic. Allow me a few further comments.
Consciousness is never experienced in the plural,
only in the singular. Even in the pathological
cases of split consciousness or double
personality the two persons alternate, they are
never manifest simultaneously. In a dream we do
perform several characters at the same time, but
not indiscriminately: we are one of them; in
him we act and speak directly, while we often
eagerly await answer or response of another
person, unaware of the fact that it is we who
control his movements and his speech just as
much as our own. How does the idea of plurality
(so emphatically opposed by the Upanishad
writers) arise at all? Consciousness finds itself
intimately connected with, and dependent on, the
physical state of a limited region of matter, the
body. (Consider the changes of mind during the
development of the body, at puberty, ageing,
dotage, etc., or consider the effects of fever
intoxication, narcosis, lesion of the brain and so
on.) Now there is a great plurality of similar
bodies. Hence the pluralization of
consciousnesses or minds seems a very
suggestive hypothesis. Probably all simple,
ingenuous people, as well as the great majority
of Western philosophers, have accepted it. It
leads almost immediately to the invention of
souls, as many as there are bodies, and to the
question whether they are mortal as the body is
or whether they are immortal and capable of
existing by themselves. The former alternative is
distasteful while the latter frankly forgets,
ignores or disowns the fact upon which the
plurality hypothesis rests. Much sillier questions
have been asked: Do animals also have souls? It
has even been questioned whether women, or

only men, have souls. Such consequences, even
if only tentative, must make us suspicious of the
plurality hypothesis, which is common to all
official Western creeds. Are we not inclining to
much greater nonsense, if in discarding their
gross superstitions we retain their naive idea of
plurality of souls, but ‘remedy’ it by declaring the
souls to be perishable, to be annihilated with the
respective bodies? The only possible alternative
is simply to keep to the immediate experience
that consciousness is a singular of less is never
which the plural is unknown; that there is only
one thing and Even in the that what seems to be
a plurality is merely a series of different
personality aspects of this one thing, produced
by a deception (the Indian MAJA); the same
illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors, and
in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest
turned out to be the same peak seen from
different valleys. There are, of course, elaborate
ghost-stories fixed in our minds to hamper our
acceptance of such simple recognition. E.g. it has
been said that there is a tree there outside
my window but I do not really see the tree. By
some cunning device of which only the initial,
relatively simple steps are itself explored, the
real tree throws an image of itself into my the
physical consciousness, and that is what I
perceive. If you stand by my side and look at the
same tree, the latter manages to throw an image
into your soul as well. I see my tree and you see
yours (remarkably like mine), and what the tree
in itself is we do not know. For this extravagance
Kant is responsible. In the order of ideas which
regards consciousness as a singulare tanturn it is
conveniently replaced by the statement that there
is obviously only one tree and all the image
business is a ghost-story. Yet each of us has the
indisputable impression that the sum total of his
own experience and memory forms a unit, quite
distinct from that of any other person. He refers
to it as ‘I’ and What is this ‘I’? If you analyse it
closely you will, I think, find that it is just the
facts little more than a collection of single data
(experiences and memories), namely the canvas
upon which they are collected. And you will, on
close introspection, find that what you really
mean by ‘I’ is that ground-stuff upon which they
are collected. You may come to a distant
country, lose sight of all your friends, may all
but forget them; you acquire new friends, you
share life with them as intensely as you ever did
with your old ones. Less and less important will
become the fact that, while living your new life,
you still recollect the old one. “The youth that
was I’, you may come to speak of him in the third
Such consequences, even
if only tentative, must make us suspicious of the
plurality hypothesis, which is common to all
official Western creeds. Are we not inclining to
much greater nonsense, if in discarding their
gross superstitions we retain their naive idea of
plurality of souls, but ‘remedy’ it by declaring the
souls to be perishable, to be annihilated with the
respective bodies? The only possible alternative
is simply to keep to the immediate experience
that consciousness is a singular of less is never
which the plural is unknown; that there is only
one thing and Even in the that what seems to be
a plurality is merely a series of different
personality aspects of this one thing, produced
by a deception (the Indian MAJA); the same
illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors, and
in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt Everest
turned out to be the same peak seen from
different valleys. There are, of course, elaborate
ghost-stories fixed in our minds to hamper our
acceptance of such simple recognition. E.g. it has
been said that there is a tree there outside
my window but I do not really see the tree. By
some cunning device of which only the initial,
relatively simple steps are itself explored, the
real tree throws an image of itself into my the
physical consciousness, and that is what I
perceive. If you stand by my side and look at the
same tree, the latter manages to throw an image
into your soul as well. I see my tree and you see
yours (remarkably like mine), and what the tree
in itself is we do not know. For this extravagance
Kant is responsible. In the order of ideas which
regards consciousness as a singulare tanturn it is
conveniently replaced by the statement that there
is obviously only one tree and all the image
business is a ghost-story. Yet each of us has the
indisputable impression that the sum total of his
own experience and memory forms a unit, quite
distinct from that of any other person. He refers
to it as ‘I’ and What is this ‘I’? If you analyse it
closely you will, I think, find that it is just the
facts little more than a collection of single data
(experiences and memories), namely the canvas
upon which they are collected. And you will, on
close introspection, find that what you really
mean by ‘I’ is that ground-stuff upon which they
are collected. You may come to a distant
country, lose sight of all your friends, may all
but forget them; you acquire new friends, you
share life with them as intensely as you ever did
with your old ones. Less and less important will
become the fact that, while living your new life,
you still recollect the old one. “The youth that
was I’, you may come to speak of him in the third
person, indeed the protagonist of the novel you
are reading is probably nearer to your heart,
certainly more intensely alive and better known
to you. Yet there has been no intermediate break,
no death. And even if a skilled hypnotist
succeeded in blotting out entirely all your earlier
reminiscences, you would not find that he had
killed you. In no case is there a loss of personal
existence to deplore. Nor will there ever be.


Ragas for The Late Evening

Rag M3

 

Rendition:

 

 

Rag M4

 

 


شهاب الدين يحيى السهروردي

a1

click image to read on….

 

شهاب الدين يحيى السهروردي

 

“There was among the ancient Persians a community of people guided by God who thus walked the true way, worthy Sage-Philosophers, with no resembelence to the Magi (Dualists). It is their precious philosophy of Light, the same as that to which the mystical experience of Plato and his predecessors bear witness, that we have revived in our book called Oriental Theosophy (Hikmat al-’Ishraq), and I have had no precursor in the way of such project.”

هذه نسخة متحقق منها من هذه الصفحةعرض/إخفاء التفاصيل
هذه النسخة المستقرة، فحصت في 19 ديسمبر 2013. ثمة 3 تعديلات معلقة بانتظار المراجعة.

الدقة    منظورة
اذهب إلى: تصفح، ‏ ابحث

أبو الفتوح يحيى بن حبش بن أميرك السهروردي ويلقب بـ “شهاب الدين”، واشتهر بالشيخ المقتول تمييزاً له عن صوفيين آخرين هما: شهاب الدين أبو حفص عمر السهروردي (632هـ)، مؤلف كتاب «عوارف المعارف» في التصوف، وصاحب الطريقة السهروردية، أما الآخر فهو أبو النجيب السهروردي (ت:563هـ).

وأبو الفتوح فيلسوف إشراقي، شافعي المذهب، ولد في سهرورد الواقعة شمال غربي إيران، وقرأ كتب الدين والحكمة ونشأ في مراغة وسافر إلى حلب وبغداد , حيث كان مقتله بأمر صلاح الدين بعد أن نسب البعض إليه الفساد المعتقد ولتوهم صلاح الدين أن السهروردي يفتن ابنه بالكفر والخروج عن الدين وكان مقتله ب قلعة حلب سنة 586 هـ،[1][2] مع أنه كان من كبار المتصوفة في زمانه ومن أفقه علماء عصره بأمور الدين والفلسفة والمنطق والحكمة ويسمي مذهبه الذي عرف به “حكمة الإشراق” وله كتاب بهذا الاسم. ومن كتبه أيضا رسائل في اعتقادات الحكماء وهياكل النور.

يعد مؤسسا للفكر الفلسفي الإشراقي، الذي يدعو إلى الوصول للمعرفة عن طريق الذوق والكشف الروحاني، بخلاف التوجه الفلسفي العام والمستدل بالتقصي والتحليل البرهاني، جمع بين عدة توجهات فلسفية من اليونان ومصر وغيرها كنماذج فلسفية لتوضيح الفلسفة الإشراقية، أكبر من دعى إلى التأمل الروحاني من بين الفلاسفة المسلمين كما عرف عنه بعدم الاقتناع بالمصادر بل بأسلوب التفكير الذاتي والنفسي, ويحكي ابن أبي أصيبعة في كتابه )عيون الأنباء في طبقات الأطباء ٫ص ٦٤١ ( فيقول ما مختصره عن السهروردي:” كان أوحد في العلوم الحكمية، جامعاً للفنون الفلسفية، بارعاً في الأصول الفلكية، مفرط الذكاء، جيد الفطرة، فصيح العبارة، لم يناظر أحداً إلا بزّه، ولم يباحث محصلاً إلا أربى عليه، وكان علمه أكثر من عقله. فلما أتى إلى حلب وناظر بها الفقهاء كثر تشنيعهم عليه. وعملوا محاضر بكفره وسيروها إلى دمشق إلى الملك الناصر صلاح الدين. فبعث صلاح الدين إلى ولده الملك الظاهر بحلب كتابا في حقه بخط القاضي الفاضل يقول فيه إن هذا الشاب السهروردي لا بد من قتله، ولا سبيل أن يطلق ولا يبقى بوجه من الوجوه، ولما بلغ شهاب الدين السهروردي ذلك، وأيقن أنه يقتل، وليس جهة إلى الإفراج عنه اختار أنه يترك في مكان مفرد ويمنع من الطعام والشراب إلى أن يلقى الله ففعل به ذلك. وكان ذلك في أواخر سنة ست وثمانين وخمسمائة بقلعة حلب 586 هـ 1190م “.

لكن اختلف في موته الكتاب في تاريخ الفلاسفة فمنهم من ذكر أنه قتل عن طريق الجوع ومنعه من الطعام ومنهم من قال بالسيف كما قيل أنه أحرق لكن اجتمعوا على أنه حكم علية بالإعدام بتهمة الإلحاد والزندقة. ، وبعد ذلك بعدة سنوات كان ابن رشد في قرطبة يعاني من نفس المصير.

“Whoever knows Hikmat (Wisdom), and perserves in thanking and sanctifying the Light of the Lights, will be estowed with royal Kharreh and with luminous Farreh, and—as we have said elsewhere—divine light will further bestow upon him the cloak of royal power and value. Such a person shall then became the natural Ruler of the Universe. He shall be given aid from the High Heavens, and whatever he commands shall be obeyed; and his dreams and inspirations will reach their uppermost, perfect pinnacle.”


The Parliament of Fowls

And upon pilers grete of Iasper longe_Parliament_of_Fowles

The Parliament of Fowls

by

Geoffrey Chaucer

 

The life so short, the craft so long to learn,
The assay so hard, so sharp the conquering,
The fearful joy that slips away in turn,
All this mean I by Love, that my feeling
Astonishes with its wondrous working
So fiercely that when I on love do think
I know not well whether I float or sink.

For although I know not Love indeed
Nor know how he pays his folk their hire,
Yet full oft it happens in books I read
Of his miracles and his cruel ire.
There I read he will be lord and sire;
I dare only say, his strokes being sore,
‘God save such a lord!’ I’ll say no more.

By habit, both for pleasure and for lore,
In books I often read, as I have told.
But why do I speak thus? A time before,
Not long ago, I happened to behold
A certain book written in letters old;
And thereupon, a certain thing to learn,
The long day did its pages swiftly turn.

For out of old fields, as men say,
Comes all this new corn from year to year;
And out of old books, in good faith,
Comes all this new science that men hear.
But now to the purpose of this matter –
To read on did grant me such delight,
That the day seemed brief till it was night.

This book of which I make mention, lo,
Entitled was, as I shall quickly tell,
‘Cicero, on the dream of Scipio’;
Seven Chapters it had on heaven and hell
And earth and the souls that therein dwell:
As briefly as I can treat of its art,
I’ll tell you, of its meaning, the main part.

First it tells how when Scipio came
To Africa, he met Massinissa,
Who in his arms embraced the same.
Then it tells of their speeches, all the bliss there
That lay between them till the shadows gather,
And how at night his grandfather, so dear,
Scipio the Elder, did appear.

Then it tells how, from a starry place,
His grandfather had him Carthage shown,
And told him in advance of all his grace
And taught him how a man, learned or rude,
Who loves the common good and virtue too
Shall unto a blissful place yet wend,
There where joy is that lasts without an end.

Then he asked if folk that have died here
Have life and dwelling in another place;
And his grandfather said, ‘Have no fear,’
And that our present world’s brief space
Is but a kind of death, whose path we trace,
And virtuous folk after they die shall go
To heaven; and the galaxy did him show.

Then showed him how small our Earth appears
Compared to the heavens’ quantity;
And then he showed him the nine spheres,
And after that the melody heard he
That comes from those spheres thrice three,
The source of music and of melody
In this world here, and cause of harmony.

Then he told him, since Earth is so slight,
And full of torment and so little grace,
That he should never in this world delight.
And then he said, that in a certain space
Of time, return the stars would to their place
Where they had been at first, and out of mind
Pass all things in this world done by mankind.

Then Scipio prayed he would tell him all
The way to come into that heavenly bliss;
And he said: ‘Know yourself first immortal,
Be sure to work busily, wisely in this
World for the common good, you’ll not miss
The path that leads swift to that place dear,
That full of bliss is, and of souls clear.

But breakers of the law, he did explain,
And lecherous folk, after they are dead,
Shall whirl about the Earth ever in pain
Till many an age be past, and then indeed
Forgiven for their every wicked deed,
Then shall they come unto that blissful place,
To come to which may God send you his grace!’

The day began to fail, and the dark night
That relieves all creatures of their business
Bereft me of my book for lack of light,
And to my bed I began me to address
Filled full of thought and anxious heaviness,
For I yet had the thing that I wished not,
And the thing that I wished I had not got.

Yet finally my spirit at the last
Full weary of my labour all the day
Took its rest, sent me to sleep so fast
That in my sleep I dreamed there as I lay
How that Elder in selfsame array
Whom Scipio saw, who long ago had died,
Came and stood there right at my bedside.

The weary hunter sleeping in his bed
To the woods again his mind will go;
The judge he dreams how his pleas are sped;
The carter dreams of drawing carts below;
The rich, of gold; the knight fights with his foe;
The sick person dreams he drinks a tun;
The lover dreams he has his lady won.

I cannot say if it was reading fair
Of Scipio the Elder just before,
That made me dream that he stood there;
But thus said he: ‘Yourself so well you bore
In looking at that ancient book of lore,
Macrobius himself thought not so slight,
That I would something of your pain requite.’ –

Cytherea, you blissful lady sweet
Whose firebrand at your wish robs us of rest
And made me to dream this dream complete,
Be you my help in this, your aid works best;
As surely as I saw you north-northwest,
When I began my dream for to write,
So give me power to rhyme and indite.

Scipio the Elder grasped me anon,
And forth with him unto a gate brought
Encircled with a wall of green stone;
And over the gate, in large letters wrought,
There were verses written, as I thought,
On either side, between them difference,
Of which I shall reveal to you the sense.

‘Through me men go into that blissful place
Of heart’s healing, and deadly wounds’ cure;
Through me men go unto the well of Grace
Where green and lusty May shall ever endure;
This is the way to all fairest adventure;
Be glad, oh Reader, and your sorrow off-cast,
All open am I; pass in, and speed you fast!’

‘Through me men go,’ then spoke the other side,
‘Unto the mortal blow of the spear,
Which Disdain and Haughtiness do guide,
Where tree shall never fruit nor leaves bear.
This stream leads you to the grim trap where
The fish in its prison’s lifted out all dry;
Avoidance is the only remedy nigh!’

In gold and black these verses written were,
Which I in some confusion did behold,
For with the one ever increased my fear,
Yet with the other did my heart grow bold.
The one gave heat to me, the other cold;
Fearing error, no wit had I to choose
To enter or flee, to save myself or lose.

As between adamantine magnets two
Of even strength, a piece of iron set
That has no power to move to or fro –
For though one attracts the other will let
It move – so I, that knew not whether yet
To enter or leave, till that Scipio my guide
Grasped me and thrust me in at the gates wide,

And said, ‘It appears written in your face,
Your error, though you tell it not to me;
But fear you not to come into this place,
Since this writing is never meant for thee,
Nor any unless he Love’s servant be;
For you for love have lost your taste, I guess,
As a sick man has for sweet or bitterness.

But nonetheless, although you are but dull,
What you cannot do, you yet may see;
For many a man that can’t resist a pull
Still likes at the wrestling for to be
And deems whether he does best, or he,
And if you have the cunning to indite,
I’ll show you matter of which you may write.

With that my hand in his he grasped anon,
From which I took comfort, and entered fast;
And, Lord, I was so glad that I had done!
For everywhere that I my eyes did cast
Were trees clad with leaves that always last,
Each of its kind, of colour fresh and green
As emerald, that a joy ‘twas to be seen.

The builder’s oak, and then the sturdy ash;
The elm, for pillars and for coffins meant;
The piper’s box-tree; holly for whip’s lash;
Fir for masts; cypress, death to lament;
The ewe for bows; aspen for arrows sent;
Olive for peace, and too the drunken vine;
Victor’s palm; laurel for those who divine.

A garden saw I full of blossoming boughs
Beside a river, through a green mead led,
Where sweetness evermore bountiful is,
With flowers white, blue, yellow and red,
And with cold well-streams, nothing dead,
Which are full of fish, small and light,
With red fins and scales silver bright.

On every bough I heard the birds sing
Angelic voices in their harmony;
Some their fledglings forth did bring;
And little rabbits to their play went by.
And further all about I did espy
The fearful roe, the buck, the hart, the hind,
Squirrels, and small beasts of noble kind.

Instruments, their strings all in accord
I heard played with ravishing sweetness
That God, who maker is of all and lord,
Never heard better, or so I guess;
Therewith a breeze that could scarce be less,
Made in the leaves green a noise soft
In harmony with the fowls’ song aloft.

The air of that place so temperate was
There was no awkwardness of hot or cold;
There waxed every wholesome herb or grass,
Nor no man there is ever sick or old;
Yet was there joy more a thousand-fold
Than man might tell; nor was it ever night
But ever clear day to every man’s sight.

‘Neath a tree, by a well, saw I displayed
Cupid, our lord, his arrows’ forge and file;
And at his feet his bow all ready lay,
And Will, his daughter, tempered all this while
The arrow-heads in the well, and with hard file
She notched them afterwards so as to serve
Some for to slay; some to wound and swerve.

Then was I aware of Pleasure nigh,
And of Adornment, Lust and Courtesy,
And of Cunning, able and with the might
To force a person to perform a folly –
I will not lie, disfigured all was she –
And by himself under an oak I guess
I saw Delight, standing with Nobleness.

I saw Beauty, lacking all attire,
And Youth, full of games and jollity,
Foolhardiness, Flattery, and Desire,
Message-sending, Bribery, and three
Others – whose names shall not be told by me –
And upon pillars tall of jasper long
I saw a temple of brass, sound and strong.

About the temple dancing every way
Went women enough, of whom some were
Fair in themselves and some dressed full gay;
In gowns, hair dishevelled, danced they there –
That was their duty always, year on year –
And on the temple, of doves white and fair
Saw I sitting many a hundred pair.

Before the temple door full soberly
Dame Peace sat with a curtain in her hand:
And beside her wondrous discreetly,
Dame Patience sitting there I found
With pale face upon a hill of sand;
And next to her, within and without,
Promise and Artfulness, and their rout.

Within the temple, from sighs hot as fire
I heard a rushing sound that there did churn;
Which sighs were engendered by desire,
That made every altar fire to burn
With new flame; and there did I learn
That all the cause of sorrows that they see
Comes from the bitter goddess Jealousy.

The god Priapus saw I, as I went,
Within the shrine, pre-eminent did stand,
Placed as when the ass foiled his intent
By braying at night, his staff in his hand;
Full busily men tried as they had planned
To set upon his head, of sundry hew,
Garlands full of fresh flowers new.

And in a quiet corner did disport
Venus and her doorkeeper Richness,
She was full noble, haughty in her sport;
Dark was the place, but afterwards lightness
I saw, a light that could scarce be less,
And on a bed of gold she lay to rest
Till the hot sun sank into the west.

Her golden hair with a golden thread
Was lightly tied, loose-haired as she lay,
And naked from her breast to her head
Men could view her; and truly I must say
The rest was well covered in its way
Just with a subtle veil from Valence;
No thicker cloth served for her defence.

The place gave out a thousand savours sweet,
And Bacchus, god of wine, sat there beside,
And Ceres next who does our hunger sate;
And as I said, the Cyprian there did lie,
To whom, on their knees, two young folk cried,
For her help; but there I passed her by,
And further into the temple I did spy

That, all in spite of Diana the chaste,
Full many a broken bow hung on the wall
Of maidens such as their time did waste
In her service; and pictured over all
Full many a story, of which I shall recall
A few, as of Callisto and Atalanta
And many a maiden whose names I lack here;

Semiramis, Candace and Hercules,
Biblis, Dido, Thisbe and Pyramus,
Tristram, Iseult, Paris and Achilles,
Helen, Cleopatra and Troilus,
Scylla, and then the mother of Romulus:
All these were painted on the other side,
And all their love, and in what way they died.

When I had come again unto the place
Of which I spoke, that was so sweet and green,
Forth I walked to bring myself solace.
Then was I aware, there sat a queen:
As in brightness the summer sun’s sheen
Outshines the star, right so beyond measure
Was she fairer too than any creature.

And in a clearing on a hill of flowers
Was set this noble goddess, Nature;
Of branches were her halls and her bowers
Wrought according to her art and measure;
Nor was there any fowl she does engender
That was not seen there in her presence,
To hear her judgement, and give audience.
For this was on Saint Valentine’s day,
When every fowl comes there his mate to take,
Of every species that men know, I say,
And then so huge a crowd did they make,
That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake
Was so full, that there was scarcely space
For me to stand, so full was all the place.

And as Alain, in his Complaint of Nature,
Describes her array and paints her face,
In such array might men there find her.
So this noble Empress, full of grace,
Bade every fowl to take its proper place
As they were wont to do from year to year,
On Saint Valentine’s day, standing there.

That is to say, the birds of prey on high
Were perched, then small fowls without fail,
That eat, as Nature does them so incline,
Worms, or things of which I’ll tell no tale.
And waterfowl sat lowest in the dale;
But fowl that live on seeds sat on the green
So many there it was a wondrous scene.

There might men the royal eagle find
Who with his keen glance pierces the sun,
And other eagles of a lesser kind
On which scholars love to run.
There was the tyrant with his feathers dun
And grey – I mean the goshawk, who’ll distress
Others with his outrageous greediness.

The noble falcon, who with his feet will strain
At the king’s glove; sparrow-hawk sharp-beaked,
The quail’s foe; the merlin that will pain
Himself full oft the lark for to seek;
There was the dove with her eyes meek;
The jealous swan, that at his death does sing;
The owl too, that portent of death does bring;

The crane, the giant with his trumpet-sound;
The thief, the chough; the chattering magpie;
The mocking jay; the heron there is found;
The lapwing false, to foil the searching eye;
The starling that betrays secrets on high;
The tame robin; and the cowardly kite;
The rooster, clock to hamlets at first light;

The sparrow, Venus’ son; the nightingale,
That calls forth all the fresh leaves new;
The swallow, murderer of the bees hale
Who make honey from flowers fresh of hue;
The wedded turtledove with her heart true;
The peacock with angelic feathers bright;
The pheasant, scorner of the cock by night;

The wakeful goose; the cuckoo all unkind;
The parrot cram full of lechery;
The drake, destroyer of his own kind;
The stork, avenger of adultery;
The cormorant hot for gluttony;
The raven wise; the crow, the voice of care;
The thrush old; the wintry fieldfare.

What can I say? Fowl of every kind
That in this world have feathers and stature,
Men might in that place assembled find
Before the noble goddess Nature,
And each of them took care, every creature,
With a good will, its own choice to make,
And, in accord, its bride or mate to take.

But to the point: Nature had on her hand
A female eagle, of shape the very noblest
That ever she among her works had found,
The most gracious and the very kindest;
In her was every virtue there expressed
So perfectly Nature herself felt bliss
In gazing at her and her beak would kiss.

Nature, deputy of the almighty Lord,
Who hot, cold, heavy, light, moist and dry
Has knit in balanced measure in accord,
In gentle voice began to speak and sigh,
‘Fowl, heed my judgement now, pray I,
And for your ease, in furthering of your need,
As fast as I can speak, I will you speed.

You know that on Saint Valentine’s day,
By my statute and through my governance,
You come to choose – and then fly your way –
Your mates, as I your desires enhance.
But nonetheless my rightful ordinance
I may not alter, for all the world to win,
That he that is most worthy must begin.

The male eagle, as you all must feel,
The royal fowl, above you in degree,
The wise and worthy, secret, true as steel,
Whom I have formed, as you can see,
In every part as it best pleases me,
It needs not that his form I must portray,
He shall choose first, and speak in his own way.

And after him in order shall you choose
According to your kind, as you devise,
And, as your luck is, shall you win or lose;
But that one of you on whom love most lies,
God send him she that sorest for him sighs.’
And therewithal the eagle she did call,
And said: ‘My son, the choice on you does fall.

But nonetheless, bound by this condition
Must be the choice of everyone that’s here,
That she shall yet agree to his decision,
Whoever it is that shall her mate appear;
This is our custom ever, from year to year;
And he who at this time would find grace,
At blessed time has come unto this place.

With head inclined, humble, without fear,
This royal eagle spoke and tarried not:
‘My sovereign lady, with no equal here,
I choose, and choose with will and heart and thought,
The female on your hand so finely wrought,
Whose I am all, and ever will serve her I,
Do what she please: to have me live or die.

Beseeching her of mercy and of grace,
As she that is my lady sovereign,
To let me die right now, here in this place.
For certain, I’ll not live long in such pain,
Since in my heart is bleeding every vein;
Having regard only for my truth,
My dear heart, for my sorrow show some ruth.

And if that I be found to her untrue,
I disobey, or am blindly negligent,
Boastful, or in time chase after new,
I pray to you, on me be this judgement,
That by these fowls I be all torn then,
The very day that she should ever find
I am false to her or wilfully unkind.

And since none loves her as well as me,
Though she never promised me her love,
Then she should be mine, in her mercy,
For I’ve no other claim on her to move.
For never, for any woe, shall I prove
Faithless to her, however far she wend;
Say what you wish, my tale is at an end.’

Just as the fresh, the red rose new
In the summer sunlight coloured is,
So from modesty all waxed the hue
Of the female when she heard all this;
She neither answered, nor said aught amiss,
So sore abashed was she, till Nature
Said: ‘Daughter, fear you not, I you assure.’

Another male eagle spoke anon,
Of lesser rank, and said: ‘This shall not be.
I love her more than you do, by Saint John,
Or at the least I love her as well as ye,
Serving her longer in my degree,
And if she should have love for long-loving,
To me alone they should the garland bring.

I dare state too, that if she finds me yet,
False, indiscreet, unkind, rebellious,
Or jealous, you may hang me by the neck!
And if I do not fulfil in service
As well as my wits can, this promise,
In all respects her honour for to save,
Take she my life, and all my goods I pray.’

A third male eagle answered so:
‘Now, sirs, you know we’ve little leisure here;
For every fowl cries out to fly, and go
Forth with her mate, or with his lady dear;
And Nature herself would rather not hear,
By tarrying here, half that I would sigh;
Yet unless I speak, I must for sorrow die.

Of long service I may offer nothing,
Yet it’s as possible for me to die today
For woe, as he that has been languishing
These twenty winters, and happen it may
That a man may serve better and more repay
In half a year, although it were no more,
Than some man does who has served a score.

I say this not for myself, since I can
Do no service that may my lady please;
But, I dare state, I am her truest man
And, in my opinion, best seek her ease;
Briefly to speak, till death does me seize
I will be hers, whether I wake or wink,
And true in all that heart may bethink.’

In all my life since the day I was born,
So noble a plea in love or anything
Never heard any man but me before,
As would be clear if any had the cunning
And leisure to echo their way of speaking;
And from the morning did their speech last
Till downward went the sun wondrous fast.

The cries of fowls, now, to be delivered
Rang out so loud: ‘Have done, and let us wend!’
That I thought all the woods to pieces shivered.
‘Come on!’ they cried, ‘Alas, you us offend!
When will your cursed pleading have an end?
How should a judge for either party move
A yea or nay, without a shred of proof?’

The goose, the duck, and the cuckoo also
‘Kek, kek!’ ‘Cuckoo!’ ‘Quack, quack!’ cried so high
That through both ears the noise did flow.
The goose said: ‘All this is not worth a fly!
But find a remedy thereof can I,
And I will give my verdict fair and swiftly
For water fowl, whoever’s pleased or angry.’

‘And I for worm-eaters,’ said fool cuckoo,
For I will on my own authority,
For the public good, take up the charge now,
Since to free us quickly is great charity.’
‘You must abide a while yet, indeed!’
Said the turtle-dove,’ If it’s your will
That one may speak, who’d better shut his bill.’

I’m a seed-eater, one of the un-worthiest,
As I well know, and little own to learning;
But better it is a creature’s tongue rest
Than that he meddle in those doings
Of which he can neither speak nor sing.
And he who does so, his cause destroys,
For a service not requested oft annoys.’

Nature, who had always kept an ear
On the foolish murmuring behind,
With eloquent voice said: ‘Hold your tongues there!
And I shall soon, I hope, a method find
To release you, and from this noise unbind;
I decree that every group on one shall call
To announce the verdict for you all.’

Agreeable to this same conclusion
Were all the fowls: and the birds of prey
Chose the first by open election,
The male falcon to speak out and say
All their judgements, and adjudicate;
And, to Nature, himself he did present,
And she accepted him with glad intent.

The eagle spoke then in this manner:
‘It were full difficult to prove by reason
Who loves best this noble female here;
Each so puts forward his justification
That none by argument may be beaten.
I cannot see that arguments avail;
Then by battle it seems one must prevail.’

‘We’re ready!’ the male eagles quoth anon.
‘Nay, sirs! quoth he, ‘If I may dare to say,
You do me wrong, my tale is not yet done!
For sirs, take no offence of me I pray,
It may not, though you wish, happen this way;
Ours is the voice whose decision is at hand,
And the judge’s judgement you must stand;

And therefore, peace! I say, so works my wit,
That to me it seems that the worthiest
In knighthood, who’s longest practiced it,
Highest in rank, and of blood the noblest,
Were most fitting for her, if she so wished;
And of these three she herself knows, also
Which that one is, since easy ‘tis to know.’

The waterfowl had all their heads laid
Together and, after short argument,
When each of them had his large mouthful said,
Agreed truly, by mutual assent,
That the goose, who was so eloquent,
‘Who so yearns to pronounce what we agreed,
Shall tell our tale,’ and prayed her God speed.

And, for these water fowl, then began
The goose to speak, and in her cackling
She said: ‘Peace! Now take heed every man
And hear the judgement I shall forth bring;
My wit is sharp, I hate all tarrying;
I advise him, though he were my brother,
Unless she loves him, let him love another!’

‘Lo, here’s a reason fitting for a goose!’
Quoth the sparrow-hawk, ‘Never prosper she!
Lo such it is to have a tongue that’s loose!
Now, by God, fool, it were better for thee
To have held your peace, than show stupidity!
It lies not in his wit, nor in his will,
But true it is, “a fool’s tongue’s never still.”’

Laughter arose from the noble fowls all,
And anon the seed-eaters chosen had
The turtle true, and to them her did call,
And prayed her to tell the plain truth
Of the matter, and say what she would do;
And she answered that plainly her intent
She would speak and truly what she meant.

‘Nay, God forbid that a lover should change,’
The dove said, and blushed for shame all red,
‘Though his lady evermore seem estranged,
Yet let him serve her ever till he be dead.
For truly, I praise not what the goose has said,
For though she died, no other mate I’d take,
I would be hers till death my end should make.’

‘A fine jest,’ quoth the duck, ‘by my hat!
That men should love forever causeless,
Who can find reason or wit in that?
Dances he merrily who is mirthless?
Who cares for him who couldn’t care less?’
‘Quack ye,’ quoth yet the duck, ‘full well and fair!
There are more stars above than just one pair!’

‘Shame on you, churl!’ quoth the noble eagle,
‘Out of the dunghill come the words you cite.
You cannot see whatever is done well.
You fare in love as owls do in the light;
The day blinds them though they see by night.
Your kind is of so low a wretchedness
That what love is, you cannot see or guess.’

Then the cuckoo did the moment seize
For the worm-eating fowls, and did cry:
‘So long as I may have my mate in peace,
I care not how long you all may strive.
Let both of them stay single all their lives!
This I advise, since there’s no agreeing;
This short lesson does not bear repeating.’

‘Yea, so the glutton gets to fill his paunch,
Then all is well!’ said the merlin for one;
‘You murderer of the sparrow on the branch,
Who brought you forth, you wretched glutton!
Live you single then, worms’ destruction!
Useless even the defects of your natures;
Go you ignorant while the world endures!’

‘Now peace,’ quoth Nature, ‘I command here!
Since I have heard all your opinions,
And in effect our end is yet no nearer;
Finally now this is my own conclusion:
That she herself shall make her own decision
Choose whom she wish, whoe’er be glad or angry,
Him that she chooses, he shall have her as quickly.

For since it may not here resolved be
Who loves her best, as said the eagle yet,
Then will I grant her this favour, that she
Shall have him straight on whom her heart is set,
And he’ll have her whom his heart can’t forget.
This I decide, Nature, for I may not lie;
To naught but love do I my thought apply.

But as for advice in what choice to make,
If I were Reason, then would I
Advise that you the royal eagle take,
As said the eagle there most skilfully,
As being the noblest and most worthy,
Whom I wrought so well for my pleasure;
And that to you should be the true measure.’

With fearful voice the female gave answer,
‘My rightful lady, goddess of Nature,
Truth it is, your authority I am under
As is each and every other creature,
And must be yours while my life endure,
And therefore grant me my first boon,
And my intent I will reveal right soon.’

‘I grant it you,’ quoth she, and right anon
The female eagle spoke in this degree,
‘Almighty queen, until this year be done
I ask a respite to think carefully,
And after that to make my choice all free.
This is the sum of what I’d speak and say;
You’ll get no more although you do me slay.

I will not serve fair Venus nor Cupid
In truth, as yet, in no manner of way.’
‘Now since there is no alternative,’
Quoth Nature, ‘there is no more to say;
Then wish I that these folks were away
Each with its mate, not tarrying longer here’ –
And spoke to them as you shall after hear.

‘To you I speak, you eagles,’ quoth Nature,
‘Be of good heart and serve you, all three;
A year is not too long to endure,
So each of you take pains in his degree
To do well; for, God knows, free is she
Of you this year; whatever may then befall,
This same delay is served upon you all.’

And when this task was all brought to an end,
Each fowl from Nature his mate did take
In full accord, and on their way they went.
And, Lord, the blissful scene they did make!
For each of them the other in wings did take,
And their necks round each other’s did wind,
Thanking the noble goddess, kind by kind.

But first were fowl chosen for to sing,
As was ever their custom year on year
To sing out a roundel at their parting
To do Nature honour and bring cheer.
The tune was made in France, as you may hear;
The words were such as here you’ll find
In the next verse, I have now in mind.

‘Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,
That this winter’s weather does off-shake,
And the long nights’ black away does take!

Saint Valentine, who art full high aloft –
Thus sing the small fowls for your sake –
Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,
That this winter’s weather does off-shake.

Well have they cause to rejoice full oft,
Since each a marriage with its mate does make;
Full joyous may they sing when they wake;
Now welcome summer, with your sun soft,
That this wintry weather does off-shake,
And the long nights’ black away does take.’

And with the cries, when their song was done,
That the fowls made as they flew away,
I woke, and other books to read upon
I then took up, and still I read always;
I hope in truth to read something someday
Such that I dream what brings me better fare,
And thus my time from reading I’ll not spare.

End of the Parliament of Fowls
Translated by A. S. Kline © 2007


The Musical Empire of Baroda

H H Sayajirao Gaekwad

H. H.  Sayajirao Gaekwad

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click image to read on….


Rag Bahar

Vasant Ragini, Rajasthan, 17th century

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Rag_Bahar__

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Sthayi

Phagwa brija dekhan ko chalo re, phag
Come let us go to Brija to watch the Phalgun (Holi)
ve me milenge kunwar Kanha jahan
there the youthful Kanha will (assuredly) be met
Bat chale bole kagawa, phaga
because as we are walking on the way we hear the crow crowing

Antara

Ayee Bahar sakal bana phule
The Spring has come, the entire forest is blooming
Rasile Lal ko le agava, phag
keeping the amorous Krishna in the lead.

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Bahar_Danielou_01Bahar_Danielou_02Bahar_Danielou_03

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Krishna and Vasanta

The seasons for us have a living presence embodying the mysterious essence of growth and decay and regrowth, tied to the movements of the cosmos and the rhythms of the earth, touching the deepest longings and aspirations, moods and feelings of humans, providing a scenario upon which we celebrate and understand life and love. Of all the human emotions, that of romantic love is closely tied to the changing seasons, each month bringing a special message to the beloved, every season a special reminder of the joys of love and longing, the changing seasons reflecting the varying moods of romantic love and the songs of the seasons echoing a melody that resonates through the heart of the lover and the beloved.

The shringara rasa of Krishna is best epitomised by the colours and sounds, the textures and the aromas, the mood and the ethos of Vasanta or spring. Vasanta is raja ritu, the king of seasons. It is in Vasanta that nature comes to life, mango blossoms appear, colours deepen, the birds and the bees are joyous, love awakens and erotic feelings quicken, the mind is energised and the heart throbs with excitement. Nature’s fecundity and luxuriance is matched only by the heart throbbing anticipation, amorous desires, tremulous coyness and expectant longing of the romantic nayika. In the various colours of the fecundity of Vasanta, there is nature’s romance, there is an agamana or a welcome, in its radiance there is an invitation, in its unspoken words there is a song of love, in its movements there is the dance of amour, and in its quivering there is the tremulous desire of love. Nature in Vasanta is like a bride adorned in red like the Kinshuka flower, raktanshuka navavadhuhu eva, in the words of Kalidasa (Ritusamhara 6.19). Kalidasa goes on to describe spring with these words:

Everything gains added beauty in spring, trees put forth flowers, lotuses emerge from the waters, ladies become passionate, the winds are fragrant, evenings are pleasant and days are delightful. 6.2 Karnikara and Ashoka blossoms adorn the ears of women and Navamallika their black and wavy hair. 6.5 The cuckoo intoxicated with the liquor of the juice of mango blossoms kisses his mate passionately while the humming bee dallies with its mate. 6.14 The vernal season has covered the entire landscape with Kinshuka groves which are bent with blossoms and flutter in the wind and resemble a blazing fire while the earth appears like a newly wedded wife with red garments. 6.19

To be adorned is to invite and to welcome, to be bejeweled is to signal that the moment is right for the pleasures of love and in the desire to be beautiful, there is the promise that nothing is more important to the nayika than the loving admiration and attention of her beloved. This is the rite of spring for mankind and nature alike. It is for this moment that she has waited and prepared with longing and anticipation. Yet there is a certain anxiety and apprehension, but in this very state of nervous animation, there is a dedication and a commitment to the celebration of her love. It is clear that the beautiful expressions of Vasanta, and equally the adornment of the nayika, is not mere beautification but it is a rite and a ritual, a promise; for adornment is the bond that ties the beautiful to the beloved, the nayika to the nayaka, the verdant Prakriti to the cosmic Purusha, man to God, asserting that the beautiful and beauty are an integral part not only of romantic love but of the sensually charged mind that luxuriates in Vasanta.

Jayadeva describes Vasanta with these words:

When the tender Malayan wind touches the lovely clove creeper
when the grove is filled with the sound of the cuckoo
intermingled with the sounds of swarms of honey-making bees
Hari plays in the amorous spring time. 1.28

If poets like Kalidasa and Jayadeva capture the essence of Vasanta and the mellifluous love of Krishna in words, it was left to artists of the Pahari kalam to depict Vasanta in paintings. It was in the later 18th century that the fully evolved Guler Kalam was taken to Kangra and there under the patronage of Raja Sansar Chand (1175-1823) that Pahari lyricism found its highest perfection. In the subdued colours and charmed landscape of Kangra paintings, as seen in the Lumbragaon Gita Govinda among others, the tender love of Krishna and Radha is almost palpable and one can hear the sweet whisper of their conversation.

The Kangra psyche was conditioned not only by the geography of the environment but also the history of the prevailing times. Kangra was blessed with an idyllic landscape, with blossoming trees and verdant groves, sylvan hills and distant mountains, picturesque meadows, fragrant flowers and chirping birds, flowing brooks and a clear sky that provided a canopy to the enchanted world below. There was here none of the harshness of the Rajasthan deserts or the sweltering summers of Gujarat, the courtly intrigue of Rajasthan courts or the enforced privacy and distance of the Mughal harems. Although there was political intrigue in Kangra, there were no major wars or military strife, the rulers were benevolent and patrons of the arts and leisure and culture flourished both with the raja and the praja. There was a certain joyousness and sensuality in the 18th and 19th century Kangra court as is seen in the accounts of Western travelers like Moorcroft. It is not surprising that the Kangra artist was to incorporate this ethos in their kalam and used it to portray the madhurya of Krishna and especially the heart throbbing romance of Vasanta.. It has been rightly said that Kangra painting is characterised by a lyricism, a patrician elegance tempered by a simplicity and warmth of feeling, a refined earnestness plus a suavity of form. These paintings are kavyamaya, suffused with the lyricism of poetry, layamaya, full of the delicacy and softness of dance and gitamaya, resonant with the sound of music. Emotion is almost palpable, tender feelings of Krishna and the gopis are visible and the music in the air is audible in these beautiful paintings, but only to those who have the sensitivity to go beyond the surface and partake of the nuances and suggestions of Krishna’s romantic moments with the gopis. In their time, these paintings must have been celebrated in elite and cultured company, in sophisticated and elegant surroundings, with the accompaniment of song and dance, with flowing madira and smouldering hookahs and not silently watched in the sterile ambience of a museum or in the mute pages of a book.

It has rightly been said that Kangra painting is the superb lyricism and the melody of the sweet love of Krishna made visual. The landscape in the paintings which is inspired by the bucolic and luxuriant Pahari terrain is assimilated to the mood of the personages through a symbolism that is very transparent in its poetic suggestion. While the Kangra kalam exudes a refined sensuousness and lyrical grace, drawing its inspiration not only from its idyllic landscape especially of Vasanta, but equally by the living presence of the Krishna of love in the courts, it is in the depiction of the graceful and elegantly sensuous shringara rasa nayika that it reaches its greatest heights of artistic finesse and mastery. The Modi Bhagavata and the Lambargaon Gita Govinda rank as the highest watermark of the magnificent Kangra kalam. The Kangra nayika of painting not only has an elegant and sensuous charm, a luminous elegance and unsurpassed beauty, but a refined romantic sensibility, whether she was experiencing the pain of pathos of the pleasures of love, and in the genre of romantic figures that Indian artists have produced, she represents the most beautiful and the most exalted. There is in her not only the charm of romantic sensuality but the serenity of a woman in love who is also aware that her sensuality is the doorway to spirituality.

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Vasant Ragini, Kotah, 1675-1700

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Vasantaotsava or the festival of spring was an important festival that was celebrated in ancient India and it venerated Kama. Kama was also called Manmatha or the one who churns the mind. Kama is the god of love, who rides a parrot holding aloft his fish banner, raising his sugar cane bow and drawing his bow string made of bees to shoot flower arrows at unsuspecting maidens. This festival of spring is ancient and finds mention in Sanskrit literature. Harsha’s 7th century play Ratnavali opens with a description of Vasantaotsava:

the streets resound with the sounds of charchari songs and the beating of drums…citizens dance in the street as they are struck by water from syringes from amorous and intoxicated women…the air is coloured yellow by powder scattered in the air…women wear glittering gold ornaments and wreaths of Ashoka flowers and golden clothes…courtyards are red on account of vermillion dropping from cheeks of women…the south wind blows causing mango trees to blossom…young women cause Bakula and Ashoka trees to bloom…the Makaranda garden hums with intoxicated bees and sweet notes of the cuckoo…Champaka trees smile…women sprinkle mouthfuls of wine at the root of the Bakula tree and it breaks into flowers.

Sagarika, the heroine of Ratnavali, also observes that while the God of Love is worshipped in an iconic form (pratyaksha) in her father’s home, he is worshipped in a painted version (chitragato’rchyate) at Kaushambi. It is fair to assume that creating patachitras of Vasantaotsav were prevalent in ancient India. Kalidasa’s Malvikagnimitram and Madana’s Parijata Manjari are plays that also extol spring festivals and were performed as part of the celebrations of spring.

The evolution of the celebration of the Vasantaotsava has evolved from a festival of Kama in times ancient to that of Krishna, and in this transformation there is an important shift in the way shringara was celebrated and understood. In the past, Vasantaotsava was dedicated to the worship of Kama. At this festival of Kama, young women would wear blossoms of the Ashoka in the ears as this is one of the flowers of Kama’s bow. The other four flowers were the mango, the blue lotus, the red lotus and the jasmine. This was one of many rites of spring, celebrating not only the end of winter and a time for growth, but equally a recognition of the importance of human love and nature’s fertility in the Indian tradition. It was a time mainly for women to celebrate and express their pent up passion but ancient texts also describe the king participating in the festival, and in the spirit of festivity, at this festival social and caste barriers were dissolved. Coloured powders and liquids, derived from flowers, kumkum, gulal, musk, and sandalwood were sprinkled and sprayed into the air and onto each other as men and women mingled in joyous abandon. The festival had both a romantic and erotic connotation. The drenching of a woman with blood red colours not only sanctified her fertility but equally was an invitation for amorous pleasures.

In its ultimate analysis, Vasantaotsava is celebration of kama as desire and also Kama as deity. In the Vishnu Purana, Pradyumana is mentioned as the presiding deity of the Vasantaotsava. However gradually Kama was replaced by Krishna as the main deity of Vasantaotsava and the spring festival was observed as Holi. In replacing Kama with Krishna, the message clearly was that shringara should move away from desire to devotion, from sensual kamana to spiritual bhakti. It is Krishna, who through his amorous involvement with the gopis in Vrindavana reminds us that while shringara activates the atmani vishnum, dormant streams of honey in one’s atman, that true realisation or atma darshan can only come when the sensuality of romantic love is transformed into the spirituality of love and when sakar prem is changed to nirakar prem. This is the meaning of Krishna’s madhurya and it acquires a very different texture and meaning from kamama and is the essence of the shift in the presiding deity from Kama to Krishna in the celebration of spring.

Krishna’s association with Vasanta is also celebrated in Ragamala paintings. In these paintings Krishna is shown dancing with the gopis. The iconography of Ragamala paintings varies from one school to another. However, one particular raga that follows a consistently uniform iconography in the various schools of painting is raga Vasanta, which always depicts Krishna as the main protagonist. It invariably shows female attendants accompanying him, playing musical instruments, particularly the tabor, daphli or drum, dhola. Some spray him with water syringes, others dance in joyous abandon. It has been suggested that the iconography of raga Vasanta draws upon the imagery of Vasantaotsova.

(…)

While conforming to the basic iconography of raga Vasanta, different schools create their unique version of this quintessential raga of Krishna. Each school while adhering to the basic iconography depicts Krishna, dancing and frolicking with the gopis in a luxuriant and verdant environment. Whether in the Kangra paintings of the Gita Govinda or the various Ragamala paintings of ragini Vasanta, the central figure is that of the dancing Krishna. Krishna’s movements resonate with that of the leaves and the branches, his rhythms match those of the birds and the blossoms, his gestures of sweet love touches the gopis who tremble with excitement in the celebration of Vasanta. This is Krishna’s dance of joyous awakening, and He radiates this to the world around him which becomes alive with the pulsating and trembling excitement of love. This is the essence of Vasanta for Krishna.

However, when it comes to the barahmasa songs and their paintings, Vasanta takes on a poignant meaning. Shadrituvarnan or the description of the six seasons, vasanta, grishma, varsha, hemanta, shravan and shisira is an important part of the kavya literature in Sanskrit. However Sanskrit literature did not have barahmasa poetry. It was apabhramsha literature, precursor of Hindi, that developed a rich description of the seasons and tied to romantic love. In this genre, there is chaumasa, poetry which had either four or six seasons or barahmasa which was a description of the seasons of the twelve months. The vernacular and oral barahmasa later becomes an important part of the literary poetic tradition, both secular as well as Hindu, Jain and Sufi religious poetry. While religious barahmasa remains didactic in nature and were used to impart religious instruction, the village chaumasa and barahmasa were romantic and were village women’s rain songs, especially in North India from Gujarat to Bengal, where they sang of their isolation from their husbands either in the rainy four months from ashada to ashvin or through the twelve months. These rain songs are based on the sociology of the absent husband, who is away from home either on business or duty, and the wife either longs for his return in the rainy season or urges him not to leave at all. Seasonal poetry of this genre also was a feature of folk theatre. There was some variation not only in the number of seasons but in their chronology as well, and one of the poetic conventions was that while Sanskrit shadritu poetry described the erotic joys of the lover and the beloved when they are together, the chaumasa and barahmasa dealt with the premika’s longing and fear of separation from her beloved.

Viraha barahmasa or the seasonal poetry of longing remains the most evocative in this genre of romantic poetry and in this group the barahmasa compositions of Keshavdas who wrote the Rasikapriya stand out among others. Barahmasa poetry is not only poignant love poetry on the one hand but shows the close resonance between the psyche of the heroine and the mood of the seasons, each season not only possessing a different colour but a distinct message for those in love. In expressing her lament and relating it to the colours and moods of the seasons, the heroine equates the throbbing of her heart with the pulsating sap of the trees, the trembling longing within her to the movement of the clouds and the agony of her forlorn state to the pain of lonely birds. Thus, she is not alone in her anguish, her piquant cry is heard by the birds and the blossoms that surround her and who understand and share her pain perhaps more than her beloved. In barahmasa poetry, we see the strong and sympathetic resonance between the romantic mind of the nayika and the natural world around her, it is a world that shares her romantic urges and longings, and she defines her love with the same life and energy that animates the trees and the birds and who stand in mute testimony to her love.

Keshavdas in his barahmasa converts the lunar calendar into romantic poetry that vividly celebrates the months as it evokes the pain of the nayika of the impending separation from her beloved. Starting with the month of chaitra, he portrays the heroine urging her beloved not to leave her in that month as every month has something special which would make separation painful and unbearable and as the poet goes through the twelve months, the heart throb of the nayika pulsates with the sap and songs of the world around her.

This is how Keshavdas describes the two months of Vasanta.

     Chaitra

The charming creepers have blossomed and so have the young trees. The rivers and ponds are full. Ladies aglow with passion are worshipping their husbands. Birds, parrots, sarikas and nightingales chirp and make sweet sounds. Keshavdas says that in such a flowery season, no one should embrace thorns of separation leaving flowers of union. What to talk of going out, no one should allow his mind to waver in the month of chaitra.

   Vaisakha

The earth and the atmosphere are filled with fragrance. Sweet smelling breeze blows gently. All around there is fragrant beauty. The fragrance blinds the bee and is painful for the love who is away from home. The nayika says to her beloved, I pray to you. Having taught me the pleasure of love, do not talk of going away in the month of Vaisakha as the arrows of Kama are hard to bear in separation.

(Courtesy by Harsha V Dehejia He has a double doctorate, one in medicine and the other in Ancient Indian Culture, both from Mumbai University. He is a practicing Physician and an Adjunct Professor of the Division of Religion in the College of Humanities at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON., Canada. His special interest is in Indian Aesthetics. He has 12 books to his credit. He writes mostly on Krishna.)

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Ragini_Vasant_Mewar_1740-50


Rag Malavkaushika

Malkosa_Raga

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Malakosha


हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत

Raga Kafi

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Of shining whiteness,
Kafi who inspires lust tenderly
sits on the lap of her playmate in the royal palace,
fond of parrots she is dressed in blue
and decked with jewels.
She is the image of sensuousness.
In the Lotus of my heart
I cherish her,
lovlier than Lakshmi
the goddess of Fortune.

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हिन्दुस्तानी शास्त्रीय संगीत-

A brief treatise on the THAATS of The Classical Music of India

ہندوستانی کلاسیکی موسیقی‎

According to Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (1860-1936), one of the most influential musicologists in the field of North Indian classical music in the twentieth century, each one of the several traditional ragas is based on, or is a variation of, ten basic thaats, or musical scales or frameworks. The ten thaats are Bilawal, Kalyan, Khamaj, Bhairav, Poorvi, Marwa, Kafi, Asavari, Bhairavi and Todi; if one were to pick a raga at random, it should be possible to find that it is based on one or the other of these thaats. For instance, the ragas Shree and Puriya Dhanashri are based on the Poorvi thaat, Malkauns on the Bhairavi, and Darbari Kanada on the Asavari thaat. It is important to point out that Bhatkande’s thaat-raga theory is hardly infallible, but it is nevertheless an important classificatory device with which to order, and make sense of, a bewildering array of ragas; and it is also a useful tool in the dissemination of the music to students.

The Thaats

Bilawal
Marwa
Bhairav
Poorvi
Bhairavi
Todi
Asavari
Kalyan
Khamaj
Kafi

It is worth noting that almost all the thaats mentioned above are also ragas; and yet a thaat is a very different musical entity from a raga, and in this difference may lie, crucially, a definition of what a raga is or is not. A thaat is a musical scale, conceived of as a Western musical scale might be, with the seven notes presented in their order of ascent (arohan). For instance, Asavari is presented, and notated, as Sa Re Ga (flat or komal) Ma Pa Dha (flat) Ni (flat) in ascent, or arohan. This is, however, only the skeletal musical structure of the raga Asavari, an abstraction that is to be found nowhere but on the printed page or inside a textbook; the raga Asavari, in reality, and in exposition, is a very different thing. It goes straight from Re to Ma, and comes down to touch Ga, as it ascends; having touched Ni later, it returns to Pa, and, touching the upper Sa, returns to Dha and Pa again and again. Arohan and avarohan are, thus, inextricably and inseparably intermingled in the structure of this raga. The raga, then, is not a musical scale in the Western sense; it is a characteristic arrangement or progression of notes whose full potential and complexity can  be realised only in exposition, and not upon the printed page. A condensed version of this characteristic arrangement of notes, peculiar to each raga, may be called the pakad, by which a listener hears the phrase Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Ga, none of these notes being flat or sharp.  Repeated in a recital, they will know that they are listening to the raga Gaud Sarang.

Two ragas may have identical notes and yet be very different ragas; for example, two ragas mentioned earlier, Shree and Puriya Dhanashri, have exactly the same notes, but are unmistakably different in structure and temperament. The first can be identified by its continual exploration of the relationship of the note Re to the note Paa; while the repetition of the phrase Ma Re Ga Re Ma Ga, a phrase that would be inadmissible in the first raga, is an enduring feature of the latter. Certain arrangements of notes, then, are opposite to particular ragas and taboo to all others. A simple and abstract knowledge, thus of the notes of a raga or the thaat on which it is based, is hardly enough to ensure a true familiarity or engagement with the raga, although it may serve as a convenient starting point. Thaat familiarity can only come from a constant exposure to, and critical engagement, with raga’s exposition.

(Courtesy by Amit Chaudhuri)

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The Kafi That

Raga Kafi belongs to Kafi Thaat. Usually it is rendered in the late evening and uses all the seven notes in the ascending and descending order. Gandhar and Nishad are komal (flat) and all other notes are shuddha (full). The derivative ragas out of this structure are grouped under the broad head of Kafi Thaat

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Raga Kafi is representative of the Kafi Thaat. It is a versatile raga and can be played anytime. The raga has influenced folk music heavily and it is common to find folk songs and bhajans in this raga. Pure forms of Kafi are rarely performed.

Other Ragas in Thaat Kafi:
Bageshri
Bhimpalasi
Pilu
Moods: Bhakti, Shringar, Hori, Tappa

Aaroha:   S  R  g  m  P  D  n  S’
Avaroha:  S’  n  D  P  m  g  R  S
Jati: Sampurna – Sampurna
Pakad:    S  R  R  g  m  P
Thaat:     Kafi
Prahar: 6th Prahar (6 PM to 9 PM)
Prahar:    Evening

Notable characteristics of the raga: PmgR, RgmP, mgR, S

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According to Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (1860-1936), one of the most influential musicologists in the field of North Indian classical music in the twentieth century, each one of the several traditional ragas is based on, or is a variation of, ten basic thaats, or musical scales or frameworks. The ten thaats are Bilawal, Kalyan, Khamaj, Bhairav, Poorvi, Marwa, Kafi, Asavari, Bhairavi and Todi; if one were to pick a raga at random, it should be possible to find that it is based on one or the other of these thaats. For instance, the ragas Shri and Puriya Dhanashri are based on the Poorvi thaat, Malkauns on the Bhairavi, and Darbari Kanada on the Asvari thaat. It is important to point out that Bhatkande’s thaat-raga theory is not very accurate, but it is nevertheless an important classificatory device with which to order, and make sense of, a bewildering array of ragas; and it is also a useful tool in the dissemination of the music to students.

There are certain rules for these Thaats.

1. A Thaat must have seven notes out of the twelve notes [Seven Shuddha, Four   komal (Re, Ga, Dha , Ni), one teevra (Ma) ], placed in an ascending order. Both the forms of the notes can be used.
2. Thaat has only an Aaroha.
3. Thaats are not sung but the raags produced from the Thaats are sung.
4. Thaats are named after the popular raag of that Thaat. For example Bhairavi is a popular raag and the thaat of the raag Bhairavi is named after the raag.

The 10 basic thaats acording to the Bhatkhande System are as follows

1. Bilawal :bilawal

Bilawal is the most basic of all the ten thaats. All the swars in the thaat are shuddha or all swars in the natural scale. Bilawal as a raag is not rendered these days however a small variation of the raag called Alahaiya Bilawal is very common. This is a mornig raag and its pictorial descriptions create a rich, sensuous ambience in consonance with its performance.

Raags in Bilawal Thaat : Deskar, Haunsdhwani, Variations of Bilawal.

2. Khamaj :khamaj

The next thaat is Khamaj which can be obtained by replacing the Shuddha Nishad of Bilawal by Komal Nishad. The raags of this thaat are full of Shringar Ras (romantic) hence this raag is mostly rendered in the form of light classical thumris, tappas, horis, kajris etc. Its pictorial descriptions in the existing texts are sensuous and even today, the raag Khamaj is considered to be a ‘flirtatious’ raag. There is another theory which assumes that in the past, Khamaj scale found its way in Ch’in music of the late medieval China.

Raags in Khamaj Thaat : Rageshree, Jhinjhoti, Des, Tilak Kamod, Jaijaiwanti, Khambavati etc.

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Rag_Kafi_03

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Rag Kafi Zilaph

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Rag Palas Kafi

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3. Kafi :kafi

Kafi thaat makes use of the Komal Gandhar and Komal Nishad. So basically it adds Komal Gandhar to the Khamaj Thaat. raag Kafi is one of the oldest raags and its intervals are described as basic scale of the Natyashastra. Thus in ancient and medieval times, Kafi was considered as natural scale. Kafi is a late evening raag and said to convey the mood of spring time.

Raags in Kafi Thaat : Dhanashree, Dhani, Bhimpalasi, Pilu, Megh Malhar, Bageshree etc.

4. Asavari :asavari

Add Komal Dhaivat to Kafi thaat and you get Asavari Thaat. raag Asavari is full of tyag, the mood of renunciation and sacrifice as well as pathos. It is best suited for late morning. However important evening/night raags like Darbari and Adana also use notes of asavari thaat with different styles, stress points and ornamentations.

Raags in Asavari Thaat : Asavari, Desi, Darbari, Adana, Jaunpuri etc.

5. Bhairavi :bhairavi

Bhairavi makes use of all the komal swars, Rishabh, Gandhar, Dhaivat, Nishad. When singing compositions in Bhairavi raag, the singers however take liberty to use all the 12 swars. Bhairavi raag is names after the shakti or feminine aspect of the cosmic life force, which is personified as a consort to Lord Shiva. Bhairavi is a powerful raag filled with devotion and compassion. Bhairavi is actually performed early in the morning in a peaceful, serious and ocassionally sad mood. Traditionally it is rendered as the last item of a program, for its unique fullness of sentiments as well as its wide scope of the tonal combinations. Pictorially, Bhairavi is represented in female form, as the wife of Bhairav.

Raags in Bhairavi Thaat : Malkauns, Bilaskhani Todi, Bhupali Todi, Kaunsi Kanada etc.

6. Bhairav :bhairav

Bhairav thaat raags make use of Komal Rishabh and Komal Dhaivat. Bhairav is one of the names of Lord Shiva especially in his powerful form as a naked ascetic with matted locks and body smeared with ashes. The raag too has some of these masculine and scetic attributes in its form and compositions. The raag itself is extremely vast and allows a huge number of note combinations and a great range of emotional qualities from valor to peace. You can see a lot of variations on raag Bhairav including (but not restricted to) Ahir Bhairav, Alam Bhairav, Anand Bhairav, Bairagi Bhairav, Beehad Bhairav, Bhavmat Bhairav, Devata Bhairav, Gauri Bhairav, Nat Bhairav, Shivmat Bhairav. This raag is usually performed in a devotional mood in the early morning hours. The vibrations of the notes in Bhairav is said to clear one’s whole mind. The pictorial depictions of raag Bhairav in the ancient texts are austere as well as awe-inspiring.

Raags in Bhairav Thaat : Ramkali, Gunkari, Meghranjani, Jogiya, Bhairav and its variations etc.

7. Kalyan :kalyan

Kalyan thaat consists of a important group of evening raags. Characterized by the teevra Madhyam, this thaat literally means good luck. It is considered to be a blessing-seeking and soothing raag. As a result, it is performed in the evening at the beginning of a concert. This raag creates a feeling of the unfolding of an evening. This thaat is huge and consists of many variations on the basic kalyan thaat including raags (but not restricted to) like Shuddha Kalyan, Shyam Kalyan, Yaman Kalyan, Anandi Kalyan, Khem Kalyan (Haunsdhwani + Yaman), Savani Kalyan etc.

Raags in Kalyan Thaat : Yaman, Bhupali, Hindol, Kedar, Kamod, etc.

8. Marwa :marwa

Marwa thaat is obtained by adding a komal Rishabh to Kalyan thaat. The mood of the Marwa family raags is strongly and easily recognizable. The Shadja remains in the form of a shadow till the very end, where it almost comes as a surprise. komal Rishabh and shuddha Dhaivat are ver important. The overall mood of this raag is of sunset where the night approaches much faster than in northern latitudes. The onrushing darkness awakens in many observers, a feeling of anxiety and solemn expectation.

Raags in Marwa Thaat : Marwa, Puriya, Bhatiyaar, Bibhas, Sohoni etc.

9. Poorvi :poorvi

Poorvi thaat adds a komal Dhaivat to Marwa thaat. These thaat raags usually feature komal Rishabh, shuddha Gandhar and Shuddha Nishad along with teevra Madhyam, the note which distinguishes evening from the morning raags (dawn and sunset). The thaat raag Poorvi is deeply serious quite and mysterious in character and is performed at the time of sunset. Pictorial depictions in early texts, often mention the poise, grace and charm of Poorvi.

Raags in Poorvi Thaat : Puriya Dhanashree, Gauri, Shree, Paraj, Basant etc.

10. Todi :todi

Todi is the king of all thaats. Todi pictures nearly always show a petite, beautiful woman, holding veena, with a deer around her, standing in a lovely, lush green forest. Todi represents the mood of delighted adoration with a gentle, loving sentiment and its traditionally performed in the late morning.

Raags in Todi Thaat : Miyan Ki Todi, Gujari Todi, Madhuvanti, Multani etc.

***

Rama strikes down Khara with an arrow_Rag_Kafi

***

The Karnatik Origin of KAFI is rAgam Kharaharapriya

Raga Kharaharapriya

Raga : Kharaharapriya
Mela: 22
Other names: Kafi Thaat ( Hindustani)

Arohana:      S R2 G1 M1 P D2 N1 S     || S Ri Gi Ma Pa Dhi Ni S
Avarohana: S N1 D2 P M1 G1 R2 S || S Ni Dhi Pa Ma Gi Ri S

Time: All Times

Amsa Swaras: R, P
Jeeva Swaras: R, G, D, N
Nyasa Swaras: R, G, D, N

Murchanakaraka Ragas:         R -> Hanumatodi
G -> Kalyani
M -> Harikambhoji
P -> Natabhairavi
D -> Sankarabharanam

Special Considerations: Similar to Shadja Grama

***

***

1. mELam 22 – kharaharapriya

KHARAHARAPRIYA  is the fourth mELam (bhU) in the fourth  cakram, vEda  cakram.  Hence it is usually  referred to by the mnemonic name “vEda bhU”, since there are 4  vEdAs, and the kaTapayAdi numeral for the consonant “bha” is 4 (from the “pa varga”: pa, pha, ba, bha, ma!)  The  svarams taken by the mELam kharaharapriya are:

SaDjam (S, sa), catushruti .rSabham(R2, ri), sAdAraNa gAndhAram (G1, ga), shuddha madhyamam (M1, ma), pa~ncamam (P, pa), catushruti dhaivatam (D2, dhi), kaiSiki niSAdham (N2, ni).

Raga Kharaharapriya

Alathur Brothers-Chakkini Raja

Thus,  the mnemonic svara nomenclature  for kharaharapriya is  ri gi ma dhi ni, showing that besides the notes  sa, pa, the  notes taken are  ri (R2), ga (G1), ma (M1), dhi (D2), ni (N2).

The first two syllables “kha ‑ ra” in the name yields the mELam number 22  according to the  kaTapayAdi scheme (that is, kha =2 (from ka, kha g gh N^),and   ra =2 (from ya ra la va), so 2 2 reversed still  gives 22!!). Some believe that the original name of this mELam  was  harapriya, and the prefix “khara” was added to  obtain the numeral 22. But kharaharapriya itself has the meaning ‑‑ priya  (beloved of, liked by) hara (slayer of) khara (the demon named  khara).

·        kharaharapriya is a  mELam with symmetrical tetrachords; intervals are separated by a major tone. The mELam gets is pleasing quality from the even distribution of the notes.  The  ri ‑‑ ga, and the  dha ‑‑ ni are in consonance and the interval between  sa ‑‑ ri,  ma ‑‑ pa, and  dha ‑‑ ni  are all equal. This facilitates singing of saN^gatis  in sets which can independently interpret the melody, and allow the singer to build the  AlApana phrase by phrase.

·        a major rAgam, capable of very lengthy  AlApanAs.

·        chAyA and  nyAsa svarams :   ri, ga, dha, ni;

·        aMsha svarams:  ri and pa

·        kharaharapriya is approximately equal  to the  SaDja grAmam of ancient music, the primordial scale of the Hindus

·        kharaharapriya is a  sarva svara gamaka vArikA rakti rAgam.  The  pratyAhata gamakam (ri sa, sa ni, ni dha, dha pa, pa ma, ma ga, ga ri) lends color to this mELam. Yet, unlike an average rAgam, kharaharapriya comes out beautifully even  without employing much  gamakam.

·        kharaharapriya is a  tristhAyI rAgam. Compositions in kharaharapriya usually begin in  sa, ri, pa ,ni.

·        prayOgams        NI dha PA ma GA ri               NI da pa dha ni sa ni dha PA ma GA ri

·        kharaharapriya admits  prayogams ending in the note  ni.  Only the notes  sa, pa enjoy this privilege!

·        A  mUrccanakAraka mELam, that admits  graha bhedam (modal shift of tonic), yielding the  mELams  hanumatODi (8), mEcakalyANi (65), harikAmbhOji (28), naThabhairavi (20), dhIrashaN^karAbharaNam (29), respectively,  when the notes  ri, ga, ma, pa, and  ni are taken as the tonic  AdhAra shaDjam.

·        kharaharapriya corresponds to the Phrygian mode in Greek, the Dorian in Ecclesiastical, the “D” mode in European and the Irak mode in Arab music.

·        SArN^gadEva,  the author of saN^gIta ratnAkara mentions that kharaharapriya contains all svarams of  sAma vEda. Since Lord shiva is pleased with  sAma vEda chants, it is appropriate that this mELam assumes the name ” harapriya”.

·        a  rAgam suitable for singing at all times. It evokes  karuNa rasam

·        Among the musical trinity, Saint tyAgarAja is the sole composer who has given full life to kharaharapriya by composing a large number of  k.rtis. Neither muttusvAmi dIkSitar nor shyAma sAstri has composed in this mELa rAgam. TyAgarAja’s  “cakkani rAjamArgamu” is the most popular composition in  kharaharapriya.

·        It is a puzzle why muttusvAmi dIkSitar did not compose any  k.rti in  kharaharapriya.  The obvious answer is that he composed only in  rudrapriya       which is “almost”  kharaharapriya, except that the note ” dha”’ is absent in the avarOhaNam.

·        kharaharapriya has helped the  nAdasvaram to acquire recognition as a major musical instrument.   NAdasvaram  exponents like Karaikkuricci Arunachalam, have indulged in this  rAgam for long stretches, especially when rendering some weighty tyAgarAja compositions.

·        pallavi expositions in kharaharapriya are very common. Nowadays, we can hear  rAgamAlikA svarams sung at the concluding segment of a pallavi in kharaharapriya where the artist chooses a number of  priya‑suffixed  rAgams (such as  gAyakapriya, SaNmukhapriya, raghupriya, gOpriya, sunAdapriya, varuNapriya, and so forth!!).

·        Balamuralikrishna has composed a rAgamAlikA tillanA in five  priya‑suffixed rAgams that includes  kharaharapriya as the last one.

·        There are many folk tunes and kAvaDi cindu songs in  kharaharapriya. Also, many tiruppugazh hymns are rendered in  kharaharapriya. The cine world in south India has its fair share of songs in this mELam.

