Farukhabad gharana

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Farrukhabad gharana is one of six prominent playing styles or gharanas of North Indian tabla , in Hindustani classical music, and derives its name from Farrukhabad in Uttar Pradesh state. Some modern disciples of this gharana learn from the prestigious tabla organization known as Tablaniketan.


The Farrukhabad gharana of tabla was created in the 11th Century by a Rajput Court musician Akaasa who later accepted and converted to Islam and became a Muslim (Dastaan-e-akasa). He also changed his name from Akaasa to Mir Akaasa. He was the first to introduce bols into tabla playing. The first bols introduced in tabla were "TAT-DHIT-THUN-NAN". Mir Akaasa died in the year 1189 AD (Need Citation). He was succeeded by nine sons and one daughter. He passed on his legacy to his eldest son, Ustad Bilawal Khan, who in turn passed the torch of the gharana to Ustad Ali Baksh (famous for his kran bols). This tradition continued till the 26th descendant, Ustad Haji Vilayat Ali Khan (1779-1826). It was he who named this ‘gharana’ after the province in which he used to live viz. Farrukhabad. Ustad Haji Vilayat Ali Khan (1779-1826) gave this gharana the name of the province where he used to live, which was Farukkabad.

Ustad Haji Vilayat Khan got the title of Haji after his completion of 7 haj ( Islamic pilgrimage). Vilayat Khan got famous after his famous battle of Tabla gats with Ustad Salaali Khansaheb, who has challenged Ustad Bakshu Khansaheb of Lucknow gharana, In order to save his pride Bakshu Khansaheb requested Vilayat Khan, who was also Salaali Khansaheb's uncle, to fight the battle of tabla Gats with Ustad Salaali Khansaheb. This battle continued for almost 15 days where many gats (authentic composition of the gharanas) and jodas (pairs of such compositions) were exchanged. On the 15th day Vilayat Khan played a unique Gat (Gat of Gazi) whose joda (pair) Ustad Salari Khansaheb could not produce. Thus Vilayat Khan was declared the winner. Ustad Bakshu Khansaheb as a reward got Vilayat Khan married to his daughter and reputedly gave him 500 tabla compositions (although some sources say only 12 compositions).[1] Vilayat Khan on the other hand gave Salaali Khansaheb his daughter in marriage and along with that he gave 14 authentic Gats known as jahezi gats to Ustad Salaali Khan as dowry.

Ustad Haji Vilayat Khan's sons, Hussain Ali Khan & Amaan Ali Khan became Tabla artist of repute. Amaan Ali Khan in his old age suffered from some contagious disease. His family members neglected him at that time. At that he left for Jaipur and decided to educate others instead of his own family members. Pandit Jailal Misra, eminent kathak performer & teacher, "grabbed this opportunity. He took lot of care of Ustad and Ustad trained him wholeheartedly." [2]

The lineage of Farrukhabad is still carried on by the descendants of This Gharana. The Present Khalifa (head) of this gharana is the great tabla exponent Ustad Sabir Khan who is the 33rd generation of this unbroken lineage and his sons Arif Khan, Asif Khan and Ameen Khan are the 34th descendant of this lineage.

There is a huge variety in the repertoire of compositions, owing to the tremendous and creative output of great composers such as Haji Vilayat Ali Khan and Amir Hussain Khan, nephew of Munir Khan, himself a disciple of Nisar Hussain Khan. In addition, a large number of gats (compositions).[3]


The Farrukhabad gharana is the among the oldest gharanas (i.e. school) of Tabla, the other one being Delhi Gharana. It belongs to the wider "Purbi Baj", or "eastern way of playing", which regroups Lucknow, Farrukhabad and Ajrada styles. Hence it is characterized by an extensive use of resonant strokes played on the sur of the daya reminding the Pakhawaj, but also, in the case of Farrukhabad gharana, by delicate strokes.

The repertoire is replete with a varied and intriguing compositions, makes great use of open resonant baya strokes, and contains many unique stroke combinations. There is a greater wealth and emphasis of gats, chalan, and rela compositions than on qaida or peshkar. There is a prominent use of certain bols, notably DhereDhere/KitaTaka/TakitaDha.



  1. ^ Dutta, Aloke; 1995. Tabla - Lessons and practice. Albuquerque. Page 176
  2. ^ http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/38220/13/13_chapter%207.pdf
  3. ^ Naimpalli, Sadanand; 2005. Theory and Practice of Tabla. Mumbai: Popular (rakashan Pvt. Ltd.)
  4. ^ Saxena, Sudhir Kumar, 2006: The Art of Tabla Rhythm. New Delhi: Sangeet Natak Akademi.