Life Style

                                                                                                       Dr. Ibrahim Ali

1- Temperament, Life Style and Philosophy of Life: -

Ustad Amir Khan was blessed with an extraordinary attractive personality. Having a well-built and strong body, his height was more than six feet. Handsome face, broad forehead and grave look produced characteristics of a thoughtful personality. He generally used spectacles of broad frame. One of his disciples, Mr. Prem Prakash Johri writes: “Just thinking about Khan Saheb’s gayaki, his personality is visualized. Tall and well-built body, grave look and the symbols of being a great thinker of music were the characteristics writ large on his forehead. I had never seen him indulging in trivialities. During conversation, Ustad Saheb spoke only according to necessity and as if in his every sentence, his experience was speaking. Specially, during conversation regarding music, his every sentence was used to be valuable and full of substantial traditional dexterity.[1]

 

He had stable mind, having philosophical nature. Any person, high or low, could keep contact with him at will. He was always lost in his self made world of music. Whether in the company of friends or alone, his activities remained unaffected. Even today, there is no dearth of people claiming to have close friendship with Khan Saheb, simply to augment their own importance but the fact is that he was engrossed in himself. Awards, titles and popularity could not unbalance his mind.

 

“Affable, kindly and warm-hearted, humility was native to him, and in conversation, he was more willing to listen than to talk. His sensibility was as refined as his judgment was generous. There was no pretence about him, no callousness. The petty jealousies which afflicted his many confreres were unknown to him. Name and fame came naturally to him in plenty in the form of national and international honors, awards and titles. But he remained an ardent Sufi till the last.”[2]

 

One more specialty of the personality of Khan Saheb was that in spite of being soft-spoken he was moderate in speech. This is proved by his style of speaking in available recorded interviews of him. There were long intervals between the sentences and many sentences were left incomplete, so that the listener could understand its meaning by his own intelligence. He used to avoid discussing about his own achievements and self appreciation. In this context, late Mr. Krishnarao Majumdar told the author: - “When Khan Saheb returned from any music concert or conference, he used to express his opinion about the program but he never uttered a word about the success of his vocalism.”

 

His behavior towards his disciples is also worth mentioning in the context of his nature. Pt. Amarnath tells about an incidence in this way: - “His nature was very tranquil and serious but moody too. He didn’t like questions by the disciples in the presence of other persons. If some thing was asked with humility privately, he explained it. Without understanding this quality of his nature, when a disciple asked for new thing every time, he never lost his temper but told me in despair: ‘Amarnath! He has not learnt the first lesson, what new thing should be given?”[3]

 

Whenever necessary, Khan Saheb became strict while imparting training of music. The disciples could learn many things during conversations and to make clear some point to understand, he demonstrated by singing himself. Like previous Ustads, he too didn’t acclaim his disciples in their presence.

 

In his routine, Khan Saheb paid special attention to riyaz [practice of music]. Generally he got up at 4 a.m., and used to do riyaz. During the period allotted for riyaz, he didn’t like to think or discuss worldly matters. If some one wanted to listen to his riyaz, he had no objection; provided no disturbance would be created. “In many concerts of classical music, he filled the minds of art lovers with divine delight by his sweet voice and enthusiasm. But in this context, it is important that besides music conference, those music lovers who were fortunate enough to listen to music of Ustad during the period of his riyaz, actually they enjoyed fully the beauty of swara and rasa. The very experience of that art consciousness was unique. At the time of practice, his concentration was so deep that he attained Samadhi. Like three times worship in a day, he practiced music three times a day. During practice, he became so much indifferent towards his surrounding that he would not like to talk to any one.”[4]

 