2. Some Compositions in kharaharapriya

kOri sEvimpa rArE                                    Adi                        tyAgarAja

cakkani rAjamArgamu luNDana              Adi                        tyAgarAja

cEtulAra sh.rN^gAramu cEsi                   Adi                        tyAgarAja

naDaci naDaci jUcE                                    Adi                        tyAgarAja

pakkala nilabaTi                                         mishra cApu        tyAgarAja

pAhi rAma rAmayanacu                            rUpakam            tyAgarAja

pEriDi ninnu                                               Adi                        tyAgarAja

mitra bhAgyamE bhAgyamu                   Adi                        tyAgarAja

rAma nIyeDA                                             Adi                        tyAgarAja

rAma nI samAnamevaru                          rUpakam            tyAgarAja

viDamu sEyavE nannu                              Adi                        tyAgarAja

appan avataritta                                        Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

AraNamum                                                jhampa                  pApanAsham shivan

dayavilklaiyA                                             Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

dharmAmbikE                                           Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

enna sheidAlum                                        Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

jAnakIpatE                                                Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

parAmukham EnayyA                             Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

vINA alaiyAdE                                         Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

kAdali rAdhayai                                       Adi                        pApanAsham shivan

okapari kokapari                                     Adi                        annamAcArya

allikkENikkarai                                        Adi                        UttukkADu veN^kaTakavi

bhaktiyOga aN^gItamArgamE            Adi                        UttukkADu veN^kaTakavi

enna parAmukham ammA                   Adi                        UttukkADu veN^kaTa kavi

inta parAkElarA                                    Adi                        pallavi shESayyar

gAnasudhArasa                                    Adi                        mysore vAsudEvAcAriar

saN^kalpameTTidO                            Adi                        paTNam subrahmaNya iyer

ninnunammina                                      rUpakam            karUr cinna dEvuDu

kaNNan maNivaNNan                        rUpakam            muttayyA bhAgavatar

mUvAshai koNDE                               Adi                        muttayyA bhAgavatar

tyAgarAjaguru                                     Adi                        vINa kuppayyar

inda varam taruvAi                             rUpakam            vEdanAyakam piLLai

inda manamoru                                   rUpakam            T. LakSmaNan piLLai

inta parAkElarA                                  Adi                        pallavi sheSayyar

inda janmam vENDum                       rUpakam             gOpAlak.rSNa bhArathi

rArAyani pilacitE                                 Adi                       myspre vAsudEvAcAriar

tyAgarAja                                            Adi                        tiruvoTTiyUr tyAgarAjan

ninnu kolici                                           rUpakam            rAmnAD shrInivAsa iyengAr

kaN pArayyA                                      Adi                        kOTIshvara iyer

aruLvAy shrImInalOcani                  Adi                        kOTIshvara iyer

aravaNai tuyinriDum                          Adi                       Calcutta K. S. Krishnamurthi

anbE ArumarandAlum                        Adi                       periyasAmi tUran

kAlanE bvIzhttiya                                Adi                       periyasAmi tUran

dharnmashAstA                                   Adi                        tuLasIvanam

raktakaNthEshvaram                          Adi                        tuLasIvanam

shabarIshvaram                                   Adi                        tuLasIvanam

rAmA nIvE (va.rNam)                        Adi                        tenmaDam narasimhAcAri

satatam tAvaka  padasEvanaM                                       svAti tirunAL

Remark: Professor Sambamurthi mentions that the  tyAgarAja  k.ri “rAmA nIyeDA” is not set in kharaharapriya, but in the  rAgam dilIpakam.

3. janyams of kharaharapriya

kharaharapriya lends itself to a huge number of  janya rAgams.  Many of these  janyams are important in their own right. Walter Kaufmann’s  “Ragas of South India”  lists 132 janyams of kharaharapriya.  They are:

shrI, AbhOgi, kAnaDa, darbAr, nAyaki, AbhEri, Ananda vAridhi, AndOLika, anilAvaLi, bAlacandrika, bAlaghOSi(Ni), bhadra sAraN^galIla, bhAgavatapriya, bhAgyara~njani, bhOgakannaDa, bhOgavati, bhramarikA ma~njari, bhUyOmaNi, b.rndAvanasAraN^ga, cakra pradIpta, candrakala, candramaNDana, carAvaLi, cAtam, chandOdhari, chAyA shObhitam, cittara~njani, dEshya kAnaDa, dEshya kApi, dEshya manOhari, dEvakriya, dEvamanOhari, dEvAm.rtavarSiNi, dEvamukhAri, dEvara~njani, dhAtumanOhari, dhIrakaLa, dilIpakam, gAnavasantam, gArava simhala, gauri vasantam, ghana kEshi, ghanaja ghana, grandhavikSEpam, hanOkaha,hariharamOhini, harinArAyaNi, hEmAvaLi, hindOLavasantam,  hindustAn kApi, husEni, Inakapriya,janAndOLika, jayAkSari, jayama~njari, jayamanOhari, jayanArAyaNi, jayantasEna, jhAlama~njari, jIvaka vasantam, kaishika, kaLAnidhi, kalAsvarUpi,kalhAru, kALikA, kALindi, kalyANa taraN^giNi, kalyANa vasantam*, kanaka varALi, kannaDa gauLa, kannaDa varALi, kApi, kApi jiN^gaLa, karaNi, ka.rNATaka dEvagAndhAri, ka.rNATaka kApi, kApi, kaThinya, ka.rNara~njani, khilAvaLi, kiraNa bhAskara, kumudapriya, kundamAlika, lalitagAndhAri, lalitamanOhari, mAdhi, madhyamAvati, makuTa dhAriNi, mALavashrI, mallAru, mandamari, maNiraN^gu, ma~njari, manOhari, mArgahindoLam, maruvadhanyAshi, mAyApratIpam, mukhAri, nadacintAmaNi, nAdamUrti, nAdataraN^giNi, nAdanapriya, navaratnavilAsam, nAgari, phalama~njari, pa~ncama, pUrNakalAnidhi, pUrNaSaDjam, pUrvamukhAri, puSpalatika, rItigauLa, rudrapriya, saindhavi, sAlaga bhairavi, samkrantanapriya, siddhasEna, shrImanOhari, shrIra~njani, shubhAN^gi, shuddhabaN^gaLa, shuddhabhairavi, shuddha dhanyAshi, shuddhamadhyamam, shuddhamanOhari, shuddhavElAvali, suguNabhUSaNi, sujaris, svarabhUSaNi, svarakalAnidhi, svarara~njani, udayaravicandrika, varamu

*Walter Kaufmann mentions two versions of kalyANa vasantam, one the traditional classification under kIravANi (mELam 21) and the other under kharaharapriya. However, the version of the popular kr.ti “nAdalOluDai” as sung by the Chittoor school with chatusruti dhaivatam, would have kalyANa vasantam classified under gauri manOhari (mElam 23).

4. scales of some important janyams

janyam                                              ArOhaNam                                    avarOhaNam

AbhEri                                           sa ga ma pa ni sa                        sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

AbhOgi                                        sa ri ga ma dha sa                        sa dha ma gai sa

AndOLika                                   sa ri ma pa ni sa                         sa ni dha ma ri sa

aThANa*                                      sa ri ma pa ni sa                         sa ni Dha pa ma pa Ga ma ri sa

b.rndAvanasAraN^ga                 sa ri ma pa ni sa                        sa ni pa ma ri ga sa

cittara~njanini                         sa ri ga ma pa dha ni                        ni dha pa ma ga ri sa ni

darbAr                                     sa ri ma pa dha ni sa          sa Ni dha pa ma ri Ga Ga ri sa

dEvamanOhari                        sa ri ma pa dha ni sa               sa ni dha ni pa ma ri sa

dEvAm.rtavarSiNi               sa ri ga ma ni dha ni sa              sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

dilIpakam                              sa ri ma pa dha ni dha pa ma ni dha ni sa           sa ni dha  pa ma ga risa

hindustAni kApi                  sa ri ma pa ni sa                          sa ni dha ni pa ma ga ri sa

husEni                                  sa pa ma pa ni dha ni sa              sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

jayamanOhari                     sa ri ga ma dha sa                        sa ni dha ma ga ri sa

jayanArAyaNi                     sa ri ga ma pa dha sa                   sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

jayantasEna                              sa ga ma pa dha sa                         sa ni dha pa ma ga sa

kalAnidhi                                  sa ri ga ma sa pa ma dha ni sa            sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

kAnaDa                                   sa ri Ga ma Dha ni sa                        sa ni pa ma Ga ma Ri sa

kannaDagauLa                         sa ri ga ma pa ni sa                        sa ni dha pa ma ga sa

karNara~njani                          sa ri ga ma ga pa dha sa            sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

kuntaLavarALi                         sa ma pa ni dha sa                        sa ni dha pa ma sa

madhyamAvati                                 sa ri ma pa ni sa                        sa ni pa ma ri sa

mALavashri                              sa ga ma pa ni dha ni pa dha ni sa           sa ni dha pa ma ga sa

maNiraN^gu                            sa ri ma pa ni sa                        sa ni pa ma Ga ri sa

ma~njari                                   sa ga ri ga ma pa ni dha ni sa             sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

manOhari                                 sa ri ga ma pa dha sa                        sa dha pa ma ga ri sa

mukhAri                                   sa ri ma pa ni dha sa                        sa nidha pa ma ga ri sa

nAyaki                                     sa ri ma pa dha pa sa                        sa Ni dha pa ma ri Ga ri sa

pashupatipriya                          sa ri ma pa ma dha sa                        sa dha pa ma ri ma sa

phalama~njari               sa ga ma pa ma dha sa             sa ni dha pa ma Ga ma ri sa

pUrNa SaDjam                         sa ri ga ma ni ni sa                        sa ni pa ma Ga ri sa

puSpalatika                              sa ri ga ma pa ni sa                        sa ni pa ma ga ri sa

rItigauLa*                     sa ga ri ga ma ni dha ma ni ni sa                    sa ni dha ma ga ma  pa  Ma ga ri sa

rudrapriya                                 sa ri ga ma pa dha ni sa             sa ni pa ma ga ri sa

sAlagabhairavi              sa ri ma pa dha sa                        sa ni dha pa ma ga ri sa

siddhasena                                sa ga ri ga ma pa dha sa             sa ni dha ma pa ma ri ga ri sa

shrI                                          sa ri ma pa ni sa                        sa ni pa dha ni pa ma ri ga ri sa

shrIra~njani                              sa ri ga ma dha ni sa                         sa ni dha ma ga ri sa

shuddha baN^gaLa                        sa ri ma pa dha sa                        sa dha pa ma ri ga ri sa

shuddha dhanyAshi                        sa ga ma pa ni sa                         sa ni pa ma  ga sa

supoSiNi                                  sa ri sa ma pa ni dha sa            sa dha ni pa ma ri ma sa

svarabhUSaNi                          sa ga ma pa dha ni sa                         sa ni pa ma ga ma ri sa

(* aThANa is more of a phrase-oriented rAgam with a unique identity. Some texts classify this under dHIrasa~nkarAbharaNaM. Prof. S. R. Janakiraman’s recent book contends that aThANa should be placed under kharaharapriya.)

5.  kAfi ThATh ‑ hindustAni paddhati

The Hindusthani  ThATh kAfi corresponds to kharaharapriya of  ka.rNATik  music. The  svarams used are:  tIvra ri, komal ga, shuddh ma, tIvra dha, komal ni. vadi is  pa, and  samvadi is sa.  It is an evening rag. The usage of  joD (double  svaras) sa sa, ri ri ga ga, ma ma, pa pa is pleasing. In this rAgam, the notes  ga , ri in the  pUrvAN^g, and  ni, dha in the  uttarAN^g should be frequently employed. Ending of  AlAp with  pa ma ga ri is graceful. Beauty of  kAfi rests in  sa, ga, pa ni. Pure  kAfi is rarely rendered, and what is presented as  kAfi contains touches of  sindhUri. You can hear  tumri, bhajan, hOri, Tappa, ghazal , or sometimes dhrupad in  kAfi.

The following  rAgams are derivatives of  kAfi:‑‑

bhImpalAsi,  dhani, dhanashri, bhim, paTadIp, bArva, sindhUra,sindh, hansakiN^kiNi, bhAgEshri, bahAr, pIlU, palAsi,  the mallAri group ( megh malhAr, miyAn ki malhAr, gauD malhAr, shuddh malhAr, naTh malhAr, sUr malhAr, rAmdAsi malhAr, rUpma~njari malhAr, mIrAbAi ki malhAr,nAyaki malhAr, jayant malhAr, carajuki malhAr, dEsh malhAr, ca~ncalasasa malhAr, dhulia malhAr), candrakauns,shrIra~njani,patma~njari, mAlgu~nj, gauD, the  sAraN^g group ( bindrabani sAraN^g, madhumati sAraN^g,  bhadhauns sAraN^g, miyAn ki sAraN^g, laN^kAdahan sAraN^g, samant sAraN^g, nUr sAra.ng).

6. asampU.rNa mELam 22 ‑‑ shrI

According to DIkSitar school of asampUrNa mELa paddhati, rAgAN^ga rAgam 22 is shrI.

lakSaNaM (Definition) ( VeN^kaTamakhin):

shrI rAgaH sagrahaH pUrNaH cArOhE cAlpadhaivataH

avarohe ga vakraH syAt sAyam gEyaH shubhAvaha.h

ArohaNaM:   sa ri ma pa  ni Sa

avarohaNaM:  Sa ni pa dha ni pa ma ri Ga ri sa

The notes taken are:   SaDjaM. catushruti  ri, shuddha ma, pa~ncamam,  catushruti dha, sAdhAraNa ga, kAkaLi ni,. In the  ArohaNam, dha and  ni are absent. Only the ArohaNam permits  vakra sa~ncAra. In fact there are two  vakra sa~ncArams. The  rAgam gets a beauty by the elongation and  gamaka on the note ga.

·        An  audava‑vakra rAgam dervived from 22nd mELam  kharaharapriya.

·        The  chAyA svarams are  ri and  ni.

·        the  nyAsa svaram is  ri.

·        sa, ri, ma, pa, ni are the  graha svarams.

·        SubbarAma DIkSitar states that  ri in the ArohaNan is both the  jIva and  nyAsa

·        svaram. The phrases  ri ga ri sa, pa dha ni pa in avarohaNam give beauty.

·        A raga suitable for  singing ( tAnam on the  vINa; auspicious, and suitable for singing in the evening.

·        shrI is an evening  rAgam, a  ghana rAgam, and auspicious  rAgam (maN^gaLa karam), and is preferred by  vaiNikas for rendering  tAnam.

·        The  sa~ncArams given in Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini are unique in the sense that there is no  dhaivata prayOga. Being a  maN^gaLa rAgam, it is  most often heard in concerts, almost invariable, at least very briefly played  after the  maN^gaLam.

·        The last  of Saint tyAgAraja’s five gems ( pa~ncaratnaM): ” endarO mahAnubhavulu “ is in shrI.

·        SaN^gIta SaMpradAya Pradarshini, the it magnum opus work  of SubbarAma DIkSitar, lists under shrI, a  lakSya gItam in  maTya tALam (without  using the note  dha), a  tAnam by Venkatamakhin, in  maTyam, a  kIrtanam by Kumara Ettappa Maharaja ( SaDAdhAra tatva vinAyaka in  Adi), a  sa~ncAri by Subbarama Dikshitar, and four  k.rtis of Muttuswami Dikshitar (shrImUlAdhAracakra vinAyaka, tyAgarAja mahadhvajArOha, =’srIvaralakd mi, and shrIkamalAmbikE ).

·        In Hindusthani music,  shri rAga is entirely different; it is derived from  pUrvi ThAT (equivalent of  kAmavardhani), and is audava‑sampUrNa in nature.  pUriyA dhanashri and

·        gauri are two allied  rAgams that resemble Hindusthani shri. One type of  badahamsa sAraN^g of Hindusthani resembles  karnaTik shri very closely.

·        SaN^gIta SaMpradAya Pradarshini discusses the following  janyams of the  rAgAN^ga rAgam shrI:

upAN^gam: ‑‑‑ maNiraN^gu, sAlagabhairavi, shuddha dhanyAshi, kannaDa gauLa, shuddhadEshi, mALavashrI,

bhASAN^gam:‑‑‑ shrIra~njani, kApi, hushAni, b.rndAvani, saindhavi, mAdhavamanOhari, madhyamAvati, dEvamanOhari, rudrapriya, sahAna, nAyaki

7. Some Compositions in shri

varnam

sami ninne kori (Adi) (Karur Devidu Iyer)

endukina modi (Adi) (Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer)

padaM

yemmamma ye vintalu (Adi)(kSetra~jna)

manasu ninnedabhayadu (Adi)

k.rti

shrI mUlAdhAracakra (Adi) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

shrI kamalAmbike (Adi) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

shrI varalakSmi (Adi) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

tyAgarAja mahadhvaja (Adi) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

kAmEshvarE da (Adi) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

shrI abhayAmba (rUpakam) (MuttusvAmi DIkSitar)

endaro mahanubhavulu (Adi) (Tyagaraja)

nAmakusuma  (rUpakaM) (Tyagaraja)

yuktamu gadu (mishracApu) (Tyagaraja)

bhAyAmi nandakumAram (Adi) (SvAti TirunAL)

riNa mada dritha  (Adi) (SvAti TirunAL)

karuNa ceyvAn (Adi) (Iriyamman Thampi)

maN^gaLam aruL (rUpakam)   Papanasam Sivan

rAman edukku (triputa ) (Arunachala Kavi)

pAlaya mAm shrI (Bhadracala Ramadasa)

Vadavari (Adi) (Annamacharya)

vanajAsana vinuta (rUpakam) (Subbaraya Sastri)

sabha darishanam (Adi) (Gopalakrishna Bharathi)

Edukku en mItu (Adi) (Gopalakrishna Bharathi)

maravAmal (Adi) (Gopalakrishna Bharathi)

shrI bhArgavam (Adi) (Muthiah Bhagavathar)

shrI kArtikEya (Adi) (Muthiah Bhagavathar)

shrIpatE kripa seyyar (mishracApu) (Pallavi Sesha Iyer)

kanaka vela karuNAlavAla (Adi) (Kotiswara Iyer)

adhikAramundaruL (Adi) (T.Lakshmanan Pillai)

vEdanAyaka (aTa) (Vedanayakam Pillai)

kAnavEnDAmo (rUpakam) (subrahmanya Bharathi)

ambigApatim (rUpakam) (Periyasami Thuran)

bhAgyalaskmi baramma (Adi) (Purandaradasa)

dharmigu dorayendu rUpakaM) (Purandaradasa)

ninne gati (Adi) (Purandaradasa)

Of these, the song, ” endaro mahAnubhAvulu” has a greater frequency in concert halls. There ares some excellent  pallavi expositions  in shrI . Also, shrI   often appears in the  rAgamAlika svaram segments in a  pallavi rendition, or more often, in the tAnam portion, when all the five  ghana rAgaMs are rendered (either in  tAnam, or in the  rAgamAlika svara segment).  But, being an auspicious rag, shrI is employed in the final piece maN^gaLam singing.  Some prefer to sing the  shri composition, “bhAgya lakSmi bAramma” and conclude the concert. I am not aware of any  tillAna/javali  in shrI. The  rAgams  madhyamAvati, maNiraN^gu, puSpalatika, and  sAlagabhairavi are four  rAgams closely related to  shri.  madhyamAvati is an  audava‑audava rAgam with notes:  sa ri ma pa ni sa;  sa ni pa ma ri sa. While it almost resembles  shri, the omission of the notes  dha and  ga in  madhyamAvati makes a clear distinction. Hence while rendering  madhyamAvati, care should be taken not to touch these notes even slightly.  While  shri has greater majesty and depth,  madhyamAvati has greater number of compositions. maNiraN^gu is another  janyam of kharaharapriya with scale  sa ri ma pa ni sa;  sa ni pa ma ga ri sa. It has the same  arohaNam as  madhyamAvati, but takes the note ga in  avaraohaNam, which is not allowed in madhyamAvati. It omits the  dha, which is present in shrI(Shree).

(Courtesy of  P. P. Narayanaswami)


Rag Madhukali

Raga Kafi

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The Rudra Veena of Ustad Asad Ali Khan -Beenkar of Alwar- असद अली खान

Asad_Ali_Khan_02

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असद अली खान

ASAD ALI KHAN – BEENKAR OF  ALWAR

The Rudra Veena is probably one of the oldest sacred musical instruments of the global heritage of sacred music.
The Rudra veena is very well known and till nowadays frightened for her
mystic and mighty spiritual auratic power and the end of any
type of musical questions and theories.Here one can find the operating mind expressed as pure Sound !

The mighty  Godess Sarasvati is Master of Rudra Veena.
Her portrait is even mounted on ancient bas reliefs dating back
to 1000  B.C.

Basically the rudra veena is not bound to style, because her style is worshipping god and initialisation of deeper type of inner meditation  for religious communication.
It is well known that in In ancient sacred music of India many Gharanas
(Music Traditions) exist but one should not forget that In the science
of music one has to make a difference between science (the discourse about matters) and religion (the discourse to god) therefore  it,s at least obsolete for asking about style in a serious manner.

The inner discourse, which is perfectly demonstrated by Beenkars of Rudra Veena is not bound by any rule,with one exception :execution of truth by the order of perfection.
(Ram51 Ed.)

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The Rudra Veena maestro Asad Ali Khan spoke to Deepak Raja on January 11, 2000.

I belong to the Jaipur Beenkar gharana, founded by the 18th century beenkar, Shahaji Saheb. Rajasthan has been our home for several centuries even before Shahaji Saheb; but my ancestors had a long sojourn in Golconda-Bijapur in South India, after which we returned to Rajasthan. My father, Sadiq Ali Khan, was a musician at the Alwar and Rampur courts. He had studied with my grandfather, Musharraf Khan, who was trained by my great-grandfather, the legendary Rajab Ali Khan.

At Alwar, my father’s colleagues were people like Allah Bande Khan (the grandfather of Nasir Aminuddin and Nasir Moinuddin Dagar), and Sageer Khan (the son of Wazir Khan of Rampur). After retirement from the service of the Court, my father settled down at Rampur, where I was born in 1934. In 1962, my father agreed to join the faculty of the Bhatkhande College of Music at Lucknow. He died there in 1964. Until my father’s end, I lived and studied with him, traveling whenever necessary for concerts.

A sense of futility
In 1965, after my father’s demise, I took up an assignment at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi, whose founder, Sumitra Charat Ram, was keen on preserving the Been art. Despite her efforts and mine, we could find only two students for the Been – neither of them has pursued the art — while the Sarod, Sitar and Khayal music got an encouraging response. I spent a futile three years there, and quit.

In 1971, the Delhi University invited me to join its music faculty with similar hopes, and similar results. I served there for 14 years, teaching music theory and the Been style of the sitar, which nobody plays any longer. But, I could not get a single student to learn the Been. By the early 1980’s I was traveling frequently for concerts, and unable to manage my teaching responsibilities. So, without waiting to reach the age of mandatory retirement, I quit in 1985 to devote myself to performing.

The futility of our efforts to enlarge the Been’s following, in the 1970’s does not surprise me. But, we had to try. The university classroom is, in any case, not the ideal place for shaping performing careers. Those who seek a degree in music, do so to qualify for jobs as music teachers or as producers with radio or TV. Many ladies study music at university while they wait for Mr. Right to turn up. The Dhrupad revival was, at that time, nowhere on the horizon; the international market for the Been was just about opening up. For propagating the Been art, that was not a promising context. Even if the limitations of the university framework did not exist, it would have been near impossible to find students who would submit themselves to the grooming of a beenkar, as my gharana views it.

The making of a beenkar
In our gharana, we take the students through a three-stage training. The Been is an instrument of the Dhrupad genre and the gayaki ang (the vocalized idiom). Therefore, a musician is first trained as a vocalist, starting with the science of breath control and intonation, going on to the knowledge of a sufficient number of ragas, and several Dhrupad compositions in each raga. At the second stage, he is trained to apply his knowledge of Dhrupad vocalism to the sitar, which is an easier instrument to handle than the Been. At this stage, he also acquires knowledge of the rhythmic intricacies and improvisatory movements of the Dhrupad genre.

Once he acquires sufficient command over the sitar, he is allowed to graduate to the Been. We make sure that by this time, the student can sit for hours in the posture of Vajrasana. He has to start with Vajrasana from the first day, long before he holds the sitar. The transition from the sitar to the Been is a major one, as the most important aspects of playing – the mizrab angle, the placement of strings — are different. Gradually, the transition is achieved and the craft is transferred to the Been. Beyond this, the instrument teaches the musician its own art. An exceptionally talented and dedicated student can take upto ten years to go through these three stages of grooming. Most will take fifteen years to become respectable performers, if they have it in them.

The tenacity required to go through this process is rare in present times. The days of hereditary musicianship are over; so are the days of princely patronage, which supported it. Given the many options today, who would want to make a choice that may, or may not, pay off after ten or fifteen years? Music is no more a way of life. It is a profession. Musicians want recognition and money fast, and they will learn what gives them a quick take-off. Moreover, today people want to learn music – whether Been or something else – with different objectives. It may have nothing to do with wanting to perform.

Today, the Dhrupad revival is a reality. The Been has a good international audience. There exists sufficient motivation for promising talent. But, the journey is long and arduous. By the grace of God, I have five disciples today – four foreign, and one Indian. I would be very happy if even one of them emerges as a competent performer.

Performance format
In my gharana, we present the raga in complete Dhrupad format – alap, jod, jhala, Dhrupad, followed by tar-paran. Beenkars who perform a partial or abbreviated protocol betray their poor training – it doesn’t matter how they justify it. Our training has equipped us in all the departments of the art. We don’t compromise with this format for any audience, Indian or foreign. Also, we make very sparing use of the tihai, which has become so popular today. A tihai has to be a spontaneous and effortless improvisation. The pre-composed tihai belongs to the territory of dance and solo percussion. In our gharana, we consider the tihai a childish gimmick.

In the choice of Dhrupad compositions, we have been taught that the compositions with four stanzas are meant for vocal rendition, while the twin-stanza compositions are suitable for the Been. After rendering the two stanzas – the sthayi and the antara – we begin the tar-paran improvisations. The tar-paran belongs to the jod-ang (the jod facet) of the improvisations with percussion accompaniment. A competent Beenkar knows hundreds of parans composed for the Pakhawaj, while his percussionist knows hundreds of stroke-patterns on the Been. They anticipate each other’s improvisations, and co-operate to create the most effective rhythmic impact. And, the advanced stage of the tar-parans, played with chikari punctuation, is the jhala ang (jhala facet/ movement).

Almost 50% of the success of our concert depends on the quality of the Pakhawaj accompaniment. The required rapport with the Pakhawaj player is best achieved through a stable partnership with one percussionist. For years, I have played with Gopaldasji, who once also accompanied my father. He is getting on in years now. I am developing a younger Pakhawaj player from Mathura. There are many soloists in India, but very few good accompanists. An accompanist has to be virtually groomed for that role by senior vocalists or beenkars.

I have done what I could for the Been. Its future is in the hands of God and the future generations.

(© Deepak S. Raja 2000)

***Rag_Malkos_Malkosh_Malkauns

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mK

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Like so many music lovers in India and abroad I was saddened at the news of the demise of Ustad Asad Ali Khansaheb, the great Beenkar. I want to share these memories and thoughts about him.

My first recollection of Ustad Asad Ali Khan is from around 1972/73 when I saw him play in a small theatre in Calcutta. Khansaheb was at that time about 35 years of age but he was not well known in Calcutta and Beenkars, scarce for many years, had become a rarity in the musical world. He belonged to an hereditary musical family and, his father, Sadiq Ali Khansaheb had been one of the deeply respected musicians in the decades straddling independance, but was a remnant of the ‘ancien regime’ of Alwar and Rampur, that courtly musical culture that had receded into a semi mythic domain (…..).

Beenkars, though given a reflexive acknowledgment, were not the darlings of the box-office and with the erosion of the older patronage times were tough. He was very slim and straight and had a look of slightly defensive pride and was firmly buttoned into a black sherwani, shiny with age and meticulous care. It was still the polite mode for musicians to wear white kurta-pyjama, maintain a modest demeanor and, in the cold of winter add a black sherwani or kashmir shawl and I have the impression that Khansaheb kept to this dress throughout his life. As I got to know him better in the following years I realized his slightly haughty distance was a customary, if awkward, formality that served to sheild an otherwise shy, simple and kindly man. His compact face and firm expression would suddenly give way to a luminous smile and his vices were confined to consuming small quantities of rich mughlai food and smoking 555s. I found his Been playing fascinating to watch. The technique was powerful and demanding but he achieved a wonderful balance with long strong fingers, but perhaps the most remarkable thing was how he tuned his Been to his body, using his breath to expand against the tumbahs and regulating and inflecting his Sa the subsequent swaras Before his performance, as he circulated a little among the gunis and rasikas and patiently listened to several of the junior artistes, he appeared singular and a little lonely.

I don’t remember what Raga he played that first time but once I had understood that the Been, when amplified through pretty crude PA systems, such as may still be found in many concert venues in India, presents acoustic problems that demand an extra element of participation from its listeners, I was impressed with the sense that I had just encountered some sort of revelation of what lay at the heart of the instrumental music of North India. It was partly a compelling fulness in the articulation of the swaras despite what might otherwise be characterised as a twangy sound; strong in the base and thin in the higher registers. With this instrument he played the Ragas with a pure simplicity, quite free of arbitrary flourishes, that allowed the subtlest inflections of swaras to be filled with the moving energy. Later when I heard his Been un-amplified and was even able to put my ear to its gourds the incomparable richness of the sound became evident. It inspired me to make a Been and, although I had no expertise, it actually turned out to be OK and became part of a barter in which I got a Vicki 50cc moped, Manfred Junius took my Been and Peter Row acquired Manfred’s Kanai Lal Been. It was also an element in my early friendship with Khamsaheb. After that first concert I had gone to meet him to ask about the instrument and how to make it, taking measurements and peering at the jovari. Despite his profound intitial scepticism he was chuffed that I had tried and we agreed that I should try to make a good instrument for him one day. Unfortunately this never happened, largely because I was never convinced that I had any way of improving on the traditional instrument and I procrastinated in the expectation that one day I would have a brain-wave or two on the subject.

In 1975 Asad Ali Khansaheb stayed with me in my apartment at Lake Market for about ten days during which time I was able to observe his playing and the instrument in some depth. During that time Fahimuddin Dagarsaheb often dropped by as they were old friends and had much in common musically. One memorable evening they played and sang a very extended and vilambit Khamaj, full of beautiful vistars that showed fresh pathways into the Raga. In this context I recall Dr SK Saxena recounting an impromptu meeting in his Friends Colony apartment in Delhi in the late ’50s early 60′s, when Rahimuddin Dagar was requested by Sadiq Ali Khansaheb to listen to his son, the young Asad Ali, and comment on his playing. He began playing Bhimpalashi and after some time Dagarsaheb’s mood came and he began to sing, becoming deeply immersed in the raga. Dr Saxena claims that the music was so powerful and profoundly beautiful that it became overwhelming and after some time he had to beg Dagarsaheb to stop. Sadiq Ali Khansaheb was in tears and exclaimed ‘Arre! This is Been ang Beta . . this is how one should try to play!’. Although it was not spelt out as a formal arrangement I was led to believe that Asad Ali Khansaheb had benefitted from repeated musical contacts with Dagarsaheb and had absorbed fundamental ideas from him which changed his baaj, giving the Seniyah base of his family parampara a Dagar vocal quality in its presentation.

In 1978 our friend Brad Warren, who was learning sarode with him, took Asad Ali Khansaheb on an extensive tour of Austrtalia for six weeks. He played lots of concerts and was in fantastic form. The performance in the Sydney University chapel was particularly memorable for me as I had dragged along uncles and aunts who, while avid classical music fans, were mildly indifferent to Indian music. After two hours of one raga (again Bhimpalashi and wonderfully played) they surfaced at the interval a little glassy-eyed but convinced that he was one of the greatest musicians they had ever heard. Nevertheless, they pleaded, two hours was enough for the time being.

Khansaheb was not one to happily compromise on form or content but he was a regular artist at AIR in Delhi where time constraints had to apply. The Office and studios at AIR, which had assumed many of the functions of the Gunijankhanas of the princely courts, were blessed zones in those days, before Mrs Gandhi’s assassination and the brutish security regime that followed. The director for classical music through the time I used to visit was Sunil Bose, a thumri singer, whose office overflowed with musicians coming and going from work or just dropping by to share gossip and songs and consuming vast quantities of tea and cigarettes and if you were a music lover you were welcome. I was invited into the spaciously minimalist and relaxed studios to listen to someone or others recording session several times but the most memorable was in 1981. I met Khansaheb at AIR he called me into the studio and proceeded to play a brilliant Darbari Kanhra for 25 minutes followed, I think, by Desh.

I rarely saw him after that and never again had a chance to confer with him about Beens and music but he has remained prominent in my mind for all his qualities and because his vani stands clear as a realisation of the Veena-ang paradigm that has informed music in India for millenia. The fine point, the bindu, where breath and vani meet, humming like a bumble-bee, moving freely along the dandi from tumbah to tumbah, revealing in ahata naada the subtle and majestic dynamic of prana moving as musical thoughts and emotions.

[Courtesy of Jonathan Barlow ,a disciple of Pandit Radhika Mohan Moitra]

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Asad Ali Khan

(Hindi: असद अली खान) (1937 – 14 June 2011) was an Indian musician who played the plucked string instrument rudra veena. Khan performed in the style dhrupad  and was described as the best living rudra veena player in India by The Hindu. He was awarded the Indian civilian honor Padma Bhushan in 2008.

Khan was born 1937 in Alwar in the seventh generation of rudra veena players in his family.[1][2]  His ancestors were royal musicians in the courts of Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur, Rajasthan  in the 18th century.[3][4]  His great-grandfather Rajab Ali Khan was head of the court musicians in Jaipur and owned a village land holding.[4][5]  His grandfather Musharraf Khan (died 1909) was court musician in Alwar, and performed in London in 1886.[4][6]  Khan’s father Sadiq Ali Khan worked as a musician for the Alwar court and for the Nawab  of Rampur for 35 years.[6][7]  Khan grew up in a musical surrounding and was taught the Beenkar gharana  (stylistic school of rudra veena playing) of Jaipur and vocals for fifteen years.[2][4][6]

Khan was one of a few active musicians who played the rudra veena and the last surviving master of one of the four schools of dhrupad, the Khandar school.[3][4][8] He performed in many countries, including Australia, the United States, Afghanistan, and Italy and several other European countries, and conducted music courses in the United States.[8][9] Khan worked at All India Radio, taught the sitar in the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at the University of Delhi for 17 years, and continued to train students privately after his retirement.[7][8][10] Students of Khan who perform include his son Zaki Haidar and Bikramjeet Das of Kolkata.[11][12] Khan criticized the lack of willingness among Indians to study the rudra veena and has more foreign than Indian students.[9] He was involved in preserving the playing of the instrument, which he believed to be created by the deity Shiva, and performed for SPIC MACAY, promoting Indian classical music to young Indians.[2][4][8] Khan was a Shi’a Muslim.[13]

Khan received several national awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1977 and the civilian honor Padma Bhushan in 2008, which was awarded by Indian President Pratibha Patil.[3][14][15] He was described as the best living rudra veena player in India by The Hindu and lived in Delhi.[6][16]

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DISCOGRAPHY

ASAD ALI KHAN
1. AUVIDIS-UNESCO CD D8021: NORTH INDIA/ Instrumental Music. 1989. Raga Gunakali, 15’41; the rest of the disc is devoted to other instruments and artists.
2. AUVIDIS-UNESCO CD D8025: NORTH INDIA/ Instrumental Music of Mediaeval India. 1991. Raga Darbari Kanada; Raga Gunakali (different version than on D8021).
3. NIMBUS NI 5601: Asad Ali Khan: Raga Jaijaivanti. Recorded 1997; released 1999.
4. NIMBUS NI 5633: Asad Ali Khan: Ragas Purvi and Jogiya. Recorded 1997.
5. MUSIC TODAY CD-A91012: Asad Ali Khan: Maestro’s Choice. 1991. Ragas Asaveri and Malkauns.
6. MUSIC TODAY CD-A97014: Asad Ali Khan: Rarely Heard Ragas. 1997. Ragas Badhans Sarang and Bhinna Sadja.
7. INDIA ARCHIVE MUSIC IAM CD 1080: Ustad Asad Ali Khan/ Rudra Bin. 2005. Raga Miyan Ki Todi.
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#  Kinnear, Michael S. (1985). A discography of Hindustani and Karnatic music. Greenwood Press. p. 26. ISBN 0-313-24479-0.
# Jump up to: a b c Tandon, Aditi (2005-04-26). “Preserving the fading tradition of rudra veena”. The Tribune. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up to: a b c Massey, Reginald (1996). The Music of India. Abhinav Publications. p. 144. ISBN 81-7017-332-9.
# Jump up to: a b c d e f “Artiste profiles” (PDF). Nagaland University. June 2008. Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up Miner, Allyn (2004). Sitar and Sarod in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 132. ISBN 81-208-1493-2.
# Jump up to: a b c d Bor, Joep; Bruguiere, Philippe (1992). Masters of Raga. Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt. p. 28. ISBN 3-8030-0501-9.
# Jump up to: a b “While my veena gently weeps”. The Financial Express. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up to: a b c d “Profound notes”. The Hindu. 2006-02-18. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up to: a b Sharma, S.D. (2006-10-29). “Sole exponent of Rudra Veena”. The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up Mohan, Lalit (2005-05-17). “Protect art of making Rudra veena: Ustad”. The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up to: a b “Rudra veena exponent Ustad Asad Ali Khan passes away”. Daily News and Analysis. Press Trust of India. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
# Jump up Bhatia, Ravi (2008-04-20). “Artist’s passion for female faces”. The Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up Naqvi, Jawed (16 June 2011). “Battling the cultural Taliban”. Dawn. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
# Jump up “Padma Awards”. Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (India). Retrieved 18 June 2011.
# Jump up Sengupta, Debatosh. “Image Number: D-2488″. National Informatics Centre. Retrieved 2009-03-21.
# Jump up Pratap, Jitendra (2006-01-20). “Where are the songs of strings?”. The Hindu. Retrieved 2009-03-21.

http://www.rudraveena.org/Links.html

http://www.rudraveena.org/Saraswati_Tantuvadya_Kendra.html(RudraVeena Builders)

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The Rudra Veena

Traditional sources call the Rudra Veena the mother of all stringed instruments. This beautiful instrument is said to have been made by Rudra – or Shiva – who in some versions of the tale used his intestines to make the st…rings. Which is why the Rudra Veena is said to resonate to the primordial sounds of the Cosmos.

Other stories say that in making this instrument Shiva took inspiration from the form of Parvati. Thus the dandi is the hand of Parvati, the frets are her bangles and the strings Shiva’s hair.The pegs symbolize the Sapta Rishis, and the bridge is Sarasvati. The two gourds are Brahma and Vishnu.

It is also said that while Ravana was playing the Rudra Veena for Shiva, one of the strings broke and Ravana replaced it with a nerve from his body as he did not want to bring the recital to an end.

Historically the Rudra Veena seems to have come into being in the 13th or the 14 century AD. Initially,we are told, it was called Been and was used by certain types of ascetics in their meditation.

Ustad Bande Ali Khan 1830-1895 is said to be one of the greatest Rudra Veena exponents of all time. He was a court musician of Indore. Ustad Bande Khan played in both the Drupad and Khayal styles. Many Beenkars – players of stringed instruments – in Pune light incense at his grave on Guru Poornima day and offer flowers in homage and seek the blessings of one in whose hands the Rudra Veena is said to have taken the form as seen today.

Of his disciples, Ustad Murad Khan and Ustad Rajab Ali Khan were famous as singers as well as Rudra Veena players.

(Courtesy Vasudev Murthy)

असद अली खान

ASAD ALI KHAN – BEENKAR OF  ALWAR

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Rag Chandraneel

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Rag Lalit

Lalit_Ragini*

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Rag Kedar Bhankar

Kedar_Ragini

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a1

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The Man Who Never Lived

Evariste GaloisEvariste Galois  – Mathematician

Evariste Galois, the famous French mathematician whose life is tragic and inspiring at the same time was born 200 years ago. Gonit Sora is celebrating his life by bringing forth a series of articles on the life and works of Galois. (…)

A famous and oft repeated quote is “Whom Gods love, die young!” Although, there seems to be no scientific evidence nor any coherent study confirming or discarding this statement, it has been noticed now and again that great men indeed die young. Not everyone, of course; but there have been some glaring examples in many fields; take for instance the great poet John Keats who died very young. But the field in which such examples are galore is mathematics. Throughout the history of mathematics, there has been many examples of extraordinarily brilliant minds living for a very short span of time. Take for example, the great Indian mathematician S. Ramanujan who died at the young age of 32; the famous Norwegian mathematician Neils Henrick Abel died at the age of 27. Some other notable people who lived for a short span of time are Riemann and Pascal; both geniuses of the first order and both could have achieved a lot had fate been kinder to them. However, no example is as tragic and as hearttouching as that of Evariste Galois, the now famous French mathematician who died at the age of 20!

Evariste Galois (pronounced ‘Gelwa’) was born in Bourg la-Riene in the then French Empire on 25th of October, 1811. Galois, like many mathematicians before and after him showed a tenacity and zeal for higher mathematics at a very small age that could only be described as hauting. Galois started his formal education at the age of 10 being self tutored at home and later joined the Lycee’s school in his hometown. As was expected, Galois showed a tremoundous amount of scholarship in his studies and soon rose to the top of his class. But, such is the tale of genius that at the age of 14, he became bored with the regular school curriculum and started taking an uncanny liking towards mathematics. This was eventful not only for him, but for the whole of mathematics as he did some pioneering work in the fields he touched upon, that even now we are yet to reap the benefits of the seeds that he sowed.

During this period of his life, Galois began studying the masters of mathematics. It is said that he finished the famous mathematician Legendre’s book on Geometry in almost 5 days cover to cover and all the while he read it like a novel. It must be mentioned that even now professional mathematicians find this book too difficult to master. At the age of 15, Galois started to follow the original research papers of another great mathematician, Lagrange. This not only fueled his deep passion for mathematics but also encouraged him to unravel the mathematical mysteries on his own. In April, 1829 Galois published his first research paper on continued fractions at the age of only 17. Thus, began the journey of a legend. Galois deep and varied contributions in many different fields of mathematics has earned him the respect and adulation of one and all today. He was the first person to use the word ‘group’ to define a certain class of mathematicial objects that are today omnipresent not only in almost all branches of mathematics but in fields as varied as physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and even economics.

Galois after completing his school with excellent marks in mathematics decided to try and enter the distinguished Ecole Polytechnique, and so sat in its entrance exam. However, Galois failed to secure a seat in this institute of unique importance and had to enroll in the far inferior Ecole Normale Superior. Here Galois studied for some time, and then again decided to try and enter for the Ecole Polytechnique. Meanwhile, on the personal frontier Galois lost his father who committed suicide by hanging himself in public. This was a major blow to the teenaged Galois and which further fuled his Republican tendencies. The French nation was at that time going through enormous imbalance in its monarchy and system of governance. Galois too decided to join the revolution at the cost of his mathematics. History is testament to tha fact that Galois was even jailed a few times for his revolutionary activities and this got him into trouble even in his institution. All these incidents happened when he was preparing for his entrance exam at the Polytechnique. It was again a surprise when Galois failed a second time to clear it. The genius of Galois was not reccognised at that hallowed institution of learning. Eric Temple Bell, the famous historian of mathematics in his book “Men of Mathematics” quotes

“People not fit to sharpen his (Galois’) pencils sat on judgement of him.”

Such failure prompted Galois to almost leave doing mathematics and light the fire of revolution once again, which was later the cause of his death too.

Galois’ major contribution to mathematics lies in his theory of equations, where he gave a very novel approach to solve one of the major outstanding problems of his time. He along with Abel showed the impossibility of solving the quintic equation via regular methods. This is regarded as a giant leap in the then 19th century mathematical scene. Galois made fundamental contribution to a new field of mathematics which is now termed as ‘Galois Theory’. Galois wrote one paper on Number Theory where he discussed the concept of a ‘finite field’ for the first time. Galois’ entire mathematical research output was a mere 66 pages. This was all that he gave to world mathematics, and this is what made him immortal. It took major advances in group theory to fully understand the implications of the works of Evariste Galois.

The story of this great man came to a very cruel end on 31st May, 1832 at Paris when he had just entered his 20th year. Galois was killed in a duel. There have been numerous speculations as to what may have been the cause of his death, and it seems that the most likely explanation could be that he fell in love with his physician’s daughter and it was at her instigation that he challenged someone for a duel and was as a result killed. The sadder part of this story is that Galois didn’t recive any medical attention for many hours after he was shot, maybe this giant of mathematics could have been saved had helped arrived on time. Galois died a very slow and painful death at the tender age of 20, and the world lost a brilliant mind who was just showing his capabilites. His last words to his brother were

“Don’t cry, Alfred! I need all my courage to die at twenty.”

Galois never recived the admiration from his peers that he should have recived in his lifetime. Even his grave is unmarked and he died almost an anonymous person. It was only years after his death when the letters and manuscripts that Galois wrote just before he died were published that the world started revering Galois and his unparralled genius. The night before he died Galois sensing his end was near wrote down many letters, both mathematical and political to his numerous friends and brother. These letters contain some very though provoking mathematical ideas that has forever sealed Galois name in the annals of mathematical wizardry. The famous mathematician Hermann Weyl while describing these letters said

“This letter judged by the novelty and profundity of ideas it contain, is perhaps the most substantial piece of writing in the whole literature of mankind.”

Galois may have died, but his legacy still lingers on. His life shows us what legends are made of, and is a true testament to the fact that whether a man is a legend or not, is determined by history, not fortune tellers. Galois seems to be a perfect man on whom the words of Albert Einstein used to describe Mahatma Gandhi fit perfectly

“Generations to come and generations to go will scarcely belive that such a one as he ever walked upon this earth in flesh and blood.”

Courtesy of Manjil P. Saikia


The Art of The Shakuhachi

aaaAn Introduction to The Art of Shakuhachi playing

(Click image to read on)

The Spirit of Shakuhachi

The training and discipline common to the Way of shakuhachi consists of three levels of mastery: physical, psychological and spiritual. On the physical level mastery of form is the crux of practice. The teacher provides a model form, the student observes carefully and repeats it countless times until he has completely internalized the form. Words are not spoken and explanations are not given; the burden of learning is on the student. In the ultimate mastery of form the student is released from adherence to form.

This release occurs because of internal psychological changes taking place from the very beginning. The learning routine tests the student’s commitment and will power, but it also reduces stubborness, curbs wilfulness, and eliminates bad habits of body and mind. In the process, his or her real strength, character and potential begin to emerge. The spiritual mastery is inseparable from the psychological but begins only after an intensive and lengthy period of practice.

The heart of spiritual mastery is this: the ego self becoming the egoless self. Free expression of self is blocked by one’s own ego. In the Way of shakuhachi the student’s mastery of fom must be so total that there is no opening for distraction to enter. One becomes vulnerable when one stops to think about winning, losing, impressing, disregarding or taking advantage of a spirit or audience. When the mind stops, even for a single instant, the body freezes, and free, fluid movement is lost.

(Courtesy of Myoan Shakuhachi)


Pannalal Ghosh -The Seventh Hole of Madhyama

Pannalal_Gosh_05

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Pt. Pannalal Ghosh -
Wizard of the Bansuri

The Flute is called the magic voice of Krishna.
Pt. Pannalal Ghosh Flute has a magical touch of
other-worldness which is hardly to compare with
something else in the universe of sound.
Yes it,s true : the ocean of sound Nada Brahma cannot
be travelled by to a finite shore…

If there is a musical voice which covers the full depth of
the metaphysical corpse then it must be the charms of
the disemboddied flute of Pt Pannala Gosh…
vibrating an infinite desire for spiritual  freedom…

RAG TODI

Born in Barisal, East Bengal (now Bangladesh) on July 31, 1911, Amulya Jyoti (nicknamed Pannalal) Ghosh was a child prodigy. He inherited his love of music and the bamboo flute (bansuri) from his grandfather, Hari Kumar Ghosh who played sitar,tabla,and pakhawaj and learned sitar from his father, Akshay Kumar Ghosh. He also learned music from his maternal uncle, Bhavaranjan Mazumdar who was a vocalist. The family first lived in the village of Amarnathganj and later moved to the town of Fatehpur.

Two apocryphal incidents happened to young Pannalal which had an influential bearing on his later life. First, at age 9 while looking for a stick, Pannalal found a flute floating in the river. He retrieved the instrument and so began his lifelong relationship with the bansuri. Two years later, when Pannalal had gone to the cremation ground to attend the last rites of one of his schoolteachers he met a sadhu who held both a conch and a flute. The sadhu asked Pannalal if he could play the flute, and young Pannalal obliged. The sadhu gave him the flute and told the boy that music would be his salvation. This removed the doubt from the mind of little Pannalal and he selected Flute as his main
instrument

There was a political unrest in 1928, and every youth was possessed with the freedom movement. Pannalal also joined this freedom movement. He enrolled in a gymnasium where he learned martial arts, boxing, and stick fighting and practiced physical culture. Pannalal was very fond of physical culture. He became the best student and champion of this gymnasium. He became more involved in the freedom movement and the British Government started keeping a watch on his movements. So at the age of seventeen Pannalal left Barisal and went to Calcutta in search of livelihood. In the teeming metropolis he found himself without any credentials except that he was a boxing champion and had won the All Bengal competition in boxing. With his skill as a boxer and martial art expert he landed a job as a coach in an athletic club. One year later, at the age of 18, Pannnalal lost his father.

Rag SHREE

At this time Pannalal, who was already playing sitar, began to focus his attention on bansuri. Economic necessity drove him into performing music for the silent films in Calcutta. At an All India music competition he met music director and composer Anil Biswas and began to play in his musical productions. It was during one such production when Anil Biswas was directing music for a dramatization of a work by the renowned poet Kazi Nazrul Islam that Pannalal decided that he needed a bigger flute who’s pitch and sonority would be more appropriate for both classical and light music. He met an old Muslim toy vendor who was also proficient in making flutes. With his help Pannalal experimented with various materials including metal and other types of wood, but decided bamboo was still the most suitable medium for a larger instrument. He finally settled on a bansuri which was thirty two inches long, with a sa (tonic) at kali doe (the second black key on the old harmonium scale). As a flute of this size was hitherto unknown, a rumor arose that Pannalal had had surgery to cut the webbing between his fingers to facilitate the large span required to cover the finger holes of the instrument. Of course, he had no such surgery, but through dedicated riyaz (practice), Pannalal invented and perfected the technique to play the large instrument. At this time he would get his bamboo to make flutes from discarded packing materials found at Diamond Harbor, the large port of Calcutta. Deforestation had not yet consumed the forest around Calcutta, and the bamboo was believed to have grown close to the city itself. He practiced hard and perfected the technique of vocal music on flute. At this time he realized the need for meend from madhyama swar to nishad or dhaivat shrutis in ragas like Bihag, Yaman, Bageshree and many others. He experimented and invented the seventh hole of madhyama.

Rag MARWA

He became famous for his flute playing and started getting performances at the major music conferences. At this time he came in close contact with great maestros like Ustad Inayat Khan (sitar), Ustad Dabir Khan (Been), Ustad Amir Khan (sarod), Ustad Badal khan (sarangi), and vocalists such as Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Ustad Majid Khan, Pt. Tarapoda Chkraborty, Pt. Bhismadev Chattopadhyay and many others. His quest for knowledge and purity of tradition made him acquire intricacies of music from these erudite musicians.

In 1936 Pannalal began working with Raichandra Boral, music director of the well known ‘New Theater’ and one year later he met his first guru, Kushi Mohammed Khan – the ‘Harmonium Wizard’. In 1938 as music director of the dance troupe of the princely kingdom of Seraikella State, Panna Babu (as he was affectionately known) was one of the first classical musicians to visit and perform in Europe, which he found rather agitating and unsettling. Soon after his return to India his guru expired. Thereafter he underwent training from Girija Shankar Chakravarti. In 1940, Pannalal moved to Bombay on the advice of his first disciple Haripada Choudhary (who had himself recently moved to Bombay). There he joined the Bombay Talkies film studio and gave music to quite a few films including ‘Basant.’ Panna Babu’s wife, Parul Biswas, (sister of Anil Biswas), was a graceful singer of kirtans who became one of the first well known playback singers for the new ‘talking’ films.

Pannalal first met the legendary Ustad Allaudin Khansahib, (reverentialy known as ‘Baba’) in 1946, when Baba came to Bombay with his disciple, Pandit Ravi Shankar. Initially, when Pannalal asked Baba to teach him Khansaheb replied, “You are already well-known, you don’t need to study more.” Pannalal implored Baba to please teach him so that he could learn “authentic music and sur.” In 1947, Pannalal’s lifelong yearning to learn music from a true guru was fulfilled when Allaudin Khansaheb , convinced of Pannalal’s sincerity to learn, accepted Pannalal as his disciple. Pannalal then accompanied Baba to his home in Maihar, where he received intensive taalim (training) from Khansaheb for the next six months. Under Baba’s firm yet understanding tutelage, he blossomed into the wizard of the bamboo reed.

Rag HANSNARAYANI

Panna Babu earned fame through his regular broadcasts on AIR (All India Radio) and his many live performances at music festivals throughout India. The eminent vocalists Ustad Fayaz Khan and Pandit Omkarnath Thakur appreciated his music very much and requested Pannalal to accompany their vocal recitals on bansuri. He was praised for his adaptation and rendering on the bansuri of the khayal-ang- gayaki (the classical vocal style), particularly influenced by the great master of the Kirana gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Pannalal also incorporated alap, dhrupad-ang-gayaki, tantrakari, jhala, thumri, dadra and folk music into his performance style on bansuri. Well versed in tabla and rhythm, he would perform in such difficult tals as jhoomra and tilwara. His music was steeped in devotion and had an intangible ethereal element, immense emotional depth and was infused with spiritual profundity. In addition to introducing the larger instrument, Pannalal Ghosh is credited with inventing the bass bansuri and introducing the six-stringed tanpura, high-pitched tanpuri and the surpeti or sruti box into Hindustani music. He created and popularized several new ragas including Deepawali, Pushpachandrika, Chandramauli, Panchavati and Nupurdwani, as well as multitudinous vilambit and drut compositions in many well known and rare ragas.

Rag VRINDAVANI SARANG

Panna Babu practiced daily meditation and observed maun by not speaking on Thursdays. He took the vows of Ramakrishna and put his faith in music. He took Mantra Diksha from Swami Birjanandji Maharaj who was a direct disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Because of his intense spiritual practice he started loosing interest in day to day life and decided to take Sanyasa. When he expressed his desire to Swamiji, his Guru, he was told that he would attain Moksha through music only. He should practice music as religiously as his spiritual practice. His music showed total spirituality, simplicity and purity.

(Courtesy  Pt. V.G. Karnad – Pt. Nityanand Haldipur -David Philipson)

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Bhatiali Dhun

Rag Hindol Bahar

Rag Bhairavi Thumri

Dadra

Rag Khamaj Thumri

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The Pioneer of Modern Bansuri

Pt. Pannalal Ghosh -[24 July, 1911 - 20 April, 1960]

A Brief Life Sketch

The great maestro and pioneer of Hindustani classical flute music, late Pt. Pannalal Ghosh was born on 24th July, 1911 at Barisal, now in Bangladesh. His real name was Amal Jyoti Ghosh. He was brought up in a family of musicians.

Young Pannalal was highly receptive and absorbed good music from various sources. It appears that during his young days at Barisal, Pannalal was active in the freedom struggle. He came to Kolkata during late 1920′s, thereafter shifting to Mumbai (1940) in search of better prospects for his musical career. It was in no time that the nation recognized the maestro in him. His fame and popularity transgressed linguistic and cultural boundaries. Pannalal Ghosh resided in Mumbai till 1956, before making Delhi his final destination, where he passed away on 20th April, 1960.

At Kolkata during the early 1930s, Pannababuji received musical training for two years from his first Guru, the noted harmonium player and a renowned master in classical music, Ustad Khushi Mohammed Khan, under the traditional Ganda Bandhan form of tutelage. After the sad demise of Khushi Mohammed Khan, Pannababuji studied under Pt. Girija Shankar Chakraborty, an eminent musician and musicologist. Pannababuji was influenced by the style of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Saheb initially. The strongest influence on Pannababuji’s music came from the systematic lessons under the legendary Ustad Allaudin Khan Sahib, from the 1947.

Pannalal Ghosh was a great innovator indeed! He was the first to transform a tiny folk instrument to a novel bamboo flute (32 inches long with 7 holes) suitable for playing traditional Indian classical music, and also to uplift its stature, bringing it at par with other classical music instruments. He is also accredited with the creation of a special bass flute, and introduction of the 6-stringed Tanpura, high-pitched Tanpuri and Surpeti into Hindustani music. Pannababuji’s innovations are of great significance because there have been rare examples in the world’s modern history of music when a musical instrument was created, as well as popularly accepted along with traditionally established instruments.

Besides, he also mastered the technique of presenting heavy melodies, balancing both beauty and grammar. These Raaga are now the specialty of the flautists of his gharana (tradition). Pannababuji regularly and gracefully played the Siddha Raaga such as Abhogi, Adana, Bageshree, Bahar, Basant, Bhairavi, Bhimpalasi, Bhairav, Bhoop, Bhopal Todi, Bihag, Chandramouli, Darbari, Des, Desee, Deskaar, Gaud-Sarang, Jaunpuri, Kafi, Kedar, Khamaj, Lalit, Malkauns, Marwa, Piloo, Miyan-Malhar, Pahadi, Puriya, Puriya-Dhanashree, Puriya-Kalyan, Sarang, Shankara, Shree, Shudh-Basant, Shudha-Bhairavi, Sindhura, Tilang, Todi, Yaman and many more. He was also open to accepting new ideas. This culminated in creating and/or popularizing several Carnatic / new / uncommon / mixed Raaga such as Andolika, Chandramouli, Deepawali, Jayant, Kumari, Noopur-Dhwani, Panchavati (a Raaga-Mala), Ratna-Pushpika, Shuklapalaasi, Pushpachandrika (created by Shri. Himanshu Dutta, Kolkata), Basant-Mukhari, Shankara- Bhariyar, Miyan-Ki-Sarang, Hansa-Narayani, Hansa-Dhwani, Malay-Marutham, Shivendra- Madhyam, etc.

His playing style was a uniform and balanced blend of both, the Gayaki (vocal style) and Tantkari (stringed instrument style). This is evident from his available recordings, and also from the fact that he was very much liked not only by the eminent vocalists such as Ustad Fayyaz Khan, Pt. Omkarnath Thakur and Surashri Kesarbai Kerkar, but his understanding of the Taal (rhythm) was also appreciated by all the renowned Tabla players (percussionists) including Ustad Amir Hussain Khan, Ustad Allarakha, and Pt. Nikhil Ghosh. To quote Pt. Lalji Gokhale (disciple of Ustad Ahmad Jan Thirakwa Saheb), who accompanied Pannababuji on a large number of occasions said “it was impossible that Pannababuji would ever make a mistake in “Taal

Pannalal Ghosh, as the music director of the dance troupe of the princely kingdom of Seraikela state, visited and performed in Europe in the year late 1930′s, and was one of the first classical musicians to have crossed the boundaries of India. After joining All India Radio, Delhi, as the Conductor of the National Orchestra in 1956, he composed several path-breaking orchestral pieces including Kalinga Vijay, Rituraj, Hariyali and Jyotirmoy Amitabha. His contribution in semi-classical as well as film music also was equally important, and his name is permanently linked to many famous movies such as Anjan, Basant, Duhai, Police, Andolan, Nandkishore, Basant Bahar, Mughal-e-Azam and many more.

(Source: article contributed by Dr. Vishvas M. Kulkarni)

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For further reading recommendations on the below abstract paper :

http://udini.proquest.com/view/pannalal-ghosh-and-the-bansuri-in-goid:763234653/

Abstract:
Pannalal Ghosh (1911-1960) is credited with the introduction of the b ansuri (North Indian bamboo flute) into Hindustani classical music in the twentieth century. While the transverse flute played a significant role in the music of India at least since the early centuries CE, it had lost its status as a prominent instrument in Indian art music several hundred years before Ghosh brought it to the forefront of Hindustani classical music. Ghosh’s achievement is considered in the context of his time in terms of the social, political, economic, technological, and musical circumstances in India, and particularly Bengal. While twentieth-century developments contributed to his success, it was ultimately through his own efforts that the b ansuri was accepted as a featured Hindustani classical instrument. By redesigning the instrument, working out a technique to emulate the subtleties of the voice, listening to diverse genres and styles of music, engaging in intensive study, and conceptualizing his own eclectic style of playing, he succeeded in convincing twentieth-century audiences that the bansuri deserved a place as a valued instrument for the performance of Hindustani classical music. His achievement also paved the way for other instruments such as shahn ai, sarangi, and sant ur to achieve similar recognition in the classical music of North India. I have drawn from elements of musical biography; Indian history; organology; music theory, transcription, and analysis; and anthropology to show how Ghosh’s career is illustrative of a broader narrative of tradition and innovation in twentieth-century Hindustani classical music. My own studies of Hindustani classical music in the lineage of Pannalal Ghosh began in 1988, and provided a foundation for much of the work in this dissertation. Interviews with former students and associaties of Pannalal Ghosh, along with several articles about his life and work, enabled me to piece together his biography. Research into the history and culture of his time provided a clearer picture of the environment that shaped his life and musical development. Transcription and analysis of performances by Ghosh and other vocalists and instrumentalists helped me to situate his music within the context of North Indian classical music in the twentieth century.

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For a Thesis on : Tradition and Innovation in the Bansuri Performance Style of Pannalal Ghosh

please click image below…

Pannalal_Gosh_03

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THE TIMES OF INDIA, Bombay
Date: August 31, 1969

Pannalal Ghosh, the unrivalled maestro of the flute, was only 48 when he suddenly died of a heart attack in Delhi in 1960. He was a virtually self-taught musician. Strange but true, he had not found his real guru, Acharya Allauddin Khan, till he was 36. But he had made his mark as a gifted flutist when New Theatres, the renowned film studio in Calcutta, spotted his talent, and employed him on its orchestral staff for background music in 1934.This proved fruitful in two ways. For it was here that Pannababu met Raichand Boral, the famed composer and music director, and Khushi Mohammad Khan, the noted harmonist. While the former initiated him into the mysteries of film music and orchestration, the latter gave him systematic instruction in flute playing, Another great composer from whom he benefited was Himanshu Dutt.

Looking back, it would appear that music beckoned to Pannababu when he was only seven — an age when most boys are occupied with games and other diversions of childhood. And while he played simple, breezy tunes to the delight of the local village folk of Barisal (now in Bangladesh), his inventive genius toyed with the idea of extending the tonal capabilities of his flute as a medium. of classical music. [Thus followed a systematic study of its structure and technique. This led him to try a variety of material from aluminum and brass to plastic and bamboo, one-after another, in equally varied shapes and sizes, before he decided on the last, and added a seventh playing hole to evolve the flute he had long visualized. He then developed and perfected a style of’ playing that marked a radical departure from the centuries-old style of music.

Private collection of Mohan D. Nadkarni/
Pannalal_Gosh_02
Pannalal Ghosh
In performance at the first Mumbai Tajya sageet-Mritya Mahotsava in Mumbai in 1956. Accompanying him is V.G. Karnad (on his right) and Nikhil Ghosh, his eminent younger brother on the tabla (to his extreme left)

This was in the mid-thirties, at a time when no one even had foreseen the possibility of harnessing the bansuri as an effective instrument for the unfolding of elaborate classical melodies. The listeners were struck as much by the tonal quality of his flute as by the range and variety of his improvisation. So perfect was its adaptation to classical articulation that it could afford the illimitable nuances of the human voice with a naturalness all its own. In point of depth, range and volume, it could vie with plucked instruments like the veena, the sitar and the sarod. Before long did his originality and virtuosity in enlarging the scope of his medium to wider panoramas of musical form and design bring him distinction as a pioneer in the introduction of gayaki to the woodwind.

As said earlier, it was Acharya Allauddin Khan who exerted the strongest influence on the development of Pannababu’s idiom. That explains why his style presented so unique a blend of technique and temperament, of authenticity and appeal — which constitute the hallmark of the Acharya’s Senia parampara.

Pannababu was a deeply religious man. He had his spiritual initiation from Swami Birajananda, a direct disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The profound influence of the teachings of  – Paramahamsa Sri Ramakrishna had shaped his character and personality. Added to this was also the mystical element he inherited from Acharya Allauddin Khan. Not surprisingly, his music generated a mood of spiritual awareness in the listener. Passage after passage that he played came to us as the utterance of a deeply moved soul.

Pannababu’s contribution to the enrichment of the raga repertory of north India showed a rare synthesis of tradition and experiment again the result of the Acharya’s influence on him. His new creations like Deepavali, Jayant, Chandra-Mauli and Nupur-dhvani, to name a few were marked by structural authenticity and enduring appeal. So were his thematic compositions which he offered us as conductor of National Orchestra of AIR at Delhi. It is important to remember that he had proved his mettle as composer and music director much earlier during his association with Bombay Talkies before he met Acharya Allauddin Khan.

(Courtesy Pannalal Ghosh Mohan D. Nadkarni 1969)

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The Bansuri: A History

Krishna is a Hindu deity, worshipped as an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna is know as the divine charmer who played flute and through his music, caused many to fall in love with him. Many believe that the North Indian bamboo flute is sacred, and only those who are very blessed
and very spiritually inspired can “pick up the most pristine and natural instrument in their mortal hands and go on to make divine music with it” (Roy, 72). Lord Krishna is also called Murlidhar
or “the flute-holder” is told of in stories about his flute playing and seduction of women to his divinity. Many in the Hindu faith believe that Krishna’s flute playing represents the human soul yearning for union with the divine lover.

The transverse (held across or side blown) flute is found in almost every culture. The bamboo transverse flute is found in Asia and the West Indies. The bansuri is not the only North India bamboo flute, but is commonly the concert-flute or the classical flute of North Indian music. First millennium BC history cites flute, harp, and drum in Vedic rituals. Vedic text is the
oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scripture of Hinduism. “The flute is, perhaps, one of the oldest instruments in the world, making an appearance iconographically in Egypt around 4000 BC” (Potter, 30). Buddhist sculptures showed flutes being played by humans, men and
women, celestial beings, instrumental ensembles and accompanying vocal music, chamber music and in the court and temples. “The Sufis (members of mystical sects of Islam, the earliest dating
from 8th century Persia) believe that the flute and the man of God are one and the same” (Potter, 37). The Santal tribes of North India (the largest tribal community of India) believe that the flute
connects the mortal humans with supernatural forces. The flute is a very important instrument in Indian culture; many poets such as Sarojini Naidu wrote about the flute.

After the Muslim invasions of India that began in the 12th century, the bansuri disappeared as a court instrument
but remained common in the folk tradition the states of Bengal, Orissa, and Assam.

The Bansuri’s Structure

The Bansuri flute is a North Indian classical instrument that may be performed in many different venues, in many different genres, and in many different ensembles. The bansuri is a
cylindrical tube with a uniform bore made from a single piece of straight, smooth bamboo that is free of notches. The concert bansuri is usually between 60 and 90 centimeters and 25 millimeters
in diameter, but the bansuri flute can be of many different lengths (especially in folk music traditions). The top end is closed (either naturally or with a cork stopper) and the lower end is
open. The placement of the finger holes are dependent upon the tuning of the instrument, but there is a mouth hole at the top and usually six finger holes. There is also often a small hole at
the end of the flute for tuning. The bansuri can be made in any pitch. Flutes used for folk and popular music are often higher pitched than classical bansuri flutes, which are often pitched at
E-1.

Instrument Making

The bansuri is made from special bambo that has large cross-sections (large spaces between notches). It is believed that Assam, a state in north-eastern India, produces the highest
quality bamboo. The bamboo is cut after the rainy season and left to dry for months. One end is corked after the bamboo in cleaned and holes are pierced by a red hot iron rod. After the mouth
hole is created, the finger holes are created in relation to the pitch created from the moth hole. Sometimes oils, such as mustard and coconut, are used on the inside of the bamboo to keep the
instrument from drying out and cracking. According to Catherine Potter, instruments are commonly made by flutists themselves who are self taught. However, there is an American flute maker at the Ali Akbar Khan School of Indian Classical Music in St. Raphael, California who
makes some of the best bansuri that are often ordered from professional flutists in India.

Modern Bansuri

The bansuri is used for classical, folk, and popular performances of North India. Often, the bansuri is a solo instrument accompanied by table and tanpura, and sometimes a second
bansuri becomes an echo of the solo bansuri. The bansuri only became a stage performing instrument in the twentieth century. There are no established stylistic schools of bansuri like with
vocalists and stringed instrumentalists. Many of today’s great flutists such as Pannalal Ghosh, Vijay Ragha Roa, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Nityanand Hadipur did not study with flutists but
other instrumentalists.

Performing on the Bansuri

The following teachings are based on books by Lyon Leifer who studied with Pandit Pannalal Ghosh and Catherine Potter who studied with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Notation of
North Indian classical music is rare because of the depth of their aural tradition. However, the notation that is used is Bhatkande notation using swara syllables. Swara syllables are similar to
the western tradition of solfege and include the syllable sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, and sa. The bansuri can have six or seven holes. The advantage of seven holes according to the Ghosh/
Murdeshwar school is as follows: Additional half-step of low range; immensely greater flexibility in treating the register break; and register breaks can make gliding difficult, so the
seventh hole is advantageous for ease of register breaks. Lyon Leifer details the advantage of six holes as being only one: Prevents the performer from having to stretch the right hand for the seventh hole. When playing in an ensemble, the other instruments that will play with the bansuri will tune according to the pitch of the given bansuri. The bansuri is played while sitting cross legged, horizontally, either to the left or to the right. The first hand facing in towards the musician and the second hand (furthest away) is palm out. The first three fingers of each hand are used to cover the holes and sometimes the middle part of the finger is used to cover. Microtonal ornamentation and sliding is often used. Bansuri flutes can play at least two and a half octaves, the upper octaves are achieved by overblowing to the harmonics. Bansuri flutes do not have perfect intonation, so tuning is often done with compensation from the embouchure and the turning of the flute in or out to push the airstream further in the hole or further across the hole. Below, is a bansuri fingering chart from Catherine Potter’s Hariprasad Chaurasia: The Individual and the North Indian Classical Music Tradition. Staging can often be the ensemble sitting center stage, the tabla player stage left, and two tanpuras behind the bansuri player.

