Sarod maestro Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan: Video Interview

Even before Ustad Haafiz Ali (1888–1972) Khan gave Sarod his magic touch at a public performance, the atmosphere used to become electric. Tall, massive fair with a neatly trimmed beard, Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan was more than handsome. He was overwhelming with his charming manners and large eyes, as eloquent as his exquisite music which was not just an artistic performance but a form of prayer.
Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan was born in an ambience of old-world courtliness and music. His great grandfather came from Afganisthan with a talent for the Rabab. His grandfather Ustad Ghulam Ali Khan carried on the good work; with his modifications the Sarod as we know it today came into its own. He was initiated in the tradition of the senia gharana by Ustad Pyar Khan and Ustad Jafar Khan, direct descendants of the line of Tansen.
The influence of the school was passed on to his grandson. This was Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan’s rich inheritance. To this was added his grounding in dhrupad and dhamar under the guidance of Shri Ganeshilalji of Mathura, descendant of Swami Haridas, Mian Tansen’s guru. And to round it off, he sat at the feet of Ustad Wazir khan of Rampur.
The patronage Ustad Haafiz Ali Kahan received from the court of Gwalior subsequently added polish and perfection.
In The early 1940’s he was honoured with the title of Aftab-e-Sarod by the All Bengal Music Conference in Calcutta and Sangeet Ratna Alankar by The Maharaja of Gwalior. In 1952 He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the next year was made a fellow of the Akademi. The Universities of Visva Bharti and Khairagharh conferred doctorates on him, To cap it all came the award of Padma Bhushan in 1960.
Haafiz Ali Khan died in 1972, at the age of 84 in New Delhi. A road in the name of the monumental icon of Indian classical music, Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan Saheb was inaugurated by the Honourable Chief Minister, Smt. Sheila Dikshit on 10 February at PWD Road. This is the 2nd entry road to Nizamuddin Railway Station. This is the only road named after an artist after Tansen and Thyagaraja in the capital city. This road is about 300 metres long.

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