In Indore, the residence of Ustad Amir Khan was in the area of Bombay Bazar [Shahmir Manzil, Mohan Pura]. During leisure hours, he used to sit at two places near his residence: 1. India Tea Hotel, Narsingh Bazar Cross Road and 2. Mumtaz Tailor, Bombay Bazar. Here he used to sit for hours. His friends having interest in music and Urdu poetry and other acquaintances used to visit these places to meet him. Even today, on the wall of India Tea Hotel a framed photograph of Ustad Amir Khan is still present in his memory. Also at the time of meal, any one or the other known person used to be present and he used to offer to take meal with him. It was his routine at Indore to go for a walk to India Tea Hotel via Bajaj Khana, Pipli Bazar, Sarafa and Sheetla Mata. During this walk also many people used to meet him on his way and talked freely with him. He was also interested in reading two favorite Urdu Magazines, Huma and Shabistan, published from Delhi. Whenever he returned to Indore from tours, he used to gift shawls and lungies to his relatives and neighbors. In morning, he used to distribute toast and bread to children.

 

He was not a complete teetotaler. Even then, alcohol was not his necessity before vocal program, nor any of his programs was ever spoiled due to intoxication. “Though, generally Ustad Amir Khan remained calm, he had all the qualities of a kind hearted man. Those who have seen him drinking a glass full of vine, could not remain uninfluenced by his good manners and civility. The vocal art of Ustad Amir Khan was the mirror of vastness, grandeur, greatness, awareness, mysticism and modesty of his personality.”[5] At the dusk of life, the requirement of alcohol and cigarette had considerably increased.

 

On the occasion of Idudduha, Ustad Amir Khan didn’t follow tradition of sacrificing a goat. His friend Mr. Ramnath Shail said in an audio recorded program of Akashwani Indore, paying homage to him, that Ustad Amir Khan gave away money in charity equal to the cost of a healthy goat. He had strong spirit of generosity and charity. He willingly used to present his vocalism, free of charge, in the programs organized for public welfare. He considered following couplet of Ghalib, representing his compassionate feelings: -

“Teray teer neem kash ko koi meray dil say poochhay,

Voh khalish kahan say hotee, jo jigar kay par hota.”

Translation: - “1) let someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow

2) where would this pricking/anxiety have come from, if it had [gone through and] been beyond the liver?”[6]

 

2- His Basic Views and Values: -

In the view of Ustad Amir Khan, for the development of gayaki, ideas and thinking have the same importance as that of practice [riyaz]. The vocalism which comes out of inner self, will influence the inner self of the audience. He used to say: “I want to know myself. Knowing it, is the real delight. I want to share a part of it with the audience. Why should I sing a cheap thing for the sake of public entertainment? Music is not the property of Amir Khan inherited from his father. Everybody has equal right in this ocean.”[7]

 

His thinking was such that without abandoning the base of traditions, he used to innovate out of it a new thing. That is why, despite novelties, his music doesn’t disregard the basic principle and theory [shastra]. In the opinion of Acharya Brihaspati, to become a true follower of his gayaki, it is necessary to be a thinker too like him. Khan Saheb had friendship mostly with intellectuals, among whom, besides artists, were men of letters and connoisseurs of music, like Acharya Brihaspati.

 

Khan Saheb didn’t considered khayal gayaki simply a means of entertainment; but for him it had a place of devotion, meditation and contemplation. He opined: “Khayal meant contemplation, a clear audible contemplation of music, only contemplation. When you are in a state of contemplation, there does not arise any question of entertaining anyone. - - - Actually I sing which is sober and soul satisfying. If you want to listen, listen this only. This is the vocalism of Amir Khan.”[8]

 

How a student of music should be taught, he had his own opinion about it. He believed: “For understanding swara and for riyaz [practice], repeated exercise of aroha [ascending] and avroha [descending] is the first step. - - - Along with knowledge of swara, the knowledge of laya is essential. The voice is prepared well with the flow of laya. With the practice of swara, habit of laya should be cultivated. With vilambit, voice gets good exercise; whereas drut brings control over swara and laya. As far as the question of training of ragas is concerned, in the training in evening raga yaman and in the training in morning raga bhairav should be taught.”[9]

 

He opined that from the very beginning of training, attention should be paid towards the quality of voice of the student and towards application of swara. The reason is that once the voice is spoiled, it becomes difficult to make it worth music. Listening to the teacher, taking up only the sequence of swara or notation is not sufficient. He also expected from his shishyas [students] that they should learn the beauty incorporated in the discharge of every swara phrase. He used to tell Pt. Amarnath: “Don’t learn what I said [sang]. Learn, as to how I said, how I produced.”