While playing the bansuri, the fingers may cover the holes with second phalanx of the fingers, which facilitates covering the holes that are large distances apart. The holes can be
partially uncovered to produce different intonation, slides, microtonal effects. However, there are bansuri players who use the pads of their fingertips to cover the holes of the bansuri, and this
may be more comfortable at first for the western flutist when making the shift from the Boehm flute to the bansuri. Below is an image of finger placement on a bansuri using the second phalanx from Catherine Potter’s Hariprasad Chaurasia: The Individual and the North Indian Classical Music Tradition.

As stated by Catherine Potter, Chaurasia’s idea of a “good bansuri sound” is strong vibrato, full tone, use of dynamics, and the use of sustained tones. According to Potter, tone quality is actually more encouraged in film music rather than classical music, but Chaurasia encourages his classical students to produce full, strong tone quality.

Holding the Bansuri

The bansuri, unlike the Boehm flute, can be held to either the right or left side of the performer. If held to the right, the left hand is placed on the instrument first (first as in closest to
the face), palm in, thumb supporting the bansuri away from the palm, index finger straight and angled toward the tone hole. The first three fingers of left hand are placed on the first three holes.
Then, the right hand is placed second (furthest away from the face), palm out, fingers flat, some use the tip of the fingers to cover the holes, others use the second phalanx. The little finger of the
right hand must angle out from the hand in order to reach the seventh tone hole. The seventh tone hole is reached by keeping the forearm and hand in-line (wrist not flexed) and rotate them
together.

Bansuri Ornamentation

There are many different types of ornamentations used in Hindustani music, and many of the instrumental ornamentations are based on vocal genres. However, after listening to many bansuri recordings and watching many videos, I have collected a few ideas: Pitches can
ornamented by physically moving the bansuri up and down and with side to side motions to effect the embouchure placement. Mind (or meend) is produced by slowly rolling the finger in a
circular motion to gradually open and close the hole. Kana is produced by sliding the fingers over or off the hole after blowing. Gamaka is produced by approaching each pitch from above by
using the kana technique in combination with embouchure movement and air movement. Gamak is an oscillation between two notes (usually a diatonic step apart) like a tremolo. Taan is
improvised variations including rapid variation in accordance with the raga.
(…)

Double note paltas are patterns with a repeated note that is separated by a lower Register shifts are another important ornamentation but considered more of a theme and variations and includes performing one idea and performing it again but in a different register. Andolan is an ornamentation where given scale degrees oscillate between a particular microtonal position of the scale and another, slightly lower position. Andolan is performed by Rocking the finger which produces the relevant scale degree very slightly back and forth in its normal direction of closure and opening. Articulation is another important aspect of not only ornamenting but of the overall performance of a raga. Articulations that are commonly used include: Legato phrasing, pitches connected with mind (meend), single, double, triple tonguing, and slightly detached to staccato.

( Excerption Courtesy by Kelly Mullins )


THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA गृह खनि

Enayet_Jhan_Surbahar*

1. INTRODUCTION

We, the Indians inculcate all the three pillars of performing arts, that is, vocal
music, instrumental music and dance into the definition of music. Perhaps,
this notion can also be traced back in the very famous ancient and historic manuscript entitled“Sangeet Ratnakar”, where it has been said: “Geetamvadayam tatha nrityam trayam sangeetam uchatay” (Brahaspati, 2002) means music is defined as the art of singing,playing an instrument and dancing.

Under the Hindustani Classical Music, the tradition of “Gharana” system holds
specialimportance. Perhaps, this feature is so unique that no where around
the world can onefind this sought of a tradition. The Gharana system is followed by boththe North-Indian as well as the South-Indian forms of Indian classical music.In south India, the term Gharana is acknowledged by the word “Sampraya”. In ancient times,there existed several Samprayas  such as the “Shivmat”, the “Bhramamat” and the “Bharatmat” (Pranjpay, 1992). It is believed that in ancient times,there existed a single form of the style of Indian Classical Music. However, the advent of the Muslims had a great impact on the Indian  Classical Music and this created a division into this form of music. This lead to the regeneration of two forms of
Indian Classical Music: the Carnatic Music (The South Indian and otherwise
the original version of Indian Classical Music.)  and the Hindustani Music
(The North Indian and the improvised version of the Indian Classical Music).

One of the most unique and exclusive feature which is incorporated in the
teaching of Indian Classical Music is the “Guru- Shishya” tradition. Perhaps
,in recent times, theeducation of Indian Classical Music is also imparted inseveral institutions,
schools, colleges and universities. However, history and statistics reveal that even nowthe finest artists of the Indian Classical Music are produced through the “Guru-Shishya” tradition.n India, the Gharana system has contributed to all thethree forms of music, that is vocal, instrumental and dance.

The Gharana comes into existence through the confluence of the “Guru”
and the “Shishya(Chaubey, 1977). A talented “Guru” through his intelligence, aptitude and shear practicecreates a sense of uniqueness and exclusivity and therebyinculcates a special eminence into his form of music. These attributes and traits are amicably transferred into the talented “Shishya” and the particular form of theperforming arts thus becomes a tradition. These exceptional qualities are in fact so
strong and prominent that the audiences can immediately recognize the Gharana of the artist.

It is believed that when so ever the form or style created by the founder “Guru” is carried forth till three generations; it turns in to the form of “Gharana”. The nameof the Gharana can be same as the nameof the founder “Guru”, or came be named after the place where the founder “Guru” resided. For example, in the field of Hindustani Vocal Music, there exists several Gharanas (Deshpandey 1973) such as the Gwalior Gharana, the Dilli Gharana, the Kirana Gharana, the AgraGharana etc. Similarly, under the Instrumental Music the Senia Gharana, the Senia Maihar
Gharana, the Etawah Gharanaand the Imdadkhani Gharana hold special place (Mankaran, 2000). Likewise, the Jaipur Gharana and the Lucknow Gharana are famous for dance (Shrivastav, 1985).

The Imdadakhani Gharana (BUDHADITYA, 2012), school of music traces its stems from the very ancient Gwalior Gharana. The founder of the tradition of the Imdadkhani Gharana was Ustad Sahabdad Hussain. He was intimately related to Ustad Haddu Khan of the Gwalior Gharana. In fact, he was brought up in his house and received training in Khayal singing
from him. Ustad Shahabdad Hussain also used to play sitar.

The Imdadkhani Gharana is named after Ustad Imdad Khan, the son of Ustad Shahabdad Hussain.

Ustad Imdad Khan(1848-1920)

Ustad Imdad Khan was born in Agra. He was the court musician of Indore. Ustad Imdad Khan was initially instigated into vocal music and later into sitar by his father. Subsequently, he listened and learnt from a number of stalwarts and connoisseurs in this particular field and consequently cultivated a completely new style of Sitar and Surbahar playing. This eventually led to the
establishment of a new Gharana called the Imdadkhani Gharana, also called
the Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Ustad Imdad Khan lived.
The Imdadkhani Gharana proliferated over from Etawah to Kolkata, Indore, Hyderabad,
Mumbai and subsequently through the whole country.Invariably as Ustad Imdad Khan, his son Ustad Enayat Khan was one of the most renowned Sitarists of the early 20th
century.

Credit remunerates to Ustad Enayat Khan for making the art of Sitar playing more affable and popular for a largeraudience in the cultural capital of India, which is Kolkata. Earlier to this, the Sitar was heard primarily in a lesser circle by music fanatics. Apart from popularization of this art, Ustad Enayat Khan also developed and improvised the architecture/design of the Sitar. Ustad Enayat Khan died at a very early age of only 43 and left four children. His son, the
illustrious sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan (VILAYAT, 2012, MEDIEVAL, 2012, WAJAHATKHAN, 2012) was the greatest exponents of the Imdadkhani Gharana and one the most magnificent sitar player of all times. Pandit Bimalendu Mukherjee,
the well-known sitarist and doyen of the Imdadkhani Gharana was also a disciple of Ustad Enayat Khan. His son and disciple, one of the greatest sitar players of all times, the world renowned sitarist, Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee is the greatest stalwart of the Imdadkani Gharana.
Section 2 of this manuscript provides a detailed description of the major features of the Imdadkhani Gharana. The detailed intricacies of the technique of playing the instrument have been analyzed. Tuning system and the structural modulations of the sitar under the Imdadkhani Gharana are described in section 3. A detailed study reveals the exclusive
implications of the modulations, along with a brief comparison amongst the instrument design corresponding to the other Gharanas. This is followed by the raga repertoire in section 4. An informative and sequential study is made in this particular section. Finally, the conclusions are drawn in section 5.

 

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Imrat_Khan_and_Vilayet_Khan

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2. MAJOR FEATURES OF THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

The Imdadkhani Gharana inculcates a distinctive characteristic for the sitar playing called the gayaki ang. This refers to the technique where the Sitar player is intended to come as close as possible to the articulate potency and variety of human voice. Thus, this refers to the
intonation of the human voice on the instrument. Under the Imdadakhani Gharana, the Raag
Alaap was initiated in the conduct in which it is practiced in the khayal singing. The entire vocal embellishment of the khayal style was absorbed and integrated into the art of sitar playing. According to the capacity of the instrument, the string deflections were enlarged to at least five notes. The raga development inculcated the ‘Khatka-jhatka’ type of ‘alankars’ and
the maximum exploitation of the ‘aans’, which is the continuity of the sound after the string plucking. Also, the plucking work was constrained to the right index finger. Furthermore, the ‘Jhala’ and the ‘Thok-jhala’ were instituted as discrete sections.The rhythmic pattern was
enriched tremendously by incorporating all the khayal taans, tabla-pakhwaj bols and the
introduction of several rhythmic variations and subdivision of tempo. An explicit sequence and progression was inculcated into the playing of ‘gat-toda’ and the composition of splendid ‘todas’, with the subsequent matching ‘tehais’. Major structural
transformations to both the Sitar and Surbahar & Foundation and development of the instrumental style known as the ‘gayaki ang’ are amongst the major achievements of the Imdadkhani Gharana.

3. TUNING SYSTEM AND STRUCTURAL MODULATIONS OF THE SITAR UNDER
THE IMDADKHANI GHARANA

Tuning of an instrument depends prominently on the instrumentalist’s Gharana or style, convention and each artist’s respective inclination. The tonic in the Hindustani Classical system is insinuated as “Sadaj”. It refers to ‘sa’ or ‘kharaj’.
Traditionally, the principal playing string is virtually tuned a perfect fourth above the tonic. Generally, the second string is tuned to the tonic. Subsequently, the sympathetic strings are tuned to the notes of the raga being played. Perhaps, there exists a minor aesthetic modification to the order of these and how they are tuned. Every Raga demands the re-tuning of the
instrument. The strings are tuned by tuning hooks. Furthermore, the key playing strings can be fine-tuned by sliding a bead threaded on each string just below the bridge and also by very small and efficient steel pegs which are nowadays gaining popularity.

A comparative analysis between the common tuning “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar (exercised by Pt. Ravi Shankar) and “Gandhar Pancham” (exercised under the Imdadkhani Gharana) is as follows:
In the “Kharaj-Pancham” sitar, the Chikari strings are tuned as: Sa (high), Sa (middle) and Pa, whereas in the Imdadkhani school, the Kharaj string is detached and substituted by a fourth String, which is tuned to Ga. Inculcating these combinations, the sitarist produces a harmony
Sa, Sa, Pa, Ga, or Sa, Sa, Ma, Ga or Sa, Sa, Dha, Ga, contingent to the Raga which is being
played. However, the Jod and the Baaj strings are tuned in the similar fashion in both the Gharanas. The Jod string is tuned to Sa and the Baaj string is tuned to Ma.

Under the Imdadkhani Gharana, a large number of improvisations were made to the instrument for executing the Gayaki ang into the instrument. Ustad Vilayat Khan increased the thickness of the Tabli and the Tar-gahan. Also, a joint wasintroduced between the tumba and the stem, so that the instrument could withhold larger stress and strain. Furthermore, with
the passage of time, the tumba was enlarged and stem became slightly broader. In order to cut down the metallic sound of the frets, Ustad Vilayat Khan supplanted the brass frets with an
alloy of superior quality. Furthermore, the material and thickness of the strings were also critically modulated. The Baaj, Gandhar and the Pancham strings were steel strings of
gauge number 3. The Jod string was made from brass with gauge number 27.
All the Tarabs and the two Chikari strings were made of steel with gauge number 0.

Another major structural modification of the instrument was the removal of the upper tumba. During early times, when electronic amplification, were not plausible, this upper tumba was beneficiary in boosting the volume of the instrument with a
better delivery of the harmonics. However, with the advancement of technology, the Imdadkhani Gharana sitar got devoid of this part and the stem efficiently served as a resonator. The jawari-bridge was considerably modified in a manner to provide a
better acoustic experience. Moreover, the traditional ivory jawaris were replaced by ebony and polymer jawaris. The conventional sitar incorporated seven strings streaming over the main bridge. However, under the Imdadkhani Gharana the number of strings reduced to six. This lead to the removal of the lowest octave, but were replaced with strings tuned to the
middle, which acted as fillers over and above the Chikari strings. These structural and tuning vicissitudes directly inculcated the Gayaki ang into the instrument.

4. THE RAGA REPERTOIRE

The Imdadkhani Gharana is receptive to all the ancient, rare and well-established Ragas, but it has a convention ofspecializing in a certain Ragas for concert performances. However, this situation varies from artist to artist, as every individual has a different musical temperament, even if he or she belongs to the same Gharana. As per the historians ,

Ustad EnayetKhan and Ustad Imdad Khan concentrated on very few Ragas for concert performances. On the other hand, Ustad Vilayat
Khan rendered the rarest Ragas to his audiences. Statistics suggest that the following Ragas have been extensively explored and performed by the stalwarts of the Imdadkhani Gharana: Ahir Bhairav, Lalit , Miyan ki Todi, Bhimpalasi, Shuddha Sarang, Marwa, Puriya, Puriya Kalyan, Bihag, Kedar, Kamod, Hameer, Shuddha Kalyan,Yaman, Jog, Vachaspati, Darbari Kanada
etc.

Yet another distinct feature of the Imdadkhani Gharana is that most of the renditions are performed in the Teen taal, though explorations are also made in the Ek taal as well as Jhap taal. The various stalwarts of this Gharana have ardently played and explored the traditional and the mature ragas ofthe Hindustani Classical Music. They have shown little zeal and
enthusiasm towards the creation of the new ragas. Every phrase of the raga is tried out in diverse ways and explored deeply to render the coveted harmonic melodious acoustics
anticipated by the artist.

5. CONCLUSION
It is quite evident that the Imdadkhani Gharana has emerged as one of the most prominent and enduring pillar of the Hindustani Classical Music.

The simplicity and exclusive magnificence of the Gharana has brewed it into a much coveted school of music. The “gayaki ang” is the biggest asset of this Gharana and leads to breaking of barriers between the vocal and instrumental music.

The main attribute to the success and widespread popularity of the Gharana goes to its founder “gurus” and stalwarts, who brought about revolutions in the field of Indian Classical Music. This manuscript ascribes a detailed description of the basic traits inherent to this
Gharana. Furthermore, a brief comparative analysis is also performed between this Gharana and the other prevalent Gharanas, based basically upon the tuning systems and the structural modification details of the instrument.

REFERENCES

1. Brahaspati A. Sangeet Ratnakar, Sangeet Karyalay, Hathras, 2002
2. Pranjpay S. S. Sangeet Bodh, Madya Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Bhopal, 1992
3. Chaubey S. K. Sangeet ke Gharano ki Charcha, Uttar Pradesh Hindi Granth Academy, Lucknow, 1977
4. Deshpandey V. H. Gharanedar Gayaki, Oriental Longman Limited, New Delhi, 1973
5. Mankaran V. Sangeet Saar, Raj Publishers, Jalandhar 2000
6. Shrivastav H. Raga Parichay, Sangeet Sadan Prakashan, Allahabad, 1985
7. BUDHADITYA (2012) http://www.budhaditya.com/ Accessed on 10 th November, 2012
9. MEDIEVAL (2012) http://www.medieval.org/music/world/vk.html Accessed on 12th December 2012
10. WAJAHATKHAN(2012) http://www.wajahatkhan.com/family.html Accessed on 12th December 2012

(Courtesy of  Gagandeep Hothi*
1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India1. Research Scholar, Dept. of Performing Arts, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla-5, India)

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ImdadKhani_02

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                                                       The Etawah Gharana

(Courtes by Shahid Parvez)

This style comes from of the most ancient school of music, the Gwalior gharana. It is also known as the Imdadkhani gharana after Ustad Imdad Khan, the son of Ustad Sahebdad Khan. Ustad Sahebdad Khan was trained and influenced by Ustad Haddu and Ustad Hassu Khan of the Gwalior gharana, and thus dhrupad and khayal vocal genres can be glimpsed in the playing style and in the choice of ragas. To the techniques of Been and Rebab many new techniques have been added.Ustad Imdad Khan and his sons Ustad Inayat Khan and Ustad Wahid Khan made this gharana famous. Ustad Vilayat Khan, son of Ustad Inayat Khan, furthur developed his father and uncle’s handling of midh and murki. He also modified the structure of Sitar.

Based on the classical structure of the raga, this gharana includes alap, jor and jhala (slow then accelerating improvisation) without percussion as it is played in dhrupad, followed by the khayal composition called Gat, with the tabla, developed in numerous improvisations on rhythm and note like tans and layakaris (modified version, source: musicalnirvana.com
Ustad Imdad Khan

Instrumental in developing the unique style that characterizes the Etawah Gharana, Ustad Imdad Khan was one of the most influential instrumentalists of Indian Classical Music. He helped to establish the Etawah Gharana, which is also known as the Imdadkhani Gharana.Ustad Imdad Khan was born into a musical family. His father was Ustad Sahabdab Khan, the founder of the Etawah Gharana.

Ustad Sahabdab Khan was a close relative of Ustad Haddu Khan of Gwalior Gharana. Initially Sahabdab Khan was taught khayal vocals by Ustad Haddu Khan, but later took up Sitar. He later moved to Etawah, from which the gharana’s name is derived.

Although Ustad Sahabdab Khan was the founder of the gharana, It was Ustad Imdad Khan who developed the instruments, and created an innovative instrumental style that became characteristic of the gharana. Imdad Khan heard and studied the contemporary styles of various stalwarts of music of his time. He then developed an original style, one that was radically different from the then prevalent Senia style for playing the surbahar and sitar, thus ushering in a new era.

Ustad Imdad Khan introduced elements of khayal gayaki into the alap for the first time. All gayaki ornamentations were implemented and systematically developed into the techniques for this newly developed style for playing sitar. All khayal taans, tabla and pakhawaj bols, and the numerous rhythmic variations and subdivisions of the tempo were interspersed, strengthening the interaction of the swara and the laya. Jhala and thok jhala were introduced as separate sections. A definite sequence was brought into playing the gat toda, and the composition of exciting todas with matching tihais added new grandeur to a sitar recital. This new style that was to gain in popularity throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and that continues to flourish with proponents like Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, has come to be known as Imdadkhani.

Commissioned by Mysore kings in whose courts he served, Ustad Imdad Khan became the first Sitar player to come out with a recording. RPG / EMI has brought out those timeless recordings in a two CD album. Chairman’s Choice – Great Gharana – Imdadkhani (CMC 882507-08).Ustad Imdad Khan had two sons, Ustad Enayet Khan and Ustad Waheed Khan who took up Sitar and Surbahar

Ustad Wahid Khan

Instrumental in developing the unique style that characterizes the Etawah Gharana, Ustad Imdad Khan was one of the most influential instrumentalists of Indian Classical Music.

He helped to establish the Etawah Gharana, which is also known as the Imdadkhani Gharana. Ustad Imdad Khan was born into a musical family. His father was Ustad Sahabdab Khan, the founder of the Etawah Gharana.

Ustad Enayet Khan was a master of Sitar and Surbahar. He developed the ‘Gayaki Ang’ in sitar, which his father had developed for the surbahar and his sons would further develop this, which would come to be known as a trademark of their gharana.

He gave a new dimension to the crafting and manufacture of the sitar and his structural modifications of the instrument are still used in the instruments of today whilst his musical contributions are standardized practice for today’s musicians. The flair with which he played made him one of the greatest musicians of his generation and his legendary recordings illustrate and record the contributions he has made to music. Ustad Enayet Khan was a great ambassador for Indian classical music in India. He popularized the sitar and made it accessible for the general population. This was a time when many of the famous Indian music festivals were started. His music was the soul of India in those times of change and he had a great and unrivalled following throughout the country. This contribution to popular arts and culture can be illustrated by his friendship with Rabindranath Tagore, the legendary writer, artist and poet. Together these two giants of culture put poetry to music to bring it alive in some of the most famous Indian folk songs and anthems. Each inspired the other to take the arts of India to dizzying new heights.

Ustad Enayet Khan dedicated his life to music; He played, taught and lived with an equal passion to strengthen the name of his gharana and the profile of classical music in his country.
Ustad Waheed Khan

One of the greatest musicians in the canon of Indian Classical Music, Ustad Waheed Khan is an important figure in the Etawah gharana’s history. An acclaimed musician on both the sitar and surbahar, Waheed Khan’s life’s purpose was to be a herald for Indian Classical Music; he devoted his life to spreading his music everywhere. Living his life modestly, he made his home in different parts of India for brief periods of time, spreading the innovative style of his gharana with unwavering devotion and elegance. One such initiative included appearance in legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s “Jalsaghar” (The Music Room,1958) where Ustad Waheed Khan performs on the surbahar in one of the scenes.A true emissary, he lived well into his 70s and his immense contribution to Indian Classical Music was recognized when he became the first musician to receive the illustrious “Sangeet Natak Academy Award” the highest national recognition given to performing artists in India.

He was the father of Ustad Aziz Khan and Ustad Hafeez Khan. Ustad Hafeez Khan was a celebrated playback singer, known in the film industry as ‘H. Khan Mastana’. His brother, Ustad Aziz Khan would also carry on the family’s musical traditions and go on to make significant contributions to Indian Classical Music
Ustad Hafeez Khan

A select few are born with an extraordinary gift of talent yet, more often, these people end up being oblivious to their own talent, and people are left wondering what would have happened had this person lived up to his full potential. Ustad Hafeez Khan was on of them. He was the eldest son of the legendary musician Ustad Waheed Khan Saab. He not only received extensive training on the sitar and surbahar but also in vocal music. After the independence of India, the patrons of Indian Classical Music that is the Maharajas and Nawabs became commoners and classical musicians suffered as a result. Classical music, at that time, was still a form of chanber-music, and with the demise of the great Ustads like Allahdiya Khan Saab, Abdul Kareem Khan Saab, Enayat Khan Saab, Faiyyaz Khan Saab, the future of a performing classical musician was looking very bleak. It was at this time that Ustad Hafeez Khan decided to enter the Bombay Film Industry as a playback singer to earn his daily bread. He went on to become a celebrated playback singer known in the film industry as H.R Khan Mastana. Incidentally, one of the most famous playback singers of all time, Mohammed Rafi started his playback career as a chorus singer in one of his songs. He also composed music for several films. Ustad Shahid Parvez being his nephew received extensive taleem in vocal music and surbahar from Ustad Hafeez Khan Saab.

Be it as a vocalist or instrumentalist Ustad Hafeez Khan could have easily gone on to become one of the foremost musicians of his generation, yet he never gave it a real try. A rare recording of Ustad Hafeez Khan, present in the family archives, reveals the virtuosity of this talented musician both as a vocalist and instrumentalist. People are left wondering what would have happened had this person perused a career as a performing Indian Classical Musician.
Ustad Aziz Khan

Ustad Aziz Khan is the youngest son of sitar and surbahar maestro Ustad Waheed Khansaab. The young Gunna Bhai, as Aziz Khansaab was lovingly addressed by his family members, was introduced to music at a very young age and as years passed by he received extensive “taleem” (lessons) in the music of the gharana from his lengendary Guru and father Ustad Waheed Khansaab, in vocal music, sitar and surbahar.

He also received some taleem from his equally legendary uncle Ustad Enayat Khansaab.Although his repertoire of traditional taleem was highly enviable, he did not take up sitar or surbahar as a source of lively hood. Instead, he took up music – composition as his profession. However, he never left his “sadana” that is music and performed in occasional concerts from time to time. He became a professional music composer in the Bollywood film industry composing under the pseudonym Aziz-Hindi. Even here his musical talents came to the fore. He enjoyed considerable success while composing for films like “Intezar ke bad,” “parvartan -1949,” “Putli – 1950,” “Actor 1952,” “Thoop Chaon – 1954,” “Danka -1954,” “Chalta Poorza – 1958.” Ustad Aziz Khan also composed music for several other films in partnership with another lyricist and composer, Khaiyyam. In these films, they use to call themselves “Sharma ji – Varma ji.” The very first film that they composed for was a huge hit called “Heer- Ranjha”. A few other films for which the “Sharma ji – Varma ji” duo composed music were “Parda,” “Biwi,” “Pyar ki batein,” etc, which were all musical hits. However, no matter how good he was as a composer or how famous he became as a composer, Aziz Khansaab’s taking up music as a profession did not go down well with his father. Ustad Waheed Khansaab was of the idea that a “gharanadar” and “khandani” musician, who has received so much taleem, must earn his bread through “mujlishs” (concerts) only and not through any other means. Ustad Waheed Khansaad made his displeasure known to his sons and told that he could only be pleased if and only if, he was assured that his grandchild would be trained in the music of the gharana and his grandchild would pick up sitar or surbahar as his profession, so that his grandchild could one day go on to become the torchbearer of the Etawah Gharana.

In fact, after this incident, Ustad Aziz Khan’s life long quest was to train his son. He was demanding and very strict as a Guru. He would often say to his son, the young Shahid Parvez, – “I want you to play like this and I will make you play like this, no matter what it takes.” Often the Ustad’s wife would bring in food and he would forget about the food and go on teaching his son oblivious of the fact that his son would also be hungry. Ustad Aziz Khan Saab was a very hounest man. He didn’t believe in taking students for the sake of it or just to increase the numbers. However, he had quite a few students other than his foremost disciple and son Shahid Parvez Khan; and whoever was fortunate enough to receive his blessings as a student, has become established as a musician in his life. He was very strict but even more honest as a Guru.

However, those that have listened to his sitar or surbahar or to the songs that he has composed will know that Ustad Aziz Khansaab was a true artist; and music was the love of his life.
Ustad Vilayat Khan

Ustad Vilayat Khan stands out as one of the greatest sitar players of all time. He was born in year 1928 in the village of Gauripur (present day Bangladesh). During his lifetime, he became one of the most influential musicians of Indian Classical Music. Several people influenced Khan sahib’s music. Ustad Enayet Khan, his father, Ustad Waheed Khan, his uncle, Ustad Zinda Hussain Khan, his maternal uncle, Ustad Faiyaz Khan and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan deserve special mention in this regard. He developed the “Gayaki Ang” which became his trademark. Khan sahib made several changes to the structure of the sitar and these include the concept of “Gol Jawari”.Ustad Vilayat Khan’s professional career was extensive. He made several international tours, he has numerous recordings, and has scored music for several films, including Satyajit Ray’s “Jalsaghar”.

He was a longtime critic of the political machinations that were behind the awarding of many of India’s honours. He refused the Padmabhushan (one of India’s top civilian honours), and was a longtime critic of the manner in which All India Radio was run. The only title that he ever embraced was the title Aftab-e-Sitar (Sun of Sitar). Ustad Vilayat Khan died of lung cancer at the Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai on March 13th, 2004. He was 76 years of age.

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                                                          Imdad Khani Gharana
also known as:
Etawah Gharana
Imdadkhani Gharana
Imdad Khani Sitar and Surbahar Gharana

Haddu Khan, Hassu Khan, Sahabdad Khan

There was a Rajput in the middle of the 19th century in Gwalior. At that time there were two leaders of the Gwalior musical darbar, two brothers, Haddu and Hassu Khan. Haddu Khan was a dhrupad, and Hassu Khan was a khyal singer. They have their own unique style, and they practice only at night. Sahib Singh – who was probably a relative of Haddu Khan – was refused as a disciple, so paid for a servant to lock him in the huge bird cage of the room where the brothers practice. He had listend to them to practice every night for 7 years. Once the two brothers were roaming the streets of Gwalior where they heard their style form a house. They wanted to see which disciple of them was practicing, but they found Sahib Singh only. Haddu wanted to kill him, but Hassu made calm him down, because he realized the love for the music in the boy. Sahib Singhet was accepted as a disciple. Later he converted to Muslim so he got the new name: Sahabdad Khan. He also learned from the Senia musician Nirmal Shah, and played the surbahar, invented by himself, and jaltarang as well. He lived in Etawah (so sometimes they call the gharana: Etawah Gharana ) where he was a musician of the Naugaon darbar. He had two sons, the older was Imdad Khan and the younger was Karimdad Khan, both had been thought for twelve years by their father.

Imdad Khan (1858-1920)

Imdad Khan: Raga Darbari Kanada (1904)

Ustad Imdad Khan was born in Agra, as the second generation of what was to become the Etawah Gharana (school) or Imdadkhani , named after the village outside Agra where the family soon moved. He was taught by his father, Sahabdad Khan, a trained vocalist and self-taught sitar player, but Imdad Khan came to greatly develop and define the family style and techniques. Imdad Khan was also trined by the legendary beenkar Ustad Bande Ali Khan (disciple and son-in-law of Ustad Haddu Khan. In the 19th Century, the instrumental classical music of North India was dominated by the Senia style, passed down through the musical dynasty of Miyan Tansen’s descendants, who played in the dhrupad ang. Imdad instead evolved a style based on the newer, more popular khyal singing. It is said that in his youth at Etawah, Imdad practiced on the sitar in a state of chilla (isolation) for some twelve years.

Imdad attained great fame in his lifetime: he played for Queen Victoria in Delhi; he served as a court musician in Mysore (even though he was a northerner and South India has its own classical music, different from that of the north); and he was the first sitar player ever to be recorded. Some of these recordings have been released on CD, on the Great Gharanas: Imdadkhani compilation in RPG/EMI’s Chairman’s Choice series.

He taught the sitar and surbahar to his two sons, Enayat and Waheed Khan. He used to say that his two sons were his two hands, and although both of them played the sitar and the surbahar equally well, Enayat Khan’s specialization was the sitar and Waheed khan’s specialization was the surbahar. Ustad Imdad Khan actually shifted base from Etawah to Kolkata with his two sons and the house in which they lived was named “riyaz”.

Enayat Khan (1894-1938)

Enayat Khan: Raga Bhairavi (1920)

Enayat Khan was born in Uttar Pradesh into a family of musicians. His father was sitar great Imdad Khan, who taught him the sitar and surbahar in the family style, known as the Imdadkhani Gharana or Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Imdad once lived. He married Basiran Bibi, daughter of khyal singer Bande Hussain, and settled with his family in Calcutta, where, though he only lived to 43, he did much pioneering work on the sitar. For example, he standardised its physical dimensions and added the upper resonator gourd, which is very popular with today’s players (though his own descendants have not kept using it). In a place rapidly developing into an important North Indian centre of the arts, at a time where interest in national culture was strong fuelled by the struggle for independence, he brought sitar music out from its narrow connoisseur circles to new mass audiences. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore was a musical collaborator and personal friend. Some of Enayat Khan’s recordings have been released on CD, on the Great Gharanas: Imdadkhani compilation in RPG/EMI’s Chairman’s Choice series.

Enayat died young, with four children. His two sons, Vilayat and Imrat, were trained in the Imdadkhani style by other members of his extended family. Vilayat learned the sitar and Imrat the surbahar; both were to become very famous classical musicians.

Vilayat Khan (1927-2004)

Vilayat Khan, Shankar Ghosh (tabla): Raga Darbari Kanada gat (exception)

Vilayat Khan, Kashinath Mishra (tabla): Raga Vilayat Khani Kanada gat (exception)

Vilayat Khan, Sabir Khan (tabla): Raga Sanjh Saravali

Vilayat Khan was born into a family of musicians tracing its pedigree generations back to the court musicians of the Mughal rulers. His father was Enayat Khan (1895–1938), recognised as a leading sitar and surbahar (bass sitar) player of his time, as had been the grandfather, Imdad Khan (1848–1920), before him. Vilayat was taught in the family style, known as the Imdadkhani Gharana, or Etawah Gharana, after a village outside Agra where Imdad lived.

However, Enayat Khan died when Vilayat was only nine, so much of his education came from the rest of his family: his uncle, sitar and surbahar maestro Wahid Khan, his maternal grandfather, singer Bande Hassan Khan, and his mother, Bashiran Begum, who had studied the practice procedure of Imdad, Enayat and Wahid. Vilayat’s uncle Zinde Hassan looked after his riyaz (practice). As a boy, Vilayat wanted to be a singer; but his mother, herself from a family of vocalists, felt he had a strong responsibility to bear the family torch as a sitar maestro.

The Imdadkhani Gharana never added the bass string to their sitar, which is a smaller, lighter instrument, easier to handle, than for example Ravi Shankar’s. In the 1950s, both Vilayat and Ravi worked closely with instrument makers to further develop their respective instruments, but it was in different directions. As a result, their sounds and playing styles were also wildly different. Whereas Ravi Shankar’s sitar was large and vina-like, intended for play across multiple registers using multiple melody strings, Vilayat’s was small, with a clean and metallic sound, completely without buzz; it did not reach to the lowest register; and it perfectly facilitated his enormous playing speed. Also, Vilayat liked to perform without a tanpura drone, filling out the silence with strokes to his chikari strings. There was much more going on in his playing than the melody itself.

When he died from lung cancer in 2004, Vilayat Khan had been recording for over 65 years, broadcasting on All-India Radio since almost as far back and been seen as a master (Ustad) for 60. He had been touring outside India off and on for more than 50 years, and was probably the first Indian musician to play in England after independence (1951). In the 1990s, his recording career reached a climax of sorts with a series of ambitious CDs for India Archive Music in New York, some traditional, some controversial, some eccentric. Towards the end of his life, he also performed and recorded sporadically on the surbahar.

Vilayat Khan spent much of his life living in Calcutta. He was married twice, his first marriage ending in divorce; he had two daughters, Zila and Yaman (named after ragas), and two sons, Shujaat (b. 1960) and Hidayat (b. 1975), who both play the sitar. He was survived also by his younger brother, Imrat Khan, the post-war star of the surbahar field. The brothers played celebrated duets in their youth. Vilayat took few disciples other than his sons; among the best-known are Kasinath Mukherjee, Arvind Parikh and Kalyani Roy.

Away from the sitar he enjoyed horse-riding, pool playing, swimming and ballroom dancing. His successes made him rich, and though he grew more pious late in life, he used to drive sports cars and dress in haute couture, and also collected such various items as firearms, smoking pipes, antique European crockery, cut glass and chandeliers.

Fans and media alike liked to play up Vilayat Khan’s rivalry with and animosity towards Ravi Shankar. However, in calmer moments Vilayat would admit there was not much to it. His animosity for the politics and institutions of India’s cultural life was another matter. In 1964 and 1968, respectively, he was awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards – India’s fourth and third highest civilian honours for service to the nation – but refused to accept them, declaring the committee musically incompetent to judge him.

In January 2000, when he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, he again refused, going so far as to call it “an insult”. This time, his criticism had a slightly different twist: he would not accept any award that other sitar players, his juniors and in his opinion less deserving, had been given before him. “If there is any award for sitar in India, I must get it first”, he said, adding that “there has always been a story of wrong time, wrong person and wrong award in this country”.

Among other honours he turned down was the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. For a while, he also boycotted All-India Radio. The only titles he accepted were the special decorations of “Bharat Sitar Samrat” by the Artistes Association of India and “Aftab-e-Sitar” (Sun of the Sitar) from President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

Bimalendu Mukherjee (1925-2010)

Acharya Bimalendu Mukherjee was born in an art-loving Bengali family at Chinsurah West Bengal, on 2nd January 1925. Bimalendu Mukherjee is a learned musician – although he was an Imdadkhani sitar student of Enayat Khan, a full list of his teachers also includes sitarist Balaram Pathak, khyal singers Badri Prasad and Jaichand Bhatt of the Patiala and Kirana Gharanas, Rampur Gharana beenkar Jotish Chandra Chowdhury, sarangi and esraj maestros Halkeram Bhat (Maihar Gharana) and Chandrikaprasad Dube (Gaya Gharana) and pakhawaj drummer Madhavrao Alkutkar. He also studied with Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, the zamindar of Gouripur in present-day Bangladesh, who taught him the moribund sursringar (bass sarod).

Bimalendu Mukherjee is primarily a Sitarist, though he is proficient in almost all traditional Indian instruments like Rudra-Vina, Saraswati Vina, Surbahar, Sursingar, Mandrabahar, Dilruba, Esraj, Tar Shehnai, Sarod and Pakhavaj. He is equally adept in vocal music.

His contributions to the family of stringed musical instruments are the unique “Aditya Veena” – named after his son Budhaditya – and the “Bijoy Veena” – named after his grandson Bijoyaditya. He has also revived the ‘Ektantri’ single-stringed Veena – an instrument referred to by Sharangdev – and the Sur Kanan. Besides, he has experimented, modified and improved the structure and tonal quality of many stringed instruments like the Sitar , Sarod, Surbahar, Rudraveena, Esraj, Guitar, Dilruba and the Veena.

Pandit Mukherjee has been constantly experimenting with the Western and Eastern philosophy of medical treatment. He has created Raga Anandamayee in That Kafi. His son has recorded the Raga in a novel way on the Sitar . This recording, released with the title “Anandamayee” (full of bliss and happiness), has been successfully experimented on patients of hypertension.

Pandit Mukherjee was a member of various organizations such as The International Society of Music Education, AL-MAESTRO and Hindustani Classical Music. He was formerly Additional Director, CRMM SAIL; General Manager M and Q, Bhilai Steel Plant; Vice Chancellor, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh (M.P.) (1983-85 and 1988- 91). He also figures in Five Hundred Leaders Of Influence 1997 American Biographical Institute (U.S.A.); Reference Asia 5; Biography International 1991; Learned Asia 1; India Who’s Who 1993-94; International Who’s Who of Intellectuals 1997 and International Biographical Center Cambridge (U.K.) .

(Courtesy of Tóth Szabi)

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ImdadKhani


The Gharanas of India

sitar

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Music and Society

Introduction to Indian Musical Dynasties

This page aim to provide a general introduction on the traditional Indian musical institution called gharana. Indian Classical music can be described a religion whereby the music, knowledge and musical research was traditionally passed down from guru to disciple by word of mouth.  In many old musical families the guru or teacher, is the father and the disciple or student, the son.   A gharana, or musical dynasty is formed when this process of teaching is passed down for five or six generations. There  are two types of gharana in India, direct gharanas in which music has  remained within a family and indirect gharanas, where in the absence of  sons or musically talented sons, the teacher chooses to pass on his  knowledge to a talented student.  In India there are very few direct or true gharanas left.  Students will find here few articles written by renowned specialists in the field of Indian classical music.

THE GHARANA

David Courtney, Ph.D.

The concept of gharana was peculiar to North Indian music.  The word “Gharana” literally means “house” and it implies the house of the teacher.  It was linked to the very ancient concept of the Guru-Shishya-Parampara (linage of teacher /disciple) but it had some interesting twists. The names of the gharanas were almost always derived from a geographical location.  This was usually the city, district or state that the founder lived in.  Two examples are the Gwalior Gharana (vocal) or the Farukhabad Gharana (tabla). The gharana system as we think of it today was not really very old.  Most of the gharanas began not more than 100-300 years old.  The modern gharanas were generally traceable to the period when the Mogul empire collapsed. Gharanas were found throughout the North in every field of dance, vocal and instrumental music.  They tend to be distinct among themselves.  That is to say that you generally do not find tabla players saying that they are from a vocal gharana or a vocalist claiming to come from a kathak gharana.  This is reasonable.  One would not expect an accountant to use his golf skills as and endorsement of his abilities as an accountant. In the professional sense a gharana had some of the characteristics of a guild.  It was always understood that tracing ones linage to a major gharana was a prerequisite for obtaining a position in the royal courts.  The gharanas were entrusted with the duty of maintaining a certain standard of musicianship. In the artistic sense the gharana was somewhat comparable to a “style” or “school”.  Over the years poor transportation and communication caused the various gharanas to adopt their own particular approach to presentation, technique and repertoire. In the 20th century the gharana system had a negative impact on the standard of musicianship.  Improvements in communications made it a professional imperative for musicians to have as broad of a background as possible.  The secretive nature of the gharana system coupled with the fact that gharanas tended to specialize in only one technique or approach was inconsistent with modern pedagogic and professional requirements.  In the end of the 20th century, musicians who proclaim loudest that they were “such-and-such” gharana often had the least rounded background.  It is for this reason that many of the aspects of this system were abandoned by modern music colleges in India. Today the gharana exists in its vestigial form.  Although musicians routinely declare that they are such and such gharana, it usually has no practical meaning.  The loss of royal patronage coupled with the loss of artistic identity have virtually destroyed the system. Gharana is used in Hindi and Urdu to refer to the core component in the organizational structure of North Indian (or Hindustani) music and dance, in other words a family of hereditary occupational specialists. Traditionally the gharana is headed by an authoritative musician-teacher called the Khalifa, and comprises members related by blood and/or musical knowledge (talim).

David Courtney, Ph.D. has been performing on the tabla since 1972.  He first studied pakhawaj (an ancient barrel shaped drum) under the famous Zakir Hussain at the Ali Akbar College of Music.  He then moved to India and spent a number of years learning tabla under the late Ustad Shaik Dawood Khan of Hyderabad.  He has performed extensively on stage, TV, disk, and radio, in India, Europe and the United States.  Along with his wife, he composed the theme music for Houston’s Indian TV program called “ASIANA” and recorded the theme music for the radio program “INDIA FILE” which aired in the Austin area.  He has accompanied many great musicians including Ashish Khan, Lakshmi Shankar, and Pandit Jasraj He is well versed in the academic side of music.  During the 80s he received great acclaim in academic circles for his pioneering work in the application of computers to Indian music.  This work is found in his doctoral dissertation “A Low Cost System for the Computerization of North Indian Classical Music”.  He is the author of numerous books and articles on the subject of Indian music including, Introduction to Tabla, Elementary North Indian Vocal, Learning the Tabla, Fundamentals of Tabla, Advanced Theory of Tabla, Manufacture and Repair of Tabla and Focus on the Kaidas of Tabla.  His articles have appeared in “Modern Drummer” and “Percussive Notes”.  He is presently on the Board of Directors of the Texas Institute for Indian Studies.  Recently along with his wife Chandra, he was given an award of recognition for outstanding contributions to the arts by the American Telugu Association. He is very active today in musical activities.  He is an artist with Young Audiences.  He is also the percussionist in the fusion group Vani, and has several CDs to his credit.  Recently he composed and performed some music for the film “Dancing in Twilight”, a film staring Erick Avari, Louise Fletcher, Mimi Rogers, Kal Penn, Sheetal Shet.

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Genealogical musings
A brief discussion of the Delhi tabla gharana

James Kippen

Delhi has been a locus for tabla playing since the early to mid-eighteenth century. Many people argue it was “invented” there, and that its inventor’s lineage is the oldest continuous tabla tradition. This is a brief outline of the Delhi lineage, including genealogical information and a little historical analysis/commentary. The information comes largely from the gharana’s khalifa, or head, the late Ustad Inam Ali Khan and his uncle, Ustad Munnu Khan. It was collected during the early 1980s, and recorded interviews with these gharana members took place in Delhi in April 1984. I hope to add further information about the repertoire as time goes on.

Caveat: I do not wish to get into a debate with my friend Daniel Neuman (The Life of Music in North India. New Delhi: Manohar, 1980) about the validity of the term “gharana” for tabla lineages. He and others know my views, and I am using the term here as those Delhi informants used it when speaking directly with me in the Urdu language. I am aware that the term came into existence only around the end of the nineteenth century, that it was used primarily by “soloists” (using Neuman’s term), and that “accompanists” like tabla players probably began using the term to validate their knowledge, raise their music to the status of an art, and to elevate their own social status.  As with all genealogies, the one I give here is incomplete and probably somewhat selective. In anthropology we call this kind of selectivity “structural amnesia”. I take the view that history is a reconstruction of the past that justifies the present. Notwithstanding, my primary source was the genealogy I saw written in Urdu. I read and speak Urdu, and I have therefore been able to verify what Delhi gharana members believe to be true. Whether the document reflects this knowledge, or the knowledge has been crystallized because this version of the family tree exists on paper, is worthy of a future debate.

Origins

No documentary evidence yet exists for the “invention” of tabla. Many scholars have tried to show either that (1) tabla existed over 2,000 years ago (temple carvings seem to indicate horizontally played drums, but alas with no organological similarity), or that (2) tabla resulted from the chopping in half of a pakhavaj. The pakhavaj theory has some credibility because of the similarity of the smaller head of that drum to the right head of the tabla pair (dahina, dayan, or simply tabla). As the excellent study of tabla by Rebecca Stewart has suggested (The Tabla in Perspective. Unpublished thesis, UCLA, 1974), tabla was most likely a hybrid drum set resulting from experiments with and adaptations of existing drums such as pakhavaj, dholak, and naqqara. The origins of tabla repertoire and technique may be found in all three, and in physical structure and playing technique there are also elements of all three: for example, the smaller pakhavaj head for the dahina, the naqqara kettledrum for the bayan, and the flexible use of the bass of the dholak. Tabla first appears in writings and in miniatures from the 1740s on. We therefore assume tabla to have first appeared sometime in the early eighteenth century. The first tabla players were undoubtedly also experts on other drums. Socially these early tabla musicians were mainly from the Dhari community (Mirasi “caste”). Some were Sunni Muslims, but a large and significant group belonged to (or at some stage had opted to convert from Hinduism to) the Shia Muslim sect. One of these Shias was Sudhar Khan Dhari. Sudhar Khan is the earliest tabla player we know of through genealogical record, and many believe he was responsible for creating this instrument. Sudhar Khan is the forefather to whom members of the Delhi tabla lineage trace their ancestry. It seems natural, therefore, that Sudhar Khan would be attributed with the tabla’s invention by default.

Genealogy

It is not easy to visualize a family tree from a linear description such as the one I provide below. There is a graphic representation on page 68 my book, The Tabla of Lucknow, Cambridge University Press, 1988. However, it can be quite useful and instructive if readers map out the relationships for themselves on a sheet of paper. Sudhar Khan Dhari had two sons: Chote Khan and Husain Khan. Let us deal with the younger son first, Husain Khan. On the Delhi genealogical chart I saw noted that Husain Khan had four sons, only one of whom was named: Chajju Khan. Both Delhi and Lucknow lore tell of two brothers from Delhi leaving to seek patronage in Lucknow. One of these brothers might well have been the founder of the Lucknow tabla gharana, Miyan Bakhshu Khan Dhari. There is a professed clan linkage between Delhi and Lucknow, and they are both Shia. However, somewhat confusingly, Lucknow lore tells of Bakhshu Khan arriving in Lucknow from Qasur in the Panjab (now in Pakistan, just south of Lahore).  Chote Khan had three sons: Bugara Khan, Chand Khan, and Lalle Masit Khan. Bugara Khan had two sons: Shitab Ali Khan and Gulab Ali Khan. Chand Khan had no sons. Lalle Masit Khan had one son, Nanne Khan, who in turn had no sons. Shitab Ali Khan had two sons: Muhammad Khan and Nazar Ali Khan. Gulab Ali Khan had no sons. Muhammad Khan had one son: Chote Khan. Nazar Ali Khan had no sons. Chote Khan had two sons: Gamay Khan (1883-1958) and Munnu Khan (?1900-90?), who was one of my informants. Gamay Khan had one son: Inam Ali Khan (1924-90), who was my other informant. Inam Ali has several sons, but the only one who plays tabla is Ghulam Haider Khan (though reports suggest he is not particularly accomplished). There is another twist in the genealogy. Remember Bugara Khan had two sons? He also had a daughter (her name not recorded) who was married to one Makkhu Khan. Makkhu Khan had a son, Bare Kale Khan. Bare Kale Khan had a son, Wali Bakhsh Khan (? some uncertainty about the name). Wali Bakhsh Khan had a son, Natthu Khan. Natthu Khan (1875-1940) was one of the great players of his age. Wali Bakhsh Khan also had a daughter who married Gamay Khan. Now perhaps you see what I mean about structural amnesia. Everything in this lineage explains the evolution of Ustad Inam Ali Khan and his links to the two Delhi greats of recent times: Gamay Khan and Natthu Khan. Whether all these other ancestors actually had no sons is debatable. Also, women do not figure in the genealogical tree unless they justify the existence of certain male figures. Many of these female links could indeed be important, specially since there is in Indian Muslim society a pattern of endogamous (i.e. within the clan) marriage. Nevertheless, there is likely to be a high degree of accuracy in the names and relationships that are mentioned, even if it is selective. And as for dates, no one is very clear about this but it seems reasonable to suggest that Sudhar Khan Dhari was born in the early 1700s. By adding 30 years (as an average) for each generation thereafter one obtains a reasonable diachronic mapping of generations to the present day. There has been no mention so far of Latif Ahmed Khan (1941-90), arguably one of the greatest tabla players of the 20th century, though in later years he suffered greatly from alcohol abuse and died an untimely death. A Sunni Muslim, he was a disciple of both Gamay Khan and Inam Ali, though relationships with Inam Ali soured in later years. My assessment is that this tabla tradition died with Inam Ali and Latif Ahmed. They in turn left a number of disciples in India and Europe, but none that I know of has the range of knowledge or the technique to project that knowledge as a living performance tradition into the future.

James Kippen teaches a range of ethnomusicology courses at the University of Toronto. He studied Social Anthropology and Ethnomusicology under John Blacking and John Baily at Queen’s University, Belfast. His doctoral research in Lucknow, India, dealt with tabla drumming in its socio-cultural context, particularly as interpreted by his teacher, the hereditary master Afaq Hussain Khan; the study was later published as The Tabla of Lucknow: A Cultural Analysis of a Musical Tradition (Cambridge University Press, 1988). He held two post-doctoral fellowships for computer-assisted musical analysis, and taught Anthropology and Ethnomusicology courses at Queen’s before joining the University of Toronto in January 1990. Since then he has been awarded two major research grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue an investigation of cultural concepts of time in Indian music and society, and the changing theory and practice of rhythm and metre in Hindustani music. He continues to study and practise both tabla and pakhavaj drums.

James Kippen has published in a variety of scholarly journals such as Anthropological Quarterly, Music Perception, Computers and the Humanities, Minds and Machines, World of Music, Journal of the Indian Musicological Society, Asian Music etc., and has contributed a key article on North Indian metric theory and drumming to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. His most recent book, Gurudev’s Drumming Legacy: Music, Theory and Nationalism in the Mrdang aur Tabla Vadanpaddhati of Gurudev Patwardhan, translates, transcribes and analyses an early reformist text on Indian drumming, and places the work in rich historical and socio-cultural contexts. It is soon to be published late in 2005 by Ashgate as part of its School of Oriental and African Studies Musicology Series.

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The Gwalior Gharana

In the history of Hindustani classical music Gwalior stands out as prominently as, if not more than Delhi, Luck now, Rampur, Jaipur and Deccan-Hyderabad. The traditions of this music are inextricably associated with Gwalior. Our sources of information about the modes of Indian music prior to the Muslim period are scanty and so our notions on them are rather hazy. The “Bharatha Natya Sastra” of Bharat Muni, the “Brihaddesi” by Matanga and “Sangeetaratnakara” are the earliest treatises we have. It was during the Muslim period that the music that we now call Hindustani music blossomed, thanks to unforgettable names like Amir Khusro, who not only invented and introduced new ragas, tolas and instruments, but effectively blended Persian touches into Indian music. “Art being a living organism, it is bound to expand” and music being pre-eminently an Art, it is of an extremely changing nature. Musical fashions, like all other fashions, have always undergone change after change and have been molded and remolded to suit changed tastes and trends through every era. In this process, Hindustani music, as it is to-day stands inseparably associated with, and deeply indebted to Gwalior.

Dhrupad: The inception of music all over the world has been from Religion. In today’s classical music, the ‘Dhrupad” occupies the most exalted place, and this originated from the old “Temple-music”. It has, therefore, had a long and checkered history. Its themes are sometimes devotional, sometimes didactic, sometimes descriptive (of the beauties of creation), sometimes heroic (recital of heroic actions); they may also pertain to Puranic stories or Divine Romances. But these Dhrupads having originated from the ancient Prabandhas (in Sanskrit and other provincial languages), and being sung in temples, we do not know how far these old Dhrupads afforded scope for the display of musical skill. To Raja Man Singh Tomar of Gwalior goes the credit for making them part of classical music and thus popularising them. Rajah Man is remembered to this day as one of the greatest patrons, scholars, and lovers of music we have ever had. Memorials to his patronage of music are still visible in Gwalior. Once, he summoned a great conference of artists and musicians) and the essence of the valuable discussions held there has been compiled by him into a book, “Wanakutuhal.” It throws valuable light on the condition of music in the early Muhammadan period, and is still available for reference in certain State libraries. The Dhrupad-style of singing was a great contribution of the Gwalior school to Hindustani ‘ragdari’ (Classical) music. This brings us to the eve of the brightest period in the history of Hindustani music – the era of Tansen and his illustrious descendants.

Tansen

In the history of Indian Music, who has not heard the immortal name of Tansen? He was justly idolised in his time, and today we worship him almost as a saint. He was the greatest of all Dhrupadiyas (a Kalawant) and was a product or the Gwalior school of music. Originally he was a Gaud Brahmin and his name was Tanna Misra (son of Makarand Pande). He became the disciple of Swami Haridas Dagur of Brindaban. Still later, he came under the influence of a great Muslim Saint or Pir, Mohammad Ghaus of Gwalior under whose guidance, Tansen achieved unprecedented fame. His fame spread so far and wide. that Emperor Akbar personally fetched him to his Court and kept him in the highest esteem. Tansen and his descendants were strict Dhrupadiyas and have been the leaders of, and authorities on, Hindustani classical music.

Adarang and Sadarang

Nyamathkhan and Naubatkhati who later on adorned the court of Mohmad Shah of Delhi, were Tansen’s descendants and naturally Dhrupadiyas. But Dhrupad-singing, as it existed then, was bound down by strict and scientific rules which left very little scope for the singer to show his flights of fancy. Moreover, the particular type of voice necessary for Dhrupad singing is very difficult to cultivate. Hence the Khayals. The slow Khayals were patterned very much like the Dhrupads but in such a way as to afford plenty of scope for alap-singing, tanas, and other niceties along with the composition. Khayals, as such, existed long before Adarang and Sadarang. The fast Khayals were based on the Qawwal style and were thus the contribution of the Qawwal Bani. But the credit for composing hundreds of Khayals and popularising thumri forever goes to Sadarang and Adarang. Nyamat and Naubat assumed the pseudonyms Adarang and Sadarang while composing their Khayals, and it is by these pseudonyms, rather than by their real names, that they are known today. In many khayals, they have mentioned the name of their patron Mohammed Shah. They composed hundreds of khayals and taught them to their disciples. These khayals have come down to us, and to-day, not a day goes without our hearing- their immortal names in some khayal or other. 01′ the three kinds of khayals, the slow (vilambit) khayals were modeled after the Dhrupads, whereas the medium (Madhyalaya) and fast (drut) ones were couched in the Qawwal Vani The originator of Qawwalis was Amir Khusru, the versatile poet-cum-musician-cum-statesman. As Islam forbade music strictly, these Qawwalis or Muslim Bhajans were composed for purely devotional recitations are the model of the Hindu Bhajans that existed already. Gradually, however, there arose a class of professionals who earned their livelihood by Qawwali-singing. These singers known as “Qawwals”-began to make free use of “tans” and “paltas” in the course of Qawwal-singing. Out of these “Qawwals”, Adarang, Sadarang and Manarang composed their beautiful rnadhyalaya and drut khayals. What Amir Khusro and his followers contributed to Indian music arc probably the modes of expression, the style, the broad open-mouthed voice-production, tanas, liquid pronunciation of words and so forth which have certainly made the music quite effective.

Bye and bye, however, these. khayals became so popular as to oust the Dhrupads! To-day one notes with immense regret that Dhrupad-singing is almost becoming extinct. The day the Dhrupads regain their old popularity will be an auspicious day for our Music. For, training in Dhrupad-singing alone can make the voice at once steady, strong, full-throated and sweet. Lately, however, quite a few seem to have been attracted by the sublime words and meanings of Dhrupads. This is a healthy and hopeful augury. The names of Bade Muhammad Khan; Haddu, Hassu, Nathu and Wazirkhans, Tanaraskhan, Mahmud Ali, Ali Bux, Miyajan, etc., are unforgettable. Of these, Haddu, Hassu and Bade Muhammad Khan were court-musicians of Gwalior. This last was the son of Shakkar Khan and considered peerless in the matter of tan-singing-. He was employed as court-musician (on a four-digit salary) by Daulat Rao Scindia ! He sang khayals in the Qawwali style, i.e., with various delicacies and dexterity. In the same durbar were Kadir Bux’s 3 sons, Haddu, Hassu and Nathu who won precocious mastery in music at very early ages. They were Khayalists of the elaborate Kalavant style. Later on, they evolved a beautiful and exquisite combination of the Kalavant and Qawwali styles of Khayal-singing. It is- interesting to note that this unique combination too should have been evolved in Tansen’s birth place ! Is it then, any wonder that Khayal singers have looked upon Gwalior as a sort of sacred-spot? It was the birth-place of the Dhrupad and the Khayal as well as of all the eminent Dhrupadiyas and Khayalists. Nearly all the reputed musicians of Akbar’s court were from Gwalior. It gave us Tansen.

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Maharashtrian Musicians at Gwalior

The popularization of classical music in Maharashtra began through Gwalior. The Maharashtrian-Brahmin singers of Gwalior were greatly benefited by the current Gwalior school of music. Many of the pupils of Hassu and Haddu were Maharashtrian Brahmins among whom were eminent singers like Babasabib Dixit, Vasudeva Rou Joshi, and Balasoheb Curuji. Their disciples have preserved classical traditions to a great extent. We also owe a lot to the Maharashtrian disciples of Nissar Hussain (of Hassu-Haddu family). The late reputed musician Shanker.Rao Pandit was a favourite pupil of his. Music-lovers still recall Shanker Pandit’s name with great love and respect. His son Krishna Rao Shanker Pandit is today a court musician of Gwalior, and is running a Music school in his father’s name-”Shanker Gandbarv Vidyalaya”. Raja Bhaiyya Poonchwale:-the Principal of the “Madho Sangeet Mahavidyalaya” is another reputed disciple of Shanker Pandit. He had the privilege of learning a large number of Dhrupads from the great Dhrupadiya, Wamanbuva Deshpande ; and later on, Khayals from Shanker Pandit. What was more, since the opening of the Pandit music school, he was fox- a long time able to avail himself of Bhatkhand ji’s valuable association and Guidance -thanks to which today raja Bhaiya is regarded as a skilled singer and a learned scholar in the art of music. Chaturpandit Bhatkhandeji:-The Madho Sangeet Mahavidyalaya is the triumphant fruit of Guruvarya Bhatkhandeji’s selfless endeavours and a proof of Madhav Rao Mahara ‘s lofty musical tastes and patronage of music. This and similar schools of music have contributed in no small measure to the revival of interest in classical music which had cooled down to a deplorable level. Among the long array of Maharashtrian musicians who went to Gwalior and achieved -commendable mastery over the Gwalior-style of ragdari sangeet, comes the name of Balkrishnabuva-a pupil of Vasudevrau Joshi (Hassu’s [pupil)- After under going a prolonged training, he returned to his native town and devoted the rest of his life rekindling musical tastes among his people. The most eminent of his pupils of course was Vishnu Diagambar Paluskar whose name is familiar to all. We all know how ceaselessly lie strove to popularise music by establishing music schools at various places. But his training and efforts were not comprehensive. The limitation may have been due to the queer circumstances of those days when musicians selfishly concealed their art. Anyway Digambar did revive interest in one aspect of our music-namely, the devotional aspect of it (Bhajans) and for this we shall be always grateful to him. Balakrishnabuva's son Annabuva was a good musician but he died prematurely. The former's disciples Anantbuva Joshi of Oundh and Mirasibuva of Poona are two of our contemporaries. They have tried to Preserve the musical traditions of their schools. Another pupil is Gunduhiiva whose son is still the court musician of Ichalkaran" Classical music penetrated into Maharashtra from Gwalior, but since its penetration there, it has undergone numerous changes, under various influences. For instance, good musicians of Aera, Delhi, Jaipur etc., migrated into the big cities of India (Bombay, Calcutta and Madras ) when they ceased to get royal patronage ; and in these big cities they were forced to earn their livelihood by giving music performances. The names of Tanaraskhan, Haider Khan, Nath ti Khan, Mahmud Khan, Miyajan, etc., are familiar in this connection. They have influenced music in Maharashtra to a great extent. Though the original G Gwalior-style is rarely to be heard in its pristine purity today, the traditions have been preserved to some extent luckily. Characteristics of the Gwalior style:-Some of the requisites of good Khayal-singing are:-a clear-cut presentation of "Asthai" and "Antara" (the 2 portions of the songs) with proper pauses, a skillfully slow pace, and proper combinations of Swaras (notes) and Sahitya (words). Those who have luckily had training in the Gwalior-style of Khayal singing are very particular about the niffat presentation of the "asthayi" and "antara" at the very outset. Inability to do this, is rightly considered disgraceful by them, and so they pay special attention to the neat presentation of the song with correct pronunciation of the words. "Alap" at the outset is usually done in "akar" (without words) but consistent with the tempo of the song. After finishing slow alaps, the speed is slowly increased, and what is known as Bol-alaps (words of the song deftly presented in various combinations of notes) are started. Cleverly the Bol-tans (words woven into quick combinations of notes) and plain tans are introduced. When the tempo and pace have been somewhat quickened, the skilled musician harmoniously passes on to a quicker song (drut) or a fast "tarana" in the same raga. In the fast Khayal also, the parts of the song are legibly presented at first, after which the singer begins his extempore elaborations, rapid tans and various other beautiful intricacies and delicate embellishments which afford plenty of scope for the display of personal skill, or industry. The tans of the Gwalior school are justly famous and admired. 'The tans are straight, clear, full-throated and varied. Effective little "running passages of notes" are interwoven into the Khayals. On the whole, there is something extremely dignified and impressive about the Gwalior-style of classical music. "Musical Gwalior" that was! - There had been a time when Gwalior used to be so intensely music-mad that "the very leaves would not tremble but to the sounds of music,". Music-festivals used to be part of the daily routine in the durbars. The Princes and the people were alike absorbed in the ecstatic enjoyment and appreciation of music day and night. Even half-clad street-urchins would try to hum tans "Will that idyllic state of affairs ever come back to be" one wonders........ Bye and bye the zeal for khayal-singing and for classical music began to flag and ebb to a very low level, because good musicians (like Nisar Hussain Khan, Rahmat Khan, and other Brahmin singers) began to become thorough stay-at-homes, teaching only those who went to them in their seclusion. Under such circumstances, one cannot guess what would have become of the Gwalior -style of classical music, had not Pandit Bhatkhandeji dedicated his life to the revival of classical music and succeeded in opening the Classical Music colleges at Gwalior and Lucknow whose branches have sprouted up in numerous other cities now, like Bombay, Calcutta and so on.

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The Sarod Gharanas of India

S. P. Bhattacharyya

In this article we discuss, informally, the evolution of the Sarode and the art of Sarode playing as developed by some outstanding musicians and Gharanas (musical families) of the North Indian classical music tradition, over the last four hundred years.

GHARANAS OR STYLES

Khayal music is represented by a number of more or less stylistically different schools called Gharanas. These  schools have their basis in the traditional mode of musical training and education. Every  Gharana has a few discernible features, which allow us to distinguish between schools and  also enable us to identify different approaches to interpretation of the ragas. The main  areas where differences arise, relate to the raga repertoire adopted by the Gharana, the  manner in which the notes are sung, particularly the relative emphasis given in the  Gharana philosophy to swara and laya, the role and importance of the Bandish in  the aesthetic viewpoint of the Gharana, the manner in which the raga is presented, and the  type of Tans employed.

Gwalior: This is the oldest among all the Khayal Gayaki (vocal) styles.  The distinctive feature of this style of singing has been noted as its lucidity and  simplicity. This gayaki is also characterized by serious mien and slow singing pace. This  Gharana involves presenting familiar and well known ragas such as Alakya Bilawal, Yaman, Bhairav, Sarang, Multani, Sri, Bhoop, Kamod, Hamir, Basant, etc. It also pays great  attention to singing Khayals using traditional Bandishes. This Gharana is also noted for  its straight and simple Tans, while stressing on the use of Meendh and Gamak in its  Dhrupad-style khayals. The best known artistes of this Gharana were Balkrishna BaIchal  Karanjikar (1849 - 1927) and his student Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (1872 - 1931), Pandit  Omkarnath Thakur (1897 - 1967) and in recent times, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Malini  Rajurkar.

Kirana: This Gharana derives its name from the birthplace of Abdul Kharim  Khan (1872 - 1937), Kirana near Kurukshetra. This style of singing was influenced by the distinctive style of playing music on the Bin (Vina), with emphasis on the resonance of  notes and maintaining note continuity through Meendh and Gamak. Importance was also given  to Alap and Vilambit laya in the course of performance. This style also stresses on the  role of individual notes and their study (swar-sadhana). In the Kirana style of  singing, the swara is used to create an emotional mood by means of elongation and use of Kana-s.  This effect is further heightened by tuning the Tanpura (a drone instrument) for certain  ragas to the seventh note, the Nishad, rather than Pancham. In this Gharana, the practice  of rendering the Alap as Bol-Alap using the bols  of the Bandish and not in Akar is  to enable the Alap to be developed gradually. The Gharana repertoire consists mainly of  ragas like Shuddha Kalyan, Darbari, Malkauns, Bhimplasi, Todi etc. Many Carnatic ragas  feature in this Gharana. Another aspect of the Kirana Gharana is that it is one of the few  Gharanas of Khayal Gayaki that includes Thumri singing as a part of its performances. The  important singers in this Gharana are Abdul Karim Khan, Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar,  and in recent times, Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Prabha Atre.

Atrauli - Jaipur: Another of the important ones, this Gharana is  associated with Alladiya Khan (1855 - 1943), the great singer of the late 19th and early  20th century. This style has great complexities because of its use of melodic phrases  having Vakra (twisted/crooked) turns. The most distinctive feature of the Jaipur  Gharana can be best described as its complex and lilting melodic form which arises out of  the involuted and undulating phrases that constitute the piece. The Badhat is  very clear and is done in short sequences, each lasting for an Avartan and the Tans are  very intricate. As a consequence the term ‘filigree-like workmanship’ is often  used in the context of the Jaipur Gharana singing. This impression is created by the  linking of successive notes through a particular manner of delivery without blurring their  individual characteristics or shapes, while continuously varying the swara-patterns to  avoid repetition. This is done through a slow tempo, which continues uncharged from the  beginning to the end with the duration of its cycle being kept constant. The Gharana, in  its repertoire, has a dominance of rare and compound ragas such as Sampoorna-Malkauns,  Basant Kedar, Basant-Bahar, Kaunsi-Kanada and Nat-Kamod. This Gharana tends to use the  traditional Bandishes and shuns the creation of new compositions. The Badhat is sung using  the bols of the Bandish instead of the Akar. The Tans are also full of spiral shaped fast  passages or Vakra passages. The important vocalists of this tradition are Alladiya Khan,  Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbhai Kerkar and in recent times, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti  Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.

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Faiyaz khan

Agra: This style of Khayal gayaki is usually associated with Faiyaz khan  (1886 - 1950). The founders of the Agra gharana were originally singers of Dhrupad. Dhamar  and Khayal singing came to be adopted in the Gharana. It was Ustad Faiyaz Khan who  transformed the traditional and austere Agra style and left his colourful imprint on the Gharana. The Agra Gharana places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness  in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant. This Gharana pays special  attention to ragas like Megh and Darbarikanada. In the Alap, the shape of the raga is  broadly outlined through key phrases and structures, rather than in a note by note manner.  The Bandish plays a very important role. The purity of the Bandish is stressed and the  entire Bandish forms the central point of the performance. The use of the Meendh in order  to make the presentation effective is stressed. The Agra Gharana maintains this aspect of  Dhrupad by the frequent use of Meendh and Gamaks for Alapchari and shuns the use of  ornaments such as Murkis. One of the most notable features of the Agra Gayaki is its  Layakari and the manifestation of rhythm in all the aspects of the khayal presentation.  The important singers of this Gharana are C R Vyas, S N Ratanjankar and of late, Jitendra  Abhisheki, Vijay Kitchlu and Sumati Mutatkar.

Patiala: This Gharana is regarded as an offshoot of the Delhi Gharana and  the famous duo ‘Allu-Fattu’, [Ali Baksh (1850 - 1920) and Fateh Ali Khan (1850 -  1909)], are usually acclaimed as the originators of this style. It was Ustad Bade Ghulam  Ali Khan (1901 – 1969), who popularized this style of singing and brought this Gharana to  the public notice. This style was influenced, to a large extent, by the qualities of Bade  Ghulam Ali’s voice and its wide span of three octaves. While the Patiala Gharana  gives pride of place to speed in execution of Tans, the Patiala Gharana repertoire also  includes slow Tans, which are akin to the Gamak. Thus, the Patiala Gharana is characterized by the use of greater rhythm play and by Layakari with the abundant use of  Bols, particularly Bol-tans. As part of its aesthetic approach, this style focusses more  on emotion and sensuality. This style was criticised for neglecting musical form and  organization and also lacking in aesthetic balance. The ragas preferred by this Gharana  are Malkauns, Bhoopali, Gunakali, Megh Malhar, etc. Ek-tal and Teen-tal are usually chosen  by this Gharana. This is another Gharana, which considers Thumri singing as its forte. The  major singers in this style Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ajoy Chakravarti, Parveen Sultana and  others.

