Preface to 'Eminent Musicians of Yester years'

By Prof R.C. Mehta



Prof R. C. Mehta is responsible for founding and providing continuity to Indian Classical Music scholarship through Indian Musicological Society publications. The Preface to his latest book reveals the spirit of a scholar. The 650 modern Indian musicians have contributed in giving Indian Classical Music its contemporary profile, yet for long they have remained in oblivion, unknown even to their own descendents/ disciples.






Eminent Musicians of Yester Years is a book remembering some hundreds of our musicians who enriched Hindustani Music, several of them now forgotten, some still living and continuing the legacy.

It is a book based on information collected primarily from various sources by my old friend, the Late Shri G.H. Ranade ( Shri Ganesh Hari Ranade ) of Pune. The task was undertaken by Shri Ranade either on the bidding of the Sangeet Natak Akademi – Delhi or employing himself for a worthy cause. He visited me at Baroda with a typed MSS, for additions, modifications and editing. The MSS was not taken up by SNA, Delhi. This was for Hindustani Music Musicians. Similar task was given to Dr. V. Raghavan for Carnatik Music musicians. I think there was change in SNA administrative setup and the project was put in cold storage.

A copy of the MSS has remained with me for the last more than 35 years. Now, on entering my 89 th year in 2007, I feel that this record must be passed on to the posterity. I have got the MSS material DTP typed, re – serialised and formatted to suit a crown – size book, providing title page, etc. That this information is well-worth preserving is my own fancy. I believe these musicians have been part of the Indian Musical Culture.

On account of financial constraints, only a very few photocopies have been prepared, - for few individuals and institutions, for music – history researchers.

The entire credit, for the original documentation goes to the Late Shri G.H. Ranade.

In a number of cases, the information is scanty, birth and / or death dates not give; - no data could be discovered. And waiting for such details would have meant more delay.

Some more than 650 musicians (along with some dancers) have been chronicled, in alphabetical order, from A to Z, - from Aba Dixit Watave to Zohra Bai. And these include, to name randomly: Ashak Ali Khan, Balakrishna Buwa, Bal Gandharva, Chitale Vishnupant, Devji Buwa, Gammu Miya, Gohar Jaan, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Indira Khadilkar, Kallah Khan, Lalan Piya, Manji Khan, Mubarak Ali Khan, Bapurao Kelwade, Nana Panse, Narayana Shasri, Nathan Pir Bux, Nissar Husein Khan ( of Gwalior ), Pandhye Vamanrao, Ganpatbuwa Purohit, Pramath Nath Bannerjee, Radhika Mohan Maitra, Ragras Khan, Rahimat Khan, Rajab Ali Khan, Rahimsen, Rambhu Gulvani, Roshan Ara, Sadarang, Sadat Ali Khan, Sakhaavat Husein, Shanker Bhaiyya, Shankar Rao Pandit, Suresh Babu Mane, Vishnu Pant Shirodkar, Tantarang Khan, Vadilal Nayak, Vasudev Buwa, Joshi, Vazir Khan ( Beenkar ), Yeshwant Sadashiv Mirashibuwa.

Several of our present day musicians will find the names of their guru’s guru – the legacy to be proud of.

All interested are welcome to acquire the following book, published in Sept. 2007

Eminent Musicians of Yester Years - Short Biographies of 766 Hindustani Musicians

Price : not available

Published by : R.C. Mehta

Contact details were mentioned here earlier. Padmavibhushan Prof. Mehta passed away in 2014 at the age of 98

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References :

Prof R.C. Mehta at Naman 2001

Indian Classic Music & Gharana Tradition. Prof R C Mehta

New Delhi: Readworthy Publications, 2008

ISBN: 10: 81-89973-09-6

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