 

For success in music, Ustad Amir Khan considered riyaz [practice] very important. He considered three levels of this practice. In this context, his ideas are clarified in his own words in the following quotation: -

“Talking about sadhana [practice] and siddhi [attainment], Khan Saheb said: ‘Jasraj told that despite practice, progress appears to have halted. I said that when a person is child, he grows up rapidly up to the age of eighteen-nineteen. Thereafter his height does increase till the age of twenty-twenty one years but very slowly. The same matter is with singing. In beginning, progress can be felt clearly; thereafter less. But progress continues surely. The riyaz must be continued. - - - There are three levels of singing. First, to get command over swara-tal. Second, to copy the gayaki of Ustad. The third level is for one’s own new style with the impressions of that gayaki. One who reaches this third level; he is an artist in real meaning.”[10]

 

It is necessary to continue hard practice for success in classical music, facing all the difficulties and adverse circumstances. In this respect, the words of Khan Saheb are: “Music is like mercury. On being swallowed, it will get out of the body bursting from any part. One who does not allow mercury of music to burst out but who digest it, is the real musician.”[11]

 

Looking to the demand of the changing age, Khan Saheb considered it necessary to pay attention to the rasa and bhav, instead of tayyari [speed] and surprising aerobatics. He said: “In the rapidly changing age of today, when the interests are fast changing; and music has no patronage of temples and courts of kingdom, and cinema music has changed the interest of people on its own, so the artists of classical music should also keep their presentation of art melodious and full of rasa.”[12]

 

Because of giving importance to rasa, Amir Khan Saheb believed it necessary for the vocalists, to give consideration to the meaning and poetic aspect of bandish; because with the blending of swara and laya, the audible aesthetics is created by it, emotional presentation of meaningful lyric in bandish and bol alap, makes it more elegant. He did not give recognition to poetry less vocalism; more over, he had tendency to find out meaning also in bols of tarana. In the opinion of Khan Saheb, if a vocalist has poetical imagination also, it helps him in the success of his music.

 

Many of the bandishes, created during the times of kings and nawabs, seemed to him meaningless and defective. He felt the need for amendment in poetical aspect of bandish. There is a traditional bandish of vilambit khayal in raga ramkali – “Darbar dhaun, paun dudh-poot aur anna dhan”. After amending it, he used to sing as: “darbar dhaun, paun dil ki murad aaj rach-rach kar gaun”.

 

Ustad Amir Khan did not believe in the narrow mindedness of Gharanaism.

 

Ustad Amir Khan considered it to be improper and unnecessary to mix the layakaris of dhrupad ang into khayal gayaki. According to his opinion: “To sing khayal like dhrupad, is to say that you wear a dhoti like a pantaloon. Khayal and dhrupad have their own color; it is not proper to mix both.”[13]

 

In Khan Saheb’s personal view, jugalbandi [duet] is a show or a thing of deceit. He called it ‘julbandi’ [duel].