Rampur-Sahaswan: The Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana can be said to have been  established by Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan (1849 – 1919). There is a stress on the clarity  of swara in this style and the development and elaboration of the raga is done through a  stepwise progression. The characteristic features of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gayaki are that  the development of the Alap adheres closely to the structure of the Bandish that is being  sung and is not sung as a free exposition before the Bandish. It is presented in the form  of a Bol-alap. The stress in the Alap is on developing the Bhava (mood) and the rasa  (emotion) of the raga. Singing in Akar is given great importance in training and also the  use of natural voice. The preferred tempo is Madhya laya (medium tempo) and the use of a  very slow tempo is discouraged. This Gharana lays stress on the literary content of the  Bandish. The speciality of the Rampur school lies in its Tans, which cover a much larger  range and are marked by their speed of execution. These Tans, which are noticeable for  their boldness and clarity, are employed to bring out the Layakari. This style is also  marked by a wide variety of Tans and its repertoire consists of ragas like Bhupali-Todi,  Bahaduri-Todi, Gaudsarang, Yaman, Kedar, Chhaya Nat, Bihag, etc. The main representatives  of this Gharana are Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan and in recent times,  Ustad Rashid Khan.

Mewati: The founder of Mewati Gharana was Ghagge Nazir Khan. This Gharana  adopts the Sapat Tan and Merkhand in its ornamentation. This style gives  importance to developing the mood of the raga through the notes forming it and its style  is Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text. The  Gayaki regards words as important and does not believe in stretching words to make the  text and rhythm synchronize. It resorts to Tans and Sargams in case the words fall short.  This Gayaki also adopts Meendh as a prominent ornament. This Gharana presents  semi-classical music in the form of Bhajans and there is a strong Vaishnavite influence in their style. The current exponents of this style are Sanjeev Abhyankar and Rattan Sharma,  both students of Pandit Jasraj.

Bhundi Bazar Gharana: This  Gharana is less known in comparison to others. The most distinctive feature of this  Gharana is that their presentations of Khayals are open voice, using Akar. There is a  stress on breath-control and singing of long passages in one breath is highly regarded in  this Gharana. Another feature is the intricate method of Sargam singing in which  permutations and combinations of a given set of notes are made to give rise to complex  note and Tan patterns This Gayaki makes use of this method for the raga Badhat in order to  have an extended Alap. This method also permits play with rhythms. In addition, this  Gharana stresses clear note intonation and word articulation. Ornaments such as Sapat-tans,  Gamak-tans are given precedence along with the use of Meendh. The important singers  are Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Anjanibai Malpekar.

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1. The Evolution of Sarod

The Sarod is one of the most exotic musical instruments in the world today. Its tonal quality, emotional range and dynamics are unmatched by any other instrument. The present form of the Sarode was developed about 200-250 years ago in India. Since then the art of Sarode playing has undergone continuous improvement in the hands of some exceptional and dedicated geniuses and it has now reached a level that seems difficult to improve upon. It is believed that the predecessor of the modern Sarode is the Rabab, an instrument that originated in the Middle East. The Rabab has a wooden fingerboard and strings of catgut and was used mainly as an instrument to accompany military marching bands. The Rabab was already in use in India in the 16th century during the reign of Akbar, and the Akbar-Nama of the 16th century traveler Abul Fazl mentions several Rabab players in Akbar’s court.

The Sarod, however is believed to have been developed initially by the Rababiyas of Afghanistan after their migration to India. Ghulam Bandegi Khan of Bangash, Afghanistan, who was a Rabab player, soldier and horse trader, migrated to India about 300 years ago. He was commissioned as a soldier in the army of Raja Vishwanath Singh of Rewa. Bandegi Khan trained his son Haider Khan and grandson Ghulam Ali Khan in the art of Rabab playing. Ghulam Ali also received musical training from Pyar Khan and Jaffar Khan, who were distinguished Rabab players and direct descendents of Tansen. Raja Vishwanath Singh also gave him instruction in Dhrupad singing, the slow, ornate and dignified style of vocal music, that was prevalent then.

Ghulam Ali later became a court musician in Gwalior, the most important musical center for North Indian music at that time. His exposure to the Gayaki (vocal music) style of Gwalior as well as the Dhrupad style of the Seni Gharana (Tansen’s musical family) must have influenced him to improve the relatively unsonorous and staccato sounding Rabab into one capable of executing the Meends (glides) and curves necessary in the Gayaki style. He is generally credited with the idea of modifying the Rabab by adding a metal fingerboard and metallic strings and also with the addition of the Chikari (Jhala) and Tarab (sympathetic) strings. Thus the Sarode was born. Further embellishments to the Sarode were made by Ustad Allauddin Khan in this century, and the modern Sarode has 15 Tarab strings, 6 Chikari strings and 4 main strings.

The name Sarode is linked to the Arabic “Sahrood” or Persian “Sarood” meaning music, as well as the Sanskrit “Sho-rode” (“good noise”). It is important to mention that Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has stated in recent times that the Sarode was known in ancient India as it has been found depicted in the 2000 year old Champa temple in Madhya Pradesh.

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2. The Rababiya Gharanas

The early Sarode players were the descendents of the Afghan Rababiyas. There were three such families but the most important such Gharana was the one founded by Ghulam Ali Khan (see the accompanying chart). Ghulam Ali Khan had three sons, Hossain Ali (eldest), Murad Ali and Nanhe Khan (youngest) who were all Sarode players. Nanhe Khan’s son was the Late Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan (1988-1972) one of the outstanding Sarode players of the last generation. Hafiz Ali Khan’s musical education was completed by his training under the Late UstadWazir Khan of Rampur who was the leading representative of the Seni Beenkar Gharana in the last century. Hafiz Ali’s son Amjad Ali Khan is one of the most accomplished Sarode players of the present day.

Murad Ali Khan was childless, and on a certain occasion, when taunted  about this, decided to leave home, vowing to adopt a son and give him such a Taleem (musical training) that he would “rob the brothers of their sleep”. He moved to Shahjahanpur and adopted an orphan boy, Abdullah Khan, who under his training became an outstanding Sarode player. Murad Ali Khan passed away in 1932, but his musical line continued with Abdullah Khan, whose disciple Mohammed Amir Khan was the Guru of the Late Radhika Mohan Moitra (1917-1981) a brilliant Sarodiya of the last generation. Pandit Buddhadev Das Gupta is the foremost disciples of Radhika Mohan Moitra and is one of three most outstanding Sarode players of India today. His playing reflects the beauty of his Guru’s melodic style which is a perfect blend of the Rababiya and Beenkar traditions.

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3. The Seni Beenkar Gharana

To complete our story we need to establish a most important link, namely the connection between the great Sarode players of the last generation and the Seni Beenkar Gharana. For this let us go back to Emperor Akbar’s court in the 16th century.  The brightest sun in Akbar’s court was Tansen (1520-1589), a musical genius from Gwalior whom the Emperor had brought and installed as one of the Nine Jewels of his court. Tansen composed many new Ragas, such as Miya-ki-Malhar, Darbari Kanhra and Miya-ki-Todi, and laid down the foundations of North Indian classical music through 300 Dhrupad compositions. Although Akbar had a policy to convert talented people to Islam his reverence for Tansen was such that he never forced him to convert, but tactfully gave him the title Miya Tansen.

Tansen had a Hindu wife as well as a Muslim wife, called Mehrunissa. From the latter he got a son Bilas Khan (composer of the Raga Bilaskhani Todi) and from the Hindu wife he had three children; Tan-Taranga, Suratsen and Saraswati Devi. Suratsen later founded the Jaipur Sitar Gharana. Saraswati was a famous Dhrupad singer who married Raja Misar Singh, a noted Beenkar (Veena player) of Rajasthan. Misar Singh eventually became a state musician in Akbar’s court and was converted to Islam and renamed Naubat Khan.

The descendants of Saraswati and Misar Singh were Beenkars as well Dhrupadiyas and they continued and developed the traditions of Sitar, Sursringar and Rabab playing as well as vocal music. They established what is now known as the Seni Beenkar Gharana, the most important musical family in North Indian music. Although they officially had Muslim names, they also had dual Hindu names; thusWazir Khan, for example was also called Chhatrapal Singh. These descendents include Niyamat Khan (vocalist, also known as Sadarang in many Khayal compositions), Amritsen (Jaipur Sitar Gharana, 1814-1894) , Omrao Khan (Vina, Surbahar, Sarode), Gholam Mohammed Khan (Lucknow Sitar Gharana), Bahadur Hussain Khan (inventor of Tarana) and Ustad Wazir Khan.

Ustad Wazir Khan was a brilliant teacher, performer and composer and the leader of the Seni Gharana in the last century. His family line could be traced back directly to Tansen and his musical knowledge included many of Tansen’s original Dhrupad compositions. Perhaps the most important occurence in the history of Sarode playing is the fact that two of the foremost Sarodiyas of the last generation Allauddin Khan and Hafiz Ali Khan came to be Wazir Khan’s disciples. Thus the full power and accumulated musical knowledge of the Seni Gharana was incorporated into the Sarode art of these two outstanding musicians. The result was that a style of Sarode playing developed in which the vocal traditions of Dhrupad and Khyal and the instrumental traditions of Veena (slides and glides) and Rabab (rhythmic, staccato and plucked) came to be blended beautifully and aesthetically into this one majestic instrument. This is why today’s Sarode playing has such a wide dynamic range from the most tender Meends to thunderous Jhalas and lightning speed Taans (musical sentences).

Ustad Baba Allauddin Khan (1862-1972) as we know is a legendary figure in Indian music. He was born in Tripura, East Bengal and from a very young age developed a thirst for music and musical knowledge that eventually led to one of the most incredible musical journeys of this century. He mastered many instruments including Tabla, violin, Sursringar and Surbahar but finally turned to the Sarode and became a student of the Sarode wizard Ahmed Ali Khan. After six years of living with Ahmed Ali, Baba had learnt everything that Ahmed Ali had to offer and the teacher recommended that Baba should seek training from his Guru the great Wazir Khan of Rampur. Baba had to confront many difficulties in becoming Wazir Khan’s disciple, but eventually Wazir Khan opened up his treasure house of musical compositions and taught Baba for 12 years after his eldest son, who was being trained to succeed him, died suddenly.

Baba Allauddin lived only to serve the cause of music. He was a lifelong devotee of the Goddess Kali and later as a court musician in Maihar worshipped Sharda Devi, also known as Maihar Devi, and a form of Goddess Kali. He avoided fame and wealth, pursued music as a path to spiritual salvation and offered his creations at the feet of Sharda Devi. In later years Baba’s salary was paid from the earnings of the Sharda temple. He was regarded throughout India as a musical saint and many students journeyed to Maihar to learn from him. He himself remained a student of music till the age of 70 completely mastering the Dhrupad and instrumental compositions of the Seni Gharana and adding innumerable new compositions and many new Ragas, such as Hemant, Shobhavati and Durgeshwari. His eventual contributions are so outstanding that today this Gharana is known as the Seni Allauddin Gharana.

Baba openly and generously transferred the vast wealth of his musical knowledge to a large number of disciples. Of these the most famous are his son the supreme Sarodist Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and the Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. The dazzling virtuosity, musical depth and brilliance of these two musicians and their extensive touring over the last 40 years have exposed audiences all over the world to the treasures of the Seni Gharana, the art and magic of Sitar and Sarode, and the exquisite beauty, creativity and sophistication of North Indian classical music.

With such a fantastic heritage the future of instrumental music and the Sarode in particular is bright indeed!

(Portions of this article are based on conversations with Pandit Buddhadev DasGupta.)
S.P. Bhattacharyya is Professor of Electrical Engineering and a faculty adviser to SPICMACAY at Texas A&M University.  He is also a disciple of Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and a performing concert artist

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The Kirana Gharana

The origin of the Kirana gharana is shrouded in an air of mystery and, to some extent, controversy. It is generally believed that Gopal Nayak, a contemporary of Amir Khusru, is the fountainhead of the gharana. He lived on the banks of the Jumna in a town called Dutai. Later, when Dutai was ravaged by floods he moved inland 10 Kirana, a small town in the Muzaffarnagar district. He is believed to have embraced Islam. Four different offshoots of the Kirana dynasty are claimed to have descended from him. One of the branches boasts of great names like Ustad Azim Baksh, Maula Baksh and Abdul Ghani Khan. The second branch is studded with names like Ustad Bande Ali Khan, Nanne Khan, Kale Khan and the legendary Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Yet another offshoot includes in its Kirana lineage the names of Gafoor Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Shakoor Khan, Mashkoor Ali and Mubarak Ali. Finally, the distinguished family tradition of Mehboob Baksh, Rehman Khan, Abdul Majid Khan, Abdul Hamid Khan, Abdul Bashir Khan, followed by his sons Niaz Ahmed and Fayyaz Ahmed Khan, express their allegiance to the Kirana tradition. The precise roots of the gharana are lost in antiquity and shrouded with controversy. There are some who believe that Ustad Abdul Karim Khan is the true fountainhead of Gandharva, Roshanara Begum, Balkhshnabuva Kapileshwari, Behrebuva, Sureshbabu Mane and Hirabai Barodekar. From this mainstream of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, in turn, came Pandit Sawai Gandharva whose centenary was recently celebrated with great 6clat in Bombay, and the ranks of the gharana have swelled, majestically. The leading lights include Gangubai Hangal, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Feroze Dastoor, Dr Prabha Atre and Pandit Sangame-shwar Gaurav. Among their disciples, Krishna Hangal Shrikant Deshpande, Madhav Gudi, Narayanrao Deshpande, Ramkrishna Patwardhan, Milind Chittal and Alka Joglekar have already made their mark and ensured the continued popularity of the gharana. This phenomenal popularity has been achieved through the characteristic expansive alapchari which unfolds the raga note by note with tantalising languor. The induction of sargams was another alankar which Abdul Karim Khan inducted into Hindustani music with a Carnatic flair Admittedly, the gharana has undergone a vigorous transformation with the vibrant personality of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who has brought into play his own stylistic nuances. It is obvious that the Kirana gharana is riding the wave of popularity. the gharana and the lineage that emanates from him is the main stream of the gharana, while the rest are tributaries. Be that as it may, it is an incontrovertible fact that the Kirana gharana remains the most popular and prolific in the sheer number of its practitioners on the contemporary scene.Ustad Abdul Karim Khan ushered in a new era of romanticism in the rendition of Hindustani classical music which was captivating because it was at once sweet, soothing, serene and sensuous. Although the ustad’s own singing seemed to lack fullbodied masculine sonorousness, his romanticism won for the Kirana gharana a strong following which included names that have become legends like Sawai

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The Agra Gharana

The Agra gharana derived from the dhrupad tradition of the Nauhar Bani and was founded by Saras Khuda during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb. Thereafter, his grandson Ghagge Khudabaksh received rigorous training from Natthan Khan of the Gwalior gharana in khayal gayaki and thus developed a happy synthesis of the majestic dhrupad tradition and the melodious khayal gayaki. Apart from this, a series of alliances between the houses(gharanas)of the original Agra gharana and the Atrauli gharana have further brought together these two great tradition and it would be more correct to describe the gharana as the Agra-Atrauli gharana. It is significant that the gharana now has within its fold no less than three. Banis: the Gobarhar Bani or the Gwalior gharana as derived from Mehboob Khan alias Daas Piya the Dagur Bani of the original Atrauli Dhrupad gharana which underwent a transformation when Ustad Alladiya Khan took to khayal gayaki from Mubarak Ali of Jaipur (since then called Jaipur-Atrauli gharana) and finally the inflow of the Nauhar Bani of the third Atrauli offshoot as derived through Puttan Khan, maternal uncle of Ustad Mushtaq Husain of the Rampur Sahaswan gharana. Probably this is what accounts for the manysplendoured appeal of this ‘Rangeeli’ gayaki as it came to be known, particularly since the advent of Aftab-e-mousiqi Ustad Faiyaz Khan whom many regard as the fountainhead of Agra-Atrauli gharana.

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Great artists of India

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
1902-1968

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan can be described as an artiste who has had the maximum impact on the 20th Century Hindustani Classical Music scenario. Born in 1902 into a great musical lineage from Kasur in the Western Punjab, this great savant amalgamated the best of four traditions; his own Patiala – Kasur style, sculpturesque Behram Khani elements of Dhrupad, the intricate gyrations of Jaipur and finally the robust behlavas (embellishments) of Gwaiior. But what actually characterised Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was an effervescent melodic quality which was concertised in a masterly flow of ideas which were delivered with a unique sense of alacrity, aided by one of the most pliable and dextrous voices ever heard in living memory in this land. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan had a relatively short career span. He blazed the trails of Calcutta in 1938 and in the 1944 All India Music Conference in Bombay, was virtually anointed Lord of all he surveyed in the field of Indian Music. But 24 years later, he was dead, prematurely at 66, having given the World less of himself than it would have wished to have. The maestro’s approach to khyal was essentially traditional – as seen in the medium pace of his vilambit Khayal presentation and his style of straightforward sthaibharana avoiding permutations. The character of his Gayaki was derived from an inclination towards looking beyond the traditional method of intoning a Swara to discover unchartered facets of beauteous melody, often achieved by very subtle inflexions of notes. This approach was bom of a mind which always strove to find that beauty in Indian Music which went beyond the Raga itself. For Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, ‘Taleem’ was but a means to a greater end where sheer melody and freedom of movement became unified His music was the joyous expression of an unfettered musical psyche. In ‘Thumri’, Bade Gliulam Ali Khan looked beyond the tradition of bol-banav where verbal and musical expressions are unified. He saw in Thumri an avenue for playing with notes with even greater abandon than was possible in the raga-restrained Khayal. From this perspective was born the now well-established Punjab-ang of Thumri.

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Pt. Pannalal Ghosh
31 July, 1911 – 20 April, 1960

Born in Barisal, East Bengal (now Bangladesh) on July 31, 1911, Amulya Jyoti (nicknamed Pannalal) Ghosh was a child prodigy. He inherited his love of music and the bamboo flute (bansuri) from his grandfather, Hari Kumar Ghosh who played sitar,tabla,and pakhawaj and learned sitar from his father, Akshay Kumar Ghosh. He also learned music from his maternal uncle, Bhavaranjan Mazumdar who was a vocalist. The family first lived in the village of Amarnathganj and later moved to the town of Fatehpur.

Two apocryphal incidents happened to young Pannalal which had an influential bearing on his later life. First, at age 9 while looking for a stick, Pannalal found a flute floating in the river. He retrieved the instrument and so began his lifelong relationship with the bansuri. Two years later at age 11 Pannalal met a sadhu who held both a conch and a flute. The sadhu asked Pannalal if he could play the flute, and young Pannalal obliged. The sadhu gave him the flute and told the boy that music would be his salvation.There was a political unrest in 1928, and every youth was possessed with the freedom movement. Pannalal also joined this freedom movement. He enrolled in a gymnasium where he learned martial arts, boxing, and stick fighting and practiced physical culture. Pannalal was very fond of physical culture. He became the best student and champion of this gymnasium. He became more involved in the freedom movement and the British Government started keeping a watch on his movements. So at the age of seventeen Pannalal left Barisal and went to Calcutta in search of livelihood. In the teeming metropolis he found himself without any credentials except that he was a boxing champion and had won the All Bengal competition in boxing. With his skill as a boxer and martial art expert he landed a job as a coach in an athletic club. One year later, at the age of 18, Pannnalal lost his father.

At this time Pannalal, who was already playing sitar, began to focus his attention on bansuri. Economic necessity drove him into performing music for the silent films in Calcutta. At an All India music competition he met music director and composer Anil Biswas and began to play in his musical productions. It was during one such production when Anil Biswas was directing music for a dramatization of a work by the renowned poet Kazi Nazrul Islam that Pannalal decided that he needed a bigger flute who’s pitch and sonority would be more appropriate for both classical and light music. He met an old Muslim toy vendor who was also proficient in making flutes. With his help Pannalal experimented with various materials including metal and other types of wood, but decided bamboo was still the most suitable medium for a larger instrument. He finally settled on a bansuri which was thirty two inches long, with a sa (tonic) at kali doe (the second black key on the old harmonium scale). As a flute of this size was hitherto unknown, a rumor arose that Pannalal had had surgery to cut the webbing between his fingers to facilitate the large span required to cover the finger holes of the instrument. Of course, he had no such surgery, but through dedicated riyaz (practice), Pannalal invented and perfected the technique to play the large instrument. At this time he would get his bamboo to make flutes from discarded packing materials found at Diamond Harbor, the large port of Calcutta. Deforestation had not yet consumed the forest around Calcutta, and the bamboo was believed to have grown close to the city itself. He practiced hard and perfected the technique of vocal music on flute. At this time he realized the need for meend from madhyama swar to nishad or dhaivat shrutis in ragas like Bihag, Yaman, Bageshree and many others. He experimented and invented the seventh hole of madhyama.

He became famous for his flute playing and started getting performances at the major music conferences. At this time he came in close contact with great maestros like Ustad Inayat Khan (sitar), Ustad Dabir Khan (Been), Ustad Amir Khan (sarod), Ustad Badal khan (sarangi), and vocalists such as Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, Ustad Majid Khan, Pt. Tarapoda Chkraborty, Pt. Bhismadev Chattopadhyay and many others. His quest for knowledge and purity of tradition made him acquire intricacies of music from these erudite musicians. In 1936 Pannalal began working with Raichandra Boral, music director of the well known ‘New Theater’ and one year later he met his first guru, Kushi Mohammed Khan – the ‘Harmonium Wizard’. In 1938 as music director of the dance troupe of the princely kingdom of Seraikella State, Panna Babu (as he was affectionately known) was one of the first classical musicians to visit and perform in Europe, which he found rather agitating and unsettling. Soon after his return to India his guru expired. Thereafter he underwent training from Girija Shankar Chakravarti. In 1940, Pannalal moved to Bombay on the advice of his first disciple Haripada Choudhary (who had himself recently moved to Bombay). There he joined the Bombay Talkies film studio and gave music to quite a few films including ‘Basant.’ Panna Babu’s wife, Parul Biswas, (sister of Anil Biswas), was a graceful singer of kirtans who became one of the first well known playback singers for the new ‘talking’ films. Pannalal first met the legendary Ustad Allaudin Khansahib, (reverentialy known as ‘Baba’) in 1946, when Baba came to Bombay with his disciple, Pandit Ravi Shankar. Initially, when Pannalal asked Baba to teach him Khansaheb replied, “You are already great, you don’t need to study more.” Pannalal implored Baba to please teach him so that he could learn “authentic music and sur.” In 1947, Pannalal’s lifelong yearning to learn music from a true guru was fulfilled when Allaudin Khansaheb , convinced of Pannalal’s sincerity to learn, accepted Pannalal as his disciple. Pannalal then accompanied Baba to his home in Maihar, where he received intensive taalim (training) from Khansaheb for the next six months. Under Baba’s firm yet understanding tutelage, he blossomed into the wizard of the bamboo reed. Panna Babu earned fame through his regular broadcasts on AIR (All India Radio) and his many live performances at music festivals throughout India. The eminent vocalists Ustad Fayaz Khan and Pandit Omkarnath Thakur appreciated his music very much and requested Pannalal to accompany their vocal recitals on bansuri. He was praised for his adaptation and rendering on the bansuri of the khayal-ang- gayaki (the classical vocal style), particularly influenced by the great master of the Kirana gharana, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan. Pannalal also incorporated alap, dhrupad-ang-gayaki, tantrakari, jhala, thumri, dadra and folk music into his performance style on bansuri. Well versed in tabla and rhythm, he would perform in such difficult tals as jhoomra and tilwara. His music was steeped in devotion and had an intangible ethereal element, immense emotional depth and was infused with spiritual profundity. In addition to introducing the larger instrument, Pannalal Ghosh is credited with inventing the bass bansuri and introducing the six-stringed tanpura, high-pitched tanpuri and the surpeti or sruti box into Hindustani music. He created and popularized several new ragas including Deepawali, Pushpachandrika, Hansanarayani, Chandramauli, Panchavati and Nupurdwani, as well as multitudinous vilambit and drut compositions in many well known ragas. Panna Babu practiced daily meditation and observed maun by not speaking on Thursdays. He took the vows of Ramakrishna and put his faith in music. He took Mantra Diksha from Swami Birjanandji Maharaj who was a direct disciple of Swami Vivekananda. Because of his intense spiritual practice he started loosing interest in day to day life and decided to take Sanyasa. When he expressed his desire to Swamiji, his Guru, he was told that he would attain Moksha through music only. He should practice music as religiously as his spiritual practice. His music showed total spirituality, simplicity and purity. Pannalal continued composing and recording music for films, but began to find film work distasteful. Panna Babu’s impressive rendition of Raga Darbari Kannada in his 1956 National Programme broadcast from AIR Delhi fetched him further acclaim and at this time B.B Keskar, director of AIR, awarded him the meritorious post of composer-conductor of the Indian National Orchestra and producer for AIR Delhi. He held the post and maintained his devotion to the interpretation of classical music on the bamboo flute until his untimely and sudden death due to heart attack at the age of 49 on April 20, 1960 in New Delhi. He left his musical legacy in the capable hands of his principal disciples: the late Haripada Choudary, Devendra Murdeshwar, V.G. Karnad and Nityanand Haldipur .

References

Raga Shree: vilambit (slow) Tilwara Tal (16 beats) and fast Teen Tal (16 beats) This is the entire original HMV Recording – 19 minutes. It was the first LP recording of bansuri, with Rag Yaman on the A side.

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                                          Gharanas of Hindustani Music

There is a rich tradition of Gharanas in classical Hindustani music. The music Gharanas are also called styles. These schools or Gharanas have their basis in the traditional mode of musical training and education. Every Gharana has its own distinct features. The main area of difference between Gharanas is the manner in which the notes are sung. The concept of a Guru- Shishya leads to the development of Gharanas. The Gharanas emerge from the creative style of a genius, who gives existing structures a totally new approach, form and interpretation. The new approach, form and interpretation apply to include the tone of the voice, the pitch, the inflexions and the intonations, and the specific application of the various nuances. Let’s have a quick look at popular Gharanas of Hindustani classical music.

Gwalior Gharana – This is the oldest among all the Khayal Gayaki (vocal) styles. The distinctive feature of this style of singing has been noted as its lucidity and simplicity.
Founders – Ustad Hassu Khan, Ustad Haddu Khan, Ustad Nathu Khan
Exponents – Bal Krishna BaIchal Karanjikar, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Malini Rajurkar

Agra Gharana-The Agra Gharana places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant.
Founders- Haji Sujan Khan, Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh
Exponents-The important singers of this Gharana are Faiyyaz Khan, Latafat Hussein Khan and Dinkar Kakini.

Kirana Gharana – It derives its name from the birthplace of Abdul Kharim Khan of Kirana near Kurukshetra. In the Kirana style of singing, the swara is used to create an emotional mood by means of elongation and use of Kana-s.
Founders – Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan
Exponents – Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Prabha Atre.

Jaipur – Atrauli Gharana- The most distinctive feature of the Jaipur Gharana can be best described as its complex and melodic form which arises out of the involutedly and undulating phrases that comprise the piece.
Founders – Ustad Alladiya Khan
Exponents – Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.

Rampur Sahaswan Gharana- The Rampur Sahaswan Gharana there is a stress on the clarity of swara in this style and the development and elaboration of the raga is done through a stepwise progression.
Founders – Ustad Inayat Khan
Exponents – Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, Ustad Rashid Khan, Sulochana and Brihaspati.

Patiala Gharana – Patiala Gharana is regarded as an offshoot of the Delhi Gharana. The Patiala Gharana is characterized by the use of greater rhythm play and by Layakari with the abundant use of Bols, particularly Bol-tans.
Founders – Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh
Exponents – The major singers of the Patiala Gharana are Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ajoy Chakravarti, Raza Ali Khan, Beghum Akhtar, Nirmala Deni, Naina Devi, Parveen Sultana and others.

Delhi Gharana – The Delhi Ghaana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The highlights of Delhi Gharana are pleasing vistaar and exquisite compositions.
Founders – Ustad Mamman Khan
Exponents – Some of the notable exponents of Delhi Gharana are Chand Khan, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Krishna Bisht.

Bhendi Bazaar Gharana – The most distinctive feature of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana is the presentation of Khayal, which is open voice, using Akar. There is a stress on breath-control and singing of long passages in one breath is highly regarded in this Gharana
Founders – Ustad Chajju Khan
Exponents – The important singers of this Gharana are Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Shashikala Koratkar and Anjanibai Malpekar.

Benaras Gharana – The Benaras Gharana evolved as a result of great lilting style of khayal singing known by Thumri singers of Benaras and Gaya.
Founders – Pt Gopal Mishra
Exponents – The chief exponents of the Benaras Gharana are Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra, Girija Devi and others.

Mewati Gharana – The Mewati Gharana gives importance to developing the mood of the raga through the notes forming it and its style is Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text.
Founders – The founder of Mewati Gharana was Ghagge Nazir Khan.
Exponents – The exponents of the Mewati Gharana are Pandit Jasraj, Moti Ram, Mani Ram, Sanjeev Abhyankar and others.

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The gharanas of khayal gayaki (singing) are :
Gwalior gharana Kirana gharana Jaipur-Atrauli gharana Agra gharana Patiala gharana …
Rampur-Sahaswan gharana Mewati gharana Bhendi Bazar gharana

Gwalior gharana

The oldest of the gharanas and one to which most others can and do trace the origins of their style is the Gwalior gharana. Some sources believe that Nathan Khan and Peer Baksh settled in Gwalior and evolved the style features that led to this gharana. Others claim that individuals named Nathan Peer Baksh and Nathe Khan founded the gharana. The accepted version is that Nathan Peer Baksh left Lucknow (in Uttar Pradesh) to escape the professional rivalry with Shakkar Khan that had taken an ugly turn. He arrived in Gwalior with his grandsons Haddu Khan and Hassu Khan.

Another great khayal singer, also originally from Lucknow, was Bade Mohammed Khan who brought the t n into khayal singing. Haddu and Hassu Khan further enhanced the style into the Gwalior gharana as we recognize it today. Haddu Khan’s son, Rehmet Khan (1852-1922) was a widely acclaimed singer who liberated the Gwalior style from the methodical form it followed to the emotional style that he preferred.

Apart from the emphasis on notes (swara), another distinguishing feature of the gharana is its simplicity because through simplicity alone can the singer and the listener arrive at the full beauty and impact of the raga. One means to this is of course the selection of well-known ragas so that the listener is saved the effort of trying to identify the raga. Attention can be focussed on the raga and the presentation of it. While the khayal singer does include raga vistar (melody expansion) and raga alankara (melody ornamentation to enhance the beauty and meaning of the raga, there is no attempt to include the tirobhava feature i.e. using melodic phrases to obscure the identity of the raga in the interest of adding interest or mystery to the listener’s experience.

The singing itself places bandish (the composition) at the heart of the presentation because of the gharana’s belief that the full melody of the raga and guidance on its singing is provided by the bandish. The sthayi section is sung twice before the antara, to be followed by the slow tempo of the swara vistar (note expansion). This slow rendition of the notes is known as the behlava, and is sung from Ma in the lower register to Pa in the higher register, following the pattern of the aroha (ascent) and avaroha (descent) of the raga.

The behlava is divided into the sthayi (from Ma to Sa) and antara (from Ma, Pa, or Dha to Pa of the higher register). The dugun-ka-alap follows in which groups of two or four note combinations are sung in quicker succession but the basic tempo remains the same. Thus the drumming pattern of the table (i.e. tabla theka) is left unaltered.

The bol-alap is next in which the different words of the text are sung in different ways, to be followed by murkis in which notes are sung with ornamentation to a faster pace. Bol-t ns entail the formation of melodic sequences with the words of the song. The other t ns, including the gamak, follow.

The sapat t n is important to the Gwalior style and refers to the singing of notes in a straight sequence and at a slow pace.

Both dhrupad and khayal singing evolved in Gwalior and there are many overlaps. In the khayal style there is one form, mundi dhrupad, that incorporates all the features of dhrupad singing but without the mukhda. The Gwalior gharana usually prefers to begin ragas in the medium tempo (madhya laya) rather then the slow tempo (vilambit laya) as is the norm with other gharanas.

The chosen ragas include Alahya-Bilawal, Yaman, Bhairav, Sarang, Shri, Hamir, Gaud-Malhar, Miya-ki-Malhar.

Renowned singers of this gharana are Balkrishnabua Ichalkaranjikar, Vishnu Digamber Paluskar, Nissar Hussain Khan, Shankarrao Pandit, Krishnarao Pandit, Eknath Pandit, Pandit Vinayakrao Parwardhan, Narayanrao Vyas, Dattaraya Vishnu Paluskar, Sharat Chandra Arolkar, and Pandit Omkarnath Thakur who authored the Sangitanjali (a text on the nature of ragas).

Contemporary singers include Pandit V.R. Athavale, Pandit Vinaychandra Maudgalaya, Pandit Jal B8alporia. Others while not performing in the pure Gwalior style nevertheless retain the distinctive features of the gharana. Malini Rajurkar is an example of this. Her singing reveals influences of the Kirana style as well as that of the independent singer Kumar Gandharva but the clear rendition of each word in the manner of a short t n stamps her singing with the Gwalior tradition.
Kirana gharana

The emphasis on elongating the notes and the importance to their resonance is a distinctive feature of this gharana. The founder, Khan Sahab Abdul Karim Khan (1872-1937), believed in the serene rendition of the notes as when playing the bin (a plucked instrument with resonators at both ends). Rehmet Khan of the Gwalior gharana is believed to have influenced Ustad Karim Khan’s adoption of the direct style of presentation. Some have also indicated the influence of the sarangi (a string instrument) on the voice features of this gharana.

Kirana is the birth place of the Ustad, and situated near Kurukshetra. Ustad Karim Khan served as a musician at the Baroda and the Mysore courts and had a tremendous influence on the music of western India.

His own somewhat nasal voice led him to adopt the Carnatic style for singing the saptak (the seven notes). He preferred to sing in the slower tempo and stress the bol-alap through consonants because his own voice was not wholly suited to the lower register of notes. The aesthetic appeal was thus never marred and the continuity he desired was achieved. Other singers of the gharana, including his disciple Sawai Gandharva, used the upper register far more often than the lower. Some later singers, including Roshanara Begum and Bhimsen Joshi, sing almost equally in both octaves.

This factor has influenced the choice of ragas to those appropriate for the emphasis on the alap rather than the bandish. Karuna rasa (pathetic or sympathetic mood) is the foremost of the sentiments expressed through renditions that extend the notes gradually and use kanas (grace notes ) to fully express the raga. However, the lack of emphasis on voice projection and words led to a blurring of the lines as far as different ragas were concerned.

The emphasis on swara has led to a rather subtle tempo and rhythmic pattern, both factors allowing for the sentiment and mood to be highlighted. Due to this, the words of the bandish are not clearly enunciated and there are only a few in the Kirana gharana repertoire.

Kirana includes thumri singing in its repertoire, but with the emphasis on swara rather than on emotion and an absence of the characteristic lilt of thumri singing.

Contemporary singers like Bhimsen Joshi cannot be said to sing in the pure Kirana style because of the diverse influences apparent in his singing. The swara orientation is not as strong and the tempo is no longer latent as is characteristic of the gharana. However, the emotional appeal of the pure Kirana style remains and so do the Kirana compositions.

Ragas traditionally performed by the gharana: Shuddha Kalyan, Darbari, Malkauns, Bhimpalasi, Todi, to name a few. Some ragas of Carnatic music – for example, Jogiya – are included in the repertoire.

Renowned singers include: Bhimsen Joshi, Abdul Wahid Khan (he taught Begum Akhtar), Surash Babu Mane, Prabha Atre Malati, Hirabai Barodekar, Gangubhai Hangal, her daughter Krishna Hangal, and Pandit Feroze Dastur.
Jaipur-Atrauli gharana

Born in Atrauli and singing at the Jaipur court, Alladiya Khan (1855-1943) made both cities famous through the gharana he founded. His training in both dhrupad and khayal genres enabled him to bring the complexities of both into his style that can be best described as filigree. The variation of note patterns serves to enhance the rendition of notes that are linked in a characteristic manner. This in no way impinges on the individual quality of the notes. The tempo is consistently slow (but not as slow as in the Kirana style), with the varying note patterns providing the rhythm.

Many feel that the gharana follows an intellectual approach, and this does not lend itself to layakari (the development and play of tempo). However, the intellectual nature of presentation in no way precludes laya. It is very much in existence through the changing pitch and volume and the note patterns themselves: these factors comprise what Deshpande terms ‘functional rhythm’.

The time factor permeates every performance. The attention to every beat and half-beat is a vital feature of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana and requires both singer and musician to co-ordinate on the sam. The sam is the most emphatic beat of the tabla (a drum) and is usually played at the beginning of the rhythm cycle and at other specific moments. The singer maintains this rhythm by coinciding the singing with the sam. In khayal singing, the sam may occur at the end of the mukhada (first melodic phrase) and the singer and musician do not consistently coincide their emphases. The Jaipur-Atraul gharana has elevated this to an art form by arriving at the emphatic beat in a specific but unexpected manner. By remaining aware of every beat and fraction of a beat even at the slow tempo, the singer can impart a great aesthetic value to the experience. Alladiya Khan was a master at this technique.

The bandishes are always the traditional ones, and no new compositions are present in the repertoire. The text itself comes second to the melodic movements and tempo of the bandish, the gharana preferring to emphasize the meaning and emotion through note combinations. Thus the musical element dominates. The akar (singing a part of the raga through the vowels ‘aa’) is not traditionally used (the singer Kishori Amonkar is an exception). The bols (words) are sung, and ornamented with t ns and murkis, the ornamentation being in drut laya (fast tempo). The bada khayal is sung spanning all three registers and the antara section is omitted. While vakra t ns (spiralling notes to embellish the raga) are to be found in the presentation, there is a rarity of other t ns like kanas (grace notes) and sargam t ns (sargam – a term comprised of the solfege names of the first four notes, and denoting all seven notes).

The choice of ragas reflects the school’s selectivity of manner and presentation: acchob (rare) ragas and jod (compound) ragas like Sampurna-Malkauns, Basant-Kedar, Basant-Bahar, Kaunsi-Kanada and Nat-Kamod.

Renowned singers include Kesarbai Kerkar who trained under Ustad Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Shruti Sadolikar Katkar, Padma Tralwalkar, Padmavati Shaligram Gokhale.
Agra gharana

The founders of the Agra gharana, Shamrang and Sasrang, were originally dhrupad and dhamar singers, and khayal singing was a later addition by Ghagge Khuda Baksh. The latter was trained by Nathan Peer Baksh of the Gwalior gharana. The emphasis on layakari in the Agra gharana is a result of these beginnings. Ustad Faiyaz Khan (1886-1950), widely regarded as the founder of this gharana, trained under both his maternal grandfather Ghulam Abbas and Natthan Khan of the Agra school. His paternal great-grandfather was Ustad Ramzan Khan ‘Rangile’ and Faiyaz Khan’s singing is often considered the ‘Rangile’ style rather than the Agra style.

The Ustad himself had a powerful voice and sang in a low register. Through voice modulation as well as stress on alap and the rhythmic patterns in the bandish, he was able to evolve a distinctive style. The nom-tom alap remains popular with this gharana as does the use of ekar rather than akar. He employed a clear style in the enunciation of words which were sung (many believe they were spoken) according to the mood of the section. To add drama, he would often allow for a break in the rendition – a stylistic device is known as phut.

It was Faiyaz Khan’s belief that a raga should commence with the note shadja and that the note be accorded a focal position. While classical texts accepted the shadja as the first note, in practice the opening note (graha swara) was not necessarily the shadja. The current practice of commencing the alap with Sa began with Ustad Faiyaz Khan.

This gharana begins a raga with an extended alap replete with ornamentation, and the mukhda and other phrases are sung with equal emphasis. The bandish in medium tempo follows. The words of the text are accompanied by close attention to rhythm and in vilambit laya. The words of the sthayi may be repeated, if the section is deemed too short. Bol tans are next, sung at double or even treble the past tempo, followed by other tans in madhya laya. The ladant (duel with the tabla) is occasionally included, and at the close, a khayal sung in drut laya.

Like the Jaipur gharana, the Agra school emphasizes the melodic aspect of the raga, while the importance of the bandish is a legacy of the Gwalior style. Again, the sam (the most emphatic beat of the tabla) and the arrival at it by musician and singer is an interesting and much anticipated feature.

Renowned singers of this school include Sharafat Hussain Khan (believed to have a style very close to Faiyaz Khan’s), Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan ‘Agrawale’, Latafat Hussain Khan, Yunus Hussain, Vijay Kitchlu, Jyotsna Bhole, Deepali Nag, Sumuti Mutatkar. A famous independent singer taught by Faiyaz Khan was Kanhaiya Lal Sehgal. Besides, the Agra gharana had a profound influence on luminaries such as Pandit Bhatkhande.
Patiala gharana

The well-known Allu-Fattu are often credited with establishing this gharana even though Kale Khan is the person responsible for this achievement. He provided preliminary training to both his son Ali Baksh (Allu) and Ali’s friend Fateh Ali Khan (Fattu), and Kale Khan’s illustrious teachers continued the instruction. The Patiala gharana is considered an off-shoot of the Delhi gharana.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan (1901-69) brought glory to this singing tradition, and brought much of his own style into the gharana’s stamp. His voice had an astounding range and clarity, and the effortless execution of even the most complex ragas is a strength that others owing allegiance to this gharana lean toward.

Close attention is paid to swara, layakari, and bols (perfect enunciation being a hallmark of the gharana). Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s ability to span all three octaves while singing the satta-t ns (short spiralling patterns) and the shortened tonal aspect brought glimpses of the tappa (fast-paced, short, light-classical songs of Punjab) into this classical forte. However, this was appropriately restricted to the chhota khayal. But he did grant a special place to both tappa and thumri (a light classical style) singing, and went on to sing thumris in the tappa style! The clear enunciation of notes notwithstanding, there was and is an abundance of ornamentation that has been criticized as being entirely superfluous. Sargams often replace the text, and note-combinations are used in unconventional placements. The gharana regards these as being integral to the mood and emotion of the raga which became in many ways a means of expressing the singer’s response to the raga.

The shringara rasa of the tappas and thumris is a fitting mood for the singing style of this gharana, and the raga selection in its repertoire reflects this.

Malkauns, Bhupali, Gunakali were the ragas of Bade Ghulam Ali’s choice, and even today, these and similar ragas such as Megh Malhar predominate.

Renowned singers of the Patiala gharana include Munnawar Ali Khan (Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s son), Pandit Ajoy Charavorty, Raza Ali Khan, Parveen Sultana.
Rampur-Sahaswan gharana

The founder of this gharana is Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan (1849-1919), son-in-law of Haddu Khan of the Gwalior gharana, and disciple of, among others, Ustad Bahadur Hussain Khan (Tansen’s descendant). Inayat Hussain Khan was born in Sahaswan and lived his professional life in Rampur. The city was an important centre of dhrupad singing, and together with the fact of Haddu Khan’s teaching, there are definite influences of dhrupad, and the Gwalior gharana. For example, the prevalence of ornaments in the Rampur-Shahaswan singing style. Hence, the gharana is regarded as an off-shoot of the Gwalior gharana.

The alap of this gharana is structured and uses techniques like the behlava to express the mood of the raga. The bandish section stretches through the sthayi and antara sections, both of which are sung fully. The text is sung clear and strong so as to wholly reveal its literary nature. This is followed by sargams, akars and bols sung in all three tempos – slow, medium, and fast. Madhya laya is the preferred tempo for raga performance. These features are very similar to those of the Gwalior gharana.

The t ns of this gharana are executed in the characteristic style, and end on the shadja. The number of t ns popular in the Rampur-Sahaswan style is far more than in the other gharanas, and includes sapat-t ns, halaq-t ns, chut-t ns, bol-t ns, and tappa t ns.

Apart from the classical ragas in its repertoire, the gharana favours tarana singing. This is clearly seen in the choice of ragas like Bhupali-Todi, Bahadur-Todi, Yaman, Kedar, Bihag, Gaud-Sarang, Chhaya Nat.

The renowned singers of this gharana include Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan (trained by Inayat Hussain Khan himself), Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan (Inayat Hussain Khan’s son-in-law), Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Rashid Khan, Ghulam Sadiq Khan, Shanno Khurana, Sulochana Brihaspati.
Mewati gharana

The semi-classical music of this gharana founded by Ghagge Nazir Khan avoids the accepted norm of elongating words for the sake of rhythm. Sargams and t ns (such as sapat-t ns) are employed to provide the versatile link that is needed. The literary context and the emotional appeal of the raga are stressed, and expressed through the use of techniques such as the murchhana technique (enhancing the raga by changing the tonic).

This last is important because of the emphasis on the mood (rasa, bhava) of the raga. This school can be said to be bhava-pradhan (pradhan: of great importance, superior), and as such the ornamentations and the structure of the performance are geared to ensuring a continuity. This, the akar is conspicuous by its absence (as in the Kirana gharana). The bandish section is characterised by the notes and the raga itself that span all three octaves; the mukhda of both sthayi and antara sections is developed through bol alap. This part closes with the mukhda of the sthayi section, to be followed by layakari and ornamental devices particularly the gamak and sapat t ns.

The bhajan quality of the performances is a feature unique to this gharana, and reveals a religious influence.

The gharana is represented by Pandit Jasraj and his two disciples Sanjeev Abhyankar and Rattan Sharma. This is reminiscent of Ghagge Nazir Khan and his two disciples, Nathulal and Chamanlal. Nathulal’s nephew Pandit Motiram continued the tradition through his sons Pandit Maniram and Pandit Jasraj.
Bhendi Bazar gharana

A lesser-known but influential gharana, the Bhendi Bazar school was founded by Ustad Chhajju Khan, Ustad Nazir Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan in the late nineteenth century. They trained under their father Dilawar Hussain Khan, and Inayat Hussain Khan of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana.

The akar sung in an open voice, the prevalence of merkhand (intricate singing of the sargam), and a clear articulation and intonation are the characteristic features of this gharana. Stringent practice of breath control permits the singer to sing a long stretch of the raga without pausing.

Renowned singers of this gharana include Ustad Aman Ali (who specialized in complex sargams without sidelining swara and laya, and taught Lata Mangeshwar, known also as ‘India’s nightingale’), Anjanibai Malpekar (who taught Kishori Amonkar).
(Courtesy of India Heritage)

Gharanas

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Selected Audio Probes :

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The Gwalior Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=1

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The Agra Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=2

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The Kirana Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=3

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The Jaipur Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=4

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The Rampur Sahaswan Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=5

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The Patiala Gharana   

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=6

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The Delhi Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=7

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The Bhendi Bazar Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=8

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The Banaras Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=9

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The Mewati Gharana

http://www.itcsra.org/sra_story/sra_story_guru/sra_story_guru_links/sra_story_guru_gharana/gharana.asp?gharanaid=10

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The   Etawa   Gharana

by Imrat Khan Saheb

A Gharana

Indian Classical music can be described a religion whereby the music, knowledge and musical research was traditionally passed down from guru to disciple by word of mouth. In many old musical families the guru or teacher, is the father and the disciple or student, the son. A Gharana, or Musical Dynasty is formed when this process of teaching is passed down for five or six generations.

There are two types of gharana in India, direct gharanas in which music has remained within a family and indirect gharanas, where in the absence of sons or musically talented sons, the teacher chooses to pass on his knowledge to a talented student. In India there are very few direct or true gharanas left. Ustad Imrat Khan’s Etawa Gharana is one of them.

The Etawa Gharana

The Etawa Gharana, also fondly know as the ImdadKhani Gharana after Ustad Imrat Khan’s grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan, is one of the oldest, most illustrious gharanas of Indian classical music. It traces its origins back through an unbroken line of celebrated musicians to the 16th Century where music has been passed down from father to son for almost 400 years. With its roots in Agra, the Gharana was later moved to Etawa on the outskirts of Agra before finally moving to Calcutta with Ustad Inayat Khan, the father of Ustad Imrat Khan. The true value of the Gharana can be understood by looking at its accomplishments. The ancestors of Imrat Khan were fascinated with musicology and searching for the most perfect and purest sounds. Through their research modern Indian Classical music has been redefined. The Gharanas major achievements are the development of the surbahar, major structural changes to both the sitar and surbahar and the creation and development of the instrumental style known as the gayaki ang. Not only has the true art and knowledge of music been preserved by this Gharana despite external pressures of a changing country but it has also produced the most legendary names in Indian classical music through each generation.

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                             The Vishnupur Gharana

Gharana, as the word suggests, is a school of thought or a particular system or a style in music. Presentation of the same raga with stylistic variations led to the origin of these gharanas or schools of music. These gharanas formed the nucleus of demonstrative art. The glorious heritage of Hindustani music, as we find it to this day, has been preserved by great musicians of the past who have handed down their rich resources in the classic tradition of guru-shishya parampara, maintaining in each case the individual trends of their gharanas.

The Vishnupur Gharana of Bengal has a prestigious past, the history of which has little been revealed. Vishnupur, the town of Lord Vishnu, is at present a subdivision town of Bankura district in West Bengal. The historic name of the Rarh region of West Bengal is Mallabhum. Though not vast in area, the region holds a significant position in matters such as political vigour, civilization and culture. Historians suggest that Mallabhum had once been the cultural centre of Eastern India. Among its cultural achievements, music had the highest honour. Here I am to discuss some features of the Vishnupur Gharana, along with a few major historical references, that have left indelible impressions upon the music of Bengal.

In the later part of the eighteenth century and towards the early and mid-nineteenth century, when music of different gharanas were gradually having their assimilation in the city-centre of Calcutta, the dhrupad style flourished among the musicians of Vishnupur. To recapitulate history, the Maharaja of Vishnupur was a contemporary of Emperor Aurangzeb. The Senia Gharana was then in full bloom and its reputation spread throughout India. Its influence on the music of Vishnupur was enormous. It was around this time that the famous dhrupad singer Bahadur Khan of the Senia Gharana, descendant of Tansen, came at Vishnupur and made his gharana popular. The next Maharaja of Vishnupur, Raghunath Singh Deo II, steered his attention towards popularizing Bahadur Khan. At this time, the Ustad expressed his desire to settle down in Vishnupur and the Maharaja made all arrangements to honour him as his court singer. The Maharaja also announced that anyone having a sweet voice and interested in music could learn from Bahadur Khan without any fees. He also bore the financial liability for the poor students. In time, a good number of students became the disciples of Bahadur Khan.

Among the disciples of Bahadur Khan, the name of Gadadhar Chakravorty is noteworthy. Bahadur Khan was not only a vocalist but could also efficiently play on such instruments as the veena, the rabab and the sursringar. Gadadhar Chakravorty learned from his master both vocal and instrumental music. Among his worthy disciples were such talents as Ram Shankar Bhattacharya and Jadu Bhatta, whose name spread throughout India.

Most of the exponents of Vishnupur learned dhrupad song and instrumental music simultaneously. Vishnupur was at that time the cultural capital of India.

Shri Anantalal Banerjee of Vishnupur was an illustrious musician who had his training from Shri Ramshankar Bhattacharya in both vocal and instrumental music. Anantalal’s sons, Shri Ramprasanna Banerjee, Shri Gopeswar Banerjee and Shri Surendranath Banerjee, were prodigies of this gharana. Shri Radhika Prosad Goswami, disciple of Anantalal Banerjee, earned great fame as a dhrupad singer. Among the students of Shri Radhika Prosad were Shri Girijashankar Chakravorty, Jogendra Nath Banerjee and Dhirendra Nath Bhattacharya who won their acclamation in the early conferences of Calcutta. Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakravorty, Jamini Ganguli, Sailen Banerjee and many others learned from Girijashankar Chakravorty. Our great poet, Rabindranath Tagore had his trainings in the dhrupad style from Radhika Prosad Goswami and Jadu Bhakti of Vishnupur. The dhrupad style of Vishnupur had a good deal of influence on many of the songs composed by Tagore.

Shri Ramprasanna Banerjee, the guru of my father the late Gokul Nag, also received his training from Sajjad Muhammed, son of Gulam Muhammed. Sajjad Muhammed was then staying at Jorasanko Rajbati of Raja Sourendra Mohan Tagore of Calcutta. During that time Shri Nilmadhab Chakravorty, the grandson of Gadadhar Chakravorty was teaching Raja Jotindra Mohan Tagore. Ustad Allauddin Khan of Maihar took his lessons in surbahar from Shri Nilmadhab Chakravorty. Shri Ganendra Prosad Goswami, the nephew of Radhika Prosad Goswami was a very famous musician. He recorded many songs for the Gramophone Company of India.

I have mentioned before the name of Shri Gopeswar Banerjee, a great pioneer of the music of Vishnupur. He was the court musician of the Maharaja of Burdwan, Narajol and Mayurbhanj. He wrote a number of books on musicology as Sangeet Chandrika, Geet-Darpan, Geet-Praveshika, Sangeet Lahari and others. Shri K. C. Dey, the uncle of Manna Dey, the popular light music singer of Bengal, also learned dhrupad from Shri Gopeswar Banerjee. Kshetramohan Goswami, another maestro in this area, was a disciple of Ramshankar Bhattacharya. It was he who invented the Dandamatrik system of notation in Bengal.

Until a few years ago the name of the late Satyakinkar Banerjee was well-known among the music lovers of Calcutta. Besides vocal music, he was adept in surbahar and sitar: the late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and myself, have listened to his playing in his house at Calcutta. His sons, Shri Amiya Ranjan Banerjee, ex-professor of Rabindra Bharati University, Shri Nihar Ranjan Banerjee, Professor of Rabindra Bharati University and Shri Monoranjan Banerjee, are now representing the Vishnupur Gharana, almost in its twilight days, bearing just a few glimpses from its age-old tradition.

I would like to draw the conclusion of my discussion with this opinion that, although every gharana has its own distinctive style of presentation, no creative art can develop within any rigorous binding. Music is the highest among fine arts. Every individual has his own build-up of the mind, his own environmental influences that will leave remarkable traces upon his music. Through his creation the artist, in a sense, manifests his soul – the Atma. While presenting his art, he is in a state of emotional exaltation. Hence, two artistes, belonging to the same gharana, need not necessarily have the same way of presentation. Variations must be accepted, otherwise creative music would have become identical with composed music. The artiste’s quest should not be after what genre he belongs to but after what he is. –

(A paper presented by Pandit Manilal Nag at the Seminar on Sitar organized by the Sangeet Research Academy, 23 September 1990, Bombay.)

(For a demonstration Please note also :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-oW2w4zYd8  )

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                            The Bishnupur Gharana

INTRODUCTION

The Bishnupur Gharana (alternatively spelt Vishnupur Gharana) is a form of  the Drupad tradition of Hindustani music. It originated in Bishnupur, which derived its name as “city of Vishnu” in Bengali. In the ancient past, this area, known as Mallabhum was the abode of Malla Kings, once the cultural centre of Eastern India. Bishnupur Gharana was established in 1370 A.D. by the court musicians Bahadur Khan of Malla Kings.Bahadur Khan was not only a vocalist but could also dexterous instrumentalist. Historical evidence points to Pt. Ramachandra Bhattacharya, a disciple of Ud. Bahadur Khan as the founder of the gharana.

Bishnupur Gharana therefore has a strong link to Betia Gharana through this unbroken relationship. In the later part of the eighteenth century and towards the early and mid-nineteenth century, when music of different Gharanas were gradually assimilating around the Khayal style, the Dhrupad style continued flourishing among the musicians of Bishnupur. In this style, the artist excels in unfolding the beauty of the Raga through the alap. It is simple, devoid of heavy, cumbersome ornamentation. It is free from intricate play with the rhythm. Layakari is however allowed in Dhamar, another form of vocalization. The Khayal of the Bishnupur School is noted for its sweet, lilting melody. It is adorned with the usual ornaments, which add variety to the melodic presentation of the Raaga.

The dhrupad of the Bishnupur gharana uses shuddha dhaivata in raga vasanta, a touch of komal nisada in the descending notes of Raga bhairava. It has abandoned kadi madhyam (proper center) in raga ramakeli, and uses suddha dhaivata in raga puravi and komal nisad in raga vehaga. It has also developed its own character with regard to rhythm. Its origins and the development have led to a great openness in the teaching and evolution within this gharana. Gadadhar Chakraborty, his main disciple helped him to create Bishnupur Gharana. Later Krishna Mohan Goswami, Ram Sankar Bhattacharya and his son Ram Keshab Bhattacharya continued the tradition. During this period appeared Jadu Bhatta (Jadunath Bhattacharya), who took this music to a higher region and made a well known through out India. Other important contributors are Dinabandhu Goswami, Ananta Lal Bandyopadhyay. Rama Prasanna Bandyopadhyay, Radhika Prasad Goswami, Gopeshwar Bandyopadhyay, Surendranath Bandyopadhyay are the next generation musicians, who were the great exponents of Bishnupur Gharana. The disciples of Rama Prasanna Bandyopadhyay, Sri Gokul Nag (Sitar) and Asesh Chandra Bandyopadhyay (son, Esraj) carried the reputation of Bishnupur Gharana to higher standard.

Poet and Nobel laureate, Rabindra Nath Tagore had his training in the Dhrupad style from Radhika Prosad Goswami. The Dhrupad style of Bishnupur had a good deal of influence on many of the songs composed by Tagore. One of the great exponents of this Gharana was the famous Jadubhatta. Bishnupur Gharana has not only enriched the Hindusthani classical music but also brought a subtle variation in style. Its Dhrupad is unmatched. Ranadhir Roy (1943 – 1989) was a noted connoisseur of Esraj. Further Surendranath Bandyopadhyay son of Anantalal Bandyopadhyay and Bindubasini Devi, daughter of Surendranath are the names to be mentioned. Sri Manilal Nag son of Gokul Nag is an acclaimed Sitar player today, who hails from Bishnupur Gharana. Dr. Debabrata Singha Thakur, a disciple of Gopeswar Bandopadhaya and a direct descendent of Kuchiakol lineage of Malla dynasty is another exponent of Bishnupur Gharana. At present, Ram Saran Music College is dedicatedly popularizing the Bishnupur Gharana before the world community.

The Ramsaran Music College was established in the year of 1897 by Sangeet Guru Ramsankar Bhattacharyay, after the name

of Late Ramsaran Mukhopadhyay, who contributed Rs.40,000.00 at that time. It is considered to be the oldest Music college in India. Initially it was constituted as a music school. Desikottam Dr. Gopeswar Bandopadhyay was the founder principal of this college. in the year of 1943, he converted this institution as College. After his death, his brother Padmasree Sangeet Ratnakar Surendranath Bandopadhyay succeeded as the Principal of this college.

OBJECTIVES

The primary objective of this college is to preserve, popularize and improvise the rich cultural tradition of Bishnupur Gharana and present before the world community. It devotes in integrating Bishnupur Gharana with other Indian Gharanas. It devotes on training of Bishnupur Gharana by observing strict discipline of Guru-Sishya Parampara. It renders financial assistance to the meritorious scholars for continuation of studies in music.

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The Bishnupur Gharana: an interview with Pandit Sujit Gangopadhyay

Arijit Mahalanabis (1)

Of all of the Dhrupad traditions in India, perhaps the most obscure is the Dhrupad tradition of Bishnupur. The Bishnupur Gharana has significantly influenced the popular, urban and folk music of Bengal. However, its contributions to the world of classical music have not necessarily been well understood, or indeed, even appreciated.

One of the difficult realities of Indian classical music today is that one’s geographic location, to a great extent, limits one’s ability to be heard or appreciated. This is certainly the case with the musicians who practice in Bishnupur. Removed from the urban musical stronghold of Kolkata many of these musicians toil in obscurity without the benefit of popular acclaim. It is difficult to say that Pandit Sujit Gangopadhyay is one such musician. As a prolific and accomplished performer, active teacher and able administrator, Sujit Babu is a well established figure of the Gharana. However, as a musician living and performing in Bishnupur, his views on the issues related to the gharana’s present, past and future are rather enlightening, and perhaps more thought-provoking than those of his contemporaries who perform Bishnupuri music in Kolkata and elsewhere. In this interview conducted on 5th September, 2009, I asked Pandit Gangopadhyay about a variety of different aspects of his gharana.

Arijit Mahalanabis [AM]: Namaskar Panditji. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about the Bishnupur Gharana. Can you begin by saying a few words about the gharana’s present state and its past achievements?

Sujit Gangopadhyay [SG]: The Bishnupur Gharana passed through a golden age a long time ago. Many great musicians from the gharana practiced music contemporaneously, and the gharana was famous throughout India. This may not be the case today, but the gharana is seeing something of a revival. More students are studying this music, and demand amongst audiences too is growing. Of course, musical giants are not born every day. However those who are involved with the gharana at present are doing their work, practicing music, and teaching and learning the tradition. Our age-old tradition manages to continue.

AM: Can you tell me something about your gurus? What contributions did they make to the gharana especially with regard to Dhrupad and Dhamar?

SG: My father, Amarnath Gangopadhyay, practiced both Khayal and Dhrupad. He was my first guru. He studied with Atulkrishna Bandhopadhyay, one of the great musicians of our gharana. Atulkrishna in turn, was a student of Gopeshwar Bandhopadhyay[2], and Ustad Tusiruddhujin Khan. He studied Dhrupad and Dhamar from Gopeshwar Babu, and Khayal from the Ustad.[3]

As for me, I went on to study with Amiya Ranjan Bandhopadhyay, a major figure in our gharana at present. Amiya Babu is considered to be the senior-most artist in the state of West Bengal today. He belongs to a much respected family in our gharana. His father was Satyakinkar Bandhopadhyay, a great exponent of both Khayal and Dhrupad. I should point out that a very significant aspect of Satyakinkar Babu and Amiya Babu’s music is that they have both put equal emphasis on the practice of Dhrupad and Khayal, and have maintained both styles side-by-side.[4] This was true of Gopeshwar Babu’s music also. It is a common notion that Bishnupur Gharana is a Dhrupad gharana. But really, it is a gharana that puts equal emphasis on both Dhrupad and Khayal. Certainly Dhrupad occupies a hallowed ground in the gharana. But the great musician Ramprasanna Bandhopadhyay, who was Gopeshwar Babu’s elder brother and guru, and the son of Anantalal Bandhopadhyay, was an accomplished instrumentalist. His student was sitarist Gokul Nag, the father of Manilal Nag, and one of Ravi Shankar’s gurus. Sitar, as you know, is a Khayal ang instrument. Ashesh Badhopadhyay, the son of Ramprasanna Babu, was a great Esraj player. In fact, Rabindranath was very fond of him, and he spent his life at Vishwa Bharati. So although Dhrupad is very important in the Bishnupur Gharana, it is not the only music found in the gharana. Bishnupur as a gharana encompasses Dhrupad, Khayal and Instrumental music in a very complete and exhaustive way. As a member of this gharana, I personally practice both Dhrupad and Khayal.[5]

AM: Can you describe the process of receiving talim from your gurus?

SG: As I said I received my training from my father. As you know, our guru-shishya parampara requires us to sit with the guru, learn the chalan, roop and overall emotion of the raga, and then repeat the guru’s musical phrases over and over again. I too learned in this traditional way. For example, my father might say to me, look at the komal re and ga in Todi. Both these are somewhat flatter than the usual komal re and komal ga. One might say they are atikomal. Many ragas use these notes, but Todi is special. These things are best learned by listening to and repeatedly singing with one’s guru. It is very difficult to write such things down on a sheet of paper. See how the komal re in Bhairav is different than Todi! It is a bit higher than the usual komal re. Also as you know Bhairav has andolit Re and Dha. They are andolit in Ramkali also. But the Re-Dha andolan in Bhairav is somewhat wider, with a more Tivra bent. For this reason, when Dha is taken andolit in Bhairav, a small touch of Komal Ni also appears, from the extensive upswing of the note. It now shows as a vivadi swar regularly in performances of the raga. The same is true of Re. Its upswing in the andolan places it at a shruti that is quite a bit Tivra from the usual Komal Re. While we wouldn’t say these vivadis are part of the raga, in performance they do happen. Ramkali on the other hand has these andolans, but they are not nearly as Tivra, and as a result these vivadi chhayas of the Re and Dha do not arise. The only way to learn such subtleties is through the medium of the guru. One cannot learn these from a page. This is the kind of training I received in the Guru-Shishya Parampara.

AM: Did your gurus describe such subtleties in words, the way you have just done, or were these principles that you gleaned by singing with them?

SG: First they would speak about it, and then demonstrate musically.[6]

AM: As you know, some gharanas like the Agra Gharana are known for Bolbant and Layakari. Others like the Dagar Bani are known for their work with the shrutis. What would you say are the stylistic characteristics of the Bishnupur Gharana?

SG: Vaishnav thought is central to the Bishnupur Gharana. Our kings were adherents and philosophers of Vaishnavism. Hence the entire culture revolved around the idea of Bhakti. When you come to Bishnupur, you will see there are uncountable numbers of temples devoted to Krishna and Radha. For this reason, the music of our gharana, instead of focusing on virtuosity and ustadi, is centered more on Bhakti ras, and giving rise to feelings of devotion in both the musician and the listener. This is why Rabindranath found this musical style more to his liking. Because many Dhrupad gharanas do not focus on the Bhakti aspect of the composition, some musicians belonging to such gharanas do not even sing the four parts of the composition clearly! Many musicians start by singing the sthayi and then begin doing bolbant and layakari on the sthayi. Then they sing the antara and launch into bolbant and layakari on the antara. And often the sanchari and abhog are dropped altogether! Here, we sing all four parts clearly first. After that, we do some Bolbant. Because of this approach, the gravity of the composition stands out.[7] By the way, the word Dhrupad refers to a composition. Alap is not part of a Dhrupad. It is a separate genre altogether. We sing it before a Dhrupad because when Dhrupad is sung on its own, the presentation is too short. The ras that is within the raga that can attract the human mind becomes obscured. Therefore, by singing the Alap, the beauty of the raga becomes apparent, and the direct appeal of the raga to the heart becomes clear. But Alap is a totally different form of music from Dhrupad. It is anibaddha first of all. Dhrupad by its very name and nature cannot be anibaddha.[8] But coming back to your question, singing the four parts clearly and without distortion is very important in our Gharana, so that the depth of meaning and feeling, the resonance of bhakti that is in the text, in full measure finds a home in the listener’s mind. In my limited experience, most other gharanas do not treat the four parts clearly. And as I said, musicians start doing Bolbant in the middle without first showing the full composition. But another issue is that sometimes the Bolbant becomes too much and overwhelms the composition and its intent. There is a lack of a sense of proportionality in this respect. So, to sum up, in the Bishnupur Gharana, the full form of the composition is more important than a display of virtuosity in Bolbant.

AM: But it is not the case that you don’t do any Bolbant at all, is it?

SG: No, no. It is definitely a part of the performance. But it is secondary in importance. You see, the Bolbant is the alankar or the ornamentation of Dhrupad. In Dhrupad one cannot do ornamentation that is often associated with other musical genres, because these reduce the overall gravity of the composition. So the Bolbant is the only way to ornament the composition. But it is a secondary feature of the performance, and we don’t let it overwhelm the Dhrupad.[9]

AM: Is there a particular manner in which the Bolbant of Bishnupur is meant to unfold in a performance?

SG: When you first start learning Bolbant, you learn to move in dugun, tigun, chaugun, chhegun, and so on, in a very methodical manner. But when we perform, we don’t progress in such a systematic manner from dugun to tigun, to chaugun, etc. I, for one, mostly improvise in dugun and tigun. I try to be as creative as possible in my own way in these layas, keeping in mind the positioning of the taal. Bolbant in Dhrupad is like Taankari in Khayal. In Khayal, you set a tempo and move as per your thinking. Just like that, a Dhrupadiya unfolds his creativity in the present tempo using Bolbant as a device. On the odd occasion I might sing one pre-determined movement. But it is largely extemporaneous in nature.

AM: But in teaching students, you systematically teach them dugun, tigun, chaugun and so on?

SG: Yes, when basic training is being done, we teach fixed movements in each type of laya. Often the focus is on retaining the melody of the composition while changing the laya.[10] But as I said, in performance, it is done extemporaneously.

AM: Can you tell me more about the compositions that make up the Bandish repertoire of the Bishnupur Gharana? What is their origin? Were they mostly written by Bishnupur musicians?

SG: No, no, not at all. The Bishnupur Gharana is really an offshoot of the Seni Gharana. It is differentiated stylistically because after Tansen’s descendent Bahadur Khan, the founder of our gharana, came to Bishnupur, he imparted his knowledge to Gadadhar Chakrabarty, and he in turn taught Ramshankar Bhattacharya, and in the process the Seni style changed into something distinctive and quite able to stand on its own. But the majority of the compositions are attributable to Tansen, Baiju Bavara, Bahadur Khan’s son, etc.[11]

AM: But a little while ago, you mentioned that the Bishnupur Gharana is characterized by Bhakti ras. Then, where did these texts come from? It seems unlikely that Bahadur Khansaheb would write these compositions.

SG: No, some of these came from Gopeshwar Bandhopadhyay, Surendranath Bandhopadhyay, Ramprasanna Bandhopadhyay and others. But there are many compositions of Tansen’s and Baiju Bavara’s as well.[12]

AM: If I remember correctly, the Bishnupur Gharana had another line of musicians that included the vocalist Gyanendra Prasad Goswami.

SG: Well, the truth is that Gyanendra Prasad Goswami was not that involved with classical music. He did not sing Dhrupad, Dhamar and Khayal as much, and therefore is somewhat removed from the gharana. His uncle, Radhika Prasad Goswami was a classical musician of Bishnupur Gharana. But Gyanendra Prasad Goswami, although he had studied everything, was better known for Ragashray Bangla Gaan.[13] He had an incredibly beautiful voice that together with his command of Ragashray Bangla Gaan created a somewhat different stream of music from the classical Bishnupur Gharana. Further Gyanendra Prasad had taken talim from Ustad Faiyaz Khan, and as a result had veered somewhat towards the Agra Gharana.[14]

AM: Is the Ragashray Gaan tradition continuing in your gharana?

SG: Well, actually, the gharana tilts more towards the classical side. There is more emphasis put on Dhrupad and Khayal.[15]

AM: In many gharanas, there is no real differentiation between Dhrupad and Dhamar. The Dhamar is sung like a Dhrupad, just in a cycle of 14 beats. What is the position of the Bishnupur Gharana on the differentiation between Dhrupad and Dhamar?

