Abdul Wahid Khan

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Abdul Waheed Khan
Lucknow, British India
Lahore, Pakistan
GenresIndian classical music
One of the founders of Kirana gharana of classical music

Abdul Wahid Khan (1871–1949) was an Indian classical singer, from the Kirana gharana. He died in 1949 in Lahore, Pakistan.[1]

Early life and background[edit]

Abdul Wahid Khan was born in Kirana, Uttar Pradesh in 1871.[2] The town of Kirana was home to many families of musicians from the Mughal court, who migrated from Delhi after the Mughal Empire fell in 1857. Kirana gharana's three disciplines are rudraveena, sarangi and vocals.[3] Abdul Wahid Khan initially learned vocal and sarangi from his father, Abdul Majid Khan. Around age 12, he moved to Kolhapur to learn from Ustad Langde Haider Baksh Khan, a disciple of Mian Bande Ali Khan, a famous master of veena and vocal music.[2]

Abdul Wahid Khan founded the Kirana gharana musical family with his cousin Abdul Karim Khan in late 19th century.[3] Abdul Karim Khan had married Abdul Wahid Khan's sister, Ghafooran Bibi. The relationship between Abdul Wahid Khan and Abdul Karim Khan later soured when Abdul Karim neglected Ghafooran Bibi and married his student, Tarabai Mane. Abdul Wahid Khan's hearing was deficient and he was sometimes referred to as Behre Wahid Khan (Deaf Wahid Khan). Wahid Khan's son Hafizullah Khan was born in 1946. Hafizullah's uncles trained him in music, and he became an accomplished sarangi player.[2]

Singing career[edit]

Abdul Wahid Khan forbade recordings of his performances to avoid imitation by other singers. Only three of his performances survived, recordings of the ragas Patdip, Multani, and Darbari Kanada, accompanied by Chatur Lal on tabla. They were preserved by music producer Jivan Lal Mattoo, who secretly recorded a radio broadcast in 1947, 2 years before his death, to document Khan's style.[4]

"Although a youthful prodigy of the Kolhapur court, remaining unchallenged after his public debut there at age 18, Abdul Wahid Khan had no inclination to spend time singing in the courts. Instead he lived a devout, reclusive life, singing in the presence of holy men and at the tombs of Sufi saints and only occasionally sang in public."[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

Abdul Wahid Khan died in 1949 in Lahore.[4][5] Abdul Wahid Khan's students included Pandit Jaichand Bhatt (Khyal Singer), Sureshbabu Mane, Hirabai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Saraswatibai Rane, Pran Nath, Sukhdev Prasad, Ram Narayan, and Mohammed Rafi. See: List of music students by teacher: K to M#Abdul Wahid Khan.

Abdul Wahid Khan's greatest contribution was his influence on Amir Khan of Indore gharana, although he was not one of his formal disciples. Abdul Wahid Khan and Abdul Karim Khan had started evolving the vilambit khyal and their work inspired Amir Khan to develop his trademark ati vilambit singing.[1]

"Ustad Wahid Khan evolved the classical Hindustani music by extending recitals of a raga from approximately 20 minutes to up to an hour."[3] "Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan was one of the greatest icons of the Kirana gharana."[2]


  1. ^ a b Profile of Abdul Wahid Khan on parrikar.org website Retrieved 4 January 2019
  2. ^ a b c d e Treasures from the Past - Abdul Wahid Khan (Profile of Abdul Wahid Khan on ITC Sangeet Research Academy website) Retrieved 4 January 2019
  3. ^ a b c Abdul Wahid Khan, founder of Kirana gharana, on The Telegraph (India) newspaper Published 16 June 2016, Retrieved 4 January 2019
  4. ^ a b Sorrell, Neil; Narayan, Ram (1980). Indian Music in Performance: a practical introduction. Manchester University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-7190-0756-9.
  5. ^ Wade, Bonnie C. (1984). Khyal: Creativity within North India's Classical Music Tradition. Cambridge University Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-521-25659-3.