 

Similarly he wished that the classical music, which is based on spontaneous imagination, should be given a preset form and should be propagated through cinema. While recording of some light songs was in progress for a film in the music direction of Pt. Amarnath; at that time Khan Saheb said: “It would be better, if we present our classical items, set in the same manner.”[14]

 

He liked to hear budding artists of young generation and was also optimistic about their progress. He believed that young artists can make wonderful progress, if given proper guidance and direction. Among his favorite young artists, main were – Mr. Nasir Ahmad Khan, Pt. Amarnath, Mr. Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Pt. Jasraj and Ms Prabha Atre. “Amir Khan had a sense of respect for every artist. Singing was in progress on radio; some one switched it off saying that it was out of tune. Khan Saheb became angry and said: ‘What is this? Whether good or bad, listen till the end; why this impatience? Analyze it, where did he make mistake. On not listening to a bad thing, how the sense of self analysis will be inspired? No one can become a real artist if not ready to make amendments every time.”[15]

 

He had some expectations from the government for the sake of facilities to the music lovers among poor class. Realizing the financial problems of this class, he opined “The organizers of music conferences want to collect as much money through ticket as much they spend on the program, it is justified too. The programs are held in halls, where number of seats is limited; so rates of ticket will also be high. If the number of seats is for two, four or ten thousand, the rates of ticket may be low. If the government would arrange such programs two or four times a year at different places, where audience could listen free of charge, then musician could be ready to perform on the payment of traveling expanses only. This can not be done by the conference organizers, because the money they spend, must come back. The government spends crores of rupees on projects and plans, so it should spend lacs of rupees to make available music to common man.”[16]

 

About the remuneration of the artists, his suggestion was that the artists themselves should arrive at a consensus for the maximum limit of remuneration; so that the rate of ticket is not increased due to excess remuneration. In his opinion, expressed in 1971, the remuneration of any senior artist should not exceed rupees three thousand.

 

He believed that the social life of an artist should be full of generosity and charity. According to him, a true artist is above the religious fanatism, linguistic narrowness and separatism of politics; because the language of swara is universal. This generosity was found in the behavior of Ustad Amir Khan. He had equal faith in the gods and goddesses of Hindu religion. As Khwaja Saheb of Ajmer and the tomb of Amir Khusro at Delhi were the places of pilgrimage for him; in the same way, he used to visit Kalika temple of Calcutta, Bhuteshwar Mahadev temple and Shani temple of Indore, and Laxmi Narayan temple of Kashi for obeisance. To present his vocalism at the temples willingly was the symbol of this faith.

 

3- Interesting Reminiscences: -

Those who were fortunate enough to have lived in contact with Ustad Amir Khan, want to preserve these memories and feel proud to express them. Among the recollections related to him, expressed by people from different walks of life, some important reminiscences are reproduced below: -

 

Ustad Amir Khan had sung a ghazal in a documentary on the life and works of Mirza Ghalib. Pt. Amarnath had to face difficulty in obtaining his permission for this ghazal and ultimately he succeeded. The description of the event is given here under:

“He did not like even the idea to sing any thing else besides khayal gayaki. Nevertheless I could manage to make him sing a ghazal. A documentary film has been made on Mirza Ghalib. I have given music direction in it. The lyric writer, Kaifee Azmi said to me: ‘It will be pleasant, if title song is sung by Amir Khan Saheb.’ I said: ‘He will not sing ghazal at any cost.’ On this, Kaifee said: ‘You prepare a tune for Khan Saheb. I will get his consent.’ I composed a tune with hard work and reached Bombay. Kaifee was sitting, putting his hand on forehead in despair. The next day, recording was to be held and Khan Saheb had flatly refused. I reached to Khan Saheb’s residence along with Kaifee and the director. He was already angry. He said: ‘Why have you put me in this ordeal? Tell me, when I sing ghazal?’ I requested him with folded hands: ‘You sing Persian and Arabic taranas, then what wrong Urdu has done? You are just like my father. Whatever change you want to make in the tune, do it, but now don’t say no.’ He said yes and sang well. But it was only to keep my words. Not only me, he never hurt any one’s heart. His nature was child like.”[17]

 