SG: Dhrupad and Dhamar are completely separate genres. Khayal and Thumri are not the same, are they? Similarly Dhrupad and Dhamar are not the same. Dhamar is sung after Dhrupad, to appeal to the heart of the common listener, just like Thumri is sung as a light piece after Khayal. Dhamar is called “Hori Gaan”, a song sung to represent the color play of Radha and Krishna. On the other hand, we think of classical Dhrupad as being sung in praise of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. There are certainly Dhrupad compositions that are dedicated to Radha and Krishna, or to some historical figure, a king or an important person. But those aren’t considered classical Dhrupad compositions. The truly classical ones are in praise of one of the Hindu trinity.[16]

AM: Do you do Bolbant in Dhamar?

SG: We not only do bolbant in Dhamar, it is often found to a greater degree in Dhamar than in Dhrupad. We also often do not sing all four parts in Dhamar. It is limited to two, to appeal more to the common listener. In my opinion, one can say that Dhamar is a Dhrupad ‘ang’ song, but not a Dhrupad. Dhamar is the ‘laghu’ of Dhrupad. Dhamar has a lower status than Dhrupad, and is meant to follow up after the heavy dhrupad to lighten the mind and mood. At least this is what I feel.[17]

AM: I am a little confused about the history of your gharana. In a number of sources the beginning of the gharana is attributed to Ustad Bahadur Khan. But in a number of other sources, the beginning of the gharana is dated to the 12th or 13th century.[18]

SG: No, such an early date would be inaccurate. Before Bahadur Khan came to Bishnupur, there was indeed music here. But it was in the form of kirtan, musical storytelling, and folk music. Classical music was not present. The enthusiasm that King Raghunath Singha II showed for classical music must have had an origin somewhere in the music of the region. But it was only after he brought Bahadur Khan to Bishnupur that classical music took hold. Further, it is only after the transmission of musical knowledge to Gadadhar Chakrabarty and Ramshankar Bhattacharya that a coherent and distinctive style of musical presentation formed and became known as the Bishnupur Gharana. Therefore, the Bishnupur Gharana can only be spoken of after the time of Ustad Bahadur Khan. You see, at that time, there was no communication with classical musicians. There was no way for them to visit and perform their music in Bishnupur on a regular basis. As a result, no classical music culture formed. It was for this reason that King Raghunath Singha II brought Bahadur Khan to Bishnupur and had him settle here and teach here. As a result a culture of classical music began to develop that finally found full expression in the music of Ramshankar Bhattacharya. For this reason, in the Bishnupur Gharana, Ramshankar Bhattacharya is referred to as Sangeet Guru. And in turn, he trained a generation of great musicians: Anantalal Bandhopadhyay, Kshetramohan Goswami, Jaddu Bhatta, and others.[19]

AM: In many gharanas you see a slight differentiation in style between artists. For example in the Atrauli-Jaipur Gharana, the approach taken by Mallikarjun Mansur is distinct from the approach taken by Kishori Amonkar. Do you see differentiation of this sort in Bishnupur Gharana as well?

SG: Let me address a broader question. Take Mallikarjun Mansur as an example. He had a very distinctive style. But after him very few if any have followed his way of singing. There has been a total change in Hindustani music across India after Amir Khansaheb. Khayal music, in the time of Faiyaz Khansaheb was sung in a Dhrupad ang, and didn’t sound at all like the Khayal that is heard across India today. The Agra Gharana today has come to an end. You’ll find no one singing that old style of music. After Amir Khansaheb, the very nature of Ragadari has changed. The way we hear ragas—and why just us, all of India for that matter—take the case of Bhimsen Joshi who is a great admirer of Amir Khansaheb’s music and once even approached Khansaheb about learning from him—it is all different today.[20] See, progress and development are ever present. Each human being interprets change based on his/her musical thinking, timbre of the voice, emotional expression, and musical training. As a result no two musicians will sound the same. It is impossible to hold things in a static state. Because of the changes that are happening to our environment, even the way human beings look is changing. So why won’t the music change? Changes in attitudes and societal expectations, what is considered aesthetic, how audiences receive music inevitably impact the music of musicians. So what we can say is that there is an emerging new style of music. And there are deviations from this style by each musician to some extent that take into account his/her experience. Now coming to the Bishnupur Gharana, if you listen to Satyakinkar Bandhopadhyay, you will find a distinct style. If you listen to Ramesh Bandhopadhyay, you will find a different style. Ramesh Babu’s is more moderate in nature, just as his nature was moderate. I have not heard many of the old time musicians of the gharana, although I have heard Gopeshwar Babu. I must say that the approach taken by his descendants was rather more moderate than Gopeshwar Babu’s. And there is good reason. As time passes, progress happens and thinking changes. These younger musicians had access to Gopeshwar Babu’s innovations at a young age, and could build on his thinking. But despite the differences, we are all trying to understand and follow the main aesthetic of the gharana in the best way we each can. If I were to describe my own approach, you see, I sing both Khayal and Dhrupad. So when I do Alap, my approach is informed by both. There are so many musicians today who sing Alap that might be technically very difficult, but fails to bring the raga alive. I don’t think of Alap as just a tool for showing the raga swaroop. It is a form of song, just like the other genres. The only thing is that it is anibaddha. Therefore, it should not be a dry exercise. It should enliven the mind and make the listener happy and satisfied. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the only form of song that allows us to express our inner feelings in the medium of the raga fully is Alap. It is that important!

AM: You have made clear that the Bishnupur Gharana has a very clear relationship with the Seni Gharana. Are there other gharanas of Dhrupad to which the Bishnupur Gharana is related?

SG: It seems like there is some sort of a relationship with Bettiah Gharana. There are some shared characteristics between the two gharanas musically, so it would seem to me that there must have been some sort of a relationship. But I really don’t know for sure. I don’t think there is much of a relationship with other Dhrupad gharanas.

AM: What relationship did Rabindranath have to the Bishnupur Gharana? I had heard that he had studied with Jaddu Bhatta.

SG: Yes, in a manner of speaking he did. But very importantly we should examine Rabindranath’s connection to Gopeshwar Bandhopadhyay. Although Gopeshwar Babu was much younger, Rabindranath respected him very much. Gopeshwar Babu provided the musical notation for many of Rabindranath’s songs, and through him Rabindranath modeled many of his songs on Dhrupads from the gharana. Rabindranath himself said that he didn’t learn from Jaddu Bhatta in the traditional manner. He never had that opportunity. But he would stand by the window and listen to Jaddu Bhatta as he sang in their house. The Tagore household always had musicians and music in the house. And when Jaddu Bhatta visited, Rabindranath was always at the ready to listen and be influenced by the music.

AM: Do you consider Rabindranath to be an artist of the Bishnupur Gharana?

SG: Rabindranath wasn’t a musician or artist of the gharana. But he took songs and music from the gharana. Certainly the text of some of his Bengali compositions would hew closely to some traditional compositions of the gharana. But we cannot say he is from the Bishnupur Gharana. One can say that he was deeply influenced by the gharana certainly. Rabindranath said that he didn’t like the Ustadi of the other gharanas. He very much appreciated the Bhakti ras that was part of the Bishnupur approach to music. And further, since he was a poet and writer and his main concern was literature, he needed a musical framework that respected the depth of the literary content. From this perspective Bishnupur Gharana was ideal.

AM: As you have said many times, the Dhrupad and Dhamar genres of Bishnupur are full of Bhakti ras. So, was this music performed in the temples or in the darbars?

SG: They were most definitely performed in the temples! If you come to Bishnupur you will see that the kings and rulers of the land were extremely powerful. But even then, they did not build a royal palace.[21] Instead they put their wealth into the building of temples. Here you will find uncountable numbers of stone temples, each decorated with terracotta sculptures depicting music and musical activity. One of the major landmarks of the city is Ras Mancha, a temple of 108 doors, where music and the playing of ras holi were an integral part of the temple life.

AM: And what about music at the royal court?

SG: Since there was no royal palace, the king held his court in front of the temple of Ma Mrinmayee.[22] There is a very old Banyan tree in front of this temple, which has a stone courtyard around its base. The king would sit in this courtyard and hold his court. That’s how strong their belief in Vaishnavism was! For them there were two main responsibilities. One was to maintain their Vaishnav faith. And the other was to maintain the culture of classical music in the kingdom. They seldom indulged themselves in the manner of other royal families.

AM: Today, where is Dhrupad performed in Bishnupur?

SG: There are a number of yearly concerts that are held purely for Dhrupad. There is an annual Dhrupad conference during the time of the Dol Festival. Musicians from Kolkata and elsewhere come to Bishnupur for this conference. We have a very good auditorium in town named after Jaddu Bhatta where this conference is held. In the last few years, we have had performances by Ritwik Sanyal, Falguni Mitra, Fahimuddin Dagarsaheb, Bahauddin Dagar, to name a few. I too participate in this conference. The whole conference is sponsored by the Central Government. Dr. Sanyal did an excellent workshop on Dhrupad. He expressed the opinion that Alap is an ang of Dhrupad. But I prefer to think of Dhrupad and Alap as separate types of music. This difference came up in the question-answer session after the workshop. But it was on the whole a very well-done workshop. These types of programs are often held in Bishnupur.[23]

AM: Is there still music in the temples?

SG: No, the governmental department that looks after the temples has forbidden music in the temples. We are not allowed to sing within 100 meters of any temple. This is to protect the structural integrity of the temples. At Ras Mancha, there used to be a lot of music making and playing of colors during the festival of Dol. But not so anymore! Now we do our music next to Ras Mancha, outside of the required perimeter.

[Continued in Part III]

Notes:

11. There is a basic disconnect here between the idea that the gharana is deeply rooted in Vaishnav philosophy, and the idea that the majority of its compositions come from non-Vaishnav sources. This is the contradiction I was trying to get at with the subsequent question.

12. My sense of the situation is that while a number of Vaishnav texts were contributed by gharana musicians, much of the legitimacy of the gharana derives from its possession of compositions by Tansen, Baiju Bavara and their contemporaries. It would be interesting to see how many compositions of these individuals have been syncretized into a Vaishnav mold to suit the philosophy of the gharana.

13. Ragashray Gaan are Bengali songs set in ragas.

14. The distancing from Gyanendra Prasad Goswami is quite interesting. Clearly Gyanendra Prasad was not classical enough to warrant inclusion (at least to the same degree) as someone like Gopeshwar Bandhopadhyay, in the gharana. Further, the fact that he took talim from Faiyaz Khan is seen as a polluting influence on his Bishnupur credentials.

15. This is interesting because SG has described the Bishnupur Gharana as a collection of various song types: Alap, Dhrupad, Khayal and Instrumental music. However, Bengali songs, even based in classical music are considered to be non-classical. Hence the need for a complete, comprehensive gharana appears to be limited to song types that are considered very strictly classical.

16. SG establishes increasingly higher standards of classicism in describing the repertoire. Dhrupads in praise of the trinity alone are considered truly classical. The remainder falls into another class of somewhat less classical songs. And in SG’s opinion, therefore, Dhamars are less classical than Dhrupads.

17. It is interesting to note that certain sections of the Dagar Gharana actually treat Dhamar in a very deliberate and classical manner, quite to the contrary of what SG is describing. It is fairly clear that this is an artistic choice that arises from the different philosophical directions of these two gharanas.

18. For example, see the Wikipedia entry on Bishnupur Gharana.

19. Here SG acknowledges that musical styles that cannot be considered classical existed in Bishnupur prior to the arrival of Bahadur Khan. Again, these he treats as distinct from the classical tradition, which he considers to be the proper Bishnupur Gharana. Because of the direct lineage from the Seni Gharana, in a sense the claim being made is that the Bishnupur Gharana preserves the repertoire of the Seni tradition which, as far as vocal music, has largely died out elsewhere in India.

20. My sense was that while SG would never state it this way, there was a certain musical oppression in operation. The aesthetic that Amir Khan espoused appears to be so ingrained in the connoisseur population that stylistic alternatives are not even under consideration in this part of India. The apparent uniformity of stylistic approach that one sees amongst the newer set of musicians (including those from the Bishnupur Gharana) appears to be an attempt to cater to the “mean” aesthetic established by Amir Khan. This is purely my analysis of the situation based on what SG had to say. He did not espouse this position himself.

21. This does not seem to fit with the impression I’ve gotten from sources on the ground. There does appear to be some sort of a “Rajbari” structure, suggesting the existence of a royal palace. I didn’t question SG on this issue as I felt he was trying to make a larger point. Even if there is a Rajbari, there is one structure, as opposed to hundreds of temples. The intent of Bishnupuri kings was clear.

22. Curiously, for all of the belief in Vaishnavism, court was held in front of the oldest temple in Bishnupur, a shrine to the goddess Mrinmayee.

23. This divergence in perception of Alap as an independent art form (Bishnupur) as opposed to an integrated portion of the Dhrupad (Dagar) appears to be a result of the distinct view these two schools hold on the place of the composition. The depth, form and meaning of the composition seem to be central to Bishnupur, while this is the case with only some Dagar Bani musicians. The deconstruction of a raga down to its microtones is something that preoccupies the musical intellect of the Dagar musicians to a much greater extent.

Notes:

1. Director, Seattle Indian Music Academy. The author would like to thank Tanmoy Ganguly for his invaluable assistance.

2. Gopeshwar Bandhopadhyay (1880-1963) is one of the most notable names of the gharana, and achieved all-India fame as a Dhrupadiya and composer of much merit.

3. SG credits Atukrishna Bandhopadhyay’s Dhrupad training to Gopeshwar Babu and his Khayal training to the Muslim Ustad. This is interesting. Although Ustad Bahadur Khan is credited with starting the Gharana and thus importing the majority of Dhrupads into Bishnupur, I felt there might be a slight distinction here between the Hindu keeper of the tradition, who provided the Dhrupad repertoire and the Muslim keeper of the tradition, who provided the Khayal repertoire. This may not have been a distinction SG wanted to make, but it was something that struck my mind while I talked to him.

4. Here SG begins to lay out the characteristics of the gharana. This is the first characteristic. The gharana takes pride in its equal contributions to Dhrupad and Khayal.

5. In SG’s view therefore, the gharana itself is distinguished by the fact that it never limited itself to one or the other discipline. Dhrupad, Khayal and Instrumental music all found homes in Bishnupur. His views on other musical styles fostered in Bishnupur appear later in the interview.

6. This seems like a significant bit of insight in to pedagogy in Bishnupur. A number of traditional musicians in my experience frown on speaking about the music explicitly. Repeated demonstration through music is used as the only tools of instructing the student. Here SG indicates that verbal discourse was an integral part of the training.

7. There are two very interesting things about these statements. First, a key differentiator between Bishnupur and other gharanas according to SG is that the Bishnupur Gharana is centered on the idea of Bhakti as the main driving force for presentation. Thematic differentiation of this sort across gharanas, as far as I know is never seen. But what legitimizes this claim is his subsequent description of this ideology’s impact on musical style. There is a certain coherence of intent that is not found in what musicians of other gharanas have to say on this topic.

8. Setting Alap aside as a separate ‘song type’ is an unusual view. But this also bolsters the idea of Khayal being an integration of Nibaddha (Dhrupad) and Anibadhha (Alap) into a single form. Here SG seems to be arguing that Dhrupad is a deconstructed form, in which the ‘bhaav’ of the composition in the form of a Dhrupad, is maintained quite distinctly from the ‘ras’ of the raga in the form of the Alap.

9. SG here is drawing a parallel between Bolbant in Dhrupad and Taankari in Khayal, something he will elaborate on later in the interview.

10. That is, the fixed melody and the words of the Dhrupad are sung in dugun, tigun, etc. The composition is essentially sped up while retaining the tempo of the taal.

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(For demonstration Please note also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9_5cEvX-B4)

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Kotali_Gharana

                             The Kotali Gharana

The Chakraborty family of Kotalipara, Faridpur, of the then East Bengal (now in Bangladesh), is believed to have been originated from Kanauj (U.P.). They were Mishra Brahmins and later migrated to Kotalipara and settled there for about thousand years. Somehow they inherited with them a musical trend specially oriented by Prabandha geeti, Saam gaan and some folk tradition. One of the ancestors of the family, Acharya Biswambhar Chakraborty was drawn towards the mainstream of Indian Classical Music long time ago. He was initiated to Seni Gharana and brought the trend. Tarapada Chakraborty’s father Late Pandit Kulachandra Chakraborty and his uncle Late Pandit Ramchandra Chakraborty had their training from Ustad Jahur Khan of Khurja gharana. Ramchandra had the honour of being the Dwarpandit (court scholar) and the distinguished musician at the court of Maharaja of Natore. Thus, both the brothers had a wide contact with many leading musicians of their time and had a phenomenal collection of musical wealth. Having moved to Calcutta with this rich inheritance, Tarapada Chakraborty first took lessons from Late Pandit Satkari Malakar of Gwalior and Betia gharana especially in Khayal and Tappa. Later, under the guidance of the Great Maestro Late Sangeetacharya Girija Sankar Chakraborty he acquired the distinguished features of various Ragas, styles and traditional Dhrupad, Dhamar and Khayal Bandishes of different gharanas, mainly Seni, Vishnupur, Betia, Delhi, Gwalior, Rampur, Agra, Rangila, Jaipur and Kirana. Girijashankar being a pioneer of Thumri style of singing at that time gave Tarapada Chakraborty an intensive training on the Thumri style of mainly Banaras and Kirana as well. In fact, it is quite discernibly evident that Khayal received a rare authenticity and completeness in the heralding Gayaki of Tarapada Chakraborty in his own way. Sangeetacharya Tarapada Chakraborty, the pioneer of this Kotali Gayaki is the legend adored all over India for his contribution towards Hindustani Classical Music.

His worthy son Pt. Manas Chakraborty, the devout pursuer of various sources and streams of Indian Classical Music is enriched by his keen interest in Indian Philosophical traditions of all the existing Gharanas and Gayakies. Exposure to the corresponding confluences of his family’s assertively partisan art of music has focused his attention on the necessity of discarding in order to select and the necessity of differentiating in order to unite. The musical phenomenon of Pt. Manas Chakraborty has attained a new altitude which is his very own and individual and has initiated a new dynamics of allegiance to the human efforts towards life and its values. He sets his Khayal Gayaki in accordance with the character of Raga. His recitals have earned an enviable distinction as an’ “Artist of Artists ”, in various concerts in both at home and abroad. ‘Talim’, ‘tabiat’ and ‘taiari’ with inborn artistry, profound knowledge, intellectuality and cerebral ability has given a new dimension to his unique style of rendition which is now being followed by many artists along with his own disciples. Thus presenting the obscure reality of music in a tangibly graceful elocutionary form with his kalawant gayaki, nayaki and majestic mizaaj has made him an institution by himself in the international realm of Hindustani Shastriya Sangeet. His contribution towards the Hindustani Classical Music for the last fifty years is undoubtedly worth-mentioning and as a ‘Guru’ he is great. The schooling of Indian Classical Music through the mentors of his family and the torchbearers, established around the globe has already entered the seventh- generation and now the new trend of ‘Kotali Gayaki’ is his single handed orchestration, which with the synthesis of diversities has finally created and defined the ultimate shape of ‘ Kotali Gayaki’. His highly technical and eclectic approach though different from his father’s individuality, is finally convergent to the philosophical end of the essence of ‘Kotali Gharana’

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Nawab Sayyid Hamid Ali Khan Bahadur

SENI GHARANA AND RAMPUR STATE

During the past two decades, when music conferences became very popular, every musical artist proclaimed that he came front a particular famous Gharana, that is, a particular line of hereditary musical tradition and particular school of musical styles created or followed by great music teachers and their disciples.

Actually, there were two main Gharanas of Hindusthani music worthy to be considered, during and after the reign of Allauddin Khilji, the Pathan Emperor of Delhi. These were : –

(1) The kalawanta Gharana, founded by Baiju Bawra and propagated by Nayak Gopal which included the singers of the Dhrubapada style of music and the instrumentalists who played on Saraswat veena in accompaniment to the vocal Raga Alap and Dhrubapada songs.

(2) The kawal Gharana, founded and propagated by Amir Khusru and later on by Sultan Hussain Sarki of Jaunpur.

These Gharanas included the singers of Kawali songs and the instrumentalists who played on Sitar in accompaniment to the Kawali songs and Taranas. Later on, a third Gharana was formed by the instrumentalists who used to play on Shanai and Tabla. With the increase of the number of female singers and dancing girls in the Court, there arose a fourth Gharana of instrumentalist accompanying them. The Ostads of the third and fourth Gharana were called Mirasis and Dhadis.

SWAMI HARIDASJI OF BRINDABAN

During the reign of Md. Adil Shali at Delhi, there were more than one hundred musicians in the Court, who were mostly the Kawals, Mirasis and Dhadis. After the fall of the Pathan Empire, Haridas Swami, the great saint of Brindaban was the main personality in the golden age of Hindusthani music, when the system of Rag-Alap and the Dhrubapada style of music founded by Baiju Bawra, attained perfection of expressions, and was held in the highest estimation by the royal courts existing in that period.

Under the influence of his inspiration, Raja Man Tomar of Gwalior brought four Nayaks or authorities of Dhrubapada Hindusthani music in his court,who were named – (I) Bhanu, (2) Chharju, (3) Dhundi. (4) Chanchal Sashi. Really, the Gharanas of Hindusthani classical music were formed by Swami Haridasji and these four Nayaks, who were all Kalawantas.

During the reign of the Emperor Akbar, Mian Tansen, the disciple of Swami Haridas, was called the greatest of all musicians and was the main centre of a great musical upheaval. All the disciples of other Nayaks became his disciples and his style of Alap and Dhrubapada was regarded and accepted as the best ever known. He enriched the Dhrubapada style with some Persian ornamentations. Mian Tansen was the leader of a group of famous musicians, namely :-

(1) Khoda Bux,

(2) Masnad Ali,

(3) Ramdas,

(4) Chand Khan,

(5) Suraj Khan,

(6) Khande Rao,

(7) Suragnan Khan,

(8) Jagapat (Mridangi).

SAINT HARIDAS’S DISCIPLE – MIAN TANSEN

Mian Tansen was the greatest disciple of Swami Haridas and a foster child of Pir Md. Ghaus of Gwalior while others were either his colleagues or disciples of other Nayaks of Gwalior. All these musicians were attached to the Court of Delhi. The other notable disciples of Haridas Swami were (1) Brija Chand. (2) Gopal Lall, (3) Maharaja Samokhan Singh of Ajmir, Singhalgarh, who was the greatest Veena player of that period. From the period of Akbar, notable Gharanas of Northen India were formed by the descendants or disciples of the above-mentioned musicians. But as Mian Tansen was accepted as the greatest of all musicians by Emperor Akbar, his influence on other musicians was paramount. He formed the main Gharanas, that is, the Seni Gharanas of Hinduathani music.

After the death of Mian Tansen, three Gharanas representing his traditions were notable. The first Seni Gharana was formed by his youngest son, Bilas Khan ( Tan Tarang ) at Delhi Darbar. This Gharana represented the choicest Dhrubapada style in Goudi Bani. The second Seni Gharana was formed by another son of Tansen named Surat Sen, who used to sing Dhrubapadas in Dagar Bani and whose descendants subsequently settled at Jaipur,

The third Seni Gharana was formed by Misri Singh, the celebrated Veena player, who was the son of Maharaja Samokhan Singh and married Saraswati Devi, the daughter of Tansen. His descendants formed the main Gharana of Veena music and used to sing Dhrubapadas in both Dagar and kahandar Bani.

Besides these three Seni Gharanas, the other famous Gharanas were formed by Brija Chand and Suradas at Mathura, whose disciples were the Brahmin priests while Chand Khan and Suraj Khan were the founders of Tilmandi Gharana of Dhrubapadas in Punjab.

We find the name of the Agra Gharana specializing in Dhamar style formed by Hazi Sujan Khan, Which was famous during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. With the decline of classical music, musicians of all the Gharanas underwent severe hardships during the reign of Aurangjib. But Mahammad Shah Rangile, the Badsha, revived the Delhi Darbar in the early eighteenth century with the musicians of all Gharanas assembled at Delhi.

GREAT VEENKAR AFTER TANSEN

Niamat Khan Veenkar who was a descendant of Misri Singh (son-in-law of Tan Sen) and later on received the title ‘Shah Sadarang’ in the Darbar of Md. Shah is ranked as the second great musician of India after Mian Tansen. He was the high priest of Md. Shah’s Darbar and invented new techniques of the veena music and Dhamar. He also created the classical Kheyal and founded the famous kawal Gharana through his disciples, whom he taught classical Kheyal. The Kawal Gharana thus formed, was regarded as the authoritative line of Kheyal. Other Gharanas like Agra Gharana and Gwalior Gharana of Kheyal, grew up from the main Kawal -Gharana.

During the latter part of eighteenth century, progressive disintegration of the great Mughal Empire was followed by the provincial Subadars and the subordinate Rajas becoming virtually independent and the Emperor of Delhi had only the symbolic possession of supreme authority and honour.

As the financial position of the Delhi Darbar became precarious, the most famous musicians of Delhi took shelter in other courts. At this stage the Seni musicians who came attached to different courts of India, devoted themselves more and more to the culture of instrumental music. Although they were authorities on the Dhrubapada songs, they were divided into two camps.

The descendants of Bilas Khan and Niamat Khan made Banaras their home town, but were attached to the courts of Lucknow and other states. They were called Eastern musicians.

The other camp which was formed of the descendants of Surat Sen settled at Jaipur and were called Western musicians. The Eastern musicians of the Seni Gharana used to play on Rabab and Veena beside singing Dhrubapadas while Western Seni musicians specialised in Sitar and Veena and also sang Dhrubapadas. The kawal Gharana was for a period attached to the Delhi Court.

THE MAIN GHARANAS

During the middle of the eighteenth century, the main Gharanas of Hindusthan, which were founded by the Seni musicians and their disciples took final shape. The main Gharanas were as followes:

(1)Seni Gharana of Dhrubapa and Rabab, formed by three great brothers, Jaffar Khan, Payar Khan and Basat Khan of Lucknow and Banaras.

(2)Seni Veenkaras, laid by Nirmal Sha of Lucknow. (3)Kawal Gharana laid by Bade Md. Khan Kawal, of Lucknow and Gwalior.

(4) Gwalior Gharana of Kheyal formed by the three great Kheyali brothers;- Huddu Khan, Hassu Khan and Nathu Khan.

(5) Agra Gharana of Kheyal and Dhamar, formed by the descendants of Hazi Sujan Khan (Dhamar) and who later on became disciples of Shah-Sadarang.

(6) Betia Gharana of Dhrubapada formed by the disciples of Haidar Khan seni of Lucknow, who were the kathaks of Banaras, as well as Muslim Ostads of Kalpi.

(7) Bishnupur Gharana of Dhrubapada formed by Bahadur khan Seni, through his disciple Ramshankar Bhattacherjee.

(8) Tilmandi Gharana of Punjabi Dhrubapada singers.

(9) Lahore Gharana by Punjabi kheyalias, disciples of Shah-Sadarang.

(I0) Ataruli Gharana of Dhrubapada and Kheyal founded by the Brahmins of Mathura who embraced Islam later on.

(11) Dagar Gharana, founded by Bairam Khan, a great scholar and Dhrupad singer, who was a descendant of a priestly line of Mathura.

(12) The Seni Gharana of Sitar of Jaipur, founded by the celebrated Amrita Sen.

(13) The Sarod Gharana of Saharanpur, disciples of Omrao Khan, a son of Nirmal Sha Seni.

(14) Sarod Gharana founded by Niamutulla Khan, a disciple of Basat Khan Seni.

(15) The Sitar Gharana of Lucknow founded by Golam Md. Khan, a disciple of Omrao Khan Seni.

BIRTH OF RAMPUR GHARANA

Now we come to the origin of Rampur Gharana which is the latest and last of the greatest Gharanas of India.

After the end of the Sepoy Mutiny, Wazed Ali Shah, the great patron of music settled at Calcutta from Lucknow. He brought with him here great musicians like Sadeque Ali Khan, Kasem Ali Mian of the Tansen Line and Murad Ali Khan and Taj Khan of Kulpi School and some outstanding kheyalias also.

Among the other great musicians of the Tansen line, Sadeque Ali Khan, the great Rababi and scholar, settled in Benaras and trained some priestly musicians like Mithailallji and Bajpayeji. Benaras thus became a prominent centre of classical music.

But there were two shining luminaries of Hindusthani music were invited with great respect and promise of princely allowances by Nawab Kalwe Ali Khan of Rampur State (U.P.), which was founded by the Pathans of Rohilkhand. These luminaries were named Bahadur Hussain Khan Bahadur Khan of Bishnupur) and Amir Khan.

Bahadur Hussain was a nephew of Payar Khan Seni, the celebrated Surasringar player, while Amir Khan was the son of Omrao Khan Seni, the renowned Veenkar. Thus he first used to play on the Surasringar and the second on the Veena. Both, however, were the masters of Dhrubapada singing of the Tansen Line. Bahadur Hussain concentrated more on the instrumental music and had such a charming style of play that people used to say that his fingers were made of diamonds. Not only the lovers of classical music, but even uninitiated laymen were overwhelmed with rapturous joy by the sound of his instrumental displays. He introduced many new Alankaras (embellishments) in the instrumental music and variations of Jhala or Jhankar which are unequalled even up to now by any instrumentalist of India playing Sitar or Sarod.

CUCKOO-VOICED SANADA PIYA

Amir Khan Veenkar, on the other hand, had a very melodious voice and though originally an instrumentalist his concentration was on vocal music. In the Rampur Darbar, he seldom played on Veena in the presence of Bahadur Hussain Khan who, by the way, was his uncle-in-law. But he used to sing in the Darbar, vocal Alap, Dhrupads and Dhamars. In that period classical Thumri was created by the famous composers Kadar Piya, Sadar Piya, and Sanada Piya, who were attached to the Court of Lucknow during the reign of Wazed Ali Shah. With the departure of Nawab of Lucknow to Calcutta the Lucknow Darbar broke up and Sanada Piya accompanied Bahadur Hussain and Amir Khan to Rampur. Sanada Piya had a voice like that of the “cuckoo” or Kokil and his style of Thumri was very fascinating. But Amir Khan sang Dhamar in such a way that the charms of his voice and styles, overpowered even the best specimens of Thumri. Amir Khan not only used Meend and Alankaras, but also used some Alankaras which sounded like Murki and Firat.

RAMPUR    GHARANA’S SPECIAL   CHARMS

The Rampur Gharana of music founded by Bahadur Hussain and Amir Khan, was characterised by some special charms in the use of Alap, Dhrupad, Dhamar and in the instrumental music which were not found anywhere in India. Both of these great musicians gave all their theoretical and practical knowledge to Nawab Haidar Ali Khan, a brother of the then riuling Nawab of Rampur. Haidar Ali was a unique musician in the vocal and instrumental music and had a very valuble collection of musical scripts containing the teachings of the great masters. These collections are still carefully preserved in the court of Rampur.

Rampur State, during tho time of Haidar Ali Khan had a galaxy of musicians. All of them became disciples of Bahadur Hussain or Amir Khan. Although they belonged to other Gharanas before they came to Rampur, they changed their old style and were influenced by the styles of their masters and thus became identified with the Rampur Gharana. Bahadur Hussain composed many Taranas, which were demonstrated by the kheyal singers of Rampur State.

SOME GREAT MUSICIANS OF TANSEN SCHOOL

The following outstanding musicians became initiated in the Tansen tradition by Bahadur Hussain or Amir Khan

1. Md. Hussain (Veena)

2. Nabi Bakash (Veena)

3. Kutubuddaulla (Sitar)

4. Enayet Khan (Kheyal)

5. Ali Hussain (Veena)

6. Bakar Ali Khan (Kheyal)

7. Assad Khan (Surasringar)

8. Fida Hussain Khan (Sarod)

9. Boniat Hussain Khan (sarangi)

All these musiciains of different styles of music adopted the Raga system and the ways of execution of Tansen Gharana. So, the Rampur Gharana may be said to be a special formation of the original Tansen Gharana During the early part of this century Nawab Hamid Ali Khan of Rampur emulating the examples of the previous musical Darbars, formed a unique musical association presided over by Sangeet Nayak Wazir Khan, son of Amir Khan (Veenkar). Wazir Khan learnt Veena from his father and Surasringar from Bahadur Hussain in his prime and Nawab Haidar Ali Khan as his guardian, developed his extraordinary musical genius. Wazir Khan also learnt Dhrupad, Dhamar and was both a melodious vocalist and a great instrumentalist. Nawab Chhamman Saheb, the son of Nawab Haidar Ali, was a colleague of Wazir Khan and excelled in Dhrupads and Surasringar display.

WAZIR KHAN OF RAMPUR

Thus Wazir Khan and Chhamman Saheb were the successors in the line of music of Amir Khan and Bahadur Hussain. Wazir Khan by musical teachings built up the musical career of the following outstanding musicians.

1. Allauddin Khan (Sarod)

2. Hafiz Ali Khan (Sarod)

3. Mehdi Husssain Khan (Dhrupad & Kheyal)

4. Mustaque Hussain Khan (Kheyal)

5. Pramathanath Bandopadhya (Ruddraveen)

6. Jadabendra Mahapatra (Surbahar)

7. Pandit Vatkhandeji (The great Musicologist)

It may be noteworthy that Wazir Khan who was in Calcutta in his youth, had special liking for the Bengalees and helped a good deal for the development of classical music in Bengal. Nawab Chhamman Saheb also gave lessons to Pandit Vatkhandeji. Among the Nawab’s other disciples we may cite the names of :

1. Raja Nawab Ali Khan of Lucknow-(Sitar).

2. Girija Sankar Chakrabarty of Bengal-(Dhrupada, Kheyal and Thumri)

In conclusion, we should not forget the fact that the Vatkhande College of Music, Lucknow, which is now the Centre of Vatkhande University, got tremendous support from Nawab Hamid Ali Khan of Rampur, and Nawab Chhamman Saheb, who helped this great institution both financially and also with the precious teachings of the Rampur Gharana. For every song and each Tana and each Dhrupad he (Raja) gave a crore of rupees to this musician (Kalavid), namely Tansen, who was the embodiment of the art of music. Though these statements of Badaoni and that of the author of the Virabhanudaya Kavyam seem to be exaggeration, to some extent, yet it is clearly understood that Rewa and even its adjacent places were famous for the culture of classical type of Prabandha-Gitis.

VRINDAVANA’S CONTRIBUTION

Vrindavana was also a famous seat of culture of Prabandha-Gitis. From the history of Bengal Vaishnavism we come to know that most of the Vaishnava savants were headed by Swarupa-Damodara, Ray Ramananda, Swami Krishnadasa, Swami Haridasa, Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Raghunathdasa Goswami, Thakur Narottamadasa and others were well-versed in the lofty or sublime Prabandha type of Gitis.

It is said that Thakur Narottama devised the Padavali-Kirtana on the ideal of the classical Dhruvapada, in slow tempo at Khetari, West Bengal. It might be the fact that Vrindavana drew its inspiration and impetus of the culture of Dhruvapada from Gwalior and its adjacent places, but yet it cannot be denied that Vrindavana and afterwards Mathura, created the schools of their own. And those schools were maintained by a host of Kalavids like Krishnadasa, Haridasa and others. These celebrated exponents of music were all upholders of Dhruvapada.

BIJAPUR AS CENTRE OF CULTURE

Bijapur was also a seat of culture of classical music, and specially of Dhruvapada. Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah II of Bijapur was a contemporary to the Emperor Akbar. He devoted the best part of his life to the cause of classical music, in which he took interest from his early age.

From Asad Beg’s mission to Bijapur, we learn that Bijapur was so famous for its culture of classical music that Akbar was also attracted to this kingdom. From the editorial comments of the journal, Lalitakala, April 1955 – March 1956 and Joshi’s article on ‘Asad Beg’s Mission,’ in the ‘Potadar Commemoration Volume’, 1950, we come to know that Asad Beg went on his Mission in 1603-1604 A.D. It hals been stated thus:

“Speaking about the events of 1603-04, Asad Beg says that he was invited to the royal palace to bid farewell to Ibrahim Adil Shah II of Bijapur on the night of 27th Sh’aban. A grand music party had been arranged for the occasion. Asad Beg found Ibrahim so rapt in listening to music that be could hardly reply to Asad Beg’s question. The conversation for sometime was mainly concerned with music and musicians”.

It should be remembered in this context that Dhruvapada the most prominent feature of musical culture of that time i.e. in the sixteenth – seventeenth century A.D.

Dr. Nazir Ahmed has written as follows in the Introduction to the book, Kitab-i-Nauras by the said Sultan :

“Ibrahim was a master of Dhrupada and his book in the same style became so popular as to attract even the Moghal Emperor Jahangir, and the Emperor claimed the Kitab-i-Nauras to be in form of Dhrupada which §ultan learnt from Baktar. It has been stated that about four thousand skilled musicians thronged on an occasion, and the Sultan wished that skillful musicians should always adorn his court by their presence.”

From the fact it is proved that Dhruvapada used to play a prominent part in every musical function not, only in the royal court,but also in the kingdom of Ibrahim Adil Shah II. The Emperors Jahangir and Shajahan were also great patrons of Dhruvapada. The names of Jagananath Kaviraj, Dirang Khan. Gunasamudra Lal Khan, the son-in-law of Bilas Khan are worth-mentioning. in this connection, asnoted exponents and connoisseurs of Dhruvapada Prabandha.

In the beginning of the eighteenth century A.D. when Mohammed Shah was on the throne of Delhi, Dhruvapada was also held in high esteem in his court. The name of Mohammed Shah’s court-musician, Niyamat Khan Sadaranga is worth-mentioning. in this connection. Niyamat Khan Sadaranga was a Veenkara as well as a Dhrupadiya. Though he devised a new style of Kheyal in slow tempo, yet he was noted as an exponent of Dhrupada of the pure Seni school. The decadence in the culture and appreciation of Dhruvapada came probably during the British rule in India. It came to a climax, when the last titular Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II ascended the throne of Delhi, and granted by a Firman, the Diwani of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa to the East India Company.

VISHNUPUR AS CENTRE

Vishnupur (Bankura) and different parts of Bengal were also recognised as the Seats of culture ofDhrubapada. When the noted musicians of the Seni school found no help and support from the Emperor, Shah Alam II they began to seek refuge in the Durbars of other ruling Princes including those of Lucknow, Banaras, Betia and Bishnapur. Before the end of the eighteenth century, Bahadur Khan of the Seni Gharana and Peer Bux, the Pakhowaji, were invited by Raja Raghunath Singh II of Bishnapur and were appointed in his court. And from that time onward the intensive culture of Dhruvapada, started in Bengal.

HERITAGE OF PRE-CHRISTIAN ERA

It may, therefore, be said that the Prabanda type of Giti undoubtedly originated during the pre-Christian era, and evolved out of the ancient Jatiraga and different Gramaragas as depicted in the Natyasastra, Brihaddeshi, Sangita-Sama.yasara, Sangita Ratnakara, etc., through ages, and attained development, assuming novel modes, new names and phases. It still survives in the form of modern Dhrupada i,e Dhruvapada, though lacking in its prestine glory and traditional ideal. The term “Dhruvapada” connotes sacred or celestial Giti or song; for “Dhruva” means ‘sacred’ or ‘that which Is everlasting and celestial’ and ‘Pada’ means Giti or Gana.

Originally its literary composition or Sahitya was graceful, majestic and contemplative by nature. It breathed an air of sublimity and grandeur in laudation of the gods and godesses, and the Father in Heaven, though in Iater days, it lost that lofty ideal to some extent.

During the time of Akbar the Great, the four styles or methods of presentation of Dhruvapada centered on the regionol utterances or Vani (Bani), and as a result thereof, differeiit Vanis such as Khandara Vani, Dagar Vani, Naohara Vani and Lahar Vani evolved. They were merely the outward features or “Nibaddha Prabandha Gitis. However, Dhruvapada of Dhrupada require to be maintained and sustained in all their characteristic purity, supreme value and importance, even in these days, so as to preserve the glorious heritage of classical music, and to enrich the priceless treasure of art and culture of India.

(Courtesy of Indian Music and Mian Tansen
by Pandit Birendra Kishore Roy Choadhury )

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Please note , for further reading click image below…

 

Rampur_Raza_Library


The Gharana Of Maihar

Amarkantak

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The Gharana Of Maihar

Sarodiya Allauddin Khan Gharana
Rampur Gharana

Just after the uprising in 1857, Wazid Ali Shah, the ex-Nawab of Oudh, moved to Calcutta with all the musicians of his court. Kalve Ali Khan, the Nawab of Rampur, wanted to have a great musical community. He called many of Wazid Ali’s musicians to Rampur, where Bahadur Hussain Khan, a sursringar-player of the Senia Gaharana, and a dhrupadiya, who belonged to Saraswati’s (Tansen’s daughter’s) line and Amir Khan (1814-1873), a beenkar, founded the new darbar. Many other musicians moved to the new darbar, among others the khyaliya Bakar Ali Khan and Enayat Hussein Khan, the beenkar Mohammed Hussain, the sitariya Qutabdaula ( from Lucknow) and the sarangi player Bonizat Hussain Khan ( from Gwalior). Among their disciples was the Nawab itself and his younger brother, Haider Ali Khan, too.

Wazir Khan (1851-1926), the son of Amir Khan, was teaching in Calcutta and Midnapur for a while, before joining the court of Rampur in 1900, where he became the master of the Nawab, Hamid Ali Khan. While he was in Rampur, he started teaching Alauddin Khan for the sake of the Nawab.

Wazir Khan (Rampur)

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Allaudhin_Khan_02

Allauddin Khan (1866-1976)

Baba (directed by N.D. Keluskar, 1969) – documentary film

(Please click image for film)

Allauddin Khan was born in Shibpur village in Brahmanbaria, in present-day Bangladesh, the son of Sabdar Hossain Khan, also known as Sadhu Khan. Alluddin’s elder brother, Fakir Aftabuddin, first taught him some music in the home.

At the age of ten, Allauddin ran away from home to join a jatra band, a traditional Bengali form of theater. This experience exposed him to the rich folk tradition of Bengal. After some time, he went to Kolkata, and was accepted as a student by singer Gopal Krishna Bhattacharya, alias Nulo Gopal. Allauddin committed to a 12-year practice program; However, Nulo Gopal died of plague after the seventh year. Khan then became a disciple of Amritalal Dutt, a close relative of Swami Vivekananda and music director at Kolkata’s Star Theatre, with the goal of becoming an instrumentalist. At this time, he also took lessons in European classical violin from a Mr Lobo, a bandmaster from Goa.

Alauddin Khan got interested in sarod after a concert at Jagat Kishore Acharya’s, zamindar of Muktagachha, where he listened to Ahmed Ali Khan, a student of Asghar Ali Khan (Amjad Ali Khan’s grand-uncle). Alauddin became his student, and studied the sarod under him for five years. His next step was to go to Rampur for lessons from the beenkar Wazir Khan, court musician of the Nawab there, and one of the last direct descendants of the legendary Tansen. Through him, Alauddin was given access to the Senia Gharana (Tansen school of music), arguably north India’s most coveted body of musical knowledge. He later became the court musician of Brijnath Singh Maharaja of Maihar Estate in Central Province.

During his time as a court musician, Allauddin Khan completely reshaped the Maihar Gharana of Indian classical music. The Maihar Gharana was established in the 19th Century, but Khan’s contribution was so fundamental that he is often thought to be its creator. This was a period of rapid change for Hindustani instrumental music, thanks not least to Allauddin Khan, who infused the beenbaj and dhrupad ang, previously known from the been, surbahar (bass sitar) and sur-sringar (bass sarod), into the playing of many classical instruments.

For though he gave concerts on the sarod, Allauddin played many instruments, something that shaped his pedagogy. He put together an orchestra with Indian instruments, the Maihar String Band, and while his son, Ali Akbar Khan, was taught the sarod, his daughter Annapurna Devi learned the surbahar, students such as Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee played the sitar Rabin Ghosh on violin and Pannalal Ghosh the bansuri. Of course Ravi and Ali Akbar Khan were to be very famous and spread this gharana over the world – something that Allauddin himself had started when, in 1935–1936, he went on an international tour with Uday Shankar’s dance troupe.


Allaudhin_Khan_02

Allauddin stayed at Maihar from 1918 to his death. In 1955, he established a Maihar College of Music. He was given the Sangeet Natak Academi Award in 1952, and the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan – India’s third and second highest civilian decorations – in 1958 and 1971, respectively.

When many people hear the name Allauddin Khan, they think of a grumpy old man (after all, he lived to 110) with a hot temper but a heart of gold – anecdotes about him range from throwing a tabla tuning hammer at the Maharaja himself to taking care of disabled beggars. (Nikhil Banerjee said that the tough image was “deliberately projected in order not to allow any liberty to the disciple. He always had the tension that soft treatment on his part would only spoil them”.)

Allauddin was a very religious man, and though Muslim by name, was strongly devoted to the goddess Saraswati, in the form of Sarada Devi, to whom there stands an old and famous temple atop a hill in Maihar. This is why Allauddin, despite more lucrative offers from other courts, never left Maihar, refusing to move away even for hospital treatment – he would rather die near Sarada Devi than live someplace else.

A few years before the turn of the century, he married Madanmanjari Devi (1888–?). He had one son and sarod heir, Ali Akbar Khan, and three daughters, Sharija, Jehanara and Annapurna Devi. After Sharija got married, and her jealous mother-in-law burnt her tanpura, Allauddin decided not to train his other daughters, but Annapurna proved so talented he changed his mind. She later married and divorced Ravi Shankar.

Allauddin Khan was fond of sankeerna (compound) ragas, and created many ragas of his own, including Arjun, Bhagabati, Bhim, Bhuvaneshvari, Chandika, Dhabalashri, Dhankosh, Dipika, Durgeshvari, Gandhi, Gandhi Bilawal, Haimanti, Hem-Behag, Hemant, Hemant Bhairav, Imni Manjh, Jaunpuri Todi, Kedar Manjh, Komal Bhimpalasi, Komal Marwa, Madanmanjari, Madhabsri, Madhavgiri, Malaya, Manjh Khamaj, Meghbahar, Muhammed, Nat-Khamaj, Prabhakali, Raj Bijoy, Rajeshri, Shobhavati, Subhabati, Sugandha and Surasati. Many of these have not become common Maihar repertoire; Manjh Khamaj is perhaps the best known.

Ustad Allauddin Khan’s son, Ali Akbar Khan and his daughter, Annapurna Devi grew up in Maihar. Ravi Shankar, who started to learn from Gokul Nag (Vishnupur Gharana, Calcutta), Sharan Rani, Pannalal Ghosh, Timir Baran and Nikhil Banerjee  (who joined in 1947 only), they both became the leader musicians of the gharana.

Baba Allauddin Khan with Nikhil Banerjee

The Hindu tradition usually talks about a gharana after the third generation of the same style, but because of the great influence of the musicians of the Maihar Gharana on every level, it came to be called gharana even before the third generation appeared.

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Panalal_Gosh

Pannalal Ghosh (1911-1960)

Pannalal Ghosh: Raga Yaman

Pannalal Ghosh was born on July 31, 1911. Born in Barisal, East Bengal now Bangladesh the family first lived in the village of Amarnathganj and later moved to the town of Fatehpur.He was brought up in a family of musicians. His grandfather, Hari Kumar Ghosh, father, Akshaya Kumar Ghosh, and maternal uncle, Bhavaranjan, were proficient musicians. Mother, Sukumari (daughter of Mr. Mazumdar of Dhaka), was a singer. His younger brother Nikhil Ghosh was a distinguished tabla player. Young Pannalal was highly receptive and absorbed good music from various sources. He regarded the “Harmonium Wizard”, Khurshid Ahmad Khan, as his first guru, and was fortunate also to have had the blessings and systematic training from the legendary Ustad Allauddin Khan, with whom he studied, beginning in 1947.

As the music director of the dance troupe of the princely state of Seraikella, Pannalal Ghosh visited and performed in Europe in 1938, and was one of the first classical musicians to have crossed the boundaries of India.

After joining All India Radio, Delhi, as Conductor of the National Orchestra in 1956, he composed path-breaking orchestral pieces such as Kalinga Vijay and Andolika. His contribution in semi-classical as well as film music also was equally significant, and his name is permanently linked to many famous movies such as Aandolan, Anjan, Basant, Basant-Bahar, Duhai, Munna, Mughal-e-Azam, Police and Nandkishor.

On breathing his last on April 20, 1960, Pannalal Ghosh left behind a large number of disciples and admirers. Amongst his noteworthy students and followers have been Haripad Choudhari, Aminur Rehman (Bangla Desh), Fakirchand Samanta, Gaur Goswami, Shreeram Joshi, Rashbihari Desai, Mahesh Mastfakir, Devendra Murdeshwar,Keshav Ginde, V.G. Karnad, Nityanand Haldipur, Bhailal Barot, Prabhakar Nachane, Sharad Mohalay, K.D. Desai, Suraj Narayan Purohit, Hari K. Chabria, and Lalitha Rao and Mohan Nadkarni. Because of his humble and helpful nature, Pannalal has always remained a very popular and respected personality among the music connoisseurs, and endeared many senior musicians as well.

Pannalal Ghosh was the first to transform a tiny folk instrument to a novel bamboo flute (32 inches long with 7 holes for fingering) suitable for playing traditional Indian classical music, and also to bring to it the stature of other classical music instruments. Also to his credit are the introduction of the special tenor flute, 6-stringed Taanpura, high-pitched Taanpuri and Surpeti into Hindustani music.

He also mastered the technique with such a great proficiency that he could present with ease the heavy ragas like Todi, Darabari, Miyan Malhar, Puriya, Shri, Puriya Dhanashri, Kedar, etc., retaining intact the entire beauty as well as the grammar. These ragas are now the speciality of the flautists of his Gharana. He also created and popularized several new ragas including Deepawali, Pushpachandrika, Hansanarayani, Chandramauli, Panchavati and Noopurdwani.

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Bild13

Nikhil Banerjee (1931-1986)

Nikhil Banerjee was born in Calcutta into a Brahmin family, where music as a profession was discouraged, although his father, Jitendranath Banerjee, who was a Sitarist by his hobby, taught him on the instrument. Young Nikhil grew into a child prodigy, won an All-Bengal Sitar Competition at the age of 9 and soon was playing for All India Radio. At the time, his sister was a student of khyal great Amir Khan, who became a life-long influence. Jitendranath approached Mushtaq Ali Khan to take the boy as a disciple, but was turned down; instead Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhury, the Zamindar of Gouripur in present-day Bangladesh, was responsible for much of Nikhil’s early training.

In 1947 Banerjee met Allauddin Khan, who was to become his main guru. Allauddin played the sarod but taught artists who played all kinds of instruments; Banerjee went to his concerts and followed him around, and in the end even went so far as to threaten to kill himself if he was not accepted as a disciple. Allauddin did not want to take on more students, but changed his mind after listening to one of Banerjee’s radio broadcasts.

The discipline under Allauddin Khan was legendary. For years, Nikhil’s practice would start at four in the morning, and with few breaks continue to eleven o’clock – at night – a schedule which was naturally hard on his fingers. Obviously, what Allauddin was passing on to most of his students was not playing technique but the musical knowledge and approach of the Maihar Gharana; yet there was a definite trend in his teaching to infuse the sitar and sarod with the been-baj aesthetic of the rudra veena, surbahar and sursringar – long, elaborate alap (unaccompanied improvisation) built on intricate meend work (bending of the note). Under his teaching, Shankar and Banerjee developed different sitar styles, but to the uninitiated, Banerjee will sound like Ravi Shankar, due to the fact that in Nikhil sporadically also learned from Ravi Shankar whenever he got a chance. They played similar sitars, both with bass strings.

After some five years in Maihar, Banerjee embarked on a concert career that was to take him to all corners of the world and last right up to his death. All through his life he kept taking lessons from Allauddin and his children, Ali Akbar and Annapurna Devi. Perhaps reflecting his early upbringing, he always remained a humble musician, and was content with much less limelight than a player of his stature could have vied for. For him, music-making was a spiritual rather than a worldly path. Even so, in 1968, he was decorated with the Padma Shri and posthumously received also the Padma Bhushan; at the time of his death by heart attack, he was a faculty member at the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta, but had not yet significantly taught any disciples of his own.

He created a raga Manomanjari of his own, mixing ideas from Kalavati and Marwa.

(Please note also:http://saxonianfolkways.wordpress.com/2013/08/30/a-word-from-pandit-nikhil-bannerjee/)

some representatives of the Gharana:

Ali Akbar Khan
Ravi Shankar
Annapurna Devi
Sharan Rani
Aashish Khan
Bahadur Khan
Hariprasad Chaurasia
Krishna Mohan Bhatt
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

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Maihar_Gharanas

(Please note also:http://www.maiharmusiclineage.com/maihar-senia_gharana-style_of_music.htm)


In The Half Shadow of The Dove – Lectured rAgams For The Early Evening

Rag_Marwa_Ram_Narayan_05.

Ram Narayan ( SARANGI )
Introducing 2 excellent renditions of mystic
early evening rAgas

Accompanied by Chatur Lal on Tabla

Rag Shuddh Todi

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Rag Marwa

Rag_Marwa_Ram_Narayan_02

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A Patio

At evening
they grow weary, the patio’s two or three colours.
Tonight, the moon, bright circle,
fails to dominate space.

Patio, channel of sky.
The patio is the slope
down which sky flows into the house.
Serene,
eternity waits at the crossroad of stars.

It’s pleasant to live in the friendly dark
of entrance-way, arbour, and cistern.

(Jorge Louis Borges)

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Rag_Marwa_Ram_Narayan_04

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All Recordings 1976


The Ragas Of Carnatic Music

 Carnatic_Ragas***

(Click Image above to read on)

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Carnatic_Ragas_02


Rag Sohani

Madhukauns_xno

 

 

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Thaat  – Marwa
Jaati – Audav – Shadav
Vadi Swar – ध
Samvadi Swar – ग

Time – Evening.

Aaroh – सा ग मे ध नी सां।
Avroh – सां नी ध मे ध ग मे ग रे॒ सा।
pakad – मे ध नी सा रे॒ सा, सा नी ध मे ध ग। ( ़ this indicates that it is a lower octave (मंद्र सप्तक)

 

 

Naubat_ Khana Gate, Fatehpur Sikri


The ” Doppelgängers”

der doppelgänger

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Edgar Allan Poe and E. T. A. Hoffmann:

The Double in “William Wilson” and The Devil’s Elixirs

In response to accusations that the horror in his stories was derived from German literary sources, Edgar Allan Poe claimed in the Preface for the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque in 1840 that “if in many of my productions terror has been the thesis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany, but of the soul.” [1] There are several indications, though, that Poe could have gained access to German literature and to E. T. A. Hoffmann’s writings through Gillies’s translation of The Devil’s Elixirs, through Carlyle’s publication of the German Romance, through Sir Walter Scott’s essay on Hoffmann’s use of the supernatural, or through readings of his own in English translation. As the editor of several prominent journals such as the Southern Literary Messenger, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, Graham’s Magazine, the Mirror, and the Broadway Journal, Poe was well acquainted with publications by European writers and even accused other American authors of plagiarizing their ideas. [2] While some critics have noted the similarities between “William Wilson” and The Devil’s Elixirs, scholarship on the double in these works still requires further investigation beyond a positivistic approach. This article traces the developmental stages of the double in “William Wilson” and The Devil’s Elixirs according to a reading of Freud’s essay “The Uncanny.” It also examines the impact of the double on the lives of the protagonists and analyzes Poe’s and Hoffmann’s overall statement on the divided self.

The historical background of the double is rooted in the philosophical, literary, and scientific theories of German Romanticism, which illustrate the Romantic poet’s constant struggle within himself to reach beyond his own existence. In terms of German philosophy, the double is steeped in Fichtean Idealism, according to which the ego creates and projects itself onto the world, and in Schelling’s concept of “identity” as developed in his philosophy of nature, which illustrates the interaction of the individual with its counterpart in nature. From a literary perspective, the double signifies the Romantic poet’s continuous longing for the infinite, which can never be fulfilled. Since the Romantic ego is continuously striving for something higher than itself, the Romantic poet finds himself divided into two parts: one is rooted in his mortal existence, the other pursues a higher transcendental harmony with the infinite. Typically, Romantic literature abounds with references that illustrate the discrepancy between the “real” and the “ideal,” that seek to express the sublime, the longing for mystical and spiritual unity, and the interaction between man and nature.

The interest in supernatural or unexplained phenomena such as hypnosis, telepathy, sleepwalking, insanity, drives, and in the subconscious also contributed to the motif of the double in Romantic literature. Students of the German physician Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) developed a scientific method of delving into the human psyche that provided the medium with access to the patient’s inner world and secrets that lay beyond human existence. This new scientific approach became the cutting-edge development in scientific research to approach the mysteries of the spiritual world and the dark side of the human mind. The Romantic poet, therefore, employed the motif of the double as the chance to investigate the passions and illnesses of the human mind and to examine the presence of a supernatural world.

Prior to the advent of Romanticism, the motif of the double existed for the sake of comedy through the mistaken identity of characters such as one finds in Plautus’s Menaechmi or Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. Romanticism gave the double its psychological depth by endowing it with the meaning of “the admonishing angel, the good repressed ego, or the tenacious devil” [3] and by building around it a canon of literature that included Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s Der Zauberring (1813), Adelbert von Chamisso’s Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte (1814), and Jean Paul Richter’s Siebenkäs (1776-97). [4] In American literature, there is virtually no tradition of the double, and the motif has been taken from German philosophical, literary, and scientific theory. Even though Poe asserts that he borrowed the motif of the double in “William Wilson” from an article by Washington Irving, [5] it is well known that the latter also drew extensively on German literature for his short stories and sketches. [6]

In Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” (1919), the psychoanalyst asserts that the creation of the double is a means for the individual to safeguard himself “against the destruction of the ego” and a kind of primitive narcissism and self-love. [7] In this duplication process, the double becomes the manifestation of the ego’s repressed drives and desires, finding expression in human form. Through the psychological distance between the double and the self, the individual is able to evaluate his own behavior and to develop a conscience for his improvement. This means that once the critical stage of the Doppelgängertum has been reached, the double either provides the individual with the necessary impetus for a conscience or the double becomes the “uncanny herald of death.” [8] The characters of Medardus and Wilson undergo similar stages of development in respect to the double, including the formation of narcissistic tendencies in their formative years, the repression of sexual desires and power, and, in the words of Freud, the development of “ego-duplication,” “ego-separation,” and “ego-substitution.” [9] However, Wilson is never able to develop a “conscience” and to rejoin his second self, bringing about his own destruction.

Poe’s short story “William Wilson” is less complicated than Hoffmann’s novel, although the main character undergoes a similar process of development. Wilson is a child at a boarding school in England and grows up within the tranquil and solitary walls of the institution. He believes to be in control of his classmates, with one exception: William Wilson, the double. From their very first encounter the double proves to be superior to Wilson, offering him advice and admonishing him for his wrongdoing. After the double exposes Wilson to his fellow students for cheating at cards, and after following him to the various capitals of Europe and stopping him from committing adultery, Wilson revolts and murders his double in a duel. In retrospect, the narrator remarks that he has in fact destroyed himself by having murdered his double.

In the first stage of his development, Wilson reveals the narcissism of his early years by asserting that he had “ascendancy over” other children and that he “was left to the guidance of [his] own will, and became … the master of [his] own actions” so that he “grew self-willed, addicted to the wildest caprices, and a prey to the most ungovernable passions.” [10] At the same time, however, Wilson deplores his authority over others and states that “if there is on earth a supreme and unqualified despotism, it is the despotism of a master-mind in boyhood over the less energetic spirits of its companions” (WW 431). In other words, Wilson is aware of the control that he has over others and he rejects this authority as a kind of “unqualified despotism.” As a result of the wish to save himself from his uncontrollable behavior, Wilson creates a double that functions as a conscience and helps him control his desire for manipulation and power. In producing a double that embodies the positive side of his being, Wilson subconsciously prevents himself from taking part in drunkenness, cheating, and adultery, and thereby protects himself from harm. Still, he regards the protective behavior of the double as “impertinent and dogged interference” (WW 432), although he inadvertently realizes that the double’s moral sense is “proof of his true superiority” (WW 432).

In Hoffmann’s novel, an orphan child is brought up in a secluded monastery under serene and pious conditions. With the coming of adolescence the child, Medardus, begins to develop sexual urges and rebels against the authority of the monastery. After drinking the forbidden elixir of Saint Anthony, that had been placed in his safekeeping, Medardus undergoes a change of personality and becomes a popular orator at the monastery. Sensing that Medardus is acting out of his own self-interest and the desire to gain his independence, Prior Leonardus implores him to leave the monastery and go on an important mission to Rome. On his way through the mountains, Medardus comes across his double (actually his own brother) asleep on the precipice of a cliff. When Medardus awakens him, the double becomes frightened and falls to his death in the abyss. Medardus then takes on the identity of the double by putting on his clothes and assuming his position at the castle. When he arrives at the double’s residence, Medardus discovers that an intricate plot is already underway between Viktorin (the double) and his lover, Euphemie, concerning the murder of his half-brother, Hermogen. Mistaken by the entire family for the actual Count Viktorin, Medardus becomes Euphemie’s lover and a conspirator to the murder of Hermogen. At the same time, Medardus recognizes Hermogen’s sister, Aurelie, as the woman from the confessional in the monastery who proclaimed her love for him. In a moment of anger, Medardus poisons Euphemie and murders Hermogen in a fight. After the double appears to him in the hallway (Viktorin had crawled out of the abyss), Medardus flees from the castle and the scene of the crime. For the remainder of the novel, Medardus attempts to hide his identity by moving from place to place (the village, the forester’s house, the prince’s residence) and in the process slowly discovers his past.

While Wilson attempts to save himself by creating a double that functions as a conscience, Medardus produces a double that allows him to live out the sexual fantasies and need for authority that he has repressed as a monk. [11] Like Wilson, who grows up in the solitary environment of a boarding school and gradually develops his desire to control others, Medardus reveals his need for power by preaching at a monastery. After having consumed Saint Anthony’s forbidden elixir, Medardus gives a sermon in a crowded church in order to win the desired admiration of his congregation and even claims of himself: “I am Saint Anthony” (DE 33). His repressed sexual desires are unleashed once he drinks the sacred potion and hears the confession of a young woman in the church: “‘You-you yourself, Medardus, are the one that I so inexpressibly love!’” (DE 41) He decides to leave the monastery “in order to hold this woman in [his] arms and to still the burning desire inside of [himself]” (DE 42). Medardus compares the young woman in the confessional with the portrait of Saint Rosalia in the church, which serves as a fetish for his sexual desires.

Wolfgang Nehring claims that “the entire vision is an erotic dream for Medardus, which surprisingly for the protagonist himself, moves from the subconscious to consciousness. From now on Medardus acknowledges his desires and attempts to fulfill them outside of the monastery.” [12] Medardus therefore creates a double (Viktorin) who enables him to pursue his sexual interests outside of the monastery through his relationships with Euphemie and Aurelie. As a result of Viktorin’s alleged sudden death, Medardus not only replaces him sexually in his affair with Euphemie, but he is also able to fulfill his taboo sexual desires with Saint Rosalia through his relationship with Aurelie. Hoffmann’s novel can be regarded as an encounter between Medardus and the manifestation of his sexual fantasies: as Medardus is composed of the negative side of Viktorin and the positive side of his grandfather Francesco, his female counterpart also embodies the femme fatale Euphemie and the saint-like qualities of Aurelie.

In both texts the double is a manifestation of the characters’ innermost drives and desires, which find expression in human form. In The Devil’s Elixirs, the double functions as an “id” who carries out devious actions and forces Medardus to examine his life, whereas Wilson’s double serves as a “conscience” who admonishes him for his wrongdoing. Wilson expresses his need for self-control and discipline through a double who has the same “identity of name” (WW 432), the “same age” (WW 434), the “same height” (WW 434), “entered the school upon the same day” (WW 432), and keeps a constant watch over him and prevents him from acting immorally. Whereas Wilson’s “ego-duplication” exists from the very onset of the story through the presence of the second William Wilson, his actual separation from the double takes place upon secretly entering the double’s room one evening in order to play a joke on him. Finding the double asleep in bed, Wilson is confounded by the fact that the second self is not a mere imitation but actually exists independently of himself. Wilson’s response to this encounter with the double is not one of recognition that would allow him to look at himself objectively, but rather one of fear, an encounter that causes him to flee throughout the story. “Awe-stricken, and with a creeping shudder, I extinguished the lamp, passed silently from the chamber, and left, at once, the halls of that old academy, never to enter them again” (WW 437).

In their first encounter after this frightful evening, the narrator explains that he had invited some friends to his room and the wine was flowing freely, when the double appeared at the door and interrupted the party by “whisper[ing] the words ‘William Wilson!’ in [his] ear” (WW 439). Once again, as Wilson is cheating at cards, the double enters the scene in order to reveal the main character’s devious activity to the others: “Gentlemen…. You are, beyond doubt, uninformed of the true character of the person who has to-night won at écarté a large sum of money from Lord Glendinning…. Please to examine, at your leisure, the inner linings of the cuff of his left sleeve” (WW 443). Finally, the double disturbs Wilson just as he is about to make advances towards the beautiful wife of Duke Di Broglio at a party in Rome, and Wilson feels “a light hand placed upon [his] shoulder, and that ever-remembered, low, damnable whisper within [his] ear” (WW 446). Wilson believes that the double interrupts him throughout his life in order “to frustrate those schemes, or to disturb those actions, which, if fully carried out, might have resulted in bitter mischief” (WW 445). However, during these episodes Wilson never reflects upon his own actions as being dishonest or immoral, but rather claims that his “natural rights of self-agency” are “so pertinaciously, so insultingly denied” (WW 445) by the double.

In The Devil’s Elixirs, Saint Anthony’s wine enables the main character to delve into the darker side of his mind, to give moving sermons, and to conjure up lustful visions of Saint Rosalia in church: “I drank again, and the desire of a new magnificent life rose up inside of me” (DE 37). In “William Wilson,” the protagonist lives out his repressed desires and gives the double the greatest resistance under the influence of alcohol. It is precisely during these moments of drunkenness that the double appears before Wilson to admonish him for his actions. During the first major encounter with the double, Wilson remarks that he was “madly flushed with … intoxication” (WW 438) and “was in the act of insisting upon a toast” (438) when his double appeared at the door. It is also in this inebriated condition that Wilson finally summons up the courage to oppose his double openly and to challenge him to a duel: “I had given myself up entirely to wine; and its maddening influence upon my hereditary temper rendered me more and more impatient of control. I began to murmur-to hesitate-to resist” (WW 446).

Similar to Wilson, who refuses to accept the existence of his second self, Medardus represses the existence of his double (Viktorin) by causing him to fall from a ledge of a cliff into a dark abyss. In order to hide from his true self, Medardus pretends to be Viktorin, taking on the identity of the double, who is posing as a monk: “I am that, which I appear to be, and do not appear to be that, which I am; I am an inexplicable riddle to myself; my being has been divided in two!” (DE 59). Since Viktorin slowly climbs out of the abyss and returns to haunt Medardus throughout the novel, one can see that the double and the sexual manifestations that he represents are only repressed and eventually surface in human form. The first sign of the repressed double reemerging (ego-separation) occurs in the hallway of the castle following the murders of Euphemie and Hermogen. Similar to Wilson, who is terrified by the initial vision of his own double, Medardus flees from the castle and attempts to hide from the darker side of himself by concealing his habit-”I hid the frock in a hollow tree” (WW 79)-and by changing his physical appearance through new clothes and a haircut. Unlike Wilson, however, Medardus, in his various encounters with the double, undergoes a process of development that enables him to create a conscience and to reflect upon his actions by the end of the novel.

Most important among these encounters with the double are the scenes in the forester’s lodge and in prison, and the confrontation with the double on the way to his execution. In the first instance, Medardus spends a night at the forester’s house in the woods after his carriage leaves him stranded there, and during the night the double (Viktorin) dressed as a monk enters Medardus’s room and climbs onto his bed (ego-substitution). In this key scene, the double is pointing to the psychological battle between Medardus and his second self, which would provide one of them with supremacy. Medardus, however, does not recognize the double as a manifestation of his repressed desires, but instead sees him as something strangely apart from himself: “you are not me; you are the devil” (DE 105). The forester explains that the double “is said to have committed a terrible sin by misusing a relic and has been banned from the monastery” (DE 114) and that he exhibited uncontrollable sexual behavior by trying to seduce his daughter, “whose door he kicked in with his foot” (DE 111). At this point in his development, however, Medardus is being torn apart through his second ego: “divided in my being more than ever, I became ambiguous to myself, and an inner horror enveloped my soul with destructive power” (DE 116).

After Medardus has been charged with the murder of Euphemie and Hermogen at the prince’s residence, the double whispers to him in his dark prison cell, “lit-tle broth-er … lit-tle broth-er … Me-dar-dus … I am here … am here … op-open up … up … we wa-want to go into the wo-woods … go into the woods!” (DE 165). In the appellation “little brother,” which can refer to the fact that Medardus is a monk or that he is the brother of the double, Medardus recognizes his own voice and repeats, “Me-dar-dus … Me-dar-dus!” (DE 165) The response, “lit-tle broth-er … lit-tle broth-er, did … you, you recognize m-me … recognize me?” (DE 165), points to the fact that Medardus is on his way to recognizing the darker side of his self. A few days later, Medardus again experiences the double. This time, he emerges through the floor of the cell with a knife in his hand, calling, “Lit-tle broth-er! Lit-tle broth-er, Medar-dus is here-here, come up … take this, take this! … break out … break out … into the wo-woods … into the woods!” (DE 171-72). Through this metaphorical scene of the double literally breaking through the subconscious of the main character, Medardus moves closer to the realization that the double is part of him, and he sees his own figure in the dark hole of the floor: “the full light of the lamp fell upon his face-I recognized myself-I lost consciousness” (DE 172).

Whereas Hoffmann employs the floor of the prison cell and the deep abyss of the “Teufelsgrund” as metaphors of the human subconscious, Poe draws upon the complex arrangement of rooms in the boarding school as analogous to the various parts of the human mind. Wilson describes his school, which is watched over by the Reverend Dr. Bransby, as having “no end to its windings-to its incomprehensible subdivisions” (WW 429), and that many of the rooms were “merest closets” (WW 436), “capable of accommodating but a single individual. One of these small apartments was occupied by Wilson” (WW 436). Wilson’s flight from this institution to the capitals of Europe is an expression of freedom; however, it is an escape that offers him no reconciliation with his divided self: “I fled in vain. My evil destiny pursued me as if in exultation…. Years flew, while I experienced no relief” (WW 444-45).

