Ustad Imrat Khan

The Gharana

Ustad Imdad Khan - The Founder

Although the grandfather of Ustad Imrat Khan was not actually the founder of his gharana, he can be thought of as the founder of modern day Etawa as the gharana developed much of its characteristic style during his life his life and as a result of his genius.

His father Ustad Shahbdad Khan moved the gharana from Agra where it had been for previous generations to Etawa, a peaceful village in the outskirts of bustling Agra. From this time, the gharana has come to be known as the Etawa gharana. Ustad Shabdad Khan moved his gharana for the sole reason of exclusively teaching his only son to become a great master of music. His dream was to train his son to keep up with a legendary Pakawj player who was so fast that his drums would become airborne in the middle of his performances. Etawa was a serene village and it is here that Imdad Khan received chilla from his father. Chilla is the law, under which a disciple may only sleep, wash, eat, meditate and practice his music without leaving the house. Ustad Imdad Khan lived in this state for twelve years.

It is of little wonder after dedicating his life so seriously to music that Ustad Imdad Khan emerged as the greatest musician of his generation. He was a legendary sitar player who spread the music of his gharana through his performances and teachings in all the corners of the Indian Subcontinent. He played for Queen Victoria during her visit to India in Delhi and he was the first musician ever to be recorded by HMV the gramophone company in India. The contribution to music by this virtuoso is phenomenal, including the creation and development of two novel instruments, the Surbahar and Sursagar. Many of his compositions are still played today as are the techniques he evolved for the right and left hands.

Ustad Imdad Khan left his legacy to Indian classical music which his gharana still upholds today.