To make the first LP record of his vocalism, the high official of HMV in those days, Mr. G.N. Joshi, had to undergo a great hardship and after a long wait he got the opportunity to record. In this respect, Mr. G.N. Joshi writes: “To obtain Amir Khan’s agreement for the recording I had to meet him, and therefore it was incumbent on me to visit his residence. - - - Once in his room I cheered up, and I talked to him for an hour or two. After that I visited him often. He exchanged views on music and gharanas, and such visits gave me opportunities to study his likes and dislikes. These visits also gave him confidence in me. After a couple of months and four or five such visits, he agreed to come for recording. Some more time was lost in persuading him to agree to the terms of payment. Finally this hurdle too was crossed. Yet Amir Khan went on canceling dates, giving fresh ones and then again postponing the recording on some flimsy ground. I got fed up with his dilly-dallying and in spite of my great regard and respect of him, I justifiably felt very annoyed. Ultimately one day I plucked up my courage and said to him ‘If I had approached God Almighty as many times as I have come to you, He would have blessed, but all I can get from you is the promise of a future date.’ Seeing my exasperation he became thoughtful, smiled a little and replied. ‘Please do not disbelieve me. Name any day of this week and I will keep the appointment.’ True to his word he came on the day I named, and I got from him his first long-playing disc. His favorite ragas were marwa, darbari kanhada and malkauns. It is indeed rare these days to hear raga marwa as it was presented by Bade Ghulam Ali and Amir Khan. His first LP was received with tremendous enthusiasm by the public.”[18]

 

In mutual conversation there was a glimpse of humor in his words. Once Acharya Brihaspati said to Khan Saheb “Khan Saheb! Previously you used to sing like a lion, but now there is no longer that voice.” Instantly Khan Saheb replied “Brother! Now it is that I am no longer an animal.”[19]

 

A young poet of Bangla and Urdu and a police officer, Mr. N. Rasheed, was among those who had close contact with Khan Saheb. He writes: “For some days, I was police superintendent at Sivani. Khan Saheb used to come to my place. One night, while in sleep, he started singing raga vasant mukhari. I was awaken and started applauding him. Later on I realized that he was in deep sleep.”[20]

 

Dr. Prem Prakash Johri, resident of Meerut and a disciple of Khan Saheb, writes his recollection of his ganda bandhan ceremony, when Khan Saheb reached Meerut from Delhi despite some obstacles.

 

“Khan Saheb was true to his words. Whatever commitment he made, he tried to fulfill at any cost. In 1970, when I went to Delhi for Akashwani program, Khan Saheb had also come there. I asked him to avail this opportunity. He agreed. The date was fixed. Khan Saheb along with wife, son and Muneer Khan [Sarangi player, Akashwani Delhi] and his disciple, started for Meerut by a taxi. No sooner he crossed Delhi, suddenly his wife fell severely ill, due to which he returned to home with her and after giving primary treatment, he started for Meerut. Just reaching the Yamuna Bridge, a tyre of his taxi burst. So he again went back to Ajmeri Gate to hire another taxi and after hiring another taxi from there, he could reach Meerut three hours late. All the guests gathered at my residence, were very much concerned after a long wait of three hours. When Khan Saheb reached to my home, I felt that such a happy day like today, will never come again in my life. When Khan Saheb was asked for the reason for reaching late, he simply told ‘I had said you that I will come, I have come.’ Such was he, true to his words. Ganda bandhan was solemnized. Khan Saheb sang very well.”[21]

 

Mr. Vasant Potdar narrated a recollection of Calcutta, which is an example that Khan Saheb had tolerance even for those who misbehaved. Mr. Potdar said: “On one night, at about 2:30 AM, I, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Khan Saheb were sitting near Victoria Garden. Khan Saheb began singing malkauns suddenly. I and Sunil became nearly unconscious. Meanwhile two persons, fully intoxicated with wine, alighted there from a taxi. And they also started singing in vulgar voice. I was startled an abusing ran towards them. Khan Saheb called me back. He said ‘How they know that Amir Khan of all India fame, is singing here. Besides this, they are fully intoxicated. What will you gain by beating them? Look Vasant! I tell you a thoughtful thing; if you like, remember it for ever. Only the artist has an authority on humanity, if there is any one. If an artist fails to become a true human, then how can others imbibe human qualities?”