When Medardus sees his double being carried away in a carriage to his execution, he is confronted with the evil side of his being and his own devious actions. Although he is about to fulfill his innermost desire and marry Aurelie, whom he associates with Saint Rosalia, Medardus openly admits that he is the murderer of Hermogen: “I … I, your beloved, your fiancé, am Medardus … your brother’s murderer” (DE 206). It is through the double that Medardus is prevented from marrying his half-sister Aurelie and that he recognizes his involvement in the murder of Euphemie and Hermogen. In a fight analogous to William Wilson’s duel with his double, Medardus wrestles with his second self for his ego and thus starts the process of reconciliation with himself.

William Wilson’s final confrontation with his double takes place at Duke Di Brogio’s party in Naples, where he is again plagued by the moral voice of his second self. Unlike Medardus, who gradually learns from his various encounters with the double and is able to develop a conscience, Wilson does not yet realize that the double’s function is to bring about a moral change in himself. According to Freud’s theory of the double, the second self can either bring about a moral change in the individual through the development of a conscience or it can ultimately cause the character’s own destruction. Angered by another intrusion by the double and unable to comprehend the significance of the encounter, Wilson decides that he “would submit no longer to be enslaved” (WW 446). In the ensuing confrontation, Wilson challenges his double to a duel that ends with the murder of Wilson’s moral self. Instead of conceding victory to Wilson, the double sternly informs him: “You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead-dead to the World, to Heaven and to Hope! In me didst thou exist-and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself” (WW 448). At the moment of running his sword through the double, Wilson sees his own reflection in what appears to be “a large mirror” (WW 447), “all pale and dabbled in blood” (WW 448), and realizes that he has murdered his own conscience, and, in effect, has brought about the moral death of himself. As Hoffmann’s depiction of the double suggests, one needs both the positive and negative sides of the self to exist. Since the “ego-substitution,” the murder, and the recognition of the double happen at the same time, Wilson is unable to bring both halves of his being together and is forced to seek reconciliation post facto through the narration of his story. In retrospect, Wilson refers to himself as an “outcast of all outcasts most abandoned” (WW 426) and asserts that he “might, to-day, have been a better, and thus a happier man, had [he] less frequently rejected the counsels embodied in those meaning[ful] whispers which [he] then but too cordially hated and too bitterly despised” (WW 435).

Medardus’s final stage of development begins with seeing his double being brought to the execution and ends with the writing of his memoirs at the monastery. While Aurelie is about to take her vows to become a nun, the double enters the church and stabs her on the altar before the entire congregation. After the double flees from the church, and the painter Francesco steps down from the painting of Saint Rosalia, Aurelie explains to Medardus that the phenomenon of the double is the battle between good and evil over his soul, and that its resolution lifts the divine curse on his family. As a final penance for his transgressions, Medardus writes down the story of his life. Unlike Wilson, who writes the story of his double in order to justify his own mistakes, Medardus writes his life story in order to relive the past as a kind of psychotherapy: “I did as the prior asked. Oh!-indeed it happened as he said!-pain and bliss, horror and desire-dismay and delight rushed forth inside of me when I wrote down the story of my life” (288).

The use of the double in “William Wilson” and The Devil’s Elixirs shows an overwhelming affinity between Poe and Hoffmann in terms of motifs, symbolism, and stages of development. While the double in “William Wilson” serves as a “conscience” for the main character’s moral development, the double in The Devil’s Elixirs functions as an “id” that allows Medardus to live out his sexual fantasies and need for power. In both cases, however, the double provides an impetus for the protagonists’ improvement through a process of duplication, separation, and substitution. Medardus is able to embrace both halves of his divided self and to learn to be a better person, whereas Wilson rejects the advice of his double and, in effect, brings about his own moral death. For this reason, Wilson can only comfort himself afterwards through the narration of his story. Medardus, on the other hand, returns to his life at the monastery as a complete being and sets out to write down the story of his life.

Notes

[1] Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969-78) 473.
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[2] The most famous accusations of plagiarism are aimed at Nathaniel Hawthorne (Godey’s Lady’s Book, Nov. 1847) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (New York Evening Mirror, Jan. 1845; Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, Feb. 1849).
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[3] Elisabeth Frenzel, Motive der Weltliteratur (Stuttgart: Alfred Kröner Verlag, 1992) 101; my translation.
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[4] The German writer Jean Paul Richter coined the phrase Doppelgänger in this novel Siebenkäs by claiming that “Doppeltgänger” are people who can see themselves (Frenzel 102).
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[5] Washington Irving, “An Unwritten Drama of Lord Byron,” The Gift for 1836 166-67.
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[6] Henry A. Pochmann, German Culture in America: Philosophical and Literary Influences, 1600-1900. (1957; rpt. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1978) 367-81.
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[7] Sigmund Freud, “Das Unheimliche,” Psychologische Schriften, vol. 4 (Frankfurt/M.: Fischer, 1970) 258; my translation.
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[8] Freud 258.
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[9] Freud 257.
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[10] Poe, “William Wilson,” Collected Works., vol. 2, 427. Subsequent references are to this edition and appear in the text in parentheses following the abbreviation WW.
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[11] All translations from The Devil’s Elixirs are my own and are based on E. T. A. Hoffmann, “Die Elixiere des Teufels,” Sämtliche Werke, vol. 2 (München: Winkler, 1970). Subsequent references are to this edition and appear in the text in parentheses following the abbreviation DE.
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[12] Wolfgang Nehring, “E. T. A. Hoffmann: Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815/16),” Romane und Erzählungen der deutschen Romantik, ed. Paul Michael Lützeler (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1981) 344; my translation.

(Courtesy of Patrick Labriola, Bonn, Germany)
see also

 

*

 

WILLIAM WILSON
by Edgar Allan Poe
(1839)

What say of it? what say (of) CONSCIENCE grim, That spectre in my path?

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Chamberlayne’s Pharronida.

LET me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation. This has been already too much an object for the scorn –for the horror –for the detestation of my race. To the uttermost regions of the globe have not the indignant winds bruited its unparalleled infamy? Oh, outcast of all outcasts most abandoned! –to the earth art thou not forever dead? to its honors, to its flowers, to its golden aspirations? –and a cloud, dense, dismal, and limitless, does it not hang eternally between thy hopes and heaven?

I would not, if I could, here or to-day, embody a record of my later years of unspeakable misery, and unpardonable crime. This epoch –these later years –took unto themselves a sudden elevation in turpitude, whose origin alone it is my present purpose to assign. Men usually grow base by degrees. From me, in an instant, all virtue dropped bodily as a mantle. From comparatively trivial wickedness I passed, with the stride of a giant, into more than the enormities of an Elah-Gabalus. What chance –what one event brought this evil thing to pass, bear with me while I relate. Death approaches; and the shadow which foreruns him has thrown a softening influence over my spirit. I long, in passing through the dim valley, for the sympathy –I had nearly said for the pity –of my fellow men. I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. I would wish them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to give, some little oasis of fatality amid a wilderness of error. I would have them allow –what they cannot refrain from allowing –that, although temptation may have erewhile existed as great, man was never thus, at least, tempted before –certainly, never thus fell. And is it therefore that he has never thus suffered? Have I not indeed been living in a dream? And am I not now dying a victim to the horror and the mystery of the wildest of all sublunary visions?

I am the descendant of a race whose imaginative and easily excitable temperament has at all times rendered them remarkable; and, in my earliest infancy, I gave evidence of having fully inherited the family character. As I advanced in years it was more strongly developed; becoming, for many reasons, a cause of serious disquietude to my friends, and of positive injury to myself. I grew self-willed, addicted to the wildest caprices, and a prey to the most ungovernable passions. Weak-minded, and beset with constitutional infirmities akin to my own, my parents could do but little to check the evil propensities which distinguished me. Some feeble and ill-directed efforts resulted in complete failure on their part, and, of course, in total triumph on mine. Thenceforward my voice was a household law; and at an age when few children have abandoned their leading-strings, I was left to the guidance of my own will, and became, in all but name, the master of my own actions.

My earliest recollections of a school-life, are connected with a large, rambling, Elizabethan house, in a misty-looking village of England, where were a vast number of gigantic and gnarled trees, and where all the houses were excessively ancient. In truth, it was a dream-like and spirit-soothing place, that venerable old town. At this moment, in fancy, I feel the refreshing chilliness of its deeply-shadowed avenues, inhale the fragrance of its thousand shrubberies, and thrill anew with undefinable delight, at the deep hollow note of the church-bell, breaking, each hour, with sullen and sudden roar, upon the stillness of the dusky atmosphere in which the fretted Gothic steeple lay imbedded and asleep.

It gives me, perhaps, as much of pleasure as I can now in any manner experience, to dwell upon minute recollections of the school and its concerns. Steeped in misery as I am –misery, alas! only too real –I shall be pardoned for seeking relief, however slight and temporary, in the weakness of a few rambling details. These, moreover, utterly trivial, and even ridiculous in themselves, assume, to my fancy, adventitious importance, as connected with a period and a locality when and where I recognise the first ambiguous monitions of the destiny which afterwards so fully overshadowed me. Let me then remember.

The house, I have said, was old and irregular. The grounds were extensive, and a high and solid brick wall, topped with a bed of mortar and broken glass, encompassed the whole. This prison-like rampart formed the limit of our domain; beyond it we saw but thrice a week –once every Saturday afternoon, when, attended by two ushers, we were permitted to take brief walks in a body through some of the neighbouring fields –and twice during Sunday, when we were paraded in the same formal manner to the morning and evening service in the one church of the village. Of this church the principal of our school was pastor. With how deep a spirit of wonder and perplexity was I wont to regard him from our remote pew in the gallery, as, with step solemn and slow, he ascended the pulpit! This reverend man, with countenance so demurely benign, with robes so glossy and so clerically flowing, with wig so minutely powdered, so rigid and so vast, —could this be he who, of late, with sour visage, and in snuffy habiliments, administered, ferule in hand, the Draconian laws of the academy? Oh, gigantic paradox, too utterly monstrous for solution!

At an angle of the ponderous wall frowned a more ponderous gate. It was riveted and studded with iron bolts, and surmounted with jagged iron spikes. What impressions of deep awe did it inspire! It was never opened save for the three periodical egressions and ingressions already mentioned; then, in every creak of its mighty hinges, we found a plenitude of mystery –a world of matter for solemn remark, or for more solemn meditation.

The extensive enclosure was irregular in form, having many capacious recesses. Of these, three or four of the largest constituted the play-ground. It was level, and covered with fine hard gravel. I well remember it had no trees, nor benches, nor anything similar within it. Of course it was in the rear of the house. In front lay a small parterre, planted with box and other shrubs; but through this sacred division we passed only upon rare occasions indeed –such as a first advent to school or final departure thence, or perhaps, when a parent or friend having called for us, we joyfully took our way home for the Christmas or Midsummer holy-days.

But the house! –how quaint an old building was this! –to me how veritably a palace of enchantment! There was really no end to its windings –to its incomprehensible subdivisions. It was difficult, at any given time, to say with certainty upon which of its two stories one happened to be. From each room to every other there were sure to be found three or four steps either in ascent or descent. Then the lateral branches were innumerable –inconceivable –and so returning in upon themselves, that our most exact ideas in regard to the whole mansion were not very far different from those with which we pondered upon infinity. During the five years of my residence here, I was never able to ascertain with precision, in what remote locality lay the little sleeping apartment assigned to myself and some eighteen or twenty other scholars.

The school-room was the largest in the house –I could not help thinking, in the world. It was very long, narrow, and dismally low, with pointed Gothic windows and a celling of oak. In a remote and terror-inspiring angle was a square enclosure of eight or ten feet, comprising the sanctum, “during hours,” of our principal, the Reverend Dr. Bransby. It was a solid structure, with massy door, sooner than open which in the absence of the “Dominic,” we would all have willingly perished by the peine forte et dure. In other angles were two other similar boxes, far less reverenced, indeed, but still greatly matters of awe. One of these was the pulpit of the “classical” usher, one of the “English and mathematical.” Interspersed about the room, crossing and recrossing in endless irregularity, were innumerable benches and desks, black, ancient, and time-worn, piled desperately with much-bethumbed books, and so beseamed with initial letters, names at full length, grotesque figures, and other multiplied efforts of the knife, as to have entirely lost what little of original form might have been their portion in days long departed. A huge bucket with water stood at one extremity of the room, and a clock of stupendous dimensions at the other.

Encompassed by the massy walls of this venerable academy, I passed, yet not in tedium or disgust, the years of the third lustrum of my life. The teeming brain of childhood requires no external world of incident to occupy or amuse it; and the apparently dismal monotony of a school was replete with more intense excitement than my riper youth has derived from luxury, or my full manhood from crime. Yet I must believe that my first mental development had in it much of the uncommon –even much of the outre. Upon mankind at large the events of very early existence rarely leave in mature age any definite impression. All is gray shadow –a weak and irregular remembrance –an indistinct regathering of feeble pleasures and phantasmagoric pains. With me this is not so. In childhood I must have felt with the energy of a man what I now find stamped upon memory in lines as vivid, as deep, and as durable as the exergues of the Carthaginian medals.

Yet in fact –in the fact of the world’s view –how little was there to remember! The morning’s awakening, the nightly summons to bed; the connings, the recitations; the periodical half-holidays, and perambulations; the play-ground, with its broils, its pastimes, its intrigues; –these, by a mental sorcery long forgotten, were made to involve a wilderness of sensation, a world of rich incident, an universe of varied emotion, of excitement the most passionate and spirit-stirring. “Oh, le bon temps, que ce siecle de fer!”

In truth, the ardor, the enthusiasm, and the imperiousness of my disposition, soon rendered me a marked character among my schoolmates, and by slow, but natural gradations, gave me an ascendancy over all not greatly older than myself; –over all with a single exception. This exception was found in the person of a scholar, who, although no relation, bore the same Christian and surname as myself; –a circumstance, in fact, little remarkable; for, notwithstanding a noble descent, mine was one of those everyday appellations which seem, by prescriptive right, to have been, time out of mind, the common property of the mob. In this narrative I have therefore designated myself as William Wilson, –a fictitious title not very dissimilar to the real. My namesake alone, of those who in school phraseology constituted “our set,” presumed to compete with me in the studies of the class –in the sports and broils of the play-ground –to refuse implicit belief in my assertions, and submission to my will –indeed, to interfere with my arbitrary dictation in any respect whatsoever. If there is on earth a supreme and unqualified despotism, it is the despotism of a master mind in boyhood over the less energetic spirits of its companions.

Wilson’s rebellion was to me a source of the greatest embarrassment; –the more so as, in spite of the bravado with which in public I made a point of treating him and his pretensions, I secretly felt that I feared him, and could not help thinking the equality which he maintained so easily with myself, a proof of his true superiority; since not to be overcome cost me a perpetual struggle. Yet this superiority –even this equality –was in truth acknowledged by no one but myself; our associates, by some unaccountable blindness, seemed not even to suspect it. Indeed, his competition, his resistance, and especially his impertinent and dogged interference with my purposes, were not more pointed than private. He appeared to be destitute alike of the ambition which urged, and of the passionate energy of mind which enabled me to excel. In his rivalry he might have been supposed actuated solely by a whimsical desire to thwart, astonish, or mortify myself; although there were times when I could not help observing, with a feeling made up of wonder, abasement, and pique, that he mingled with his injuries, his insults, or his contradictions, a certain most inappropriate, and assuredly most unwelcome affectionateness of manner. I could only conceive this singular behavior to arise from a consummate self-conceit assuming the vulgar airs of patronage and protection.

Perhaps it was this latter trait in Wilson’s conduct, conjoined with our identity of name, and the mere accident of our having entered the school upon the same day, which set afloat the notion that we were brothers, among the senior classes in the academy. These do not usually inquire with much strictness into the affairs of their juniors. I have before said, or should have said, that Wilson was not, in the most remote degree, connected with my family. But assuredly if we had been brothers we must have been twins; for, after leaving Dr. Bransby’s, I casually learned that my namesake was born on the nineteenth of January, 1813 –and this is a somewhat remarkable coincidence; for the day is precisely that of my own nativity.

It may seem strange that in spite of the continual anxiety occasioned me by the rivalry of Wilson, and his intolerable spirit of contradiction, I could not bring myself to hate him altogether. We had, to be sure, nearly every day a quarrel in which, yielding me publicly the palm of victory, he, in some manner, contrived to make me feel that it was he who had deserved it; yet a sense of pride on my part, and a veritable dignity on his own, kept us always upon what are called “speaking terms,” while there were many points of strong congeniality in our tempers, operating to awake me in a sentiment which our position alone, perhaps, prevented from ripening into friendship. It is difficult, indeed, to define,or even to describe, my real feelings towards him. They formed a motley and heterogeneous admixture; –some petulant animosity, which was not yet hatred, some esteem, more respect, much fear, with a world of uneasy curiosity. To the moralist it will be unnecessary to say, in addition, that Wilson and myself were the most inseparable of companions.

It was no doubt the anomalous state of affairs existing between us, which turned all my attacks upon him, (and they were many, either open or covert) into the channel of banter or practical joke (giving pain while assuming the aspect of mere fun) rather than into a more serious and determined hostility. But my endeavours on this head were by no means uniformly successful, even when my plans were the most wittily concocted; for my namesake had much about him, in character, of that unassuming and quiet austerity which, while enjoying the poignancy of its own jokes, has no heel of Achilles in itself, and absolutely refuses to be laughed at. I could find, indeed, but one vulnerable point, and that, lying in a personal peculiarity, arising, perhaps, from constitutional disease, would have been spared by any antagonist less at his wit’s end than myself; –my rival had a weakness in the faucal or guttural organs, which precluded him from raising his voice at any time above a very low whisper. Of this defect I did not fall to take what poor advantage lay in my power.

Wilson’s retaliations in kind were many; and there was one form of his practical wit that disturbed me beyond measure. How his sagacity first discovered at all that so petty a thing would vex me, is a question I never could solve; but, having discovered, he habitually practised the annoyance. I had always felt aversion to my uncourtly patronymic, and its very common, if not plebeian praenomen. The words were venom in my ears; and when, upon the day of my arrival, a second William Wilson came also to the academy, I felt angry with him for bearing the name, and doubly disgusted with the name because a stranger bore it, who would be the cause of its twofold repetition, who would be constantly in my presence, and whose concerns, in the ordinary routine of the school business, must inevitably, on account of the detestable coincidence, be often confounded with my own.

The feeling of vexation thus engendered grew stronger with every circumstance tending to show resemblance, moral or physical, between my rival and myself. I had not then discovered the remarkable fact that we were of the same age; but I saw that we were of the same height, and I perceived that we were even singularly alike in general contour of person and outline of feature. I was galled, too, by the rumor touching a relationship, which had grown current in the upper forms. In a word, nothing could more seriously disturb me, although I scrupulously concealed such disturbance,) than any allusion to a similarity of mind, person, or condition existing between us. But, in truth, I had no reason to believe that (with the exception of the matter of relationship, and in the case of Wilson himself,) this similarity had ever been made a subject of comment, or even observed at all by our schoolfellows. That he observed it in all its bearings, and as fixedly as I, was apparent; but that he could discover in such circumstances so fruitful a field of annoyance, can only be attributed, as I said before, to his more than ordinary penetration.

His cue, which was to perfect an imitation of myself, lay both in words and in actions; and most admirably did he play his part. My dress it was an easy matter to copy; my gait and general manner were, without difficulty, appropriated; in spite of his constitutional defect, even my voice did not escape him. My louder tones were, of course, unattempted, but then the key, it was identical; and his singular whisper, it grew the very echo of my own.

How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it could not justly be termed a caricature,) I will not now venture to describe. I had but one consolation –in the fact that the imitation, apparently, was noticed by myself alone, and that I had to endure only the knowing and strangely sarcastic smiles of my namesake himself. Satisfied with having produced in my bosom the intended effect, he seemed to chuckle in secret over the sting he had inflicted, and was characteristically disregardful of the public applause which the success of his witty endeavours might have so easily elicited. That the school, indeed, did not feel his design, perceive its accomplishment, and participate in his sneer, was, for many anxious months, a riddle I could not resolve. Perhaps the gradation of his copy rendered it not so readily perceptible; or, more possibly, I owed my security to the master air of the copyist, who, disdaining the letter, (which in a painting is all the obtuse can see,) gave but the full spirit of his original for my individual contemplation and chagrin.

I have already more than once spoken of the disgusting air of patronage which he assumed toward me, and of his frequent officious interference withy my will. This interference often took the ungracious character of advice; advice not openly given, but hinted or insinuated. I received it with a repugnance which gained strength as I grew in years. Yet, at this distant day, let me do him the simple justice to acknowledge that I can recall no occasion when the suggestions of my rival were on the side of those errors or follies so usual to his immature age and seeming inexperience; that his moral sense, at least, if not his general talents and worldly wisdom, was far keener than my own; and that I might, to-day, have been a better, and thus a happier man, had I less frequently rejected the counsels embodied in those meaning whispers which I then but too cordially hated and too bitterly despised.

As it was, I at length grew restive in the extreme under his distasteful supervision, and daily resented more and more openly what I considered his intolerable arrogance. I have said that, in the first years of our connexion as schoolmates, my feelings in regard to him might have been easily ripened into friendship: but, in the latter months of my residence at the academy, although the intrusion of his ordinary manner had, beyond doubt, in some measure, abated, my sentiments, in nearly similar proportion, partook very much of positive hatred. Upon one occasion he saw this, I think, and afterwards avoided, or made a show of avoiding me.

It was about the same period, if I remember aright, that, in an altercation of violence with him, in which he was more than usually thrown off his guard, and spoke and acted with an openness of demeanor rather foreign to his nature, I discovered, or fancied I discovered, in his accent, his air, and general appearance, a something which first startled, and then deeply interested me, by bringing to mind dim visions of my earliest infancy –wild, confused and thronging memories of a time when memory herself was yet unborn. I cannot better describe the sensation which oppressed me than by saying that I could with difficulty shake off the belief of my having been acquainted with the being who stood before me, at some epoch very long ago –some point of the past even infinitely remote. The delusion, however, faded rapidly as it came; and I mention it at all but to define the day of the last conversation I there held with my singular namesake.

The huge old house, with its countless subdivisions, had several large chambers communicating with each other, where slept the greater number of the students. There were, however, (as must necessarily happen in a building so awkwardly planned,) many little nooks or recesses, the odds and ends of the structure; and these the economic ingenuity of Dr. Bransby had also fitted up as dormitories; although, being the merest closets, they were capable of accommodating but a single individual. One of these small apartments was occupied by Wilson.

One night, about the close of my fifth year at the school, and immediately after the altercation just mentioned, finding every one wrapped in sleep, I arose from bed, and, lamp in hand, stole through a wilderness of narrow passages from my own bedroom to that of my rival. I had long been plotting one of those ill-natured pieces of practical wit at his expense in which I had hitherto been so uniformly unsuccessful. It was my intention, now, to put my scheme in operation, and I resolved to make him feel the whole extent of the malice with which I was imbued. Having reached his closet, I noiselessly entered, leaving the lamp, with a shade over it, on the outside. I advanced a step, and listened to the sound of his tranquil breathing. Assured of his being asleep, I returned, took the light, and with it again approached the bed. Close curtains were around it, which, in the prosecution of my plan, I slowly and quietly withdrew, when the bright rays fell vividly upon the sleeper, and my eyes, at the same moment, upon his countenance. I looked; –and a numbness, an iciness of feeling instantly pervaded my frame. My breast heaved, my knees tottered, my whole spirit became possessed with an objectless yet intolerable horror. Gasping for breath, I lowered the lamp in still nearer proximity to the face. Were these –these the lineaments of William Wilson? I saw, indeed, that they were his, but I shook as if with a fit of the ague in fancying they were not. What was there about them to confound me in this manner? I gazed; –while my brain reeled with a multitude of incoherent thoughts. Not thus he appeared –assuredly not thus –in the vivacity of his waking hours. The same name! the same contour of person! the same day of arrival at the academy! And then his dogged and meaningless imitation of my gait, my voice, my habits, and my manner! Was it, in truth, within the bounds of human possibility, that what I now saw was the result, merely, of the habitual practice of this sarcastic imitation? Awe-stricken, and with a creeping shudder, I extinguished the lamp, passed silently from the chamber, and left, at once, the halls of that old academy, never to enter them again.

After a lapse of some months, spent at home in mere idleness, I found myself a student at Eton. The brief interval had been sufficient to enfeeble my remembrance of the events at Dr. Bransby’s, or at least to effect a material change in the nature of the feelings with which I remembered them. The truth –the tragedy –of the drama was no more. I could now find room to doubt the evidence of my senses; and seldom called up the subject at all but with wonder at extent of human credulity, and a smile at the vivid force of the imagination which I hereditarily possessed. Neither was this species of scepticism likely to be diminished by the character of the life I led at Eton. The vortex of thoughtless folly into which I there so immediately and so recklessly plunged, washed away all but the froth of my past hours, engulfed at once every solid or serious impression, and left to memory only the veriest levities of a former existence.

I do not wish, however, to trace the course of my miserable profligacy here –a profligacy which set at defiance the laws, while it eluded the vigilance of the institution. Three years of folly, passed without profit, had but given me rooted habits of vice, and added, in a somewhat unusual degree, to my bodily stature, when, after a week of soulless dissipation, I invited a small party of the most dissolute students to a secret carousal in my chambers. We met at a late hour of the night; for our debaucheries were to be faithfully protracted until morning. The wine flowed freely, and there were not wanting other and perhaps more dangerous seductions; so that the gray dawn had already faintly appeared in the east, while our delirious extravagance was at its height. Madly flushed with cards and intoxication, I was in the act of insisting upon a toast of more than wonted profanity, when my attention was suddenly diverted by the violent, although partial unclosing of the door of the apartment, and by the eager voice of a servant from without. He said that some person, apparently in great haste, demanded to speak with me in the hall.

Wildly excited with wine, the unexpected interruption rather delighted than surprised me. I staggered forward at once, and a few steps brought me to the vestibule of the building. In this low and small room there hung no lamp; and now no light at all was admitted, save that of the exceedingly feeble dawn which made its way through the semi-circular window. As I put my foot over the threshold, I became aware of the figure of a youth about my own height, and habited in a white kerseymere morning frock, cut in the novel fashion of the one I myself wore at the moment. This the faint light enabled me to perceive; but the features of his face I could not distinguish. Upon my entering he strode hurriedly up to me, and, seizing me by. the arm with a gesture of petulant impatience, whispered the words “William Wilson!” in my ear.

I grew perfectly sober in an instant. There was that in the manner of the stranger, and in the tremulous shake of his uplifted finger, as he held it between my eyes and the light, which filled me with unqualified amazement; but it was not this which had so violently moved me. It was the pregnancy of solemn admonition in the singular, low, hissing utterance; and, above all, it was the character, the tone, the key, of those few, simple, and familiar, yet whispered syllables, which came with a thousand thronging memories of bygone days, and struck upon my soul with the shock of a galvanic battery. Ere I could recover the use of my senses he was gone.

Although this event failed not of a vivid effect upon my disordered imagination, yet was it evanescent as vivid. For some weeks, indeed, I busied myself in earnest inquiry, or was wrapped in a cloud of morbid speculation. I did not pretend to disguise from my perception the identity of the singular individual who thus perseveringly interfered with my affairs, and harassed me with his insinuated counsel. But who and what was this Wilson? –and whence came he? –and what were his purposes? Upon neither of these points could I be satisfied; merely ascertaining, in regard to him, that a sudden accident in his family had caused his removal from Dr. Bransby’s academy on the afternoon of the day in which I myself had eloped. But in a brief period I ceased to think upon the subject; my attention being all absorbed in a contemplated departure for Oxford. Thither I soon went; the uncalculating vanity of my parents furnishing me with an outfit and annual establishment, which would enable me to indulge at will in the luxury already so dear to my heart, –to vie in profuseness of expenditure with the haughtiest heirs of the wealthiest earldoms in Great Britain.

Excited by such appliances to vice, my constitutional temperament broke forth with redoubled ardor, and I spurned even the common restraints of decency in the mad infatuation of my revels. But it were absurd to pause in the detail of my extravagance. Let it suffice, that among spendthrifts I out-Heroded Herod, and that, giving name to a multitude of novel follies, I added no brief appendix to the long catalogue of vices then usual in the most dissolute university of Europe.

It could hardly be credited, however, that I had, even here, so utterly fallen from the gentlemanly estate, as to seek acquaintance with the vilest arts of the gambler by profession, and, having become an adept in his despicable science, to practise it habitually as a means of increasing my already enormous income at the expense of the weak-minded among my fellow-collegians. Such, nevertheless, was the fact. And the very enormity of this offence against all manly and honourable sentiment proved, beyond doubt, the main if not the sole reason of the impunity with which it was committed. Who, indeed, among my most abandoned associates, would not rather have disputed the clearest evidence of his senses, than have suspected of such courses, the gay, the frank, the generous William Wilson –the noblest and most commoner at Oxford –him whose follies (said his parasites) were but the follies of youth and unbridled fancy –whose errors but inimitable whim –whose darkest vice but a careless and dashing extravagance?

I had been now two years successfully busied in this way, when there came to the university a young parvenu nobleman, Glendinning –rich, said report, as Herodes Atticus –his riches, too, as easily acquired. I soon found him of weak intellect, and, of course, marked him as a fitting subject for my skill. I frequently engaged him in play, and contrived, with the gambler’s usual art, to let him win considerable sums, the more effectually to entangle him in my snares. At length, my schemes being ripe, I met him (with the full intention that this meeting should be final and decisive) at the chambers of a fellow-commoner, (Mr. Preston,) equally intimate with both, but who, to do him Justice, entertained not even a remote suspicion of my design. To give to this a better colouring, I had contrived to have assembled a party of some eight or ten, and was solicitously careful that the introduction of cards should appear accidental, and originate in the proposal of my contemplated dupe himself. To be brief upon a vile topic, none of the low finesse was omitted, so customary upon similar occasions that it is a just matter for wonder how any are still found so besotted as to fall its victim.

We had protracted our sitting far into the night, and I had at length effected the manoeuvre of getting Glendinning as my sole antagonist. The game, too, was my favorite ecarte!. The rest of the company, interested in the extent of our play, had abandoned their own cards, and were standing around us as spectators. The parvenu, who had been induced by my artifices in the early part of the evening, to drink deeply, now shuffled, dealt, or played, with a wild nervousness of manner for which his intoxication, I thought, might partially, but could not altogether account. In a very short period he had become my debtor to a large amount, when, having taken a long draught of port, he did precisely what I had been coolly anticipating –he proposed to double our already extravagant stakes. With a well-feigned show of reluctance, and not until after my repeated refusal had seduced him into some angry words which gave a color of pique to my compliance, did I finally comply. The result, of course, did but prove how entirely the prey was in my toils; in less than an hour he had quadrupled his debt. For some time his countenance had been losing the florid tinge lent it by the wine; but now, to my astonishment, I perceived that it had grown to a pallor truly fearful. I say to my astonishment. Glendinning had been represented to my eager inquiries as immeasurably wealthy; and the sums which he had as yet lost, although in themselves vast, could not, I supposed, very seriously annoy, much less so violently affect him. That he was overcome by the wine just swallowed, was the idea which most readily presented itself; and, rather with a view to the preservation of my own character in the eyes of my associates, than from any less interested motive, I was about to insist, peremptorily, upon a discontinuance of the play, when some expressions at my elbow from among the company, and an ejaculation evincing utter despair on the part of Glendinning, gave me to understand that I had effected his total ruin under circumstances which, rendering him an object for the pity of all, should have protected him from the ill offices even of a fiend.

What now might have been my conduct it is difficult to say. The pitiable condition of my dupe had thrown an air of embarrassed gloom over all; and, for some moments, a profound silence was maintained, during which I could not help feeling my cheeks tingle with the many burning glances of scorn or reproach cast upon me by the less abandoned of the party. I will even own that an intolerable weight of anxiety was for a brief instant lifted from my bosom by the sudden and extraordinary interruption which ensued. The wide, heavy folding doors of the apartment were all at once thrown open, to their full extent, with a vigorous and rushing impetuosity that extinguished, as if by magic, every candle in the room. Their light, in dying, enabled us just to perceive that a stranger had entered, about my own height, and closely muffled in a cloak. The darkness, however, was now total; and we could only feel that he was standing in our midst. Before any one of us could recover from the extreme astonishment into which this rudeness had thrown all, we heard the voice of the intruder.

“Gentlemen,” he said, in a low, distinct, and never-to-be-forgotten whisper which thrilled to the very marrow of my bones, “Gentlemen, I make no apology for this behaviour, because in thus behaving, I am but fulfilling a duty. You are, beyond doubt, uninformed of the true character of the person who has to-night won at ecarte a large sum of money from Lord Glendinning. I will therefore put you upon an expeditious and decisive plan of obtaining this very necessary information. Please to examine, at your leisure, the inner linings of the cuff of his left sleeve, and the several little packages which may be found in the somewhat capacious pockets of his embroidered morning wrapper.”

While he spoke, so profound was the stillness that one might have heard a pin drop upon the floor. In ceasing, he departed at once, and as abruptly as he had entered. Can I –shall I describe my sensations? –must I say that I felt all the horrors of the damned? Most assuredly I had little time given for reflection. Many hands roughly seized me upon the spot, and lights were immediately reprocured. A search ensued. In the lining of my sleeve were found all the court cards essential in ecarte, and, in the pockets of my wrapper, a number of packs, facsimiles of those used at our sittings, with the single exception that mine were of the species called, technically, arrondees; the honours being slightly convex at the ends, the lower cards slightly convex at the sides. In this disposition, the dupe who cuts, as customary, at the length of the pack, will invariably find that he cuts his antagonist an honor; while the gambler, cutting at the breadth, will, as certainly, cut nothing for his victim which may count in the records of the game.

Any burst of indignation upon this discovery would have affected me less than the silent contempt, or the sarcastic composure, with which it was received.

“Mr. Wilson,” said our host, stooping to remove from beneath his feet an exceedingly luxurious cloak of rare furs, “Mr. Wilson, this is your property.” (The weather was cold; and, upon quitting my own room, I had thrown a cloak over my dressing wrapper, putting it off upon reaching the scene of play.) “I presume it is supererogatory to seek here (eyeing the folds of the garment with a bitter smile) for any farther evidence of your skill. Indeed, we have had enough. You will see the necessity, I hope, of quitting Oxford –at all events, of quitting instantly my chambers.”

Abased, humbled to the dust as I then was, it is probable that I should have resented this galling language by immediate personal violence, had not my whole attention been at the moment arrested by a fact of the most startling character. The cloak which I had worn was of a rare description of fur; how rare, how extravagantly costly, I shall not venture to say. Its fashion, too, was of my own fantastic invention; for I was fastidious to an absurd degree of coxcombry, in matters of this frivolous nature. When, therefore, Mr. Preston reached me that which he had picked up upon the floor, and near the folding doors of the apartment, it was with an astonishment nearly bordering upon terror, that I perceived my own already hanging on my arm, (where I had no doubt unwittingly placed it,) and that the one presented me was but its exact counterpart in every, in even the minutest possible particular. The singular being who had so disastrously exposed me, had been muffled, I remembered, in a cloak; and none had been worn at all by any of the members of our party with the exception of myself. Retaining some presence of mind, I took the one offered me by Preston; placed it, unnoticed, over my own; left the apartment with a resolute scowl of defiance; and, next morning ere dawn of day, commenced a hurried journey from Oxford to the continent, in a perfect agony of horror and of shame.

I fled in vain. My evil destiny pursued me as if in exultation, and proved, indeed, that the exercise of its mysterious dominion had as yet only begun. Scarcely had I set foot in Paris ere I had fresh evidence of the detestable interest taken by this Wilson in my concerns. Years flew, while I experienced no relief. Villain! –at Rome, with how untimely, yet with how spectral an officiousness, stepped he in between me and my ambition! At Vienna, too –at Berlin –and at Moscow! Where, in truth, had I not bitter cause to curse him within my heart? From his inscrutable tyranny did I at length flee, panic-stricken, as from a pestilence; and to the very ends of the earth I fled in vain.

And again, and again, in secret communion with my own spirit, would I demand the questions “Who is he? –whence came he? –and what are his objects?” But no answer was there found. And then I scrutinized, with a minute scrutiny, the forms, and the methods, and the leading traits of his impertinent supervision. But even here there was very little upon which to base a conjecture. It was noticeable, indeed, that, in no one of the multiplied instances in which he had of late crossed my path, had he so crossed it except to frustrate those schemes, or to disturb those actions, which, if fully carried out, might have resulted in bitter mischief. Poor justification this, in truth, for an authority so imperiously assumed! Poor indemnity for natural rights of self-agency so pertinaciously, so insultingly denied!

I had also been forced to notice that my tormentor, for a very long period of time, (while scrupulously and with miraculous dexterity maintaining his whim of an identity of apparel with myself,) had so contrived it, in the execution of his varied interference with my will, that I saw not, at any moment, the features of his face. Be Wilson what he might, this, at least, was but the veriest of affectation, or of folly. Could he, for an instant, have supposed that, in my admonisher at Eton –in the destroyer of my honor at Oxford, –in him who thwarted my ambition at Rome, my revenge at Paris, my passionate love at Naples, or what he falsely termed my avarice in Egypt, –that in this, my arch-enemy and evil genius, could fall to recognise the William Wilson of my school boy days, –the namesake, the companion, the rival, –the hated and dreaded rival at Dr. Bransby’s? Impossible! –But let me hasten to the last eventful scene of the drama.

Thus far I had succumbed supinely to this imperious domination. The sentiment of deep awe with which I habitually regarded the elevated character, the majestic wisdom, the apparent omnipresence and omnipotence of Wilson, added to a feeling of even terror, with which certain other traits in his nature and assumptions inspired me, had operated, hitherto, to impress me with an idea of my own utter weakness and helplessness, and to suggest an implicit, although bitterly reluctant submission to his arbitrary will. But, of late days, I had given myself up entirely to wine; and its maddening influence upon my hereditary temper rendered me more and more impatient of control. I began to murmur, –to hesitate, –to resist. And was it only fancy which induced me to believe that, with the increase of my own firmness, that of my tormentor underwent a proportional diminution? Be this as it may, I now began to feel the inspiration of a burning hope, and at length nurtured in my secret thoughts a stern and desperate resolution that I would submit no longer to be enslaved.

It was at Rome, during the Carnival of 18–, that I attended a masquerade in the palazzo of the Neapolitan Duke Di Broglio. I had indulged more freely than usual in the excesses of the wine-table; and now the suffocating atmosphere of the crowded rooms irritated me beyond endurance. The difficulty, too, of forcing my way through the mazes of the company contributed not a little to the ruffling of my temper; for I was anxiously seeking, (let me not say with what unworthy motive) the young, the gay, the beautiful wife of the aged and doting Di Broglio. With a too unscrupulous confidence she had previously communicated to me the secret of the costume in which she would be habited, and now, having caught a glimpse of her person, I was hurrying to make my way into her presence. –At this moment I felt a light hand placed upon my shoulder, and that ever-remembered, low, damnable whisper within my ear.

In an absolute phrenzy of wrath, I turned at once upon him who had thus interrupted me, and seized him violently by tile collar. He was attired, as I had expected, in a costume altogether similar to my own; wearing a Spanish cloak of blue velvet, begirt about the waist with a crimson belt sustaining a rapier. A mask of black silk entirely covered his face.

“Scoundrel!” I said, in a voice husky with rage, while every syllable I uttered seemed as new fuel to my fury, “scoundrel! impostor! accursed villain! you shall not –you shall not dog me unto death! Follow me, or I stab you where you stand!” –and I broke my way from the ball-room into a small ante-chamber adjoining –dragging him unresistingly with me as I went.

Upon entering, I thrust him furiously from me. He staggered against the wall, while I closed the door with an oath, and commanded him to draw. He hesitated but for an instant; then, with a slight sigh, drew in silence, and put himself upon his defence.

The contest was brief indeed. I was frantic with every species of wild excitement, and felt within my single arm the energy and power of a multitude. In a few seconds I forced him by sheer strength against the wainscoting, and thus, getting him at mercy, plunged my sword, with brute ferocity, repeatedly through and through his bosom.

At that instant some person tried the latch of the door. I hastened to prevent an intrusion, and then immediately returned to my dying antagonist. But what human language can adequately portray that astonishment, that horror which possessed me at the spectacle then presented to view? The brief moment in which I averted my eyes had been sufficient to produce, apparently, a material change in the arrangements at the upper or farther end of the room. A large mirror, –so at first it seemed to me in my confusion –now stood where none had been perceptible before; and, as I stepped up to it in extremity of terror, mine own image, but with features all pale and dabbled in blood, advanced to meet me with a feeble and tottering gait.

Thus it appeared, I say, but was not. It was my antagonist –it was Wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dissolution. His mask and cloak lay, where he had thrown them, upon the floor. Not a thread in all his raiment –not a line in all the marked and singular lineaments of his face which was not, even in the most absolute identity, mine own!

It was Wilson; but he spoke no longer in a whisper, and I could have fancied that I myself was speaking while he said:

“You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead –dead to the World, to Heaven and to Hope! In me didst thou exist –and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself.”


The Sandman

The Sandman

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Click picture to read on

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There is nobody in the world who knows so many stories as Ole-Luk-Oie, or who can relate them so nicely. In the evening, while the children are seated at the table or in their little chairs, he comes up the stairs very softly, for he walks in his socks, then he opens the doors without the slightest noise, and throws a small quantity of very fine dust in their eyes, just enough to prevent them from keeping them open, and so they do not see him. Then he creeps behind them, and blows softly upon their necks, till their heads begin to droop. But Ole-Luk-Oie does not wish to hurt them, for he is very fond of children, and only wants them to be quiet that he may relate to them pretty stories, and they never are quiet until they are in bed and asleep. As soon as they are asleep, Ole-Luk-Oie seats himself upon the bed. He is nicely dressed; his coat is made of silken fabric; it is impossible to say of what color, for it changes from green to red, and from red to blue as he turns from side to side. Under each arm he carries an umbrella; one of them, with pictures on the inside, he spreads over the good children, and then they dream the most beautiful stories the whole night. But the other umbrella has no pictures, and this he holds over the naughty children so that they sleep heavily, and wake in the morning without having dreams at all.

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The Sandman
by E.T.A. Hoffmann

NATHANEL TO LOTHAIRE

Certainly you must all be uneasy that I have not written for so long – so very long. My mother, am sure, is angry, and Clara will believe that I am passing my time in dissipation, entirely forgetful of her fair, angelic image that is so deeply imprinted on my heart. Such, however, is not the case. Daily and hourly I think of you all; and the dear form of my lovely Clara passes before me in my dreams, smiling upon me with her bright eyes as she did when I was among you. But how can I write to you in the distracted mood which has been disturbing my every thought! A horrible thing has crossed my path. Dark forebodings of a cruel, threatening fate tower over me like dark clouds, which no friendly sunbeam can penetrate. I will now tell you what has occurred. I must do so – that I plainly see – the mere thought of it sets me laughing like a madman. Ah, my dear Lothaire, how shall I begin ? How shall I make you in any way realize that what happened to me a few days ago can really have had such a fatal effect on my life? If you were here you could see for yourself; but, as it is, you will certainly take me for a crazy fellow who sees ghosts. To be brief, this horrible occurrence, the painful impression of which I am in vain endeavoring to throw off, is nothing more than this – that some days ago, namely on the 30th of October at twelve o’clock noon, a barometer-dealer came into my room and offered me his wares. I bought nothing, and threatened to throw him downstairs, upon which he took himself off of his own accord.

Only circumstances of the most peculiar kind, you will suspect, and exerting the greatest influence over my life, can have given any import to this occurrence. Moreover, the person of that unlucky dealer must have had an evil effect upon me. So it was, indeed. I must use every endeavor to collect myself, and patiently and quietly tell you so much of my early youth as will bring the picture plainly and clearly before your eyes. As I am about to begin, I fancy that I hear you laughing, and Clara exclaiming, ‘Childish stories indeed!’ Laugh at me, I beg of you, laugh with all your heart. But, oh God! my hair stands on end, and it is in mad despair that I seem to be inviting your laughter, as Franz Moor did Daniel’s in Schiller’s play. But to my story.

Excepting at dinner-time I and my brothers and sisters used to see my father very little during the day. He was, perhaps, busily engaged at his ordinary profession. After supper, which was served according to the old custom at seven o’clock, we all went with my mother into my father’s study, and seated ourselves at the round table, where he would smoke and drink his large glass of beer. Often he told us wonderful stories, and grew so warm over them that his pipe continually went out. Whereupon I had to light it again with a burning spill, which I thought great sport. Often, too, he would give us picture-books, and sit in his arm-chair, silent and thoughtful, puffing out such thick clouds of smoke that we all seemed to be swimming in the clouds. On such evenings as these my mother was very melancholy, and immediately the clock struck nine she would say: ‘Now, children, to bed – to bed! The Sandman’s coming, I can see.’ And indeed on each occasion I used to hear something with a heavy, slow step come thudding up the stairs. That I thought must be the Sandman.

Once when the dull noise of footsteps was particularly terrifying I asked my mother as she bore us away: ‘Mamma, who is this naughty Sandman, who always drives us away from Papa? What does he look like?’

‘There is no Sandman, dear child,’ replied my mother. ‘When I say the Sandman’s coming, I only mean that you’re sleepy and can’t keep your eyes open – just as if sane had been sprinkled into them.’

This answer of my mother’s did not satisfy me – nay, the thought soon ripened in my childish mind the she only denied the Sandman’s existence to prevent our being terrified of him. Certainly I always heard him coming up the stairs. Most curious to know more of this Sandman and his particular connection with children, I at last asked the old woman who looked after my youngest sister what sort of man he was.

‘Eh, Natty,’ said she, ‘don’t you know that yet? He is a wicked man, who comes to children when they won’t go to bed, and throws a handful of sand into their eyes, so that they start out bleeding from their heads. He puts their eyes in a bag and carries them to the crescent moon to feed his own children, who sit in the nest up there. They have crooked beaks like owls so that they can pick up the eyes of naughty human children.’

A most frightful picture of the cruel Sandman became impressed upon my mind; so that when in the evening I heard the noise on the stairs I trembled with agony and alarm, and my mother could get nothing out of me but the cry, ‘The Sandman, the Sandman!’ stuttered forth through my tears. I then ran into the bedroom, where the frightful apparition of the Sandman terrified me during the whole night.

I had already grown old enough to realize that the nurse’s tale about him and the nest of children in the crescent moon could not be quite true, but nevertheless this Sandman remained a fearful spectre, and I was seized with the utmost horror when I heard him once, not only come up the stairs, but violently force my father’s door open and go in. Sometimes he stayed away for a long period, but after that his visits came in close succession. This lasted for years, but I could not accustom myself to the terrible goblin; the image of the dreadful Sandman did not become any fainter. His intercourse with my father began more and more to occupy my fancy. Yet an unconquerable fear prevented me from asking my father about it. But if I, I myself, could penetrate the mystery and behold the wondrous Sandman – that was the wish which grew upon me with the years. The Sandman had introduced me to thoughts of the marvels and wonders which so readily gain a hold on a child’s mind. I enjoyed nothing better than reading or hearing horrible stories of goblins, witches, pigmies, etc.; but most horrible of all was the Sandman, whom I was always drawing with chalk or charcoal on the tables, cupboards and walls, in the oddest and most frightful shapes.

When I was ten years old my mother removed me from the night nursery into a little chamber situated in a corridor near my father’s room. Still, as before, we were obliged to make a speedy departure on the stroke of nine, as soon as the unknown step sounded on the stair. From my little chamber I could hear how he entered my father’s room, and then it was that I seemed to detect a thin vapor with a singular odor spreading through the house. Stronger and stronger, with my curiosity, grew my resolution somehow to make the Sandman’s acquaintance. Often I sneaked from my room to the corridor when my mother had passed, but never could I discover anything; for the Sandman had always gone in at the door when I reached the place where I might have seen him. At last, driven by an irresistible impulse, I resolved to hide myself in my father’s room and await his appearance there.

From my father’s silence and my mother’s melancholy face I perceived one evening that the Sandman was coming. I, therefore, feigned great weariness, left the room before nine o’clock, and hid myself in a corner close to the door. The house-door groaned and the heavy, slow, creaking step came up the passage and towards the stairs. My mother passed me with the rest of the children. Softly, very softly, I opened the door of my father’s room. He was sitting, as usual, stiff end silent, with his back to the door. He did not perceive me, and I swiftly darted into the room and behind the curtain which covered an open cupboard close to the door, in which my father’s clothes were hanging. The steps sounded nearer and nearer – there was a strange coughing and scraping and murmuring without. My heart trembled with anxious expectation. A sharp step close, very close, to the door – the quick snap of the latch, and the door opened with a rattling noise. Screwing up my courage to the uttermost, I cautiously peeped out. The Sandman was standing before my father in the middle of the room, the light of the candles shone full upon his face. The Sandman, the fearful Sandman, was the old advocate Coppelius, who had often dined with us.

But the most hideous form could not have inspired me with deeper horror than this very Coppelius. Imagine a large broad-shouldered man, with a head disproportionately big, a face the color of yellow ochre, a pair of bushy grey eyebrows, from beneath which a pair of green cat’s eyes sparkled with the most penetrating luster, and with a large nose curved over his upper lip. His wry mouth was often twisted into a malicious laugh, when a couple of dark red spots appeared upon his cheeks, and a strange hissing sound was heard through his gritted teeth. Coppelius always appeared in an ashen-gray coat, cut in old fashioned style, with waistcoat and breeches of the same color, while his stockings were black, and his shoes adorned with agate buckles.

His little peruke scarcely reached farther than the crown of his head, his curls stood high above his large red ears, and a broad hair-bag projected stiffly from his neck, so that the silver clasp which fastened his folded cravat might be plainly seen. His whole figure was hideous and repulsive, but most disgusting to us children were his coarse brown hairy fists. Indeed we did not like to eat anything he had touched with them. This he had noticed, and it was his delight, under some pretext or other, to touch a piece of cake or some nice fruit, that our kind mother might quietly have put on our plates, just for the pleasure of seeing us turn away with tears in our eyes, in disgust and abhorrence, no longer able to enjoy the treat intended for us. He acted in the same manner on holidays, when my father gave us a little glass of sweet wine. Then would he swiftly put his hand over it, or perhaps even raise the glass to his blue lips, laughing most devilishly, and we could only express our indignation by silent sobs. He always called us the little beasts; we dared not utter a sound when he was present, end we heartily cursed the ugly, unkind man who deliberately marred our slightest pleasures. My mother seemed to hate the repulsive Coppelius as much as we did, since as soon as he showed himself her liveliness, her open and cheerful nature, were changed for a gloomy solemnity. My father behaved towards him as though he were a superior being, whose bad manners were to be tolerated and who was to be kept in good humor at any cost. He need only give the slightest hint, and favorite dishes were cooked, the choicest wines served.

When I now saw this Coppelius, the frightful and terrific thought took possession of my soul, that indeed no one but he could be the Sandman. But the Sandman was no longer the bogy of a nurse’s tale, who provided the owl’s nest in the crescent moon with children’s eyes. No, he was a hideous, spectral monster, who brought with him grief, misery and destruction – temporal and eternal – wherever he appeared.

I was riveted to the spot, as if enchanted. At the risk of being discovered and, as I plainly foresaw, of being severely punished, I remained with my head peeping through the curtain. My father received Coppelius with solemnity.

‘Now to our work!’ cried the latter in a harsh, grating voice, as he flung off his coat.

My father silently and gloomily drew off his dressing gown, and both attired themselves in long black frocks. Whence they took these I did not see. My father opened the door of what I had always thought to be a cupboard. But I now saw that it was no cupboard, but rather a black cavity in which there was a little fireplace. Coppelius went to it, and a blue flame began to crackle up on the hearth. All sorts of strange utensils lay around. Heavens! As my old father stooped down to the fire, he looked quite another man. Some convulsive pain seemed to have distorted his mild features into a repulsive, diabolical countenance. He looked like Coppelius, whom I saw brandishing red-hot tongs, which he used to take glowing masses out of the thick smoke; which objects he afterwards hammered. I seemed to catch a glimpse of human faces lying around without any eyes – but with deep holes instead.

‘Eyes here’ eyes!’ roared Coppelius tonelessly. Overcome by the wildest terror, I shrieked out and fell from my hiding place upon the floor. Coppelius seized me and, baring his teeth, bleated out, ‘Ah – little wretch – little wretch!’ Then he dragged me up and flung me on the hearth, where the fire began to singe my hair. ‘Now we have eyes enough – a pretty pair of child’s eyes,’ he whispered, and, taking some red-hot grains out of the flames with his bare hands, he was about to sprinkle them in my eyes.

My father upon this raised his hands in supplication, crying: ‘Master, master, leave my Nathaniel his eyes!’

Whereupon Coppelius answered with a shrill laugh: ‘Well, let the lad have his eyes and do his share of the world’s crying, but we will examine the mechanism of his hands and feet.’

And then he seized me so roughly that my joints cracked, and screwed off my hands and feet, afterwards putting them back again, one after the other. ‘There’s something wrong here,’ he mumbled. ‘But now it’s as good as ever. The old man has caught the idea!’ hissed and lisped Coppelius. But all around me became black, a sudden cramp darted through my bones and nerves – and I lost consciousness. A gentle warm breath passed over my face; I woke as from the sleep of death. My mother had been stooping over me.

‘Is the Sandman still there?’ I stammered.

‘No, no, my dear child, he has gone away long ago – he won’t hurt you!’ said my mother, kissing her darling, as he regained his senses.

Why should I weary you, my dear Lothaire, with diffuse details, when I have so much more to tell ? Suffice it to say that I had been discovered eavesdropping and ill-used by Coppelius. Agony and terror had brought on delirium and fever, from which I lay sick for several weeks.

‘Is the Sandman still there?’ That was my first sensible word and the sign of my amendment – my recovery. I have only to tell you now of this most frightful moment in all my youth, and you will be convinced that it is no fault of my eyes that everything seems colorless to me. You will, indeed, know that a dark fatality has hung over my life a gloomy veil of clouds, which I shall perhaps only tear away in death.

Coppelius was no more to be seen; it was said he had left the town.

About a year might have elapsed, and we were sitting, as of old, at the round table. My father was very cheerful, and was entertaining us with stories about his travels in his youth; when, as the clock struck nine, we heard the house-door groan on its hinges, and slow steps, heavy as lead, creaked through the passage and up the stairs.

‘That is Coppelius,’ said my mother, turning pale.

‘Yes! – that is Coppelius” repeated my father in a faint, broken voice. The tears started to my mother’s eyes.

‘But father – father!’ she cried, ‘must it be so?’

‘He is coming for the last time, I promise you,’ was the answer. ‘Only go now, go with the children – go – go to bed. Good night!’

I felt as if I were turned to cold, heavy stone – my breath stopped. My mother caught me by the arm as I stood immovable. ‘Come, come, Nathaniel!’ I allowed myself to be led, and entered my chamber! ‘Be quiet – be quiet – go to bed – go to sleep!’ cried my mother after me; but tormented by restlessness and an inward anguish perfectly indescribable, I could not close my eyes.

The hateful, abominable Coppelius stood before me with fiery eyes, and laughed maliciously at me. It was in vain that I endeavored to get rid of his image. About midnight there was a frightful noise, like the firing of a gun. The whole house resounded. There was a rattling and rustling by my door, and the house door was closed with a violent bang.

‘That is Coppelius !’ I cried, springing out of bed in terror.

Then there was a shriek, as of acute, inconsolable grief. I darted into my father’s room; the door was open, a suffocating smoke rolled towards me, and the servant girl cried: ‘Ah, my master, my master!’ On the floor of the smoking hearth lay my father dead, with his face burned, blackened and hideously distorted – my sisters were shrieking and moaning around him – and my mother had fainted.

‘Coppelius! – cursed devil! You have slain my father!’ I cried, and lost my senses.

When, two days afterwards, my father was laid in his coffin, his features were again as mild and gentle as they had been in his life. My soul was comforted by the thought that his compact with the satanic Coppelius could not have plunged him into eternal perdition.

The explosion had awakened the neighbors, the occurrence had become common talk, and had reached the ears of the magistracy, who wished to make Coppelius answerable. He had, however, vanished from the spot, without leaving a trace.

If I tell you, my dear friend, that the barometer-dealer was the accursed Coppelius himself, you will not blame me for regarding so unpropitious a phenomenon as the omen of some dire calamity. He was dressed differently, but the figure and features of Coppelius are too deeply imprinted in my mind for an error in this respect to be possible. Besides, Coppelius has not even altered his name. He describes himself, I am told, as a Piedmontese optician, and calls himself Giuseppe Coppola.

I am determined to deal with him, and to avenge my father’s death, be the issue what it may.

Tell my mother nothing of the hideous monster’s appearance. Remember me to my dear sweet Clara, to whom I will write in a calmer mood. Farewell.

CLARA TO NATHANIEL

It is true that you have not written to me for a long time; but, nevertheless, I believe that I am still in your mind and thoughts. For assuredly you were thinking of me most intently when, designing to send your last letter to my brother Lothaire, you directed it to me instead of to him. I joyfully opened the letter, and did not perceive my error till I came to the words: ‘Ah, my dear Lothaire.’

NO, by rights I should have read no farther, but should have handed over the letter to my brother. Although you have often, in your childish teasing mood, charged me with having such a quiet, womanish, steady disposition, that, even if the house were about to fall in, I should smooth down a wrong fold in the window curtain in a most ladylike manner before I ran away, I can hardly tell you how your letter shocked me. I could scarcely breathe—–the light danced before my eyes.

Ah, my dear Nathaniel, how could such a horrible thing have crossed your path ? To be parted from you, never to see you again – the thought darted through my breast like a burning dagger. I read on and on. Your description of the repulsive Coppelius is terrifying. I learned for the first time the violent manner of your good old father’s death. My brother Lothaire, to whom I surrendered the letter, sought to calm me, but in vain. The fatal barometer dealer, Giuseppe Coppola, followed me at every step; and I am almost ashamed to confess that he disturbed my healthy and usually peaceful sleep with all sorts of horrible visions. Yet soon even the next day – I was quite changed again. Do not be offended, dearest one, if Lothaire tells you that in spite of your strange fears that Coppelius will in some manner injure you, I am in the same cheerful and unworried mood as ever.

I must honestly confess that, in my opinion, all the terrible things of which you speak occurred merely in your own mind, and had little to do with the actual external world. Old Coppelius may have been repulsive enough, but his hatred of children was what really caused the abhorrence you children felt towards him.

In your childish mind the frightful Sandman in the nurse’s tale was naturally associated with old Coppelius. Why, even if you had not believed in the Sandman, Coppelius would still have seemed to you a monster, especially dangerous to children. The awful business which he carried on at night with your father was no more than this: that they were making alchemical experiments in secret, which much distressed your mother since, besides a great deal of money being wasted, your father’s mind was filled with a fallacious desire after higher wisdom, and so alienated from his family – as they say is always the case with such experimentalists. Your father, no doubt, occasioned his own death, by some act of carelessness of which Coppelius was completely guiltless. Let me tell you that I yesterday asked our neighbor, the apothecary, whether such a sudden and fatal explosion was possible in these chemical experiments?

‘Certainly,’ he replied and, after his fashion, told me at great length and very circumstantially how such an event might take place, uttering a number of strange-sounding names which I am unable to recollect. Now, I know you will be angry with your Clara; you will say that her cold nature is impervious to any ray of the mysterious, which often embraces man with invisible arms; that she only sees the variegated surface of the world, and is as delighted as a silly child at some glittering golden fruit, which contains within it a deadly poison.

Ah ! my dear Nathaniel! Can you not then believe that even in open, cheerful, careless minds may dwell the suspicion of some dread power which endeavors to destroy us in our own selves ? Forgive me, if I, a silly girl, presume in any manner to present to you my thoughts on such an internal struggle. I shall not find the right words, of course, and you will laugh at me, not because my thoughts are foolish, but because I express them so clumsily.

If there is a dark and hostile power, laying its treacherous toils within us, by which it holds us fast and draws us along the path of peril and destruction, which we should not otherwise have trod; if, I say there is such a power, it must form itself inside us and out of ourselves, indeed; it must become identical with ourselves. For it is only in this condition that we can believe in it, and grant it the room which it requires to accomplish its secret work. Now, if we have a mind which is sufficiently firm, sufficiently strengthened by the joy of life, always to recognize this strange enemy as such, and calmly to follow the path of our own inclination and calling, then the dark power will fail in its attempt to gain a form that shall be a reflection of ourselves. Lothaire adds that if we have willingly yielded ourselves up to the dark powers, they are known often to impress upon our minds any strange, unfamiliar shape which the external world has thrown in our way; so that we ourselves kindle the spirit, which we in our strange delusion believe to be speaking to us. It is the phantom of our own selves, the close relationship with which, and its deep operation on our mind, casts us into hell or transports us into heaven.

You see, dear Nathaniel, how freely Lothaire and I are giving our opinion on the subject of the dark powers; which subject, to judge by my difficulties in writing down. its most important features, appears to be a complicated one. Lothaire’s last words I do not quite comprehend. I can only suspect what he means, and yet I feel as if it were all very true. Get the gruesome advocate Coppelius, and the barometer-dealer, Giuseppe Coppola, quite out of your head, I beg of you. Be convinced that these strange fears have no power over you, and that it is only a belief in their hostile influence that can make them hostile in reality. If the great disturbance in your mind did not speak from every line of your letter, if your situation did not give me the deepest pain, I could joke about the Sandman-Advocate and the barometer dealer Coppelius. Cheer up, I have determined to play the part of your guardian-spirit. If the ugly Coppelius takes it into his head to annoy you in your dreams, I’ll scare him away with loud peals of laughter. I am not a bit afraid of him nor of his disgusting hands; he shall neither spoil my sweetmeats as an Advocate, nor my eyes as a Sandman. Ever yours, my dear Nathaniel.

NATHANIEL TO LOTHAIRE

I am very sorry that in consequence of the error occasioned by my distracted state of mind, Clara broke open the letter intended for you, and read it. She has written me a very profound philosophical epistle, in which she proves, at great length, that Coppelius and Coppola only exist in my own mind, and are phantoms of myself, which will be dissipated directly I recognize them as such. Indeed, it is quite incredible that the mind which so often peers out of those bright, smiling, childish eyes with all the charm of a dream, could make such intelligent professorial definitions. She cites you – you, it seems have been talking about me. I suppose you read her logical lectures, so that she may learn to separate and sift all matters acutely. No more of that, please. Besides, it is quite certain that the barometer-dealer, Giuseppe Coppola, is not the advocate Coppelius. I attend the lectures of the professor of physics, who has lately arrived. His name is the same as that of the famous natural philosopher Spalanzani, and he is of Italian origin. He has known Coppola for years and, moreover, it is clear from his accent that he is really a Piedmontese. Coppelius was a German, but I think no honest one. Calmed I am not, and though you and Clara may consider me a gloomy visionary, I cannot get rid of the impression which the accursed face of Coppelius makes upon me. I am glad that Coppola has left the town – so Spalanzani says.

This professor is a strange fellow – a little round man with high cheek-bones, a sharp nose, pouting lips and little, piercing eyes. Yet you will get a better notion of him than from this description, if you look at the portrait of Cagliostro, drawn by Chodowiecki in one of the Berlin annuals; Spalanzani looks like that exactly. I lately went up his stairs, and perceived that the curtain, which was generally drawn completely over a glass door, left a little opening on one side. I know not what curiosity impelled me to look through. A very tall and slender lady, extremely well-proportioned and most splendidly attired, sat in the room by a little table on which she had laid her arms, her hands being folded together. She sat opposite the door, so that I could see the whole of her angelic countenance. She did not appear to see me, and indeed there was something fixed about her eyes as if, I might almost say, she had no power of sight. It seemed to me that she was sleeping with her eyes open. I felt very uncomfortable, and therefore I slunk away into the lecture-room close at hand.

Afterwards I learned that the form I had seen was that of Spalanzani’s daughter Olympia, whom he keeps confined in a very strange and barbarous manner, so that no one can approach her. After all, there may be something the matter with her; she is half-witted perhaps, or something of the kind. But why should I write you all this? I could have conveyed it better and more circumstantially by word of mouth. For I shall see you in a fortnight. I must again behold my dear, sweet angelic Clara. My evil mood will then be dispersed, though I must confess that it has been struggling for mastery over me ever since her sensible but vexing letter. Therefore I do not write to her today. A thousand greetings, etc.

Nothing more strange and chimerical can be imagined than the fate of my poor friend, the young student Nathaniel, which I, gracious reader, have undertaken to tell you. Have you ever known something that has completely filled your heart, thoughts and senses, to the exclusion of every other object? There was a burning fermentation within you; your blood seethed like a molten glow through your veins, sending a higher color to your cheeks. Your glance was strange, as if you were seeking in empty space forms invisible to all other eyes, and your speech flowed away into dark sighs. Then your friends asked you: ‘What is it, my dear sir?’ ‘What is the matter?’ And you wanted to draw the picture in your mind in all its glowing tints, in all its light and shade, and labored hard to find words only to begin. You thought that you should crowd together in the very first sentence all those wonderful, exalted, horrible, comical, frightful events, so as to strike every hearer at once as with an electric shock. But every word, every thing that takes the form of speech, appeared to you colorless, cold and dead. You hunt and hunt, and stutter and stammer, and your friends’ sober questions blow like icy wind upon your internal fire until it is almost out. Whereas if, like a bold painter, you had first drawn an outline of the internal picture with a few daring strokes, you might with small trouble have laid on the colors brighter and brighter, and the living throng of varied shapes would have borne your friends away with it. Then they would have seen themselves, like you, in the picture that your mind had bodied forth. Now I must confess to you, kind reader, that no one has really asked me for the history of the young Nathaniel, but you know well enough that I belong to the queer race of authors who, if they have anything in their minds such as I have just described, feel as if everyone who comes near them, and the whole world besides, is insistently demanding: ‘What is it then – tell it, my dear friend?’

Thus was I forcibly compelled to tell you of the momentous life of Nathaniel. The marvelous singularity of the story filled my entire soul, but for that very reason and because, my dear reader, I had to make you equally inclined to accept the uncanny, which is no small matter, I was puzzled how to begin Nathaniel’s story in a manner as inspiring, original and striking as possible. ‘Once upon a time,’ the beautiful beginning of every tale, was too tame. ‘In the little provincial town of S____ lived’ – was somewhat better, as it at least prepared for the climax. Or should I dart at once, medias in res, with “‘Go to the devil,” cried the student Nathaniel with rage and horror in his wild looks, when the barometer-dealer, Giuseppe Coppola . . .?’ – I had indeed already written this down, when I fancied that I could detect something ludicrous in the wild looks of the student Nathaniel, whereas the story is not comical at all. No form of language suggested itself to my mind which seemed to reflect ever in the slightest degree the coloring of the internal picture. I resolved that I would not begin it at all.

So take, gentle reader, the three letters. which friend Lothaire was good enough to give me, as the sketch of the picture which I shall endeavor to color more and more brightly as I proceed with my narrative. Perhaps, like a good portrait-painter, I may succeed in catching the outline in this way, so that you will realize it is a likeness even without knowing the original, and feel as if you had often seen the person with your own corporeal eyes. Perhaps, dear reader, you will then believe that nothing is stranger and madder than actual life; which the poet can only catch in the form of a dull reflection in a dimly polished mirror.

To give you all the information that you will require for a start, we must supplement these letters with the news that shortly after the death of Nathaniel’s father, Clara and Lothaire, the children of a distant relative, who had likewise died and left them orphans, were taken by Nathaniel’s mother into her own home. Clara and Nathaniel formed a strong attachment for each other; and no one in the world having any objection to make, they were betrothed when Nathaniel left the place to pursue his studies in G___ . And there he is, according to his last letter, attending the lectures of the celebrated professor of physics, Spalanzani.

Now, I could proceed in my story with confidence, but at this moment Clara’s picture stands so plainly before me that I cannot turn away; as indeed was always the case when she gazed at me with one of her lovely smiles. Clara could not by any means be reckoned beautiful, that was the opinion of all who are by their calling competent judges of beauty. Architects, nevertheless, praised the exact symmetry of her frame, and painters considered her neck, shoulders and bosom almost too chastely formed; but then they all fell in love with her wondrous hair and coloring, comparing her to the Magdalen in Battoni’s picture at Dresden. One of them, a most fantastical and singular fellow, compared Clara’s eyes to a lake by Ruysdael, in which the pure azure of a cloudless sky, the wood and flowery field, the whole cheerful life of the rich landscape are reflected. Poets and composers went still further. ‘What is a lake what is a mirror!’ said they. ‘Can we look upon the girl without wondrous, heavenly music flowing towards us from her glances, to penetrate our inmost soul so that all there is awakened and stirred? If we don’t sing well then, there is not much in us, as we shall learn from the delicate smile which plays on Clara’s lips, when we presume to pipe up before her with something intended to pass for a song, although it is only a confused jumble of notes.’

So it was. Clara had the vivid fancy of a cheerful, unembarrassed child; a deep, tender, feminine disposition; an acute, clever understanding. Misty dreamers had not a chance with her; since, though she did not talk – talking would have been altogether repugnant to her silent nature – her bright glance and her firm ironical smile would say to them: ‘Good friends, how can you imagine that I shall take your fleeting shadowy images for real shapes imbued with life and motion ?’ On this account Clara was censured by many as cold, unfeeling and prosaic; while others, who understood life to its clear depths, greatly loved the feeling, acute, childlike girl; but none so much as Nathaniel, whose perception in art and science was clear and strong. Clara was attached to her lover with all her heart, and when he parted from her the first cloud passed over her life. With what delight, therefore, did she rush into his arms when, as he had promised in his last letter to Lothaire, he actually returned to his native town and entered his mother’s room! Nathaniel’s expectations were completely fulfilled; for directly he saw Clara he thought neither of the Advocate Coppelius nor of her ‘sensible’ letter. All gloomy forebodings had gone.

