Barkatullah Khan had received his training from Amrit Sen, the famous Jaipur Senia sitar player and grandson of Maseet Sen. After arriving in Varanasi, Khan met Ashiq Ali and requested him to play his surbahar. Impressed by his demonstration, he invited Ashiq Ali to accompany him to Kathmandu where he was a favorite of the King. Ali agreed and so it was that his sitar instruction began. Ustad Barkatullah Khan did make one recording in l904 only.
Ashiq Ali Khan
Juggu Khan’s descendants all became musicians by birth. His great grandson Sadiq Ali Khan continued the tradition. However, he died early when his own son Ashiq Ali Khan was still a child. Sadiq Ali Khan’s cousin brother Waras Ali took the responsibility of training Ashiq Ali. Waras Ali Khan, a third generation descendant of Makku Khan, was an expert in dhrupad singing and veena paying. Waras Ali decided to teach Ashiq Ali Khan the surbahar, using the special right hand technique of the veena which requires the use of two plectrums.
Owing to his dedication, Ashiq Ali Khan became an extraordinary surbahar player. He started playing so well that kings and notable people would invite him to play surbahar for them. He would have only played surbahar had it not been for the timely arrival in Varanasi of the renowned sitar player from Mysore Ustad Barkatullah Khan. It is said that it was impossible for a listener to hold back tears when he played raga Bihag. One of the leading disciples of Ashiq Ali Khan was his own son, Mustaq Ali Khan.
Mustaq Ali Khan
Mustaq Ali Khan started his training in sitar at the age of six under the guidance of his father, Ashiq Ali Khan. Within a short span of time, he learned the technique of sitar. At the age of twelve, he started his training in surbahar. Although the priority of Mushtaq Ali Khan was to learn sitar and surbahar, his father encouraged him to learn other traditional Indian music as well. Thus, he learned the dhrupad compositions as well as many khyals, tappas, and thumris and also took an extensive training in pakhawaj. He also gained knowledge in tabla playing.
After a short stint at the court of Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, Mushtaq Ali Khan moved to Calcutta (now Kolkata) in l929. He became an instant success and started receiving invitations to play all over India. He was one of the first artists to play on All India Radio and continued to record for them until the very end of his life.
One of the notable disciples of Mustaq Ali Khan is Debu Chaudhuri. He served as the senior Sitar teacher of Delhi University until 2004, the year of his retirement.
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