 

The former Secretary of Culture, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Ashok Vajpayee writes his recollection: “My first personal introduction with him was in April 1973, when we had invited him to felicitate him as a top musician of Madhya Pradesh, in Bhopal Utsav-1973. He was with Pt. Krishnarao Shankar Pandit, Kumar Gandharva, Ustad Abdul Halim Jafar Khan and Ustad Amjad Ali khan; Habib Tanveer, Satyadev Dube, Bhavani Prasad Mishra, Naresh Mehta, Hari Shankar Parsai, Shrikant Verma, Shiva Mangal Singh Suman etc were also there. He was looking grand and calm. On the next day of his felicitation, his program was held at Lal Parade Ground, on an open stage. Most of the time, he was singing closing his eyes; almost in the same way when I had seen him singing for the first time, twelve years back. Though there was no sense of inattention in him for the audience, yet there was a calm unawareness, as if he was not singing for others but for himself. In between, whenever he opened his eyes expressing – ‘so you are also listening, does not matter.’ - - - He was very busy, because many of his relatives had come to meet him, in which many were from Indore. Even while talking with them, he seemed as unattached.”[22]

 

4- Untimely Demise: -

During the last years of his life, Ustad Amir Khan lived in the flat of Mr. Shams-uz-Zaman, situated at Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Road, Calcutta. Mr. Shams-uz-Zaman was a scholar and writer of Urdu and co-editor of Azad Hind. He was also an assistant of Khan Saheb as his personal secretary. In the month of February 1974, some repairing work was to be done in the flat of Shams-uz-Zaman, therefore Khan Saheb stayed for few days in the flat of Mr. Arun Banerjee at 77 A, Lance Down Road.

 

In the last week of February 1974, Khan Saheb was to go to America and he was busy in making preparation for the same. Before proceeding for America, he was to go to Indore on 14th February 1974, where the Aqueequa [ceremony of shaving of hair of a new born child] of his grand son was to be held. He had dispatched invitation for this function to his relatives and acquaintances from Calcutta.

 

On the evening of 13th February, he went to the residence of Mr. Bobby Sethi at Alipur, on his invitation. There he stayed till 11:00 PM. After about 11 PM, he was returning to residence of Arun Banerjee at Lance Down Road, in the car of Bobby Sethi. In the car, besides himself, MS. Purvi Mukharjee, Shams-uz-Zaman and driver were also there. During this period, at about 12 AM, his car collided with another car coming from opposite direction and met with an accident. This accident took place at the cross roads of Southern Avenue and Sharat Bose Road, in which Khan Saheb was seriously injured. Mr. Shams-uz-Zaman took Khan Saheb to Ramkrishna Seva Pratishthan by another car. There Khan Saheb breathed his last. Thus at the age of 62, his voice became extinct for this world. The Eye witness of this tragedy, Mr. Shams-uz-Zaman, describes the heart rending account of the accident in the following words, which obtained by the author from Mr. Vasant Potdar: -