However, Nathaniel was quite right, when he wrote to his friend Lothaire that the form of the repulsive barometer-dealer, Coppola, had had a most evil effect on his life. All felt, even in the first days, that Nathaniel had undergone a complete change in his whole being. He sank into a gloomy reverie, and behaved in a strange manner that had never been known in him before. Everything, his whole life, had become to him a dream and a foreboding, and he was always saying that man, although he might think himself free, only served for the cruel sport of dark powers These he said it was vain to resist; man must patiently resign himself to his fate. He even went so far as to say that it is foolish to think that we do anything in art and science according to our own independent will; for the inspiration which alone enables us to produce anything does not proceed from within ourselves, but is the effect of a higher principle without.

To the clear-headed Clara this mysticism was in the highest degree repugnant, but contradiction appeared to be useless. Only when Nathaniel proved that Coppelius was the evil principle, which had seized him at the moment when he was listening behind the curtain, and that this repugnant principle would in some horrible manner disturb the happiness of their life, Clara grew very serious, and said: ‘Yes, Nathaniel, you are right. Coppelius is an evil, hostile principle; he can produce terrible effects, like a diabolical power that has come visibly into life; but only if you will not banish him from your mind and thoughts. So long as you believe in him, he really exists and exerts his influence; his power lies only in your belief.’

Quite indignant that Clara did not admit the demon’s existence outside his own mind, Nathaniel would then come out with all the mystical doctrine of devils and powers of evil. But Clara would break off peevishly by introducing some indifferent matter, to the no small annoyance of Nathaniel. He thought that such deep secrets were closed to cold, unreceptive minds, without being clearly aware that he was counting Clara among these subordinate natures; and therefore he constantly endeavored to initiate her into the mysteries. In the morning, when Clara was getting breakfast ready, he stood by her, reading out of all sorts of mystical books till she cried: ‘But dear Nathaniel, suppose I blame you as the evil principle that has a hostile effect upon my coffee? For if, to please you, I drop everything and look in your eyes while you read, my coffee will overflow into the fire, and none of you will get any breakfast.’

Nathaniel closed the book at once and hurried indignantly to his chamber. Once he had a remarkable forte for graceful, lively tales, which he wrote down, and to which Clara listened with the greatest delight; now his creations were gloomy, incomprehensible and formless, so that although, out of compassion, Clara did not say so, he plainly felt how little she was interested. Nothing was more unbearable to Clara than tediousness; her looks and words expressed mental drowsiness which she could not overcome. Nathaniel’s productions were, indeed, very tedious. His indignation at Clara’s cold, prosaic disposition constantly increased; and Clara could not overcome her dislike of Nathaniel’s dark, gloomy, boring mysticism, so that they became mentally more and more estranged without either of them perceiving it. The shape of the ugly Coppelius, as Nathaniel himself was forced to confess, was growing dimmer in his fancy, and it often cost him some pains to draw him with sufficient color in his stories, where he figured as the dread bogy of ill omen.

It occurred to him, however, in the end to make his gloomy foreboding, that Coppelius would destroy his happiness, the subject of a poem. He represented himself and Clara as united by true love, but occasionally threatened by a black hand, which appeared to dart into their lives, to snatch away some new joy just as it was born. Finally, as they were standing at the altar, the hideous Coppelius appeared and touched Clara’s lovely eyes. They flashed into Nathaniel’s heart, like bleeding sparks, scorching and burning, as Coppelius caught him, and flung him into a flaming, fiery circle, which flew round with the swiftness of a storm, carrying him along with it, amid its roaring. The roar is like that of the hurricane, when it fiercely lashes the foaming waves, which rise up, like black giants with white heads, for the furious combat. But through the wild tumult he hears Clara’s voice: ‘Can’t you see me then? Coppelius has deceived you. Those, indeed, were not my eyes which so burned in your breast – they were glowing drops of your own heart’s blood. I have my eyes still – only look at them!’ Nathaniel reflects: ‘That is Clara, and I am hers for ever!’ Then it seems to him as though this thought has forcibly entered the fiery circle, which stands still, while the noise dully ceases in the dark abyss. Nathaniel looks into Clara’s eyes, but it is death that looks kindly upon him from her eyes

While Nathaniel composed this poem, he was very calm and collected; he polished and improved every line, and having subjected himself to the fetters of metre, he did not rest till all was correct and melodious. When at last he had finished and read the poem aloud to himself, a wild horror seized him. ‘Whose horrible voice is that?’ he cried out. Soon, however, the whole appeared to him a very successful work, and he felt that it must rouse Clara’s cold temperament, although he did not clearly consider why Clara was to be excited, nor what purpose it would serve to torment her with frightful pictures threatening a horrible fate, destructive to their love. Both of them – that is to say, Nathaniel and Clara – were sitting in his mother’s little garden, Clara very cheerful, because Nathaniel had not teased her with his dreams and his forebodings during the three days in which he had been writing his poem.

He was even talking cheerfully, as in the old days, about pleasant matters, which caused Clara to remark: ‘Now for the first time I have you again! Don’t you see that we have driven the ugly Coppelius away?’

Not till then did it strike Nathaniel that he had in his pocket the poem, which he had intended to read. He at once drew the sheets out and began, while Clara, expecting something tedious as usual, resigned herself and began quietly to knit. But as the dark cloud rose ever blacker and blacker, she let the stocking fall and looked him full in the face. He was carried irresistibly along by his poem, an internal fire deeply reddened his cheeks, tears flowed from his eyes.

At last, when he had concluded, he groaned in a state of utter exhaustion and, catching Clara’s hand, sighed forth, as if melted into the most inconsolable grief: ‘Oh Clara! – Clara!’ Clara pressed him gently to her bosom, and said softly, but very solemnly and sincerely: ‘Nathaniel, dearest Nathaniel, do throw that mad, senseless, insane stuff into the fire!’

Upon this Nathaniel sprang up enraged and, thrusting Clara from him, cried: ‘Oh, inanimate, accursed automaton!’

With which he ran off; Clara, deeply offended, shed bitter tears, and sobbed aloud: ‘Ah, he has never loved me, for he does not understand me.’

Lothaire entered the arbor; Clara was obliged to tell him all that had occurred. He loved his sister with all his soul, and every word of her complaint fell like a spark of fire into his heart, so that the indignation which he had long harbored against the visionary Nathaniel now broke out into the wildest rage. He ran to Nathaniel and reproached him for his senseless conduce towards his beloved sister in hard words, to which the infuriated Nathaniel retorted in the same style. The appellation of ‘fantastical, mad fool,’ was answered by that of ‘miserable commonplace fellow.’ A duel was inevitable. They agreed on the following morning, according to the local student custom, to fight with sharp rapiers on the far side of the garden. Silently and gloomily they slunk about. Clara had overheard the violent dispute and, seeing the fencing-master bring the rapiers at dawn, guessed what was to occur.

Having reached the place of combat, Lothaire and Nathaniel had in gloomy silence flung off their coats, and with the lust of battle in their flaming eyes were about to fall upon one another, when Clara rushed through the garden door, crying aloud between her sobs: ‘You wild cruel men! Strike me down before you attack each other. For how can I live on if my lover murders my brother, or my brother murders my lover.’

Lothaire lowered his weapon, and looked in silence on the ground; but in Nathaniel’s heart, amid the most poignant sorrow, there revived all his love for the beautiful Clara, which he had felt in the prime of his happy youth. The weapon fell from his hand, he threw himself at Clara’s feet. ‘Can you ever forgive me, my only – my beloved Clara? Can you forgive me, my dear brother, Lothaire?’

Lothaire was touched by the deep contrition of his friend; all three embraced in reconciliation amid a thousand tears, and vowed eternal love and fidelity.

Nathaniel felt as though a heavy and oppressive burden had been rolled away, as though by resisting the dark power that held him fast he had saved his whole being, which had been threatened with annihilation. Three happy days he passed with his dear friends, and then went to G___ , where he intended to stay a year, and then to return to his native town for ever.

All that referred to Coppelius was kept a secret from his mother. For it was well known that she could not think of him without terror since she, as well as Nathaniel, held him guilty of causing her husband’s death.

How surprised was Nathaniel when, proceeding to his lodging, he saw that the whole house was burned down, and that only the bare walls stood up amid the ashes. However, although fire had broken out in the laboratory of the apothecary who lived on the ground-floor, and had therefore consumed the house from top to bottom, some bold active friends had succeeded in entering Nathaniel’s room in the upper story in time to save his books, manuscripts and instruments. They carried all safe and sound into another house, where they took a room, to which Nathaniel moved at once. He did not think it at all remarkable that he now lodged opposite to Professor Spalanzani; neither did it appear singular when he perceived that his window looked straight into the room where Olympia often sat alone, so that he could plainly recognize her figure, although the features of her face were indistinct and confused. At last it struck him that Olympia often remained for hours in that attitude in which he had once seen her through the glass door, sitting at a little table without any occupation, and that she was plainly enough looking over at him with an unvarying gaze. He was forced to confess that he had never seen a more lovely form but, with Clara in his heart, the stiff Olympia was perfectly indifferent to him. Occasionally, to be sure, he gave a transient look over his textbook at the beautiful statue, but that was all.

He was just writing to Clara, when he heard a light tap at the door; it stopped as he answered, and the repulsive face of Coppola peeped in. Nathaniel’s heart trembled within him, but remembering what Spalanzani had told him about his compatriot Coppola, and also the firm promise he had made to Clara with respect to the Sandman Coppelius, he felt ashamed of his childish fear and, collecting himself with all his might, said as softly and civilly as possible: ‘I do not want a barometer, my good friend; pray go.’

Upon this, Coppola advanced a good way into the room, his wide mouth distorted into a hideous laugh, and his little eyes darting fire from beneath their long grey lashes: ‘Eh, eh – no barometer – no barometer?’ he said in a hoarse voice, ‘I have pretty eyes too – pretty eyes!’

‘Madman!’ cried Nathaniel in horror. ‘How can you have eyes? Eyes?’

But Coppola had already put his barometer aside and plunged his hand into his wide coat-pocket, whence he drew lorgnettes and spectacles, which he placed upon the table.

‘There – there – spectacles on the nose, those are my eyes – pretty eyes!’ he gabbled, drawing out more and more spectacles, until the whole table began to glisten and sparkle in the most extraordinary manner.

A thousand eyes stared and quivered, their gaze fixed upon Nathaniel; yet he could not look away from the table, where Coppola kept laying down still more and more spectacles, and all those flaming eyes leapt in wilder and wilder confusion, shooting their blood red light into Nathaniel’s heart.

At last, overwhelmed with horror, he shrieked out: ‘Stop, stop, you terrify me!’ and seized Coppola by the arm, as he searched his pockets to bring out still more spectacles, although the whole table was already covered.

Coppola gently extricated himself with a hoarse repulsive laugh; and with the words: ‘Ah, nothing for you – but here are pretty glasses!’ collected all the spectacles, packed them away, and from the breast-pocket of his coat drew forth a number of telescopes large and small. As soon as the spectacles were removed Nathaniel felt quite easy and, thinking of Clara, perceived that the hideous phantom was but the creature of his own mind, that this Coppola was an honest optician and could not possibly be the accursed double of Coppelius. Moreover, in all the glasses which Coppola now placed on the table, there was nothing remarkable, or at least nothing so uncanny as in the spectacles; and to set matters right Nathaniel resolved to make a purchase. He took up a little, very neatly constructed pocket telescope, and looked through the window to try it. Never in his life had he met a glass which brought objects so clearly and sharply before his eyes. Involuntarily he looked into Spalanzani’s room; Olympia was sitting as usual before the little table, with her arms laid upon it, and her hands folded.

For the first time he could see the wondrous beauty in the shape of her face; only her eyes seemed to him singularly still and dead. Nevertheless, as he looked more keenly through the glass, it seemed to him as if moist moonbeams were rising in Olympia’s eyes. It was as if the power of seeing were being kindled for the first time; her glances flashed with constantly increasing life. As if spellbound, Nathaniel reclined against the window, meditating on the charming Olympia. A humming and scraping aroused him as if from a dream.

Coppola was standing behind him: ‘Tre zecchini – three ducats!’ He had quite forgotten the optician, and quickly paid him what he asked. ‘Is it not so ? A pretty glass – a pretty glass ?’ asked Coppola, in his hoarse, repulsive voice, and with his malicious smile.

‘Yes – yes,’ replied Nathaniel peevishly; ‘Good-bye, friend.’

Coppola left the room, but not without casting many strange glances at Nathaniel. He heard him laugh loudly on the stairs.

‘Ah,’ thought Nathaniel, ‘he is laughing at me because, no doubt, I have paid him too much for this little glass.’

While he softly uttered these words, it seemed as if a deep and lugubrious sigh were sounding fearfully through the room; and his breath was stopped by inward anguish. He perceived, however, that it was himself that had sighed.

‘Clara is right,’ he said to himself, ‘in taking me for a senseless dreamer, but it is pure madness – nay, more than madness, that the stupid thought of having paid Coppola too much for the glass still pains me so strangely. I cannot see the cause.’

He now sat down to finish his letter to Clara; but a glance through the window assured him that Olympia was still sitting there, and he instantly sprang up, as if impelled by an irresistible power, seized Coppola’s glass, and could not tear himself away from the seductive sight of Olympia till his friend and brother Sigismund called him to go to Professor Spalanzani’s lecture. The curtain was drawn close before the fatal room, and he could see Olympia no longer, nor could he upon the next day or the next, although he scarcely ever left his window and constantly looked through Coppola’s glass. On the third day the windows were completely covered. In utter despair, filled with a longing and a burning desire, he ran out of the town-gate. Olympia’s form floated before him in the air, stepped forth from the bushes, and peeped at him with large beaming eyes from the clear brook. Clara’s image had completely vanished from his mind; he thought of nothing but Olympia, and complained aloud in a murmuring voice: ‘Ah, noble, sublime star of my love, have you only risen upon me to vanish immediately, and leave me in dark hopeless night?’

As he returned to his lodging, however, he perceived a great bustle in Spalanzani’s house. The doors were wide open, all sorts of utensils were being carried in, the windows of the first floor were being taken out, maid-servants were going about sweeping and dusting with great hairbrooms, and carpenters and upholsterers were knocking and hammering within. Nathaniel remained standing in the street in a state of perfect wonder, when Sigismund came up to him laughing, and said: ‘Now, what do you say to our old Spalanzani?’

Nathaniel assured him that he could say nothing because he knew nothing about the professor, but on the contrary perceived with astonishment the mad proceedings in a house otherwise so quiet and gloomy. He then learnt from Sigismund that Spalanzani intended to give a grand party on the following day – a concert and ball – and that half the university was invited. It was generally reported that Spalanzani, who had so long kept his daughter most scrupulously from every human eye, would now let her appear for the first time.

Nathaniel found a card of invitation, and with heart beating high went at the appointed hour to the professor’s, where the coaches were already arriving and the lights shining in the decorated rooms. The company was numerous and brilliant. Olympia appeared dressed with great richness and taste. Her beautifully shaped face and her figure roused general admiration. The somewhat strange arch of her back and the wasp-like thinness of her waist seemed to be produced by too tight lacing. In her step and deportment there was something measured and stiff, which struck many as unpleasant, but it was ascribed to the constraint produced by the company. The concert began. Olympia played the harpsichord with great dexterity, and sang a virtuoso piece, with a voice like the sound of a glass bell, clear and almost piercing. Nathaniel was quite enraptured; he stood in the back row, and could not perfectly recognize Olympia’s features in the dazzling light. Therefore, quite unnoticed, he took out Coppola’s glass and looked towards the fair creature. Ah! then he saw with what a longing glance she gazed towards him, and how every note of her song plainly sprang from that loving glance, whose fire penetrated his inmost soul. Her accomplished roulades seemed to Nathaniel the exultation of a mind transfigured by love, and when at last, after the cadence, the long trill sounded shrilly through the room, he felt as if clutched by burning arms. He could restrain himself no longer, but with mingled pain and rapture shouted out, ‘Olympia!’

Everyone looked at him, and many laughed. The organist of the cathedral made a gloomier face than usual, and simply said: ‘Well, well.’

The concert had finished, the ball began. ‘To dance with her – with her!’ That was the aim of all Nathaniel’s desire, of all his efforts; but how to gain courage to ask her, the queen of the ball? Nevertheless – he himself did not know how it happened – no sooner had the dancing begun than he was standing close to Olympia, who had not yet been asked to dance. Scarcely able to stammer out a few words, he had seized her hand. Olympia’s hand was as cold as ice; he felt a horrible deathly chill thrilling through him. He looked into her eyes, which beamed back full of love and desire, and at the same time it seemed as though her pulse began to beat and her life’s blood to flow into her cold hand. And in the soul of Nathaniel the joy of love rose still higher; he clasped the beautiful Olympia, and with her flew through the dance. He thought that his dancing was usually correct as to time, but the peculiarly steady rhythm with which Olympia moved, and which often put him completely out, soon showed him that his time was most defective. However, he would dance with no other lady, and would have murdered anyone who approached Olympia for the purpose of asking her. But this only happened twice, and to his astonishment Olympia remained seated until the next dance, when he lost no time in making her rise again.

Had he been able to see any other object besides the fair Olympia, all sorts of unfortunate quarrels would have been inevitable. For the quiet, scarcely suppressed laughter which arose among the young people in every corner was manifestly directed towards Olympia, whom they followed with very curious glances – one could not tell why. Heated by the dance and by the wine, of which he had freely partaken, Nathaniel had laid aside all his ordinary reserve. He sat by Olympia with her hand in his and, in a high state of inspiration, told her his passion, in words which neither he nor Olympia understood.

Yet perhaps she did; for she looked steadfastly into his face and sighed several times, ‘Ah, ah!’ Upon this, Nathaniel said, ‘Oh splendid, heavenly lady! Ray from the promised land of love – deep soul in whom all my being is reflected !’ with much more stuff of the like kind. But Olympia merely went on sighing, ‘Ah – ah!’

Professor Spalanzani occasionally passed the happy pair, and smiled on them with a look of singular satisfaction. To Nathaniel, although he felt in quite another world, it seemed suddenly as though Professor Spalanzani’s face was growing considerably darker, and when he looked around he perceived, to his no small horror, that the last two candles in the empty room had burned down to their sockets, and were just going out. The music and dancing had ceased long ago.

‘Parting – parting!’ he cried in wild despair; he kissed Olympia’s hand, he bent towards her mouth, when his glowing lips were met by lips cold as ice! Just as when he had touched her cold hand, he felt himself overcome by horror; the legend of the dead bride darted suddenly through his mind, but Olympia pressed him fast, and her lips seemed to spring to life at his kiss. Professor Spalanzani strode through the empty hall, his steps caused a hollow echo, and his figure, round which a flickering shadow played, had a fearful, spectral appearance.

‘Do you love me, do you love me, Olympia? Only one word! Do you love me?’ whispered Nathaniel; but as she rose Olympia only sighed, ‘Ah – ah!’

‘Yes, my gracious, my beautiful star of love,’ said Nathaniel, ‘you have risen upon me, and you will shine, for ever lighting my inmost soul.’

‘Ah – ah!’ replied Olympia, as she departed. Nathaniel followed her; they both stood before the professor.

‘You have had a very animated conversation with my daughter,’ said he, smiling; ‘So, dear Herr Nathaniel, if you have any pleasure in talking with a silly girl, your visits shall be welcome.’

Nathaniel departed with a whole heaven beaming in his heart. The next day Spalanzani’s party was the general subject of conversation. Notwithstanding that the professor had made every effort to appear splendid, the wags had all sorts of incongruities and oddities to talk about. They were particularly hard upon the dumb, stiff Olympia whom, in spite of her beautiful exterior, they considered to be completely stupid, and they were delighted to find in her stupidity the reason why Spalanzani had kept her so long concealed. Nathaniel did not hear this without secret anger. Nevertheless he held his peace. ‘For,’ thought he, ‘is it worth while convincing these fellows that it is their own stupidity that prevents their recognizing Olympia’s deep, noble mind?’

One day Sigismund said to him: ‘Be kind enough, brother, to tell me how a sensible fellow like you could possibly lose your head over that wax face, over that wooden doll up there?’

Nathaniel was about to fly out in a passion, but he quickly recollected himself and retorted: ‘Tell me, Sigismund, how it is that Olympia’s heavenly charms could escape your active and intelligent eyes, which generally perceive things so clearly? But, for that very reason, Heaven be thanked, I have not you for my rival; otherwise, one of us must have fallen a bleeding corpse!’

Sigismund plainly perceived his friend’s condition. So he skillfully gave the conversation a turn and, after observing that in love-affairs there was no disputing about the object, added: ‘Nevertheless, it is strange that many of us think much the same about Olympia. To us – pray do not take it ill, brother she appears singularly stiff and soulless. Her shape is well proportioned – so is her face – that is true! She might pass for beautiful if her glance were not so utterly without a ray of life – without the power of vision. Her pace is strangely regular, every movement seems to depend on some wound-up clockwork. Her playing and her singing keep the same unpleasantly correct and spiritless time as a musical box, and the same may be said of her dancing. We find your Olympia quite uncanny, and prefer to have nothing to do with her. She seems to act like a living being, and yet has some strange peculiarity of her own.’

Nathaniel did not completely yield to the bitter feeling which these words of Sigismund’s roused in him, but mastered his indignation, and merely said with great earnestness, ‘Olympia may appear uncanny to you, cold, prosaic man. Only the poetical mind is sensitive to its like in others. To me alone was the love in her glances revealed, and it has pierced my mind and all my thought; only in the love of Olympia do I discover my real self. It may not suit you that she does not indulge in idle chit-chat like other shallow minds. She utters few words, it is true, but these few words appear as genuine hieroglyphics of the inner world, full of love and deep knowledge of the spiritual life, and contemplation of the eternal beyond. But you have no sense for all this, and my words are wasted on you.’

‘God preserve you, brother,’ said Sigismund very mildly almost sorrowfully. ‘But you seem to me to be in an evil way. You may depend upon me, if all – no, no, I will not say anything further.’

All of a sudden it struck Nathaniel that the cold, prosaic Sigismund meant very well towards him; he therefore shook his proffered hand very heartily.

Nathaniel had totally forgotten the very existence of Clara, whom he had once loved; his mother, Lothaire – all had vanished from his memory; he lived only for Olympia, with whom he sat for hours every day, uttering strange fantastical stuff about his love, about the sympathy that glowed to life, about the affinity of souls, to all of which Olympia listened with great devotion. From the very bottom of his desk he drew out all that he had ever written. Poems, fantasies, visions, romances, tales – this stock was daily increased by all sorts of extravagant sonnets, stanzas and canzoni, and he read them all tirelessly to Olympia for hours on end. Never had he known such an admirable listener. She neither embroidered nor knitted, she never looked out of the window, she fed no favorite bird, she played neither with lapdog nor pet cat, she did not twist a slip of paper or anything else in her hand, she was not obliged to suppress a yawn by a gentle forced cough. In short, she sat for hours, looking straight into her lover’s eyes, without stirring, and her glance became more and more lively and animated Only when Nathaniel rose at last, and kissed her hand and her lips did she say, ‘Ah, ah!’ to which she added: ‘Good night, dearest.’

‘Oh deep, noble mind!’ cried Nathaniel in his own room, ‘you, you alone, dear one, fully understand me.’

He trembled with inward rapture, when he considered the wonderful harmony that was revealed more and more every day between his own mind and that of Olympia. For it seemed to him as if Olympia had spoken concerning him and his poetical talent out of the depths of his own mind; as if her voice had actually sounded from within himself. That must indeed have been the case, for Olympia never uttered any words whatever beyond those which have already been recorded. Even when Nathaniel, in clear and sober moments, as for instance upon waking in the morning, remembered Olympia’s utter passivity and her painful lack of words, he merely said: ‘Words words! The glance of her heavenly eye speaks more than any language here below. Can a child of heaven adapt herself to the narrow confines drawn by a miserable mundane necessity?’

Professor Spalanzani appeared highly delighted at the intimacy between his daughter and Nathaniel. To the latter he gave the most unequivocal signs of approbation; and when Nathaniel ventured at last to hint at a union with Olympia, his whole face smiled as he observed that he would leave his daughter a free choice in the matter. Encouraged by these words and with burning passion in his heart, Nathaniel resolved to implore Olympia on the very next day to say directly and in plain words what her kind glance had told him long ago; namely, that she loved him. He sought the ring which his mother had given him at parting, to give it to Olympia as a symbol of his devotion, of his life which budded forth and bloomed with her alone. Clara’s letters and Lothaire’s came to his hands during the search; but he flung them aside indifferently, found the ring, pocketed it and hastened over to Olympia. Already on the steps, in the hall, he heard a strange noise, which seemed to proceed from Spalanzani’s room. There was a stamping, a clattering, a pushing, a banging against the door, intermingled with curses and imprecations.

Let go – let go! Rascal! – Scoundrel ! – Body and soul I’ve risked upon it! – Ha, ha, ha! – That’s not what we agreed to! – I, I made the eyes! – I made the clockwork! – Stupid blockhead with your clockwork! – Accursed dog of a bungling watch-maker! – OR with you ! – Devil ! – Stop ! – Pipe-maker! – Infernal beast! – Stop ! – Get out! – Let go!’

These words were uttered by the voices of Spalanzani and the hideous Coppelius, who were raging and wrangling together. Nathaniel rushed in, overcome by the most inexpressible anguish.
Hoffmann/Sandmann: Gavarni (1843) – 9

The professor was holding a female figure fast by the shoulders, the Italian Coppola grasped it by the feet, and there they were tugging and pulling, this way and that, contending for the possession of it with the utmost fury. Nathaniel started back with horror when in the figure he recognized Olympia. Boiling with the wildest indignation, he was about to rescue his beloved from these infuriated men. But at that moment Coppola, whirling round with the strength of a giant, wrenched the figure from the professor’s hand, and then dealt him a tremendous blow with the object itself, which sent him reeling and tumbling backwards over the table, upon which stood vials, retorts, bottles and glass cylinders. All these were dashed to a thousand shivers. Now Coppola flung the figure across his shoulders, and with a frightful burst of shrill laughter dashed down the stairs, so fast that the feet of the figure, which dangled in the most hideous manner, rattled with a wooden sound on every step.

Nathaniel stood paralyzed; he had seen but too plainly that Olympia’s waxen, deathly-pale countenance had no eyes, but black holes instead – she was, indeed, a lifeless doll. Spalanzani was writhing on the floor; the pieces of glass had cut his head, his breast and his arms, and the blood was spurting up as from so many fountains. But he soon collected all his strength.

‘After him – after him – what are you waiting for ? Coppelius, Coppelius – has robbed me of my best automaton – a work of twenty years – body and soul risked upon it – the clockwork – the speech – the walk, mine; the eyes stolen from you. The infernal rascal – after him; fetch Olympia – there you see the eyes!’

And now Nathaniel saw that a pair of eyes lay upon the ground, staring at him; these Spalanzani caught up, with his unwounded hand, and flung into his bosom. Then madness seized Nathaniel in its burning claws, and clutched his very soul, destroying his every sense and thought.

‘Ho – ho – ho – a circle of fire! of fire! Spin round, circle! Merrily, merrily! Ho, wooden doll – spin round, pretty doll!’ he cried, flying at the professor, and clutching at his throat.

He would have strangled him had not the noise attracted a crowd, who rushed in and forced Nathaniel to let go, thus saving the professor, whose wounds were immediately dressed. Sigismund, strong as he was, was not able to master the mad Nathaniel, who kept crying out in a frightening voice: ‘Spin round, wooden doll!’ and laid about him with clenched fists. At last the combined force of many succeeded in overcoming him, in flinging him to the ground and binding him. His words were merged into one hideous roar like that of a brute, and in this insane condition he was taken raging to the mad-house.

Before I proceed to tell you, gentle reader, what more befell the unfortunate Nathaniel, should you by chance take an interest in that skilful optician and automaton-maker Spalanzani, I can inform you that he was completely healed of his wounds. He was, however, obliged to leave the university, because Nathaniel’s story had created a sensation, and it was universally considered a quite unpardonable trick to smuggle a wooden doll into respectable tea-parties in place of a living person – for Olympia had been quite a success at tea-parties. The lawyers called it a most subtle deception, and the more culpable, inasmuch as he had planned it so artfully against the public that not a single soul – a few cunning students excepted – had detected it, although all now wished to play the wiseacre, and referred to various facts which had appeared to them suspicious. Nothing very clever was revealed in this way. Would it strike anyone as so very suspicious, for instance, that, according to the expression of an elegant tea-ite, Olympia had, contrary to all usage, sneezed oftener than she had yawned ? ‘The former,’ remarked this fashionable person, ‘was the sound of the concealed clockwork winding itself up. Moreover, it had creaked audibly.’ And so on.

The professor of poetry and eloquence took a pinch of snuff, clapped the lid of his box to, cleared his throat, and said solemnly: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, do you not perceive where the trick lies? It is all an allegory – a sustained metaphor – you understand me – sapient! sat.

But many were not satisfied with this; the story of the automaton had struck deep root into their souls and, in fact, a pernicious mistrust of human figures in general had begun to creep in. Many lovers, to be quite convinced that they were not enamoured of wooden dolls, would request their mistresses to sing and dance a little out of time, to embroider and knit, and play with their lapdogs, while listening to reading, etc., and, above all, not merely to listen, but also sometimes to talk, in such a manner as presupposed actual thought and feeling. With many the bond of love became firmer and more entrancing, though others, on the contrary, slipped gently out of the noose. One cannot really answer for this,’ said some. At tea parties yawning prevailed to an incredible extent, and there was no sneezing at all, that all suspicion might be avoided. Spalanzani, as already stated, was obliged to decamp, to escape a criminal prosecution for fraudulently introducing an automaton into human society. Coppola had vanished also.

Nathaniel awakened as from a heavy, frightful dream; as he opened his eyes, he felt an indescribable sensation of pleasure glowing through him with heavenly warmth. He was in bed in his own room, in his father s house, Clara was stooping over him, and Lothaire and his mother were standing near.

‘At last, at last, beloved Nathaniel, you have recovered from your serious illness – now you are mine again!’ said Clara, from the very depth of her soul, and clasped Nathaniel in her arms.

It was with mingled sorrow and delight that the bright tears fell from his eyes, as he answered with a deep sigh: ‘My own – my own Clara!’

Sigismund, who had faithfully remained with his friend in his hour of trouble, now entered. Nathaniel stretched out his hand to him. ‘And you, faithful brother, have you not deserted me?’

Every trace of Nathaniel’s madness had vanished, and he soon gained strength under the care of his mother, his beloved and his friends. Good fortune also had visited the house, for a miserly old uncle of whom nothing had been expected had died, leaving their mother, besides considerable property, an estate in a pleasant spot near the town. Thither Nathaniel decided to go, with his Clara, whom he now intended to marry, his mother and Lothaire. He had grown milder and more docile than ever he had been before, and now, for the first time, he understood the heavenly purity and the greatness of Clara’s mind. No one, by the slightest hint, reminded him of the past.

Only, when Sigismund took leave of him, Nathaniel said: ‘Heavens, brother, I was in an evil way, but a good angel led me betimes on to the path of light! Ah, that was Clara!’

Sigismund did not let him carry the discourse further for fear that grievous recollections might burst forth in all their lurid brightness.

At about this time the four lucky persons thought of going to the estate. It was noon and they were walking in the streets of the city, where they had made several purchases. The high steeple of the townhall was already casting its gigantic shadow over the market-place.

‘Oh,’ said Clara, ‘let us climb it once more and look out at the distant mountains!’

No sooner said than done. Nathaniel and Clara both ascended the steps, the mother returned home with the servant, and Lothaire, who was not inclined to clamber up so many stairs, chose to remain below. The two lovers stood arm-in-arm on the highest gallery of the tower, and looked down upon the misty forests, behind which the blue mountains rose like a gigantic city.

‘Look there at that curious little grey bush,’ said Clara. ‘It actually looks as if it were striding towards us.’

Nathaniel mechanically put his hand into his breast pocket – he found Coppola’s telescope, and pointed it to one side. Clara was in the way of the glass. His pulse and veins leapt convulsively. Pale as death, he stared at Clara, soon streams of fire flashed and glared from his rolling eyes, he roared frightfully, like a hunted beast.Then he sprang high into the air and. punctuating his words with horrible laughter, he shrieked out in a piercing tone, ‘Spin round, wooden doll! – spin round!’ Then seizing Clara with immense force, he tried to hurl her down, but with the desperate strength of one battling against death she clutched the railings.

Lothaire heard the’ raging of the madman – he heard Clara’s shriek of agony – fearful forebodings darted through his mind, he ran up, the door to the second flight was fastened, Clara’s shrieks became louder and still louder. Frantic with rage and anxiety, he threw himself against the door, which finally burst open. Clara’s voice was becoming weaker and weaker. ‘Help – help save me!’ With these words the voice seemed to die on the air.

‘She is gone – murdered by that madman!’ cried Lothaire.

The door of the gallery was also closed, but despair gave him a giant’s strength, and he burst it from the hinges. Heavens! Grasped by the mad Nathaniel, Clara was hanging in the air over the gallery – with one hand only she still held one of the iron railings. Quick as lightning, Lothaire caught his sister and drew her in, at the same moment striking the madman in the face with his clenched fist to such effect that he reeled and let go his prey.

Lothaire ran down with his fainting sister in his arms. She was saved. Nathaniel went raging about the gallery, leaping high in the air and crying, ‘Circle of fire’spin round! spin round!’

The people collected at the sound of his wild shrieks and among them, prominent for his gigantic stature, was the advocate Coppelius, who had just come to the town, and was proceeding straight to the market-place. Some wished to climb up and secure the madman, but Coppelius only laughed, saying, ‘Ha, ha – just wait – he will soon come down of his own accord,’ and looked up like the rest Nathaniel suddenly stood still as if petrified.

Then, perceiving Coppelius, he stooped down, and yelled out, ‘Ah, pretty eyes – pretty eyes!’ with which he sprang over the railing.

When Nathaniel lay on the stone pavement with his head shattered, Coppelius had disappeared in the crowd.

Many years afterwards it is said that Clara was seen in a remote spot, sitting hand in hand with a kind-looking man before the door of a country house, while two lively boys played before her. From this it may be inferred that she at last found a quiet domestic happiness suitable to her serene and cheerful nature, a happiness which the morbid Nathaniel would never have given her.

(Translation by John Oxenford)

 

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E T A Hoffmann

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                          Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann – Biography

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (January 24, 1776-June 25, 1822) was originally named Ernst Theodor Wilhem Hoffmann. Around 1813 in honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he changed his middle name from Wilhelm to Amadeus (although Hoffman would continue to use Wilhelm in official documents.) He wrote under the name E. T. A. Hoffman. He is renowned for his writing, music composition, and painting. Hoffman became a prominent figure in European Romanticism with his supernatural stories in which the dark and disturbing sides of human nature are explored.

The fantastical and lyrical nature of Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann’s literature lent itself to musical interpretation. Richard Wagner adapted selections from Die Serapionsbrüder for the composition of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Die Serapionsbrüder would also serve as the source text for scores by Jacques Offenbach and Paul Hindemith. Perhaps most famously, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky used a Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann story as the basis for The Nutcracker.

On January 24, 1776, Hoffmann was born in Konigsberg, Prussia. Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was the youngest of three children. His parents separated when he was young. His mother moved young Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann into the care of her relatives. His mother, her sisters and her brother, Otto Wilhelm Doerffer, were instrumental in raising Hoffmann. Although Hoffmann was fond of his aunts, he would lampoon his uncle.

From 1781 until 1792, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was educated at the Burgschule where he was trained in the classics. Hoffmann also learned drawing and musical counterpoint during this time. His creativity flourished, and Hoffman augmented his education by reading Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Schiller, Sterne, and Jonathan Swift. In 1792, Ernst Theodor Amadaues Hoffmann attended lectures given by Immanuel Kant at the University of Konigsberg.

Hoffmann was a talented piano player and gave music lessons. These lessons led to one of the more contentious events in his life. He was infatuated with Dora Hatt, a married student who was ten years Hoffman’s senior. Her family objected to the instructor’s attentions. The family cajoled one of Hoffman’s relatives to get him a provincial posting in Prussian Silesia.

In 1798, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (who was the clerk of Johann Ludwig Doerfler, his uncle) moved with his uncle’s office from Glogau in Prussian Siliensia to Berlin. During Hoffmann’s residence, he continued with his examinations while pursuing his creative vision. He attempted to have his operetta Die Maske produced. Unfortunately by the time a theater responded, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann had left the city.

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann served as a Prussian law officer in the Polish territories from 1800 until 1806. In 1802, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann married Marianna Teckla Michalina Rorer (Trchinska.) Part of his employment responsibilities was to create surnames for the Jewish population. His entire attitude towards his entire work life was negative if his drawings of himself drowning in mud while being surrounded by peasants are indicative. In 1804, Hoffmann was transferred to a post in Warsaw. He became part of the literary community that included Rahel Levin, Friedrich de la Motte-Baron Fouque, and Adelbert von Chamisso. This period helped shaped Hoffman’s later writing.

When Napoleonic forces seized Warsaw, they dismantled the Prussian governmental machinery. Most of Ernst Amadeus Hoffmann’s colleagues fled, but a prolonged illness prevented the young Hoffmann family a real chance of escape. An attempt to leave the occupied zone failed since the French forces refused to issue Hoffmann a passport. Removed from his bureaucratic form of employment Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, his wife and young daughter eventually moved to Berlin. French-occupied Berlin was a difficult environment for Hoffman to eke out a living. He resorted to borrowing money. He often starved, and his daughter would die during this period.

In 1808. Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann and his wife moved to Bamberg. Hoffmann was employed as theater manager. However, Hoffman was unable to improve the performances at the theater. Hoffmann was forced out of this job. The newspaper Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung hired Hoffman as a music critic. In writing about music, he garnered acclaim. Ludwig van Beethoven would admire Hoffmann’s criticism on his music.

In 1809, Hoffmann’s Ritter Gluck was a crucial story in his oeuvre. In this tale, Hoffmann presents a man who believes he meets the composer Christophe Willibald Gluck decades after his death. This story marked a moment when Hoffmann’s reputation amongst his contemporaries was secured. The unsettling character and the uncanny beauty of the music described in the piece highlight Hoffmann’s skill at the production of a style that left its mark on Romanticism.

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was hired by the Bamberg Theatre in 1810. He worked in many capacities including decorating, writing and performing the duties of a stagehand. He also resumed giving music lessons, but as before he was infatuated with one of his students. In this occurrence, the students family found a husband for the young lady with the hopes that this would prevent Hoffman from escalating his intentions.

In 1813, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann became the musical director for Joseph Seconda’s opera company, which was at the time in Dresden. Renewed war between Prussian and Napoleonic forces complicated the travels. When the Hoffmanns arrived in Dresden, they discovered that Seconda had already left for Leipzig. Hoffmann again tried to follow, but the bridges out of the city had been destroyed. Hoffmann spent his day observing the carnage of the fighting. In late May, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was finally able to render-vu with the opera company.

The armistice in June allowed the company to return to Dresden, but after the end of the armistice the Hoffmanns had to leave their home. Because of the hostilities, Horrman witnessed many deaths. Hoffmann’s observations on the Battle of Dresden were recored in Vision auf dem Schlachtfeld bei Dresden.

After a period of contention with Seconda, Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann returned to his legal profession. The period after Napoleon’s defeat marked a turning point in Hoffmann’s bureaucratic career. Hoffmann was appointed to the court of appeals (1814) and he eventually became a councilor (1816.)

Hoffmann turned more intently to his musical interests. In 1811, he wrote and staged the ballet Arlequin. In 1816, Hoffmann composed Undine. an opera. During 1816, he also wrote Phantasiestücke in Callots Manier. His reputation was bolstered by this publication. To address the aesthetic his aesthetic project, Hoffman wrote “The Perfect Stage Manager.” In the passage below (translated by Francis J. Nock), Hoffmann explains the nature of art is that:

“If perhaps you have not already noticed it yourselves, I will herewith reveal to you that the poets and musicians are in an extremely dangerous league against the audience. For their aim is nothing less than to drive the spectator out of the real world where he is so well off…when they have complelety separated him from everything that he previously knew and liked, to torment him with all possible emotions and passions extremely prejudicial to his health.”

His creative career was also reaching a high mark. Publication sought Hoffmann’s contributions. At times his work in the latter period was spotty, many of Hoffmann’s most significant works also dated from this period. Tribulations, however, were soon to file. Alcoholism and syphilis led to a creeping paralysis which seems to have fully incapacitated him by 1821. His work from 1822 had to be dictated to his wife or an assistant. He was also caught up in a purge of liberal thinkers. He was never officially reprimanded, but his loyalties were questioned and his reputation tarnished. He finally died of the June of 1822.

The writings of Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann include Die Elixiere des Teufels, and Lebens-Ansichten des Katers Murr nebst fragmentarischer Biographie des Kapellmeisters Johannes Kreisler, Nachtstücke, Die Serapionsbrüde, and Die Maske.

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Please note also :

https://www.academia.edu/4663791/_Secret_Mechanism_Les_Contes_dHoffmann_and_the_Intermedial_Uncanny_in_the_Metropolitan_Operas_Live_in_HD_Series


আলী আকবর খাঁ-Rag Madan Manjari-আলী আকবর খাঁ

Ali Akbar Khan

Ali Akbar Khan

আলী আকবর খাঁ

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who passed away on June 18 (2009), was perhaps the most gifted of all the instrumentalists to have graced the Hindustani music scene in the past hundred years, that is, in the era of recorded music and the public concert stage. Those who have had the privilege of having heard sarod players of generations earlier than Ali Akbar’s have, almost to the man, put their prejudices aside, to acknowledge him as the most complete of all the instrumentalists. His knowledge of the grammar of ragas was formidable. In this respect, he was equal to his sister, the unsung genius Annapoorna Debi, and his former brother-in-law Pandit Ravi Shankar. His interpretation of the roop and aakaar, inner and outer raiments of many ragas, left both the connoisseur and the layman utterly astonished.

Much has been said of his command of varying tempi – laya – and rightly so; it was as adventurous as that of his confrere, Ravi Shankar, but something in his mercurial personality made it so beguiling. Mind you, this quality would come and go; he was not a consistent performer, but when it was there he was the King. The romantic vaishnav in him would have scoffed at the idea. On a good day, his laya manipulation combined with his insight into a given raga could create magic.

Those who have heard him live or in a recording, on a good day, have been on to profound revelations, whose nature could be universal and personal, nay private, all at once. His ebullience and introversion easily made him the most exciting instrumentalist in Hindustani music, indeed music of any genre. The tributes that have poured in almost immediately after his passing bear this out. Pop, classical, jazz musicians as well as those from Hindustani and Carnatic traditions, have acknowledged him as a towering genius and a very giving human being.

The making of Ali Akbar Khan Saheb survives as much in his music as in the anecdotes narrated by others and by him. When the martinet-guru Ustad Allauddin Khan, his father, told his other gifted pupil, Ravi Shankar, to wear bangles for playing the sitar too softly though tunefully in 1938, the lad, stung to the core, left in tears for the Maihar railway station (in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh).

Ali Akbar, then all of 16, was dispatched by his compassionate mother, Medina Bibi, to fetch Ravi. When the cosseted Ravi, still stung by his guru’s remark seemed reluctant to return, Ali Akbar took off his shirt and showed him the welts his father’s cane had made on his back. The two guru bhais quietly returned home to their practice.

According to Pandit Ravi Shankar, whenever Allauddin Khan Saheb was away, Ali Akbar would cut loose, albeit in a most innocent way. Uday Shankar, the pioneering Indian dancer and Ravi’s elder brother, took the irascible ustad to Europe as the music director of his dance troupe.

Young Ali Akbar, at home, promptly bought himself a gramophone and a set of 78 RPMs of Krishna Chandra Dey’s soul-stirring kirtan-based songs. He also took to playing football with the local boys. The end result of this brief vacation from practice, or riyaaz, was predictable. Allauddin Khan Saheb, on his return from Europe, gave his son a sound thrashing and made him practice twice as hard as before.

Ali Akbar Saheb had inherited not only his father’s gargantuan appetite for diverse musical influences within the Hindustani tradition but also his ability to make them an organic part of his own expression. He was, to use that most hackneyed of expressions, able to be both creative and original, almost always, in his use of this huge base of musical learning. His gats, big and small, in various ragas always take the listener by surprise.

Take his 1967 EMI recording of raga Desh, accompanied by Shankar Ghosh on the tabla. It is, of course, deeply poignant but it also has flashes of his then troubled personality.

One may argue that every performance by an artist, be it a vocalist or an instrumentalist, is autobiographical. True, but Ali Akbar’s Desh is palpably different from that of a Desh played by Radhika Mohan Moitra or his disciple Buddhadev Dasgupta or Amjad Ali Khan, though each may have played a memorable version. Those fortunate enough to hear Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Saheb, Amjad Ali’s illustrious father, in his prime, maintain that he had made Desh his own.
AN AURAL PORTRAIT

Any raga played by Ali Akbar Khan received his distinctive, multidimensional treatment. If it were not facetious, one could call his treatment of a raga poetically cubist, to borrow an analogy from 20th century Western painting. The same 1967 recording containing Desh also has a haunting alap in Desh Malhar. This recording is the most perceptive aural “portrait” of the man. We do not know if his later recordings in ragas such as Madan Manjari, his own creation, Chandranandan, Alamgiri, Malayalam, Puriya Kalyan, Gauri Manjari, Medhavi and Jogiya Kalengra, among others, were not an elaborate concealment of his true personality despite their obvious merit. While recordings such as these reveal his enormous erudition in Hindustani music, they also, ironically, mitigate the passionate quest of his youth and late middle age, and bring about a mellowness, charming and welcome though not entirely natural.

His dramatic renderings of ragas such as Bilas Khani Todi, Jaijawanti, Darbari Kanara, Mian Ki Todi, Yaman Kalyan, Ramdasi Malhar, Bageshshri Kannada and Suha Sugrai have even made the Jades listen to these ragas with a new attentiveness. Hardly any instrumentalist has made a recording of a deceptive raga such as Chayanat sound so exquisite and yet not without its mystery.

Most musicians of undoubted talent, both vocalists and instrumentalists, would fall for the obvious sweetness of the raga and be content with it. Not so Ali Akbar. He added to its burnished glow a pilgrim’s quest.

When his musical quest was at odds with his personal longings, there were fireworks. Until he met Mary, his fourth and final wife and the mother of his son Alam some 30 years ago, his private life, to put it mildly, was turbulent. Why he parted from his second wife, the mother of his sons Ashish, Dhyanesh, Pranesh, Samaresh, Aparesh and daughter Shri, is a mystery. His union with his third wife Rajdulari, a talented singer, was tempestuous. They split, but not before recording together in 1967 a long-playing disc with raga Kirwani on one side and Yamani Bilawal on the other. Mahapurush Mishra was on the tabla.
FILM MUSIC FOR FINANCES

Before he went to the United States in 1955 and later settled down there, first in Berkeley, California, and later in Marin County, north of San Francisco, his financial position was precarious. So was Ravi Shankar’s. They composed music for mostly Hindi films individually and played when required in orchestras for other film composers. Ali Akbar’s sarod solo carried Chetan Anand’s Buddhist story of renunciation, Anjali. Earlier, for the same director, he composed the haunting, 19-minute ragamalika composition, “Ek Taraf Haeye Shaadmaani…”, memorably rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.

He did not like composing for films particularly. In 1957, paradoxically, he allowed his friend Ritwik Ghatak to persuade him to compose the music for the path-breaking film Ajaantrik. Ghatak had his own story to tell regarding the film’s music. He told this writer in 1975: “Ali Akbar was a little nervous about composing the music for Ajaantrik, especially after Ravi Shankar’s success with Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. On the first day of the recording he turned up with 60 musicians. Without turning a hair, we recorded with them and paid them off. Then we ordered some food and Ali Akbar’s favourite Gold Spot whisky. Towards morning he started playing Bilaskhani Todi. It was a grand experience. I had already alerted recordist Satyen Chatterjee and his colleague Jyoti Chatterjee. They recorded it beautifully.” Ali Akbar Khan’s background score for Ajaantrik is amongst the most apposite in cinema.

There is a story about Ali Akbar Khan from those times, that is, the mid-1950s, narrated by his admirer and lay pupil Sandhya Sen. He told her that he had just received his fee after his Sunday morning concert at Basusri Cinema in south Calcutta and a nimble-fingered man picked his pocket and swiftly made his way through the crowd. The whole action was watched by an admiring Khan Saheb. When asked later by an astonished and angry friend why he did not raise an alarm, Ali Akbar Khan said that he did not want to spoil the lovely after-concert mood that everyone had got into.
DUETS WITH RAVI SHANKAR

Duets with his formidable “adversary”, Ravi Shankar, remain a benchmark for all such ventures in Hindustani instrumental music. His own darting, spontaneous musical inventions are held in exquisite balance by Ravi Shankar’s unfailing sense of form and a complementarity of ideas. Nowhere perhaps in the history of Hindustani and Carnatic music, indeed in music, eastern or Western, have two musicians created compositions in which one person’s idea results in the birth of a new one while adhering to the form outlined by a given raga and the tala (beat cycle) and laya so required. A perfect example is their 1963 rendering of raga Shri with Alla Rakha on the tabla.

There is also a 1972 recording of Hem Bihag, Manj Khammaj and Sindu Bhairavi. Also with Alla Rakha on the tabla. The recordings of ragas Khammaj and Durga come to mind. A 1971 duet of Mishr Jhinjhoti also comes to mind, as does a 1964 interpretation of Palas Kafi and Bilaskhani Todi accompanied by Kanai Dutta on the tabla. There are, of course, very many more recordings of Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan playing together superbly. Not many are readily available but nonetheless are there in the collections of archives abroad, and with connoisseurs. They played less and less together as relations soured between(….).

In all fairness it must be remembered that it was Ravi Shankar who helped Ali Akbar find his footing in the West, particularly in the U.S.

Ali Akbar Khan’s musical education, like that of his fellow pupils, particularly Annapoorna and Ravi Shankar, took place in far away Maihar in a quiet, ashram-like atmosphere. Ustad Allauddin Khan, a devotee of Maa Sharada, believed that the pursuit of music was akin to prayer. He felt that many musicians of his time had cheapened it by pandering to the moneyed philistines. He wished to restore the pristine glory of Hindustani music sullied by public performers such as the Mirasis. In order to achieve his objective he was unbelievably harsh with his most gifted pupils, more so with his gregarious son. Life was practice, practice and more practice. Everything else was secondary.

When Ali Akbar came out into the world he was full of goodwill and music, the likes of which had never been heard before. He also had the appetite of a sensualist and the temperament of an old-time East Bengal village patriarch, with the kindness, benevolence and bursts of temper to go with it. When he came to negotiate the modern world, he was quite often baffled by it. He got around it by teaching and the Ali Akbar College of Music at San Rafael, California, his creation, became the finest institution in the world for teaching Hindustani music. As a teacher, he always tried to live up to the ideals of his giving father.

After all the panegyrics die down and people pay attention to the music, and the music alone, they will understand what a magnificent musician Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was. He was prone to the vagaries of mood, could play badly if something irritated him very much, but when the muses were kind, he made music fit for the Gods.

(Courtesy of PARTHA CHATTERJEE)

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Please note also :

http://aliakbarkhanlibrary.com/library_site/


Rag Kalavati

That_Khamaj


فرامرز پایورMaster Farāmarz Pāyvar -SANTUR

Luigi Pesce, Mosque of Qom, Iran, c

“ I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafez

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(Born in  Tehran, 1932). Persian  santur player and composer. He comes from a musical family and for six years, from the age of 17, studied the santur with Abolhasan Sabā, followed by further training with other masters of Persian traditional music. Pāyvar has combined a career as a virtuoso performer and composer with scholarship which has yielded a number of significant publications. They include original compositions as well as arrangements and books on the technique of santur. His recordings, published both in Persia and abroad, are numerous. They encompass recordings of some of the dastgāhs with the inclusion of all known guڑes, also shorter renditions of dastgāhs, original compositions and ensemble pieces written or arranged by him. He has travelled widely and is known internationally for his many concerts and recordings.

Pāyvar has a thorough knowledge of the radif of Persian traditional music. He has advanced the technique of santur playing to levels not attained by any other santur player. His performances of any given dastgān generally display exceptional agility and smoothness of hammer action on the santur, use of a wide range of sound, and the interpolation of difficult and lengthy composed èahārmesrābs. On the other hand, his performance style is peppered with features of western virtuoso displays such as rapid scale movements, arpeggio patterns and passages in parallel thirds, all of which are essentially alien to Persian music.

(Courtesy  HORMOZ FARHAT)

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Master Faramarz Payvar

Dastgah Shur
Dastgah Homayoun
Dastgah Segah
Zarb solo
Dastgah Chahargah

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Payvar [Faramarz] (1932) Composer, santour player, born in Tehran. He knew Radif. His father was Ali Payvar [he was Painter and he was play Setar and Santour]. Payvar studied Music in Darolfonoun School. However, he studied English languagein Cambridge University at 1341 (1962).

His teachers were Abol Hassan Saba [6’th years], Abdollah Davami and Nour Ali Broumand [Sing Radif], Hussein Dehlavi and Melik Aslanian [Harmony and Counter Point] and Hussein Tehrani. He published
many book for Santour. He conducted Farhang-Honar Ensemble at 1345 (1966). He published Davami’s Radif and Roknoddin’ssongs.

He recorded many Cassettes, Disc, and CD with Hussein Tehrani, Ali Asghar Bahari, MohammadEsmaeili, Houshang Zarif, Hassan Nahid and … He has many students, including Saeid Sabet, Pejman Azarmina and …
« Faramarz Payvar is a well-known name in Iran for he is the most prominent santur virtuoso and his touch has created the most beautiful sounds of the cascade-like glissandi on the instrument, all of them products of a highly cultivated mind. He was born in 1932 in Tehran. His father was a professor of French language and also a keen and productive painter. His grandfather,
Mosavvar-od-Doleh was the court painter in Qajar period; Some of his paintings are kept in royal palaces of Iran. Both could play violin and santur and was in close relationship with some masters of the day. Faramarz Payvar began his musical studies at the age of 17 with Abolhasan Saba and completed radif in 6 years. So prominent was his development, that he accompanied his
master in several occasions. Their collaboration has been recorded and is made available for music-lovers. He completed his primary and high schools in Asjodi School and in Dar-ol-Fonun. In 1952 he began his military service and after that was employed by the Ministry of Finance and Economy. After Saba’s death, Payvar continued his studies with Ostad Davami, Ostad Ma’rufi and Ostad Borumand by surveying and learning radifs of Darvish Khan, Aqa Hoseyn-Qoli and Mirza Abdollah and
perfected and completed his musical knowledge. In this period he compiled and transcribed the great legacy of Persian music,thus preserved it for the ages to come.

The most important works that he collected are: Volcal Radif of Persian Music accordingto the version of Abdollah Davami Anthology of old Tasnifs; Works of Sheyda, Aref, Sama’ Hozur… Works of Darvish Khan andRokneddin Mokhtari. Payvar also studied composition with Ostad Dehlavi and Emanuel Melik-Aslanian. He began his career as aperforming artist – playing santur – in 1955, and arranged solo recitals as well as duos with Abolhasan Saba and Hoseyn Tehrani
for radio broadcasting.

After National Television was founded, Payvar managed to perform live programs which turned out to be of high importance in making people get familiar to Persian music. In 1963 he went to England to study English in Cambridge University. During the 3 years of language studies, he could also give santur recitals and lectures on Persian music in Cambridge and London Colleges. After returning from England, he performed remarkably in Shiraz Art Festival with numerous musicians
and other masters of Persian music. In 1967 Rudaki Hall was founded and the peak of his career began. He performed many pieces by past masters and accompanied great vocalists of the day in concerts held in newly founded place. In
1968 he was transferred to the Ministry of Education and retired in 1976.” (Source : Mahoor.com)

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Faramarz_Payvar_Hossein Therani

Zarbe Osoul
Chaharmezrab Shour az Saba
Mahouro Delkash & Chaharmezrab
Ghet`e Ferdows
Renge Tork az Darvishkhan

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Santur
[sadouri, santûr, sant’ur, santuri, sintir, tsintsila].

Dulcimer of the Middle East, south-eastern Europe and South and East Asia. It is used in Iran, Iraq, India, Kashmir, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, China and Tibet.

The prototype of the instrument may be seen in a harp, carried horizontally and struck with two sticks, found in iconographical documents of the ancient Babylonian (1600–911 bce) and neo-Assyrian (911–612 bce) eras. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the santir appears among the instruments in the orchestra of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldea (604–562 bce). Certain Arab sources mention its use during the Sassanian era (226–641 ce). In the 11th century the instrument was known to Spanish Muslims and, in the 14th, Ibn Khaldûn mentioned its use by Arabs in North Africa. In the 16th century the Egyptians made a distinction between the qânûn and the santûr; Villoteau (Description de l’Egypte, Paris, 1809–28) referred to the santûr as marginal in Egypt itself, though the instrument was most definitely used at that time in Iraq.

In Iran the santur consists of a trapeziform case made of walnut wood, approximately 90 cm wide at the broad end, 35 cm wide at the narrow end and 6 cm deep. The sides form an angle of 45° to the wider end. The strings are fixed to hitch-pins along the left-hand side and wound round metal wrest-pins on the right by means of which they are tuned with a tuning-key. Each quadruple set of strings rests on a movable bridge of hardwood (kharak). These bridges are aligned almost parallel with the sides of the case. The right-hand rank corresponds to the bass strings and that on the left to the treble strings. In the centre of the santur the low-pitched strings on the right cross the high-pitched strings on the left.

The left-hand strings can be played on either side of the bridges. In this way three different courses of strings are available: the lowest-sounding on the right, a second series, sounding an octave higher, left of centre, and the highest-sounding series, giving the third octave, on the left. There are nine (or sometimes 11) quadruple strings on either side so that, with 18 groups of strings, 27 different notes can be played. The bass strings are of brass and the trebles of steel. The first series of strings has a range of e’–f”, the second e”–f”’ and the third e”’–f””. The tuning can be readily modified by adjusting the position of the bridges.

The santur is played by striking the strings with two light hammers (mezrâb) held in three fingers of each hand. The hammers do not rebound and the tremolo is controlled solely by a rapid alternating movement of the right and left wrists. Tradition calls for a delicate and precise tone-quality which is obtained only with light hammers of hardwood, and some players stick felt to the ends of the hammers to soften the impact; others have obtained the same result by laying a piece of cloth on the strings. During the second half of the 20th century the Iranian santur virtuoso Farâmarz Pâyvar wrote several books on performance techniques.

The contemporary Iraqi santûr consists of a trapeziform soundbox made from two boards of wood joined together by splints of varying height; hardwoods such as walnut, bitter orange, white beech or apricot may be used. It is approximately 80 to 90 cm wide at the broad end, 31 to 41 cm wide at the narrow end and 7 to 12 cm deep, though when an instrument is made to accompany a specific singer, the size of the soundbox may be changed to accommodate the register of the singer’s voice.

The Iraqi santûr generally has 23 (recently 25) courses of strings (triple, quadruple and rarely quintuple) tuned in unison. There is no damping mechanism, so the sound of the struck melody notes is accompanied by the sympathetic vibrations of the other strings. Strings were traditionally metallic and varied in thickness, treble ones being of steel and those for the lower octaves of bronze. Bronze has now been replaced by nylon, either used by itself or alternating with brass or steel wire. Each group of strings rests on a movable hardwood bridge with a circular base in the shape of a bobbin. The bridges are placed so that the strings are divided into three sections, giving the fundamental note and two higher octaves. The santûr is played with two light sticks held in three fingers of each hand (see illustration); the ends of the sticks are usually covered with cloth to soften their impact on the strings.

Unlike its modern counterpart, the ancient Persian santûr has fixed bridges, which make it impossible to tune the notes during performance; only a number of basic modes may be played and transposed by three or more degrees on any one instrument. The ancient santûr is still played in Iraq. The santûr has a range of more than three octaves from g to a”’.

In South Asia, the santûr was restricted until recently to Kashmir, with its strong Persian culture. The construction of the Kashmiri santûr is similar to that of its Iranian counterpart (though smaller, deeper, and held on the player’s lap), but the tuning differs. Its 100 strings are tuned to nine scalar degrees to the octave (whole tones plus a flat 3rd and 7th) and the range is over one-and-a-half octaves. 12 degrees have two quadruple courses (one of steel, struck with the sticks, and one of brass, resonating sympathetically); the 13th has only a steel course.

In Iran the santur is an important instrument in the traditional orchestra, with the same repertory as the târ and setâr (lutes). It is also used in motrebi (music for entertainment), but never in folk music. In Iraq the santûr is part of the classicalshâlghî al baghdâdî (‘Baghdad ensemble’) along with the jûza (four-string spike fiddle), the daff zinjârî (frame drum with cymbalets), the tabl (single-headed drum) and the naqqâra (double kettledrum). The principal role of the shâlghî is to accompany classical singing (maqâm ‘irâqî) in teahouses, private homes and concerts. In the Caucasus, the sant’ur or santuri (which may have from 13 to 26 courses from triple to quintuple) is used mainly in the sazandar and ashugh (folk poet-singers) ensembles. In Greece its equivalent, the sadouri, is used in small folk ensembles.

The Kashmiri santûr is the leading instrument of the religious art-music ensemble sûfyâna kalâm (‘Sufic utterance’). Together with the setâr (long lute), dukrâ (drums) and (formerly) the sâz-î-kâshmîr (spike fiddle), it accompanies kalâm songs in a repertory of over 50 modes, some with Indian râga names, some Middle Eastern. It was introduced into Hindustani râga music by Shiv Kumar Sharma, who has become the instrument’s most famous exponent. Fixed-pitch chordophones were not formerly prominent in Indian court music because of the stylistic importance of voice-derived portamento (mir), but Sharma introduced a virtuoso stick-technique which re-creates the sound of vocal portamento through timing and tremolo. Since then the instrument has enjoyed growing popularity. It does not have a fixed tuning system but is re-tuned from piece to piece to a scale in the râga system, in three octave registers.

H.G. Farmer: ‘The Music of Ancient Mesopotamia’, ‘The Music of Islam’, NOHM, i (1957), 228–54, 421–77

M.H. al Ridjab: Al maqâmal-‘irâqî [The Iraqi maqâm] (Baghdad, 1961)

N. Caron and D. Safvate: Iran: traditions musicales (Paris, 1966)

S.A. Rashid: Târîkh al-âlât al-mûsîqîyya fî-l-‘irâq al-qadîm [History of musical instruments in ancient Iraq] (Beirut, 1970)

B.C. Deva: Musical Instruments of India (Calcutta, 1978)

S.Q. Hassan: Les instruments de musique en Irak et leur rôle dans la société traditionelle (Paris, 1980)

J. During: La musique iranienne: tradition et evolution (Paris, 1984)

N. Tremoulhac: ‘‘غd, santur, naqqara’, Journal of the Académie Musicologique du Forez, France, i (1984), 44–9

J. Pacholczyk: Sûfyâna mûsîqî: the Classical Music of Kashmir (Berlin, 1996)

JEAN DURING, SCHEHERAZADE QASSIM HASSAN, ALASTAIR DICK

***

Veteran Iranian composer and Santour player Faramarz Payvar has passed away at the age of 77 in the capital city of Tehran.

Payvar, one of the country’s prominent composers, died on Wednesday morning after struggling with brain damage for a long time.

Faramarz Payvar started learning music at the age of 17 under the tutorship of great Iranian master Abol-Hasan Saba.

His achievements in traditional Persian music and playing the Santour brought him great fame, leading to his co-operations with the Iranian Department of Art and Culture in 1954.

Payvar founded the ‘Art and Culture Orchestra’, which included such renowned figures as Hossein Tehrani, Khatere Parvaneh, Houshang Zarif, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Rahmatollah Badiee and Abdol-Vahab Shahidi.

He also played the Setar and published a book on Tar and Setar in 1996.

After getting a scholarship from Iran’s National Music Conservatory, Payvar majored in English Language at Cambridge University and was graduated in 1965.

Payvar, who was also studying Western music at the Royal Academy of Music in London, ended his life as a master composer of Persian music.

The veteran artist amazed music lovers by his performances in every corner of the world. His world tours took him to countries like the US, Germany, the UK, Sweden, France, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, and Russia.

***

Farâmarz Pâyvar and his place in Iranian music

LAP Lambert Academic Publishing ( 2010-05-21 )

This book describes the contribution of an eminent Iranian musician and composer, Ostâd Farâmarz Pâyvar, to the performance practice of contemporary Iranian classical music. It argues that Pâyvar was responsible for the rehabilitation of the Iranian hammered dulcimer or santûr within the Iranian classical repertoire, developing and refining its playing techniques and repertoire and transmitting his innovative and sophisticated ideas about the performance of Iranian classical music through his pedagogical practice and publications. A brief biography of Pâyvar, emphasising his musical lineage and heritage and his influence on subsequent generations of musicians, is also included. The thesis is in part a personal tribute to Pâyvar, who was the teacher and musical mentor of the writer.

Book Details:

ISBN-13:978-3-8383-1065-7

ISBN-10:3838310659

EAN:9783838310657

Book language:English
By (author) :Qmars Piraglu

Number of pages:160
Published on:2010-05-21
Category:Music

***
see also :

  http://search.library.wisc.edu/catalog/ocm25765789

http://books.google.de/books/about/Far%C4%81marz_P%C4%                81yvar_and_His_Place_in_Irani.html?id=3gOxNQAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

http://www.queenslibrary.org/item/santu%CC%84r-va-tumbak

http://vufind.uhls.org/vufind/Author/Home?author=Pa%CC%84yvar%2C%20Fara%CC%84marz%2C%201932-2009.

http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/7851732

 

 

 

Kharanaq old city, Iran


अजमेर-Ceremonies from The Holy Shrines of Ajmer-اجمير

Naubat_ Khana Gate, Fatehpur Sikri

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Ancient  naubat is basically a music played over a gateway to mark the hours and is sysnonymous with playing pairs of naqqāra, kettle-drums struck with sticks—the tablā, struck with the fingers, is the naqqāra’s smaller brother. Other percussion, double-reed and brass instruments are usually added, and since the melody in that case is played on the shahnā’ī, the North Indian oboe, the combination is known as naubat shahnā’ī. The full band with brass and cymbals is seldom heard today, but the basic band survives. Naubat shahnā’ī is also played over the gateways to princely palaces and to Hindu temples, but in no case can the tradition last much longer.

Suleiman Jumma & Sumar Jumani, Abdullah Ramatulla

Few of the best gateway musicians are less than 60 years of age, and they virtually have no successors—money is very short nowadays in these establishments. The popular naubat is more likely to survive, being played by independent groups who are in constant demand for weddings and other auspicious occasions; popular naubat has nothing to to with the formal marking of hours.

***

Naqqara & Shahnai

***

Mashak  players – bagpipers from  Thikarda village

Mashak  players – bagpipers from  Thikarda village

***

Ceremonies
From dawn to dusk, the Dargah remains alive and radiant by the passionate involvement and devotional fervour of the devotees. They feel pride, gratitude and graced in participating in the various ceremonies which take place at the Dargah, daily and on special days and dates, throughout the year, going on with unbroken continuity for centuries.

Morning
Every day about two hours before the morning prayers (Namaz-e-Fajr), devotees respectfully congregate at the eastern gate near Begumi Dalan, when the doors of the Tomb are opened. One of the khadims calls the Azan in front of the Tomb and Holder of the Key unlocks the doors. Khadims then, sweep the Mazar with a Morchhal, replace the night-old flowers by fresh ones and burn Lauban embers.

Noon
After the noon prayers (Namaj-e-Zohr) the khadims offer flowers and sandal. At 3.00 p.m. naubat is played at the Naqqarkhana and qawwalis held near the left gate.

Evening
About 15 minutes before the evening prayers (Namaj-e-Maghrib) a huge drum (danka) is beaten. The devotees, in response to it, flock to the Mazar where the Khadims light up specially prepared candles. The devotees have these candles put on their heads, believing their hearts too would thus be enlightened. Verses of Khwaja Husain are also recited.

Night
After the night prayers (Namaj-e-lsha), qawwalis are held at the left gate and Begumi Dalan. Khadims then come out of the Mazar and the traditional verses, the Karhka, are recited with the accompaniment of the dholak. Naubat is played at the Nizam gate between 11.30 p.m. till midnight hour.

*

Ajmer Sharif Dargah***

Rituals and Customary Practices at the Holy Shrine of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (R.A.)

Undoubtedly, the Khadims, who have been attached to the Shrine since its inception, played a key role in the smooth functioning and in keeping strict discipline in the performances of these rituals and ceremonies. As a result, they often invited the ill-will and wrath of pilgrims and other officials. But their genuine concern and enforcement of established customs and rituals, showing strict adherence to the humanitarian approach of the Saint, was always upheld by the authorities.

Daily Rituals
Three important rites are regularly performed every day per schedule: (i) Khidmat (service routine), twice a day; (ii) Roshni (lighting ceremony); (iii)Karka/Kadka (closing of the main doors of the Shrine)
Khidmat literally means service, which is the exclusive privilege of the Khadims.

First, in the morning before dawn, the Baridar (who happens to be Khadim) of the day unlocks the silver plated main gate of the main Shrine. One of the elderly Khadims recites Azan (call for prayer), performs Taslim and Salam, and followed by some of the Khadims, enters the Shrine and closes the doors from inside. Some more candles are lit within the dome, and then again one of the pious and elderly Khadims moves closer to the inner circle of the Shrine, delicately removes the well-knitted floral garland called Sej from the Mazar (Shrine), and puts it in a large basket covered with cloth. Then they start sweeping flowers from both sides towards the foot end of the grave, where some of the waiting Khadims collect these flowers in huge Jhabs, and carry them out into a courtyard to be collected there.

From there other Khadims take these flowers and distribute them among pilgrims and devotees. In between the sweeping of flowers from the Shrine, some of the Khadims standing outside the inner railings, assisted by long handle Chanwar and Farrashas, thoroughly clean the Shrine from all sides, leaving nothing on the lower circle. Then, led again by the same elderly Khadim, they all recite the Fatiha, thus invoking the blessings of the Almighty in the name of the great Saint, and place the cloth sheet in the usual manner. Then they put upon it a fresh floral Sej and sprinkle Attar. At the same time, one of the Khadims cleans the Shrine when the service of cleaning the Shrine over the doors are opened. Except Khadims of the Shrine no one is allowed to enter inside the Shrine precincts.

