Allah Rakha (sarangi)

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Alla Rakha (sarangi player)
Sialkot, Punjab, British India
Occupation(s)sarangi player

Allah Rakha (1932–2000), also referred to by the title Ustad, was a Pakistani sarangi player and often performed with music groups on Pakistan Television. Among the music instruments of the Indian sub-continent, sarangi is a complex and difficult to play stringed instrument.[2] According to Allah Rakha's obituary in The News International newspaper, "It should not be forgotten that to play the sarangi well is a feat in itself; it requires decades of dedicated application."[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Allah Rakha was born in Muzaffar, a village in Sialkot District of Punjab, in 1932. During early childhood, his family moved to Amritsar, British India where he was raised. He acquired his initial education in classical music and sarangi playing from his father, Ustad Lal Din. Later, he became the student of three renowned sarangi players, Ustad Ahmadi Khan (died in Delhi in 1945), Ustad Alladiya Khan (1855 – 1946), and Ustad Nathu Khan of Pakistan Television, Karachi Center.[2]


His talent was first appreciated in his early teenage years, when he performed in a contest at a local wedding, and was lauded for his performance of Raga Desi.[1]

After 1947 partition, Allah Rakha migrated to Pakistan, and settled temporarily in Karachi, where he also remembers to have had the honor of playing live for Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It was also here that he met Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and honed his skills as a sarangi accompanist to performing musicians on TV.[1]

He moved to Lahore in 1948, and for almost two decades, he worked at the Radio Pakistan Lahore Station, and also in the Pakistani film industry as a recording artist. In Lahore, his knowledge of music was further broadened during his association with Ustad Sardar Khan (vocalist), son of Umrao Khan, and grandson of Tanras Khan.[3]

He moved to Rawalpindi in 1968, and became a regular employee of Radio Pakistan, Rawalpindi, where he served till his retirement in 1992. In 1995, he was awarded the Pride of Performance Award by the President of Pakistan for his lifelong devotion to classical music.[1]

He had also traveled abroad several times and performed in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, India, China, Dubai, France, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany.[1] In 1997, he performed as a soloist with the Belgian Rajhans Orchestra in a concert tour starting in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, directed by composer-conductor Hans Vermeersch.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile and recordings of Allah Rakha (sarangi player) Retrieved 31 December 2018
  2. ^ a b Top 5 sarangi players of Pakistan website, Retrieved 31 December 2018
  3. ^ a b Obituary and profile of Allah Rakha The News International (newspaper), Published 31 May 2015, Retrieved 31 December 2018
  4. ^ Live Performance of Allah Rakha on All Pakistan Music Conference on YouTube, Retrieved 31 December 2018