“The car was going from Alipur to Lance Down Road. Suddenly Khan Saheb put his hand on my shoulder and said: ‘Friend Shams, I do not sing the raga in a mehfil which has been sung by other vocalists; even if those ragas which are my favorite, such as darbari, malkauns, marwa - - -‘. Soon sound of collision was heard. In between conscious and unconsciousness, I felt as if the earth was shaking. It seemed as if the vehicle was falling down from a mountain and I became unconscious. The car collided somewhere and became still and by that push my unconsciousness was gone. As soon as I realized that our car has met an accident, I tried to turn to see behind. I came to know that neither purvi Mukharjee nor Khan Saheb were there. Any how, I came out of the car and saw that Khan Saheb was lying near the meter box, soaked in blood. Breathing had become difficult and appeared to be sounding like ‘Allah-Allah’. Then I realized enormity of the accident. I cried for help. A man clad in dhoti-kurta, came near me, staggering. Releasing smell of wine on me, he said: ‘my name is Captain K. Singh. Your vehicle has collided with mine. Is there any serious injury? I was shocked. I said almost shouting: ‘In our car, there was Amir Khan! Padmabhushan Ustad Amir Khan the great musician’. Instantly his drunkenness had gone. Said: ‘Khan, Amir Khan! I am also his fan. I will save him at any cost.’ I again started crying for help. A huge man appeared from darkness and came bearing big steps and said: ‘I am coming with my car in five minutes. Keep some patience.’ He came soon. His name was V.V. Joshi. Keeping Khan Saheb in his car, we reached Ramkrishna Seva Pratishthan. It was midnight. Hearing the name of Amir Khan, staff became active immediately and unconscious body of Khan Saheb was taken to operation theatre. At about 2 or 2:30 AM, a police officer came to us and said: ‘He is dead’.”

 

On the other side, close acquaintances of Khan Saheb had reached Indore to celebrate ‘Aqueequa’. All of them were waiting for Khan Saheb to reach Indore. But unfortunately, instead of his arrival, they had to bear with ill omen news of his death. The last rites of Khan Saheb were performed at Calcutta. His burial procession started from the residence of Sitar player, Vilayat Khan and he was buried at Gobara cemetery of Calcutta. The cabinet of West Bengal Government offered flowers.

 

On his death, it was natural to have occurred sorrowful reaction nation wide. Paying homage to Khan Saheb, Ustad Vilayat Khan Said: “With passing away of Amir Khan, vocal music has died in the country. When Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan died we felt bereaved, but nevertheless there was a vocalist of that standard; but with the demise of Amir Khan, the delight of listening khayal in this country has come to an end.

 

On the very day of 14th February 1974, Pt. Shri Krishna Narayan Ratanjankar had also died in Bombay. Paying homage to these two great personalities of music, Acharya Brihaspati wrote an article in issue of ‘Sangeet’ of March 1974. In it, the homage paid to Amir Khan, his words were: “On the day, Pt. Ratanjankar died, the same night, as a result of an accident, my close friend, Amir Khan, was no more in this world. This tragic shock stunned me. I had close acquaintance with brother Amir Khan. We were related by the discussions of virtue. He was a thinker. He used to innovate new things even from tradition. He loved a thinker. - - - - Amir Khan influenced very much the young artists of this age. One can not become an Amir Khan, without becoming a thinker like him. Demise of Amir Khan is an unimaginable loss to the world of music. May God grant peace to his soul.”[23]

 

Sangeet Natak Academy of Delhi organized a condolence meeting on the death of Ustad Amir Khan. Doordarshan, Akashwani, news papers and magazines etc all the means of communication paid homage to Khan Saheb and reflected on his life and contribution to the music. According to information available in ‘Sangeet’ monthly, issue of March 1974 [Page 63], following institutions organized condolence meetings – Sur Singar Sansad-Bombay, Rajasthan Sangeet Sansthan-Jaipur, Shankar Gandharva Mahavidyalaya-Gwalior, Ajmer Sangeet Mahavidyalaya-Ajmer, Chatur Sangeet Mahavidyalaya-Nagpur, Bhatkhande Sangeet Mahavidyala-Bilaspur, Rajkiya Sangeet Vidyalaya-Kota, Bihar Sangeet Parishad-Patna, Rajkiya Mahavidyalaya-Nenital, Music College-Rajkot etc.