At about 3:00 P.M. the doors of the Shrine are again closed for the afternoon Khidmat and almost the whole process described above is repeated. On this occasion the upper part of the Mazar is pasted with Sandal, the Ghilaf is changed. The duty of Baridar Changes (every Khadim turn comes after 24 hours). This process lasts for about an hour.

In the period between the two services, pilgrims gather inside the Shrine to pay homage to the Saint, pray and recite the Fatiha, offer flowers and cloth sheets (Chadar) and invoke the blessings of the Almighty through Wasila of Khwaja Sahib.

Roshni literally means light, and refers to the ceremony of illuminating the Shrine at dusk with elaborate arrangements and a well-defined procedure. It is held daily in the evening, just before the maghrib prayer. The rituals followed in this ceremony may be summarized as follows: first, a plate/censer (agardani) containing aloe-scented sticks and small round pieces of aloe-wood (‘ud) is brought and placed by a Khadim in the middle of the (Western) outer railings of the Shrine. At the same time, four large candle-holders (shama dans) are also kept in a corner, nearly facing the agardani.

Soon, four Khadims, one by one occupy the vacant place near these shama dans, facing the Shrine indicating that they have reserved the right to lift these shama dans on their heads for the coming ceremony. Outside the Shrine three other Khadims with candles in their hands, start walking one after another from a place near the langar khana where specially prepared candles are kept. As they start walking from this place, on their way to the shrine the drum beating begins at naubat khana. Slowly moving they pass by the pilgrims, standing in two rows, expecting to have these candles moved-and touched over their heads. Passing through the sandal khana mosque, these Khadims enter the shrine from its eastern door, and from the doorstep of the shrine they start reciting Persian verses in praise of Khwaja Sahib. In the shrine a huge crowd gathers, all male pilgrims being allowed to attend it.

Then the first Khadim who holds a single lit candle in his hand, lights the four candles of the shamadan, which are raised above their heads by the waiting Khadims. The first Khadim from the left then starts reciting Persian verses in praise of Gharib Nawaz after which the whole Shrine is illuminated.

Persian verses are recited daily at dusk by a Khadim when the Roshni ceremony (candle lighting) is performed within the sanctum-sanctorum.

Roshni

Translation:

Master (Khwaja) of Masters (Khwajgan) Moinuddin (is);
Noblest (ashraf) of all saints (auliya) of the world,.
Sun of sphere that Lords the Universe (kon-o makan).
Emperor who graces the throne of the dominion of faith and certitude (yaqin),
What can be uttered about your beauty (jamal) and perfection (kamal);
For, it is evident from the impregnable(Spiritual) fortification (hasn-o-hasin).
An opening verse (matla) in praise of your attributes I offer;
which in purity is like a precious pearl (durr-i samin).
Oh ye, whose threshold is an altar (qiblah) for the faithful; (ahl-i-yaqin).
Where the sun and the moon rub their forehead.
It is thy royal threshold that faces are in reverence rubbed;
By hundreds of Kings (maliks) of the stature of the Emperors (khusro) of China.
The attendants (Khadiman) at thy shrine are all like the keeper of Paradise (Ridwan);
As is your mausoleum (roza) in sanctity certainly a sublime Paradise.
(where) A particle of dust is ambergies (abir) in nature;
And a drop of water transparent and pure (maen)
Oh, Almighty as the Sun and the Moon endure;
May the Chishti lamp resplendently sparkle.

Karka is the term for the ceremony which is connected with the closing of the doors of the shrine for the night. It takes place generally between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. Except the inner part of the first railings, the whole Shrine is cleansed by three Khadims. Pilgrims are not permitted to enter the shrine but are allowed to stand in the corridor of Beghmi Dalan (built by Princess Jehan Ara) in two rows, giving way to the Khadim who come out from the Shrine, one by one, at short intervals. They carry farrashas in their hands and touch them over the heads of the devotees while moving towards the sandal Khana mosque, where in a permanently fixed small dustbin they put all the flowers, dust etc. gathered from the shrine in a duster. When the Khadims are engaged in cleaning the floor of the shrine, outside in the courtyard, the groups (chauki) of musicians (qawwals) performqawwalis.

As soon as the third and last Khadim comes out with the Farrasha (broom made up of peacock feathers) in his hand, the ghariyali (time keeper) loudly announces that six gharis (each ghari of a duration of 24 minutes in the medieval days) have passed.

The qawwals and all the people within the campus at once get up, and the qawwals start reciting karka verses in Bhojpuri and local dialect, composed by Roora Mithu, who was a musician during the reign of Jahangir. After that the doors of the shrine are closed, people perform taslim, and the ceremony comes to an end.

Karka is sung by the Hereditary qawwals of the shrine daily at night at the time of closing of the doors of Khwaja’s mazar (Shrine).
Karka means folklore (lokdhwani) or verse (pad) or cantos (charan). Its ragni (musical mode) is Gidara/Kidara and tal (musical measure) isjhap, in musical terminology, which is generally sung during moonlit nights.

It is called Karka and is sung, to motivate the devotees always to keep on the path of Truth. It is also the final or last ceremony of the day at the Shrine.

However, in one of the verses of Karka, Khwaja Moinuddin has been referred to as Khwaja Hassan Dan. Hassan being Khwaja’s real name, whileDan most probably appears to be his title (abbreviation of Dana i.e. ariff Gnostic or Dani/generous or indicates the abbreviated form of Danani, (person possessing divine wisdom) or of his full name Moinuddin, and also seems his nom-de-plum

Karka

Translation:
Oh ye Moinuddin, truly Lord Protector who graces fortunes.
You have lit the Chishti lamp (of spirituality) the world over,
Oh ye Moinuddin, truly Lord Protector who graces fortunes.
The cunning (Jogi Ajaipal) tried many a magician’s trick;
52 practices in all, but failed and was himself ultimately vanquished! As at the orders of Pir (Khwaja} flew his wooden sandals in the air;
(and forced Jogi’s) throne to land on earth head bowed with shame.
Oh ye, Moinuddin truly Lord Protector who graces fortunes.
You, the strong pillar for both here and the hereafter (duniya-o din).
The saint (wali) of India, the light (noor) and beloved of Allah (huda), door to Him (Hardawara).
When Ajmer was besieged by the Raja (who also harassed you)
You spread Islam and ended polytheism;
Oh ye, Moinuddin truly Lord Protector who graces fortunes.
Polytheism was ended and Islam spread;
Such a Master of masters (Jagat Guru) whose shrine (darhar) his unique splendor and fame.
Reaches the four corners – North, South, East as well as the West.
Whose Pir’s prayer was accepted at Makkah.
Moinuddin Khwaja, the pillar of din (righteousness).
Cast but a glance and bestow gnosis at me! Oh! Pillar of din, Moinuddin Khwaja!
Khwaja Hassan Dan i.e. Khwaja Moinuddin became bridegroom, (chatar-dulah).
Performing only a single miracle (defeated Ajaipal) and established himself (great);
Oh! Khwaja the pillar of din, Moinuddin Khwaja;
The Great Emperor (Sultan) Oh! Hazrat-i Chishti.
A throne and dominion befit only you;
Mercy on Roora Mithu. Relieve him of all pain of life and heart!
Oh Moinuddin Khwaja, the pillar of din.
Besides these rituals, naubat is played twice a day, i.e. in the morning, and at sunset. Langar (a free meal consisting of soup of barley) is also prepared daily at the langar-khana and distributed twice (after Fajr and after Asr prayers) among the general public including pilgrims and the poor.

All the mundane rituals at the Mazar-e-Aqdas (Holy Shrine) are performed by Khadims alone

Urs
Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (R.A.)’s Urs is celebrated every year in the first week of Rajab, on seeing the moon of Rajab, the seventh month of the Islamic calendar, drums are beaten to herald the commencement of the annual ceremony. The permanent Chauki (troupe) of qawwals arrive, and after Maghrib (sunset prayers) sit infront of the Shrine and sing the following verses:

“Bartui mehfil-shahana-mubarak-bashad
Saqia-badao-paimana mubarak bashad”
(Felicitation to thee for this blessed and majestic assembly; salutation, ‘Oh Saqi for your bountiful goblet of sacred wine).
And,
“Ilahi ta-abd-astana-i-yar-rahe
Yeh-asra-hai-gharibon-ka-barqarar rahe”

(Oh God, may this Shrine of the beloved exist till the last day, may this refuge of the poor remain forever!)

The word Urs has been derived from “UROOS” which means “ultimate meeting of an individual with God” it is said that Huzoor Gharib Nawaz (R.A.) spent last six days of his life in Seclusion in a cell and the 6th day of Rajab, his noble soul left the corporeal body. Every year Urs fair is celebrated on his death anniversary.

Although Urs held for the first six days of Rajab. Yet the 6th day is regarded to be the most special and auspicious. It is called “Chhati Sharif”. It is celebrated on the 6th Rajab between 10:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M. Inside the Mazar Sharif Shijra is read by Khadims then Fariyad (Prayers) start for people present at the Dargah and for the country and its people for the peace and prosperity and also those who are not present but have sent Nazar-o-Niyaz to the Khadims to mark their presence for their welfare and for the promotion of brotherhood amongst them. Khadims tie small turbans on each others head and present Nazar (offerings in cash).

Just before the Qul (conclusion of 6th Rajab Chhati Sharif) Bhadawa is sung at the main entrance of the Shrine by Qwwals which literally means a poem or verses in praise of Allah, His Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) or famous Sufis (Auliyas).

Bhadawa is the only recitation which is accompanied by talis (clapping) only, and no other instrument is played. It was composed by Behlol Chishti, one of the ancestor of Khadims who again refers to Khwaja Moinuddin Chishty as Khwaja Hasan Dan. After its recitation, the ceremony of the Qul comes to an end and Fatiha is recited. The ceremony is marked closed by firing a cannon at 1:30 P.M. in afternoon.

Bhadawa
Translation:
Both Universes (din-o duniya) be sacrificed,
At your Behest O! Khwajal
With Divine Attributes, O! Ye Pir Moinuddin
Lord of all Created beings : ajapati. gajpati, narpati, bhupati
(all earth, all animals and all mankind)
The sole Emir controlling the four corners (chowk) of the Universe.
I do rounds of thy four-walled (doored) dome in profound affection.
Oh! What ethereal splendour cascades from the balcony (jhajha)of thy abode
Poor petitioner Behlol Chishti pleads to Khwaja Hassan Dan
To protect and preserve his honour in this world as well as hereafter.
After this Khadim Hazrat distribute Tabarruk (Prasad) amongst the people present and post them for those who are not present, but have sent Nazar-o-Niyaz to the Khadims. The Mazar Sharif is washed by rose water by Khadims at night for six day from 1st Rajab to 6th Rajab during Urs period. On 9th Rajab at 9:00 A.M. the Mazar Sharif is washed with rose water by Khadims. Finally the Urs is marked closed.

These ceremonies are attended by members of all creeds, communities without the distinction of rank, region or religion and thereby subscribe to the ideals of universal love the Khwaja had preached and practised in his life time. This creates a sense of unity in that thinking which tends to break social and religious barriers and paves the way for emotional integration.

This system of Baridari/Kalidbardari settled the issue that only Khadims are the real custodians of the Mazar-e-Aqdas (Shrine) as they perform all rituals, and do Khidmat, kept the keys of the Shrine, open and close the Mazar, receive pilgrims and guide them in performance of Ziyarat as their Vakil and thus have sole right to collect all Nazar offered by them. It appears that the system of Haft Baridar is based on the Haft Chowki pattern of the Mughals, by which every important noble was given a day of the week to look after the place and patrol around it at night. Moreover, Baridari (Rota) system has also been prevalent in many famous Hindu temples of India, and is still in practice at the famous Vishnu Devi temple at Katra. It should also be kept in view that the Prophet of Islam, after the occupation of Makkah, did not disturb the prevailing practice of the key keeping (Baridari) and custodianship of Kaba which was held by a particular tribe (clan) of Quraish since time immemorial and was known as Hijaba or Sidana. The times of India dt. Wednesday 15, January 1997, Asanid-us-Sanadid, pp. 210-4, M.H. Haykal: The life of Muhammad: (tr Reprint, Delhi, 1976), pp. 407, 413. A short history of Aurangzeb’s Reign, op. cit; Mughal administration, op. cit.

Certainly it was due to the extra ordinary grass root work of our ancestors (Hereditary Khadims) who carried the mission of Khwaja Sahib at his Shrine, vigorously, against all odds, that we are still attached to the Shrine and are held in high esteem by pilgrims, duly respected and offered Nazar (offering).
People all over the world respect us (Khadims) because of our Nizbat to Huzoor Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (R.A.). Whatever we eat & wear whatsoever privilege we enjoy is a Sadqa of our Aaqa (master) Huzoor Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (R.A.)
‘Agar har-mui-tan gardad zubanam’
Adai shukr-i-o-ke-me-tavanam.
If every hair of my body were given voice, yet I won’t be able to express my thanks for my Khwaja.

***

Sufi_Shrine_Aijmer

***

Heliocentrism of The Spiritual World

HAZRAT KHWAJA MOINUDEEN HASSAN CHISHTI AJMERI (RAHMATULLAHI ALAIHI)

With every breath, my restlessness increases; Why does the bud of my heart not blossom? Grant you my wishes, for the sake of Ali (radiallahu anhu). Salutations to you, O Khwaja, the saint of Hind! May this devotee’s aspirations be fulfilled.

The small town of Ajmer, 400 kilometres south and west of Delhi, is unremarkable to the eye at first glance. However, on closer inspection, one beholds the reason that it stands out; pilgrims. In thousands upon thousands they come, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, of all nationalities; raising their voices in celebration and prayer, in praise and remembrance of one of the greatest saints ever produced in the long and illustrious history of Islam. The deservedly titled Sultan of India, the Qutb or spiritual axis of the eastern Islamic world; he is the fountain from whose spiritual light have sprung all the beautiful, mighty saints of the Chishtiyya silsila: Hazrat Khwaja Moinudeen Hassan Chishti Gharibun-Nawaaz Ajmeri (rahmtullahi alaihi).

The chieftain and founder of the Chishtiyya silsila, one of the four great orders that radiate throughout the world, Khwaja Gharibun-Nawaaz (radiallahu anhu) is one of the most respected and universally recognised figures in Sufism and Islam. He stands tall as a great spiritual leader; a reformer and purifier of hearts at the most turbulent of times. Most of the saints before his time had been concentrated around the lands of the Middle East, but he was a pioneer, a missionary who was responsible for spreading the Sufi and Islamic sphere of influence to the remotest regions of polytheistic India. His pious character was a true picture of Islam; his practice exactly in accordance with the dictates of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, and his teachings beautiful lessons in godliness, truthfulness, and equality which enlightened the hearts of multitudes. Authentic estimates place the number of people he guided to the path of Islam at nine million. It is a historical fact that his Chishtiyya silsila wielded a direct and crucial influence on the course of Indian history, the development of the embryonic Bhakti Consciousness Movement of Hinduism, and modern (pantheistic) Buddhism.

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) was born in the year 536 AH in Sijistan, the son of Khwaja Ghyasuddin Chishti, a pious and influential man of what is now Iran. He was a direct descendant through both his parents of Hazrat Ali (radiallahu anhu). It was a time of chaos and great upheavals in both India and the Muslim Empire as a whole. In the year of his birth, Sultan Sanjari was finally defeated before the implacable advance of the Mughals, spelling the beginning of the end of the Sultanate; and in Khurasan, where he was brought up, religious sects and barbarism had lain waste a once civilised country. He was orphaned at the tender age of fourteen, and was thus raised in the same condition as Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam).

But social evils, moral degradations and personal tragedy stirred something deep within the young man, and he began to turn towards the spiritual life. Once when watering his father’s garden, he came across a dervish, Hazrat Ibrahim Qanduzi (radiallahu anhu). He was deeply affected by the saint’s holy manner, and Hazrat Ibrahim (radiallahu anhu) for his part transformed Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu)’s inner being. His eyes became opened to the ultimate realities of the spiritual world. Renouncing all material things, he sold his father’s garden, all his possessions and distributed the money among the poor.

Still at a young age, he arrived at the great centres of learning in Samarkand and Bokhara, where he swiftly became a hafiz and distinguished alim, fully conversant in all aspects of Islamic thought. Unsatisfied with this, he began a strict regime of prayers, meditations, fasting and self-renunciation which continued for years and grew more intense and vigorous until Allah granted him the exalted rank of sainthood. He used to fast for seven days and nights, breaking fast on the eighth with a small crust of bread soaked in water. At this point, he felt the need for a shaykh, or spiritual guide, feeling the truth of the Qur’anic injunction,

O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty towards Allah, and seek a means of approach unto Him, and strive in his way in order that ye may succeed. (5:35)

He himself used to state, “success is not possible without a guide.” He travelled extensively throughout the near East, finally finding a spiritual guide in Hazrat Khwaja Uthman Haruni (radiallahu anhu). In twenty years he spent under his murshid’s guidance, he attained perfection in tasawwuf and was awarded the khilafat-e-azam by Khwaja Uthman (radiallahu anhu). He offered many pilgrimages both with his murshid and alone. It was during one of these, while in Madinah Sharif, that he was directed spiritually by Rasulallah (sallalahu alaihi wasallam) to go to India and spread Islam there. He left immediately with 40 of his disciples, on the long and arduous journey.

Along the way, he stopped in several places including Baghdad, Isfahan and Balkh. In Baghdad Sharif, he was the guest of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu), the greatest of saints and founder of the Qadriyya silsila. Hazrat Ghaus-ul Azam (radiallahu anhu) organised a qawwali in his own house for the visitors, and he himself stood outside that night, with eyes closed and his staff tightly held against the ground. When asked the reason for his actions, he replied, “I needed to stop the ground shaking, such was the power of Khawja’s wajd.”

In Sabzwar, he came across a ruler of such corruption that he would not even hesitate to denigrate the holy sahaabi of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasallam). Yet one glance from the great saint sufficed to render the man unconscious. When he awoke, his personality had changed completely; he gave up his kingdom, renounced all his possessions and became a mureed of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu).

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his disciples were in a cave in the mountains of the Hindu Kush when one of the most famous events in sufi history occurred. Hundreds of miles away, in Baghdad Sharif, Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (radiallahu anhu) pronounced his chieftainship of all auliya-allah by saying, “My foot is on the neck of all walis.” Spiritually hearing the great saint’s statement, Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) immediately threw himself down and stretched his neck against the floor, signifying his submission to that truth.

It was because of this type of humble obedience that Allah granted him the title, “Sultan-e-Hind”, for he is the leader and spiritual head to all the hundreds of walis that have blessed India in after-times. So it was that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) arrived in India at a time of tremendous upheaval and moral decay. The Ghaznavi dynasty was in its death throes, and the Rajput kings were gaining power. Tyrannical rulers were making life unbearable for common people, especially the muslims whose numbers were diminishing day by day.

Yet India is not named for no reason, “the land of saints and sufis”; its people had inherited a wealth of spirituality that yearned for expression. It was into such an arena that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) stepped, a torch to India’s tinder. First he went to Lahore, a centre of learning where resided a great number of Muslim theologians, philosophers and sufis. Yet he soon left this place, for his divinely guided mission was not to men such as these, but rather to those who were deprived of the light of Islam.

Thus he arrived in Delhi, which was to become the seat of his most famous successors. At the time, the city was a place of much fear and mutual hatred between Hindus and Muslims, but Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) began delivering his sermons in a soft tongue, dipped in honey. As a result of this kindness and forbearance, both Hindus and Muslims were turned towards the path of truth. The great wali was revered and loved by those of both religions, a trend which, was to be the hallmark of Sufism in India.

Soon, however, he left Delhi too, heading instead for the remote city of Ajmer, deep within the kingdom of the most powerful Rajput prince in Northern India, Raj Prithviraj.

This city was completely alien to Islam; no muslims at all lived within its bounds. It was in this hostile environment that Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) and his forty disciples settled and began the bulk of his teaching. Very soon, however, he changed the entire civic atmosphere, gathering people of all races, castes and stations to the shining truth of Islam. His high morals and frugal lifestyle deeply impressed the Hindus and all the while, the beautiful messages of the Qur’an and Sunnah entered deep into their hearts. Soon they started to convert, in multitudes upon multitudes, and the raja became alarmed as even his courtiers and high-ranking servants took up Islam.

It is interesting here to note that the raja’s mother had predicted the arrival of Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), and had warned her son not to interfere with him lest he suffer total destruction. Whether Raj Prithviraj forgot this prophecy or ignored it is unknown, but he began to harass the shaykh and trouble his followers. But Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu), holding firm to the Islamic doctrine that, “Allah is with those who patiently persevere,” steadfastly carried on his peaceful mission. One day, however, he said, “The raja will be captured alive, and his kingdom snatched away.” This prophecy was proven true not months later. The raja, was defeated by Sultan Shahabuddin, was captured alive and brought into the presence of the sultan, who ordered him executed. The power of the Rajputs was thus broken for more than three hundred years.

Khwaja Moinudeen Chishti (radiallahu anhu) carried on his work in Ajmer for 45 years, and millions entered Islam through his spiritual light and endeavours. Besides this great service, he also established permanent sufi centres which were run by such mighty disciples as Khwaja Qutbudeen Khaki, Hazrat Nizamudeen Auliya, Hazrat Baba Farid Ganj Shakar and Khwaja Nasiruddeen Chiragh Delhawi (rahmatullahi ta’aala ajmaeen).

On the 29th Jamaad-us-Saani, before entering his bare cell for his usual meditations, he advised his attendants that he should not be disturbed until his khalifa-e-azam, Khwaja Qutbuddeen Khaki (radiallahu anhu), arrived from Delhi. On the 6th Rajab, 633 AH, his khalifa arrived and, receiving no answer to his polite knocking, the mureeds broke down the door. There they found that their beloved murshid had already left the world, at the ripe old age of ninety-six. To the wonder and amazement of all, upon his forehead was inscribed in letters of light: He was a lover of Allah, and he died in the love of Allah.

Such was the passing of one of the greatest saints in Islamic history. Undoubtedly, if not for him and his enormous sacrifices, many of those who read this would not have been born into the mercy of this beautiful religion. One can only imagine the hardship he endured in his early years in Ajmer, in the kingdom of a hostile king, surrounded by a nation of polytheists, a people even whose native tongue – Sanskrit – was foreign to him.

How similar was his situation, and his conduct under adversity, to the Holy Prophet (saw) himself! How he managed to convert so many Hindus to Islam, working from the heart of their own kingdom, at a time when the only words that the two religions could address each other with were hatred and war, is a miracle in itself. He not only moulded the character of a people, but also led them to a more prosperous, nobler way of living, and cultivated in them the qualities of humanity and truth. Through him and his immediate successors, the entire culture and civilisation of India underwent a profound change.

As alluded to before, apart from the millions of converts to Islam, the Bhakti Consciousness movement, modern Buddhism and Sikhism, all monotheistic or pantheistic in outlook emerged from the ancient religions of Hinduism and Buddhism due in great part to the Chishtiyya silsila’s efforts in the path of Islam. As is stated in Sura al-Nasr, When Allah’s succour and triumph cometh, and thou seest mankind entering the religion of Allah in troops, then hymn the praises of thy Lord, and seek. forgiveness of Him Lo! He is ever ready to show mercy.

(Courtesy of Chishti-Habibi Tariqa )

***

Dargah Shariff of Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti is indeed an ornament to the city of Ajmer. It is one of the holiest places of worship in India not only for the Muslims but also for the people of other faiths who hold the saint the high esteem and reverence. As mentioned previously. The Khwaja Saheb, as a ‘living spirit’ of peace and harmony, enjoys universal respect and devotion ever since he set his holy feet on the soil of Hindustan.

He has unquestionably been one of the greatest spiritual redeemers of human sufferings. To the faithful and afflicted souls invoking his blessing, he has ever been a never-failing source of moral strength and spiritual enlightenment. Apart from the common people, even the mighty kings of India, both Hindu and Muslim, have paid submissive homage to the great saint and have sought his miraculous aid to solve their problems. The precious buildings and various rich endowments dedicated to the Dargah of Khwaja Saheb are living memorials to and reminders of his continued patronage enjoyed by the people of India throughout the past 750 years.

The Dargah lies at the foot of the northern extremity of Taragarh hill. Its main attraction is the mausoleum containing the tomb of the saint which is the sanctum of the Dargah. Among its other prominent attractions which catch the eye of a visitor immediately he enters the Dargah, are the two mighty Buland Darwaza, which were built with the donations of Sultan Ghyasuddin Khilji of Mandoo who ruled Malwa from 1469 to 1500 A.D. The other Buland Darwaza in the north, which is now the main entrance of the Dargah, was built by H.E.H. Nisam Usman Ali Khan of Hyderabad Deccan in 1915 A.D. at a cost of Rs. 55,857/-. On the top of this gateway, there is the main Naqqar Khana (drum house) containing two pairs of huge naqqars (beating drums) which were presented by Emperor Akbar after his successful victory in a campaign of Bengal. They are sounded to the accompaniment of music played on Nafeeries and Shahnias at certain fixed hours of every day and night of the year by musicians permanently employed on the staff of the Dargah.

The Dargah includes many other attractive buildings, tombs, courtyards and Daalaans, some of which are exquisite specimens of the Moghul architecture and were erected during the Moghul period. Akbar was the first Moghul Emperor to visit the Dargah on foot when Ajmer came under his possession. He built the Akbari Masjid in the Dargah in 1571 A.d. which is a spacious mosque (140×140) feet. It was repaired by Nawab Ghafoor Ali of Danapur in 1901 A.D. One of its wings now accommodates the Moiniua Usmania Darul-Uloom, an Arabic and Persain School, for religious education which is run under the management of the Dargah.

Sultan-ul-Hind, Moinuddin Chishti (Urdu/Persian: معین الدین چشتی‎) (Persian: چشتی‎,Urdu: چشتی‎ – بiڑtī) (Arabic: ششتى‎ – Shishti) was born in 1141 and died in 1236 CE. Also known as Gharīb Nawāz “Benefactor of the Poor” (غریب نواز), he is the most famous Sufi saint of the Chishti Order of the Indian Subcontinent. Moinuddin Chishti introduced and established the order in the subcontinent. The initial spiritual chain or silsila  of the Chishti order in India, comprising Moinuddin Chishti, Bakhtiyar Kaki, Baba Farid, Nizamuddin Auliya, Ashraf Jahangir Semnani (each successive person being the disciple of the previous one), constitutes the great Sufi saints of Indian history.

Moinuddin Chishtī is said to have been born in 536 A.H./1141 CE, in Chishti in Sistan  region of East Persia.[2]  He was a student of Imam Ja’far aṣ-Ṣādiq. He grew up in Persia. His parents died when he was fifteen years old. He inherited a windmill  and an orchard  from his father. During his childhood, young Moinuddin was different from others[vague]  and kept himself busy in prayers and meditation. Legend has it that once when he was watering his plants, a revered Sufi, Shaikh Ibrāhim Qundūzī (or Kunduzi) — the name deriving from his birthplace, Kunduz in Afghanistan—came to his orchard. Young Moinuddin approached him and offered him some fruits. In return, Sheikh Ibrāhīm Qundūzī gave him a piece of bread and asked him to eat it. The Khwāja got enlightened and found himself in a strange world after eating the bread. After this he disposed of his property and other belongings and distributed the money to the poor. He renounced the world and left for Bukhara in search of knowledge and higher education.

Moinuddin Chishtī visited the seminaries of Samarkand  and Bukhara  and acquired religious learning from the eminent scholars of his age. He visited nearly all the great centers of Muslim culture, and acquainted himself with almost every important trend in Muslim religious life in the Middle Ages. He became a disciple of the Chishtī saint ‘Uthmān Hārūnī. They travelled the Middle East extensively together, including visits to Mecca and Medina.

Moinuddin Chishtī turned towards India, reputedly after a dream in which Prophet Muhammad blessed him to do so. After a brief stay at Lahore, he reached Ajmer  along with Sultan Shahāb-ud-Din Muhammad Ghori, and settled down there.[4]  In Ajmer, he attracted a substantial following, acquiring a great deal of respect amongst the residents of the city. Moinuddin Chishtī practiced the Sufi Sulh-e-Kul (peace to all) concept to promote understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Chishtī order was founded by Abu Ishaq Shami (“the Syrian”) in Chisht, some 95 miles east of Herat in present-day western Afghanistan.[5]  Moinuddin Chishti established the order in India, in the city of Ajmer in North India.

Moinuddin Chishti apparently never wrote down his teachings in the form of a book, nor did his immediate disciples, but the central principles that became characteristics of the Chishtī order in India are based on his teachings and practices. They lay stress on renunciation of material goods; strict regime of self-discipline and personal prayer; participation in Samā’ as a legitimate means to spiritual transformation; reliance on either cultivation or unsolicited offerings as means of basic subsistence; independence from rulers and the state, including rejection of monetary and land grants; generosity to others, particularly, through sharing of food and wealth, and tolerance and respect for religious differences.

He, in other words, interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples “to develop river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality.” The highest form of devotion, according to him, was “to redress the misery of those in distress – to fulfill the needs of the helpless and to feed the hungry.”

It was during the reign of Emperor Akbar (1556–1605) that Ajmer emerged as one of the most important centers of pilgrimage in India. The Mughal Emperor undertook an unceremonial journey on foot to accomplish his wish to reach Ajmer. The Akbarnāmah records that the Emperor’s interest first sparked when he heard some minstrels singing songs about the virtues of the Walī (Friend of God) who lay asleep in Ajmer.

Moinuddin Chishtī authored several books including Anīs al-Arwāḥ and Dalīl al-’Ārifīn, both of which deal with the Islamic code of living.

Quṭbuddīn Baktiyār Kākī (d. 1235) and Ḥamīduddīn Nagorī (d. 1276) were Moinuddin Chishtī’s celebrated Khalīfas or successors who continued to transmit the teachings of their master through their disciples, leading to the widespread proliferation of the Chishtī Order in India.

Among Quṭbuddīn Baktiyār’s prominent disciples was Farīduddīn Ganj-i-Shakar (d. 1265), whose dargāh is at Pakpattan, Pakistan. Farīduddīn’s most famous disciple was Nizāmuddīn Auliyā’ (d. 1325) popularly referred to as Mahbūb-e-Ilāhī (God’s beloved), whose dargāh is located in South Delhi.

From Delhi, disciples branched out to establish dargāhs in several regions of South Asia, from Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east, and the Deccan in the south. But from all the network of Chishtī dargāhs the Ajmer dargāh took on the special distinction of being the ‘mother’ dargah of them all.

The dargah  (shrine) of Chisti, known as Dargah Sharif or Ajmer Sharif is an international wakf (endowment), managed under the ‘Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955′ of Government of India. The Dargah Committee, appointed by the Government, manages donations, takes care of the maintenance of the shrine, and runs charitable institutions like dispensaries, and guest houses for the devotees.[6]  The dargah, which is visited by Muslim pilgrims as well as Hindus and Sikhs as a symbol of intercommunal harmony.

Shah Ast Hussein Badshah Ast Hussein

Ruler is Hussain, Emperor is Hussain

Deen Ast Hussein Deen Panah Ast Hussein

Faith is Hussain , guardian of faith is Hussain

Sar dad na daad dast dar dast e yazeed

Offered his head and not the hand to Yazid

Haqaaq e Binaa e Laa iLaha Ast Hussein

When Hazrat Khwaja Muinuddin was born (536AD) at Chishty in Sistan, which is also known as Sajistan, East Persia. The peace of the Muslim world was horribly disturbed. Sistan and its surrounding lands were experiencing unprecedented bloodshed and plunder at the hands of barbarous Tartars and other rebels. These intruders had taken advantage of the weak government of Sultan Sanjar. The life and honour of the people were in constant danger. The wild Tartars had completely destroyed the follower of the Muslim nation. They outraged humanity practically in all the centers of the 600-year old Muslim civilisation and culture.

Due to these intermittent political disturbances in sistan, khawaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan, father of khawaja Muinuddin, one day decided to pack up and leave Sistan for a safer place. He migrated with his family to Neshapur the Capital city, which was one of the most flourishing cities in those days. It was a great centre of intellectual and economic activities and possessed the famous “Nizamia” university with a precious library that contained rare collection of Original literature. There lived learned Ulama and reputed Sufis who imparted knowledge in moral and spiritual enlightenment to scholars drawn from far and near. There lived physicians and artists of rare qualifications. There were rich gardens and canals with flourishing agricultural fields. One of the suburbs was called Rewand which was famous for its grape orchards. It is recorded that khawaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan bought an orchard with a windmill in this vicinity to settle down for a peaceful life.

“Man proposes but God disposes” is an old saying. The peace in search of which Khawaja Ghiyasuddin Hasan had migrated to Neshapur was not to be had even in this great city. Here too the people were hanging in a terrible suspense between life and death. The brave Sultan Sanjar had been fighting the Tartars at the border to check them for a long time without success. Due to his prolonged absence from the capital, his administrative machinery was showing signs of disintegration. Internally, the Fidayees of the ‘Qarmti’ and ‘Baatini’ sects (one of whose members had already murdered the able Wazeer Nizamul Mulk) had also come out of their hideouts and were roaming about the country unabated, spreading wild fire of rebellion all round. These armed hordes were busy in wholesale plunder and massacre of the innocent people.

These awe-inspiring events had a very deep impression on the mind of the young Khawaja Muinuddin who was watching the whole barbarous drama objectively at his impressionable young age.

The ‘Qarmti’ and Baatani’ intriguers had carried centuries old grudge against the Hanafi Muslims who held both temporal and spiritual powers in succession for more than 500 years after the death of the Holy Prophet (May peace of God be on him). Although it was an age-old grudge but. As Islamic history shows they utterly failed in all their designs to destroy their rivals. Islam has survived many vicissitudes of history and Quran has promised its survival up to the last Day-of-Judgment.

In spite of all his best efforts to turn out the invaders from his country and to control the internal rebels, Sultan Sanjar unfortunately could not succeed. He was engulfed in mutual wars between himself and his unfaithful brothers on the one hand, and the Fidayees and barbarous Tartars on the other. It was indeed a terrible situation for him, yet they fought the forces of evil to the bitter end though he was ultimately defeated and had to run for his life.

After the defeat of Sultan Sanjar, the invaders had a free hand to plunder every town in Khorasan. Flourishing fields were destroyed, cities were razed to the ground, inhabitants, Ulama and Sufis were mercilessly murdered honour of the woman was brutally outraged, girls and boys were taken as salves mosques, hospitals and the historic educational institutions were destroyed

Destruction Of Neshapur

When the news of this terrible destruction reached the defeated sultan, he once more summed up his courage and collected his shattered army to save his country. But Sultan Sanjar was born under most unlucky stars and his luck once more betrayed him. He failed to check the invaders and this time he was arrested. When this bad news reached Neshapur, the capital was plunged into indescribable grief. It was now at the mercy of the enemy. The invaders entered Khorasan and destroyed the cities of Tus and Mashhed, reaching Neshapur like a sweeping storm. Everything was destroyed leaving this once flourishing city of Islamic culture and learning into a heap of rubble and ruin.

Khawaja Muinuddin again saw all this ghastly drama at his early age. But this was not all for him. Just at this time he lost his dear father (551 AD) and the worst part of it was that he had already lost his dear mother too. The young orphan was now left all alone to take care of himself in a world full of hate, murder and greed. Although by virtue of legacy he had enough material resources to sustain himself in his traditional standard of life but the sack of Neshapur coupled with the death of his dear parents plunged him into deep thinking. At times he was over whelmed with grief and saw a very vague picture of this terrible world though he bore it out with courage and exemplary forbearance. He was a hard working youth and looked after his orchard, personally trimming and watering the plants with his own hands.

Hardly a year had passed after the death of Khawaja Muinuddin’s father, when the mischievous Tartars once more ransacked Khorasan and repeated the same bloody drama of murder arson and loot. This time Sultan Mahmood, one of the brothers of Sultan Sanjar, came forward to check the invaders but he too failed to rout them. Neshapur was again the scene of the same ghastly tragedies. And once more Khawaja Muinuddin was overwhelmingly dismayed to see these scenes of terrible devastation. He often plunged himself into deeper thoughts about these ugly events in order to try to come to some definite conclusion about his own future course of life. The thought of helping the helpless humanity against all such persistent pillage always tormented his tender heart. Yet they could not come to any definite conclusion

As helpless human beings, we can never understand the will of the Almighty God. Should we surmise that by exhibiting these tragedies perhaps God Almighty meant to show Khawaja Muinuddin the sins of this wretched world in order to prepare him for a mighty divine mission of reform and peace for the mankind? As it will be seen later on that Heavenly Father did mean this for which He enlightened the mind of the young Khawaja quite unexpectedly. Whenever injustice, oppression and greed reigned supreme in this world, God has always been merciful to mankind by sending His saviours to fight the satanic forces and put the people on the path of righteousness and mutual love.

Hazrat Khawaja Muinuddin Chishty was one of the descendants of the illustrious family of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law and cousin of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (May peace of God be on him). His father Syed Ghiyasuddin Hasan was a very pious personality and a well to do and influential gentleman. His mother, Syeda Bibi Ummul-wara alias Babi Mah-e-Noor was the daughter of Syed Daud. While Khawaja Muinuddin’s paternal genealogy is traced from Hazrat Imam Husain, the younger son of Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajahu, his maternal genealogy is traced from Hazrat Imam Hasan, the elder son of Hazrat Ali.

According to historians, Khwaja Muinuddin Chishty even during his childhood gave early promise of his rare piety and sacrifice for others. Whenever any woman with a baby came to see his mother and if the baby cried for feeding,”the infant saint of the future” used to make a sign to his mother to feed the crying baby from her own breast. When his mother did this, the spectacle pleased the little Muinuddin very much. At the age of 3 or 4 he used to share his own food with his playmates.

Once he was going to Idgah for the Id prayers in rich clothes. On the way he saw a blind boy in rags. He pitied the boy so much that he at once gave him some of his own clothes and led him to Idgah with all due affection.

Khawaja Muinuddin Hasan Chishty, son of Khawaja Syed Ghyasuddin Hasan, son of Syed Ahmed Muddin Tahir, son of Syed Khawaja Abdul Aziz Husain, son of Syed Imam Mohammed Mehdi, son of Syed Imam Hasan Askari, son of Imam Ali Naqi, son of Syed Imam Mohammed Taqi, son of Imam Ali Musi Raza, son of Imam Musi Kazim Raza, son of Imam Mohammed Jafar Sadiq, son of Imam Mohammed Baqar, son of Hazrat Syed Imam Zain-ul-Abideen, son of Syed-ul-Shohoda Syed Imam Husain, son of Amir-ul-Momineen Hazrat Ali, son-in-law of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.

Maternal Genealogy

Syeda Bidi Mah-e-Noor, daughter of Syed Daud, son of Hazrat Abdulla, son of Syed Zahid, son of Syed Mooris, son of Syed Daud I, son of Syedna Moosa, son of Syedna Abdulla Mahaz, son of Syedna Hasan Musa, son of Syedna Hazrat Imam Hasan, son of Syedna Hazrat Ali Karam Allah Wajahu.

He became the Murid (disciple) of Usman Harooni.

***

Devotees at the Ajmer Dargah.

The aesthetic and stunning white dome that crowns the main tomb of the historic dargah of the Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer stands out as an illustrious embodiment of Islamic mysticism of the Chishtiya order founded in India after the arrival of one of the most outstanding figures in the annals of Sufism from West Asia.

The dargah at Ajmer Sharif today attracts lakhs of people — Muslims, Hindus, Christians and others — from the Indian sub-continent and from other parts of the world, depicting a rare blend of religions. People assemble at the shrine during the week-long Urs every year to beseech for fulfilment of their prayers.

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, popularly known as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz (protector of the poor), was born in 1141 A.D. at Sanjar in the Sistan province of Iran. He was a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. His parents died when he was only 15 years old and he used to look after the orchard and windmill that he inherited from his father.

During his childhood, young Moinuddin was different from others and kept himself busy in prayers and meditation. He was sober, silent and serene.

Legend has it that once when he was watering his plants, a revered monk, Sheikh Ibrahim Qandozi, came to his orchard. Young Moinuddin approached him with all humility and offered him some fruits. In return, the monk gave him a piece of bread and asked him to eat it.
Turning point

The Khwaja got enlightened and found himself in a strange world after eating the bread. This was a turning point in his life. He disposed of his property and other belongings and distributed the money thus received among the poor and the needy. He renounced the world and left for Bukhara in search of knowledge and higher education.

In those days, Samarkand and Bukhara were great seats of Islamic learning. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti visited the seminaries of the two cities and acquired religious learning at the feet of eminent scholars of his age. He visited nearly all the great centres of Muslim culture and acquainted himself with almost every important trend in the Muslim religious life.

He became the disciple of the famous Dervish, Khwaja Usman Harooni, and remained under his guidance for nearly 20 years. They travelled in West Asia extensively together and also went to Mecca and Medina.

Khwaja Gharib Nawaz turned towards India reputedly after a dream in Medina in which he received the directions to go to Hindustan. After a brief stay in Lahore, he reached Ajmer along with his 40 followers and camped near Ana Sagar lake.

The place from where the Khwaja’s extensive missionary work was taken up is now known as Chillah of Khwaja Saheb. The residents of the city admired the wisdom, purity and grace of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz and people from various walks of life cherished to be his disciples. The vast number of his followers, both Hindus and Muslims, emulated him and symbolised his dictum of “Sulh-i-Kul” (peace with all).
Mystic mission

Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s firm faith in “Wahdat-al-Wujud” (unity of being) provided the necessary ideological support to his mystic mission to bring about the emotional integration of the people among whom he lived. His teaching lay stress on renunciation of material goods and tolerance and respect for religious differences.

He interpreted religion in terms of human service and exhorted his disciples to develop a “river-like generosity, sun-like affection and earth-like hospitality”. The highest form of devotion, according to him, was to redress the misery of those in distress and fulfil the needs of the helpless and feed the hungry.

Sufism in Islam is akin to Vedanta in Hinduism. It believes in non-dual Absolute and looks upon the world as the reflection of God, who is conceived as Light. Sufism is claimed to be a way of life born of the human heart against the cold formalism and ritualism.

Ajmer Sharif emerged as one of the most important centres of pilgrimage in India during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar (1556-1605). Akbar undertook a journey on foot to accomplish his humble wish to reach the place and presented a big cauldron for cooking food after his conquest of Chittorgarh. A small cauldron was later presented by Emperor Jehangir in 1646.

Some of the books authored by Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti are Anis-al-Arwah and Daleel-al-Arefeen, dealing with the Islamic code of living. His most famous disciples were Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki and Hamiduddin Nagori.

The week-long Urs, observed every year in the dargah, commemorates the event in 1236 when Khwaja Gharib Nawaz entered his cell to pray in seclusion for six days, at the end of which he died. When his devotees opened the door, the Khwaja was found dead, and on his forehead were written these words: “He was a beloved of God and he died in the love of God.”

He was buried, according to the traditions of the prophets, in the same tenement which he occupied in his life and in which he breathed his last. During the Urs, attended by people from far and wide, devotional music and recitings from the Khwaja’s own works and other Sufi saints are presented in the traditional Qawwali style and in chorus.

The Urs — observed between the first and sixth days of the Hijri month of Rajab — is also the much sought-after occasion when “Jannati Darwaza” (door to heaven) is opened for the devotees. People from all religions offer chadar and floral tributes at the grave of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti.
Several monuments

Besides the mausoleum, there are several other monuments of historical interest located within the premises of the Sufi shrine. They include the tenement of Bibi Hafiz Mahal, Begami Dalan constructed in memory of Begum Jehanara, Mehfil Khana, Ahata-e-Noor, Aulia mosque and the Chillah of Baba Farid.

The dargah has recovered from the obnoxious shadow of an unfortunate incident involving a bomb explosion on October 11 last year that killed three persons in its compound. It is now on the way to restoration of its past glory. Several projects have been launched for beautification of the 13th-century shrine and attempts made to improve its management.

The new dargah committee, which took over six months ago after dissolution of the previous panel, has chalked out a plan to ensure free movement of pilgrims, stop commercial activities on the dargah premises and renovate various buildings, besides stepping up security to prevent terror attacks.

As part of its efforts to step up security for pilgrims, the dargah committee has sanctioned a special budget of Rs. 26 lakh for the upkeep of sensitive high beam cameras, closed circuit televisions, X-ray machines and metal detectors installed on the premises recently. Security guards have also been deployed at sensitive locations inside the shrine.

Says Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, president of the nine-member dargah committee: “The dargah is a fine embodiment of syncretic traditions of our country. Its beautification will protect a rich legacy for generations to come and apprise them of the noble values of Sufism, promoting tolerance, charity and universal brotherhood.”

Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali — the first person from South India to be appointed the dargah committee chief — has instructed the administration of the shrine to make “value addition” to the dargah endowment and properties and put them to a productive use for philanthropic activities, such as education, grants to the destitute and welfare of orphans.

The dargah committee, established under the provisions of the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955, administers and controls the affairs of the shrine as well as its endowments. It also organises the annual Urs and regulates the presence of Khadims (workers) on the premises, besides determining their privileges and giving them licences.
Generous outlay

An annual budget of Rs. 3.09 crore was approved at a dargah committee meeting recently, with the endorsement of proposals for eviction of unauthorised possessions on the dargah premises, extension of amenities for pilgrims, establishment of a university named after Khwaja Gharib Nawaz, expansion of the Khwaja Model School building and enhancement of grants to widows and orphans.

Besides, restoration of the heritage of two Chillahs of the Sufi saint, renovation of Eidgah and three mosques and expansion of the guest house are among the projects cleared by the committee.

Significantly, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has incorporated the renovation of the exterior of the dargah in its project for Ajmer. The renovation of various structures on the premises of the shrine, on the other hand, has been taken up by the dargah committee in its capacity as the custodian of the historic monument.

Dargah Nazim Ahmed Raza — functioning as Chief Executive Officer of the dargah committee — undertook visits to several places in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh during the last 11 months to find out the present status of the dargah’s agricultural lands worth about Rs.1.5 crore and succeeded in getting possession of 20 properties previously encroached upon.

The plaster of Sandal Khana and Akbari mosques in the dargah complex was replaced with marble to give them an elegant look. As part of efforts to improve amenities for pilgrims, round-the-clock supply of water for ablution was arranged and a project for stay arrangements at Vishram Sthali, especially during the Urs, was launched.

Pilgrims visiting the shrine in large numbers every year can look forward to finding themselves in spruced up surroundings with an ambience promoting spiritual contentment and fulfilling the mystical yearning to find the true purpose of life. Evidently, the message of Khwaja Gharib Nawaz does not admit of time. It is as true today, as it was when delivered centuries ago.

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Soniji Ki Nasiyan

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see also :

http://dargahsharif.com/CLASSICAL%20GALLERY%20OF%20DARGAH%20SHARIF.htm


2013 REVIEW

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


GHARANAS OF INDIA – The Bhendi Bazaar Gharana

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The term “Gharana” comes from a Hindi word “Ghar” which means a house. “Gharana” in social context refers to a family staying in the house. Since families may stay in the house for generations, the common skills and traits of the members of the family and rituals and traditions followed by the family, become characteristics of a Gharana. The word “Gharana” in Hindustani Classical Music bears a special connotation – adherence to a comprehensive musicological ideology. Simply put it essentially refers to the style, of singing or playing an instrument, of the founder and other stalwarts of the Gharana. However, the word style, as applicable to vocal form, can be broken down further to include a number of characteristics of presentation of a Raga, such as, open voice using akar, clarity of notes, development and elaboration of a Raga, stress on breath control, rhythmplay, use of boltans and dancelike grace in Sargams, exquisite compositions and so on.

In the context of Bhendibazaar Gharana, the lineage can be traced to Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan. His three sons, Ustad Chhajjoo Khan, Ustad Nazeer Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan (the Founders of Bhendibazaar Gharana) shifted in the year 1870 from Bijnaur, near Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai. Their brother Vilayat Hussain used to stay in an area called “Bhendibazaar” . The area “Bhendibazaar” is located close to the Fort area, the commercial centre of Bombay (now Mumbai). The locality close to the Fort area was referred to as “Behind the bazaar” by the British, which in local language came to be known as Bhendibazaar. The triumvirate had received training in music, initially from their father, Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan, and later from Inayat Hussain Khan of Rampur Sahaswan Gharana and from Ustad Inayat Khan of the Dagar Gharana. The three brothers developed their own style and gained reputation as singers from “Bhendibazaar” and their style was called “Bhendibazaar Gayaki”.

The Bhendibazaar Gayaki presented a novel approach in presentation of a raga and the impact on listeners and other musicians was so great that many stalwarts of other Gharanas and budding musicians preferred to take training; for example, Ustad Shahmir Khan (father of Ustad Amir Khan), Ustad Amir Khan himself, Ustad Chand Khan, Kader Baksh, Ustad Mamman Khan, Ustad Zande Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Begum Akhtar, Naina Devi, Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt.Vasantrao Deshpande, Asha Bhosale, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey. The biographies of the founders and other exponents of the Gharana are included in the next page. In this page, we shall see the information of Guru- Shishya parampara condensed in three lineage charts as per details given below:

Family_Tree

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Disciples

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Disciples_5th Generation

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Usman_Aman-Ali-Khan

.Guru Pandit TD Janorikar_Vocal

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Suhasini Koratkar_Vocal.

Meenaxi-Mukherji_Vocal.

Pandit Pandurang Amberkar.

Pandit ShivKumar<br /> Shukla

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The term “Gharana” comes from a Hindi word “Ghar” which means a house. “Gharana” in social context refers to a family staying in the house. Since families may stay in the house for generations, the common skills and traits of the members of the family and rituals and traditions followed by the family, become characteristics of a Gharana. The word “Gharana” in Hindustani Classical Music bears a special connotation – adherence to a comprehensive musicological ideology. Simply put it essentially refers to the style, of singing or playing an instrument, of the founder and other stalwarts of the Gharana. However, the word style, as applicable to vocal form, can be broken down further to include a number of characteristics of presentation of a Raga, such as, open voice using akar, clarity of notes, development and elaboration of a Raga, stress on breath control, rhythmplay, use of boltans and dancelike grace in Sargams, exquisite compositions and so on.

In the context of Bhendibazaar Gharana, the lineage can be traced to Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan. His three sons, Ustad Chhajjoo Khan, Ustad Nazeer Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan (the Founders of Bhendibazaar Gharana) shifted in the year 1870 from Bijnaur, near Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai. Their brother Vilayat Hussain used to stay in an area called “Bhendibazaar” . The area “Bhendibazaar” is located close to the Fort area, the commercial centre of Bombay (now Mumbai). The locality close to the Fort area was referred to as “Behind the bazaar” by the British, which in local language came to be known as Bhendibazaar. The triumvirate had received training in music, initially from their father, Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan, and later from Inayat Hussain Khan of Rampur Sahaswan Gharana and from Ustad Inayat Khan of the Dagar Gharana. The three brothers developed their own style and gained reputation as singers from “Bhendibazaar” and their style was called “Bhendibazaar Gayaki”.
The Bhendibazaar Gayaki presented a novel approach in presentation of a raga and the impact on listeners and other musicians was so great that many stalwarts of other Gharanas and budding musicians preferred to take training; for example, Ustad Shahmir Khan (father of Ustad Amir Khan), Ustad Amir Khan himself, Ustad Chand Khan, Kader Baksh, Ustad Mamman Khan, Ustad Zande Khan, Lata Mangeshkar, Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Begum Akhtar, Naina Devi, Pt. Jitendra Abhisheki, Pt.Vasantrao Deshpande, Asha Bhosale, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey

Nuances of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana Gayaki

Nuances of Gayaki include the following prominent characteristics :

1. Akar sung in open voice,
2. Improvisation of the raga (alap, taan and sargam) based on Khandmer principle, i.e. various combinations of a given set of notes to bring    out beauty and melody of the Raga,
3. Presentation in Madhya laya (medium tempo), and madhyadrut laya (medium fast tempo),
4. Melodious smooth meends with breath control,
5. Forceful Gamak taans, sapat taans and satta taans,
6. Presentation of Bandishes having delightful mixture of shabda, soor and laya (lyrics, notes and tempo),
7. Dance oriented structure of singing of sargams (singing complex combinations of solfa syllables in harmony with their designated pitches),
8. Individualistic and beautiful rhythmplay,
9. Inclusion of some melodious ragas of Karnatak Music, such as Hamsdhwani, Nagaswarawali, Pratapwarali.

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While a massive redevelopment project is underway at Bhendi Bazaar, a little known fact about the area is its rich contribution to Hindustani classical music
While all this is known and often talked about, a little known fact about the area is its rich contribution to Hindustani classical music. It was in 1890 that Bhendi Bazaar Gharana was founded in Mumbai by three brothers ”Ustad Chhajjoo Khan, Ustad Nazeer Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan, who hailed from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

My mother, Late Mandakini Gadre, was a disciple of Master Navrang Nagpurkar, who was a leading disciple of Ustad Aman Ali Khan, the doyen of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana. I chose Bhendi Bazaar Gharana as the subject of the web site as my mother learnt music from Master Navrang, a maestro of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana.

I strongly felt that artistes of the past era, of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana who had devoted their whole life to mastering, presenting and teaching music are forgotten today.The website provides information about Bhendi Bazaar Gharana, its guru-shishya parampara, some live recordings of some stalwarts from the Gharana.

This treasure, if not preserved now, may be lost forever and will not be available to music lovers and students in future.” Highlighting various features of the website, Gadre added, “The website, which was launched in 2009 has nearly 250 Bandishes composed by Ustad Aman Ali Khan and other disciples including Pandit Shivkumar Shukla, Pandit Pandurang Amberkar, Master Navrang, Pandit Ramesh Nadkarni. There are Bandishes sung by disciples of the present generation.”

Forgotten
While Hindustani classical music has been dominated by other Gharanas like ”Kirana Gharana, Agra Gharana and so on, many feel that Bhendi Bazaar Gharana is a forgotten chapter and barely finds a mention in the Indian music scene. Said Suhasini Koratkar, currently one of the oldest members from the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana, based in Pune, “The problem with this Gharana was the death of many of its stalwarts before time.

Ustad Aman Ali Khan passed away quite early. The singers from this Gharana were not very much into performing at concerts. They used to teach their pupils and they were happy doing that. They considered that music was for spiritual purposes and not for sale.

This is probably one of the reasons why this Gharana did not become so popular.” Koratkar (67) recollects days when she started learning music under Pandit TD Janorikar in Pune, “My father loved Shastriya Sangeet and this is why he insisted that I start learning under Janorikar ji.

It was during his time that the Gharana flourished. He knew that for a Gharana to flourish it is important that people should be made aware of it. Hence he performed at a lot of concerts. After intensive practice for 7-8 years we too started performing at various concerts.

We wanted to keep the Gharana alive. My guru passed away in 2006. But I continued the sammelan pratha.” Koratkar worked as the Director of Programme (Music) at the All India Radio (AIR) in Delhi. “I started organising various sammelans in Delhi so that people could know about this Gharana,” she said.

Work
Another problem with this Gharana was absence of any written documents or books that talk about the Gharana  and its distinguishing features. “It was the oral tradition followed by gurus and this is how knowledge was passed on to the disciples.

It is now that efforts are being made to document its history, origin, etcetera,” said Koratkar. With a handful of practitioners remaining, music lovers are not too optimistic about the future of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana. Said Meenaxi Mukherji from Andheri (W), a singer who has been associated with the Gharana for almost 25 years, “What is required is a more coordinated effort by the singers who come from this Gharana.

Effort at an individual level will not be of much help. But a bigger project with help pouring in from various people will help resurrect this Gharana and make it popular. Otherwise, I think that the Gharana might soon become history.” Mukherji also laments the fact that, “in this day and age students look for quick money and fame. It  is not just an art.

It is more of an aradhna (worship)–a way to reach the divine. After a year or two, students insist that they want to perform at concerts. There is also no money in this field. This is another reason why many shy away to take up classical music as a career.” Kedar Bodos, a classical singer based in Goa, concurs. “There is lack of patience among students. Their taste, in terms of music too is changing,” said Bodos who has trained in five different Gharanas including Bhendi Bazaar.

Bollywood connection
Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey learnt from Ustad Aman Ali Khan; Asha Bhosale and Pankaj Udhas from Master Navrang and Mahendra Kapur from Pandit Ramesh Nadkarni.

Unique
Nuances of Bhendi Bazaar Gayaki include the following prominent characteristics
* Improvisation of the raga (alap, taan and sargam) based on Khandmer principle, i.e. various combinations of a given set of notes to bring out beauty and melody of the Raga
* Presentation in Madhya laya (medium tempo), and madhyadrut laya (medium fast tempo)
* Inclusion of some melodious ragas of Karnatak Music, such as Hamsdhwani, Nagaswarawali, Pratapwarali.

History
In the context of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana, the lineage can be traced to Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan. His three sons, Ustad Chhajjoo Khan, Ustad Nazeer Khan and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan (the Founders of Bhendi Bazaar Gharana) shifted in the year 1870 from Bijnaur, near Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to Mumbai.

Their brother Vilayat Hussain used to stay in an area called “Bhendi Bazaar” . The area “Bhendi Bazaar” is located close to the Fort area, the commercial centre of Bombay (now Mumbai). The locality close to the Fort area was referred to as “Behind the bazaar” by the British, which in local language came to be known as Bhendi Bazaar.

The triumvirate had received training in music, initially from their father, Ustad Dilawar Hussain Khan, and later from Inayat Hussain Khan of Rampur Sahaswan Gharana and from Ustad Inayat Khan of the Dagar Gharana. The three brothers developed their own style and gained reputation as singers from “Bhendi Bazaar” and their style was called “Bhendi Bazaar Gayaki”.

(Courtesy of Sudeshna Chowdhury)

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Moradabad, a small town in Uttar Pradesh has been one of the heartlands of Hindustani classical instrumental music. Many senior Ustads have mastered the art of Sarangi, Tabla, Been and even vocal music from this gharana. How can one forget the legendary tabla player Ahmad Jaan Tirakhwa saab and great vocalists Ustad Chhajju Khan saab and Ustad Tajjammul khan saab who belong to this gharana? Murad ali belongs to the sixth generation of musicians from his family which has been serving music for the last 250 years. His grandfather Ustad Saddique Ahmad Khan saab and his father Ustad Ghulam Sabir khan saab need no introduction to the world of Hindustani classical music. One of the biggest assets of Moradabad gharana , unlike many other gharanas, is each and every musician is trained in both vocal and instrumental styles of performing. So a sarangi player also makes for a great vocalist and vice versa.

Moradabad gharana is also famously known as the ‘Bhindi bazaar gharana’ for various reasons. ‘Moradabad was a place with many families of musicians. Ustad amaan ali khan saab’s family was one such family responsible for this name. More than that, it was people who would associate ustad ji with the bhindi bazaar because he lived in Bombay for many years where there were other ustads with a same name. Over a period of time it became very easy to connect and identify to Amaan Ali khan saab of the Bhindi bazaar for all music lovers. He personally would have never said he belonged to Bhindi bazaar gharana. The second most important music family was that of table players Ustad Ahmed Jaan Tirakhwa saab. He belonged to Moradabad, though his style of playing was that of farooqabaad. The third was our family of Sarangi players. My great great grandfather, my grand uncles and many others who patronized this instrument. Many of them left to Pakistan during partition. So the Moradabad gharana has its branches spread far and wide. And now I think it’s time to give this gharana its due and that’s why I have kept it a little aside from Bhindi bazaar and let everyone know the original name’ says Murad clearing the air off this much confused turf.

Moradabad is the foremost of gharanas that patronized Sarangi along with other gharanas like Panipat, delhi, Jhajhar and Kirana. Sarangi, an instrument whose history has been well-documented has several interesting stories. In the days of yore, in the Middle East one hakeem Boo Ali Ibn Sina, a student of the famed Pythagoras is said to have gone into the forests to collect plants and roots for his herbal medicines when he heard strange music emanating from under a tree. On closer scrutiny he noticed that entrails of a dead monkey whose intestines were being rubbed by a dry twig under the breeze were producing this music. In Abul Fazl’s famous Ain-e-akbari this story finds itself with a different discoverer. In the current times, the strings of the sarangi are made out of goat’s intestines. In Rajasthan an earlier version of this instrument called Ravanhattho and Kamayacha with three main strings and about 15 sympathetic strings was in usage for a long time. The Kingri in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the Kunju in kerala, Pen in Manipur and banam and kenara in Orissa were all various earlier rural avatars of the same Sarangi devoid of all ornamentation. From the point of view of its shape and structure the ancient musical instrument without the frets called Ghosvati or Ghoshak veena was perhaps the closest to the latter day Sarangi. In more modern parlance, the Pinaki veena, a gut-string bow instrument described in Saranga deva’s Sangeet Ratnakara (13th century A.D) bears a close resemblance to the sarangi we know. The modern day sarangi is a far accomplished and highly engineered instrument. ‘Sarangi Sau rangi’ , (the sarangi has a hundred colour) is an adage that goes aptly well with this instrument’s virtuosity to create such delicate and fine music. Played with cuticles and the lowest part of the finger nails, it is not an easy instrument to master. What started off as an accompanying instrument has slowly taken shape of being a classy solo concert instrument, thanks to the undying efforts of Ustads from all these gharanas.

Speaking of his early days of learning music Murad recollects his taleem under his gurus. ‘I would have to spend many studious hours in riyaaz. It was not easy to see my cuticles bleed and feel the pain. I would just stick bits of tape around my fingers and carry on with my music practice’. Years of such hard work was bound to pay well and Murad won the first prize at the all India radio national music competition at the tender age of sixteen in 1992. Ever since then, there has been no looking back for him. Having accompanied the likes of Smt Girija Devi, Ustad Rashid Khan, Pandit Gopal Mishra, Pandit Briju Maharaj and many more senior artists from the world of Hindustani classical music and dance, he is currently an ‘A’ grade artist from AIR Delhi.

Murad who feels that vocal music is important, like his seniors first learnt vocal before he graduated to taking the Sarangi. ‘Vocal music is very important especially for sarangi players. When you learn the intricacies of Khyaal and other genres like dadra, tappa, thumri and so on in vocal, it becomes far more easier to practice it on the instrument’ says Murad. His grandfather the great Ustad Saddique Ahmed Khan saab was also a student of Hindustani vocal for twenty years before his gurus allowed him to touch the sarangi. A strong grounding in vocal becomes an essential part of an instrumentalist’s journey into musicdom. There have been many sarangi players who have mastered this instrument. But there have been a very few who can be credited with making sarangi the solo instrument. ‘Ustad bundu khan saab’s name stands out first. He was responsible for changing the presentation and the music of sarangi and taking it to a new stature. After him come Pandit Gopal mishra ji and Pandit Ram narayan ji who was responsible for making it popular in the music festivals across the world. There have been many others too, but you need to see who got the opportunity and who got the right platform to present their skill’, says Murad.

he Sarangi has also been one of the main instruments to provide music for Kathak as a dance form to grow. ‘Initially when I set out to become a solo concert performer, my father also encouraged me to experiment. I was to learn how to play the lehraas with tabla or pakhajwaj as an accompaniment or how to play it with dance. For that I worked in Bharitiya kala Kendra in delhi for about six months to learn this art. The people there wanted me to stay back when I was leaving six months later, but this stay extended for six years and I had to beg myself out of that place to continue my work. But what I learnt there was priceless. The Sarangi is one of the most versatile instruments and can be played with all genres of music and dance forms if it is mastered the right way’, adds Murad.

The Sarangi has come a long way. With the passing over of Hindustani musical patronage from royal courts to emergence of havelis and kothas of the nawabs, the Sarangi started to become associated with mehfils and tawaifs or nautch girls. A little known fact is that even famous senior Hindustani vocalists like Ustad Abdul Karim Khan saab, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan saab and Ustad Amir Khan saab who had begun their artistic careers as Sarangi players disowned their instrumental past on their path to fame. From classical concerts the Sarangi came to be a more popular instrument among lighter semi-classical forms like Ghazal and soon was adopted by the film industry for playback music. But how many ever such confrontations later, the Sarangi continues to survive the onslaught of time, space, technology and more to constantly keep re-emerging as an instrument worth all ages and all times.

Whatever be the origins of this instrument, many people have come forward claiming to be its original inventors in the past. ‘Earlier sarangi had 4 strings of Sa, Pa, Sa and Pa. In this last century, it was reduced to three strings. Now if I put the forth string back and say it is my invention, it is not right’, says Murad demystifying all these false claims of older artists who were supposed inventors. Being close to human voice and able to replicate patterns of vocal music, the Sarangi is an ideal accompaniment to Hindustani Classical music. The subtleties that can be acquired through sarangi cannot be attained through harmonium due to its limitations. But lately, just for convenience sake, sarangi is being replaced by harmonium. One of the other reasons why its popularity is on the decline is also because of the fact that it is a difficult instrument to learn and master. But Murad with his determined efforts has been credited to elevate the status of the instrument with his fusion concert tours and other musical alliances. ‘I have toured with music groups like Indian Ocean and Shubha Mudgal Ji’s group and we have seen how widely sarangi has been appreciated. I have collaborated with pianist Anil Srinivasan from Chennai and done classical fusion. I love innovation and love experimenting because this instrument easily accommodates such practices. Its musical limitations are almost negligible and hence for a player like me it comes as a blessing’ says Murad speaking about his musical collaboration.

There is a falsehood generated by popular perception that Islam is against music and those Muslims who practice music are anti-Islamic. Breaking that myth once the late Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan saab had said that those who say music is anti-Islamic know nothing of music or of Islam. ‘This is not true. Music is very much a part of all cultures. I have been to Jerusalem to the tomb of one of our saints and I was surprised to find the design of a violin engraved on his mazaar in that dargah. There were music notes written on the chaadar along with figures of other musical instruments because the saint himself must have been a person of music. So there is no such thing in Islam. That kind of culture which encourages excessive alcoholism, domestic abuse and violence and other immoral activities must not be encouraged anyways be it Islamic or not. It’s harmful for the society anywhere in the world. In fact Islam says a lot more things are haraam, why target something as divine as classical music? Classical music is pure and nothing can touch it’, says Murad with affirmation against all these rumours that do more harm to music and to Islam than anything else.

Having over a dozen albums of solo and non-solo music albums to his credit, Murad is the new face of Sarangi amongst the performance and festival circles. The ‘Saurangi’ festival conceived and created by him and his team of efficient musicians was a landmark festival in the history of Sarangi as well. It is an annual feature marked on the musical calendar where a sarangi symphony is performed by a dozen players who play a scripted symphony. For the first time ever in the history of Hindustani classical music, the best of hundreds of Sarangi players and music connoisseurs gathered under one umbrella to enjoy a festival dedicated to this instrument. ‘In the past Pandit Ram Narayan did a similar event with hundred sarangis but that event was on a different level. I have tried to put together an Indian symphony like how Pandit Ravishankar used to do the national orchestra with different instruments’, says Murad about the Saurangi festival. Murad along with his twin brother Fateh ali , sitar player , vocalist imran khan and tabla player Amaan Ali have formed a group called ‘Taseer’. Taseer as a band has collaborated with many more musicians from across the world according to the needs of performances.

Ask him if he believes if it’s possible to become a full time professional musician and he says ‘Yes! Why not! It depends on how much riyaaz you do, how committed you are to your music. Nothing is impossible’, he says.

With such exponents like Murad Ali in its fold, the Sarangi can be proud to make a fresh come-back on the concert stage more actively. Murad proved many a critic who thought that the sarangi was on the verge of extinction, totally wrong with his innovation, bowing techniques and newer musical collaborations. With a well-established aesthetic sense deeply rooted in his great legacy and in the tradition of his Gharana, so far as we have musicians like Murad Ali we can all say that Sarangi and its pristine music are in safe hands.

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The Bhendi Bazar family of style (gharana)
In North Indian Classical Music, several Systems are prevalent. Unlike many other music systems of the world, which are documented in the written form, Indian music systems are basically tradition bound, and, for past several centuries, have descended only in the oral form from a teacher to a student. A musician practising a certain system of music, is said to belong to that particular musical family, and is locally called to belong to that gharana. Amongst the contemporary ones, Bhendi Bazar is one such gharana of the North Indian Classical Music.
Three singer brothers, Ustad Chhajju Khan, Ustad Nazir Khan, and Ustad Khadim Hussain Khan, who lived in Bijnour town of Moradabad district in the state ot Uttar Pradesh, are the founders of Bhendi Bazar Gharana
Since they hailed from Moradabad district, this Gharana initially was known as Moradabad gharana  In early 20th century these brothers migrated to Bombay, and made their home in the southern part of the town called, Bhendhi Bazar. Since the Governor of the state, the elite class, and rich tradesmen also lived in the same locatity, it was full of several activities.
These brothers when started giving their public performances and becoming popular, the listeners lovingly started referring to them as Bhendi Bazarwale Gayak (singers from Bhendi Bazar). Since then, the gharana founded by them has come to be known as Bhendi Bazar Gharana.
It is therefore not surprising that, with such a recent origin, the current performers of this Bhendi Bazar Gharana belong only to its 4th generation.
The gharana lineage shows that it is Ustad Aman Ali Khan who, with his several disciples, was mainly responsible in popularising the Bhendi Bazar Gharana. Sometimes, therefore, the gayaki ( style of singing ) of this gharana is referred to as Aman Ali Gayaki.

Characteristics:
Bhendi Bazar Gharana’s style of singing, in many respects, is clearly distinct and different from several contemporary styles of North Indian Classical Music. The style typifies itself with delicate voice production and bewitching tonal inflections. It stands out with its high – degree rhythmic play, and the tonal arches and swara (note) sequences in it are so balanced and poised that one is reminded of the footwork of a skilled dancer. The bandishas (compositions), mostly composed by Ustad Aman Ali Khan, the doyen of the gharana, under the pen-name Amar, are rich in their literary and poetic content. The singer of Bhendi Bazar Gharana is constantly maintaining a clear and conscious balance between the grammar and aesthetics of music. Rendering of sargam (sequences of musical notes) with intricale laya (rhythmic) patterns and  weaving of taanas (note sequences in fast tempo) based on merukhand system, and with high degree of melodic content of pleasing permutations and combinations are some of the other distinctive hall-marks of Bhendi Bazar Gayaki

(Notes by Daniel Schell, from Shaila Piplapure’s biography)