 

About three weeks before his death, on 23rd January 1974, Khan Saheb presented his own composition with great fervor, in a domestic mehfil of his close acquaintances; whose wordings are – ‘Par karo, gun nahin Momen, Ham murakh tum chatur khivayya’. That presentation was recorded on tape by Mr. Arun Chaterjee and had photographed him during presentation.[24] It was a strange game of fate that as per his wish, expressed in above bandish, he passed away from this world suddenly. A sudden accident became the cause of his death. Neither he suffered any pain of Disease nor obtained services of anybody. He remained active till the end of life; continued singing and there were names of ragas on his lips, even at the time of death.




[1] ‘Sangeet’-May 1974, P.24, ‘Aisay Thay Khan Saheb’ [Such was Khan Saheb], Writer: Dr. Prem Prakash Johri.

[2] ‘At the Centre’-P.18, ‘Amir Khan’, Author: Mohan Nadkarni.

[3] Maharashtra Times-12th September 1976, ‘Amir Khan’-Article 3, Author: Vasant Potdar.

[4] ‘Sangeet’-March 1985, P.24, ‘Sangeet Madhurya Ke Samrat-Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Chhaya Bhatnagar.

[5] Dinman-weekly, 8th March 1974, P.36 ‘Ustad Amir Khan- Tumhare Sharan Ab Kiyo Vishram’, Writer: Amique Hanafi.

[6] http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00ghalib/020/20_05.html 

[7] ‘Sangeet’-December 1976, P.26, ‘Sangeet Jagat Kay ‘Amir’-Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Madanlal Vyas.

[8] Maharashtra Times-12 September 1976, ‘Amir Khan’-article 3, Writer: Vasant Potdar.

[9] ‘Sangeet’-December 1978, P.28, ‘Sangeet Jagat Kay ‘Amir’: Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Madanlal Vyas.

[10] ‘Sangeet’-January-February 1980, P.19, ‘Meri Gayaki Meri Avaz Hay’ [My singing is my voice], Writer: Ravindra Visht.

[11] ‘Sangeet’-December 1976, P.27, ‘Sangeet Jagat Kay ‘Amir’: Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Madanlal Vyas.

[12] Weekly Dinman, 3rd March 1974, P.35, ‘Ustad Amir Khan-‘Tumharay Sharan Ab Kiyo Vishram’, Writer: Amique Hanafi.

[13] ‘Sangeet’-January-February 1980, P.90, ‘Meri Gayaki Meri Avaz Hay’, Writer: Ravindra Visht.

[14] ‘Kala Varta’-February/March 1989, P.10, ‘Aisay Thay Meray Sadguru’ [Such was my True Teacher], Writer: Pt. Amarnath.

[15] ‘Sangeet’-December 1976, P.26, ‘Sangeet Jagat Kay ‘Amir’: Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Madanlal Vyas.

[16] ‘Sangeet’-November 1971, P.23, ‘Interview with Musicians – Ustad Amir Khan’ Interviewer: Shambhunath Mishra.

[17] Maharashtra Times-12th September, 1976, ‘Amir Khan’-Article 3, Writer: Vasant Potdar.

[18] ‘Down Melody Lane’-P.94, ‘Ustad Amir Khan’, Author: G.N. Joshi.

[19] ‘Sangeet’-December 1976, P.27, ‘Sangeet Jagat Kay ‘Amir’: Ustad Amir Khan’, Writer: Madanlal Vyas.

[20] Maharashtra Times-12th September, 1976, ‘Amir Khan’-Article 3, Writer: Vasant Potdar.

[21] ‘Sangeet’-May, 1974, P.25-26, ‘Aisay Thay Khan Saheb’, Writer: Dr. Prem Prakash Johri.

[22] ‘Kabhi-Kabhar’-P.54-55, Author: Ashok Vajpayee.

[23] ‘Sangeet’-March 1974, P.9-10, ‘Do Shraddhanjaliyan: Ek Patra Vyavhar Tatha Ek Patra’ [Two Homages: a Letter Correspondence and a Letter], Writer: Acharya Brihaspati.

[24] Enreco LP No.2411-0001 – The audio recording of this bandish and that photograph on its cover is available.

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