Mewati gharana

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The Mewati gharana (also known as the Jaipur-Mewati gharana)[1][2][3] is a musical apprenticeship tribe of Hindustani classical music. Known for being Pandit Jasraj's musical lineage, the gharana was founded by brothers Utd. Ghagge Nazir Khan and Utd. Wahid Khan (beenkar) of Bhopal[4] in the late 19th century at the Jodhpur court.[5] Consequently, it is also known (though less commonly) as the Jodhpur Gharana.[6][7]

With its own distinct aesthetics, stylings, practices, and repertoire, the gharana emerged as an offshoot of the Gwalior and Qawwal Bacchon (Delhi) musical traditions.[8] The gharana gained visibility in the late-20th century after Pt. Jasraj popularized the gayaki.[9]


Ghagge Nazir Khan and Wahid Khan are regarded as fountainheads of the Mewati gharana.[10] They were descendants of the Gwalior and Qawwal bacchon gharanas.[11]


Brothers Ghagge Nazir Khan and Wahid Khan founded the Mewati Gharana, named after the region in Delhi from where their family hailed, Mewat (not the Mewar region of Rajasthan).[12]


Ghagge Nazir Khan and Wahid Khan inherited the traditions of Qawwal Bacchon gayaki and Gwalior gayaki from their parents.[13] Their father, Bade Mohammed Khan, son of Shakkar Khan of Lucknow, emerged from the Qawwal Bacchon tradition.[14] Their mother, a daughter of Haddu Khan of Gwalior, emerged from the Gwalior tradition. Through their union, Bade Mohammed Khan acquired the status of being a Gwalior gharana exponent and was regarded for his "taan bazi" repertoire.[15][16] Another offspring of Bade Mohammed Khan, Bade Mubarak Ali Khan, is said to have influenced Alladiya Khan's gayaki due to his proclivity for taans.[17]

Due to politics and competition with Natthe Khan's family,[18] Bade Mohammed Khan relocated to Rewa in Bhopal as the court musician of the maharaja.[19] Consequently, Ghagge Nazir Khan and Wahid Khan are associated with the Bhopal region in musical literature. Like their sibling, Bade Mubarak Ali Khan, Ghagge Nazir Khan and Wahid Khan moved to the Jaipur region following their father's demise, where the former was a court musician. Later, Ghagge Nazir Khan became court musician of Jodhpur.[20]


Seeking musical patronage, their ancestors immigrated from their origins in Delhi and Gwalior, settling first in Bhopal and later western Rajasthan.[21]

These migrations influenced new developments in the gharana's musical styles and aesthetics. Eventually, these changes resulted in the Mewati gayaki becoming distinct although reminiscent of the Gwalior and Qawwal Bacchon styles. Hence the gharana is considered both musically and genealogically different from these groups.


The below illustration is based on the historical account that Bade Mohammed Khan's lineage is distinct from that of Haddu Khan's. Some scholars believe that Shakkar Khan and Makkan Khan were brothers, sons of Miyan Ghulam Rasul of Lucknow.[22] The latter account has been challenged by many scholars based on evidence that Bade Mohammed Khan emerged from a qawwali tradition and Haddu Khan emerged from a dhrupad tradition and, hence, reflect distinct genealogies.[23]

Amir Khusrau of Delhi
(13th Century)
Makkan Khan of Gwalior
(17th Century)
Nathan Pir Baksh
Kadir Baksh
Shakkar Khan
Haddu Khan
Bade Mohammed Khan
Ghagge Nazir Khan
Wahid Khan


Ghagge Nazir Khan passed on his musical tradition to his foremost disciples Munavvar Khan, Natthulal Pandit, and Chimanlal Pandit.[24] Natthulal passed the tradition onto his nephew, Motiram, who shared this tradition with his brother, Jyotiram, around the start of the 20th century.[25] During this period, Mewati musicians served under monarchical patronage as court musicians.Gharana Aur Parampara [Family and Tradition] (DVD) (in Hindi). India: Doordarshan Archives. 2005. Event occurs at 60min.

Jyotiram later became a disciple of Rajab Ali Khan, whose father, Manglu Khan,[26] was a disciple of Bade Mohammed Khan and Bande Ali Khan (e.g. a member of the extended gharana).[27] Motiram passed this tradition to his sons, Maniram and Pratap Narayan. After Motiram's unexpected demise, Maniram and Pratap Narayan were instrumental in grooming their younger brother, Jasraj, in the Mewati tradition after the latter renounced playing tabla, his primary training at the time. Jasraj was initially influenced by the music of Amir Khan and Begum Akhtar but later developed a separate style. He introduced new stylistic elements into the traditional Mewati style, following the romanticism started by Omkarnath Thakur and producing a more emotive, devotional, rhythmic-conscious, and lyric-conscious style.

Pedagogical genealogy[edit]

A visual representation of Mewati gharana and its earlier roots.[28]

Gwalior Gharana
Guru Parampara
Delhi Gharana
Guru Parampara
Kirana Gharana
Guru Parampara
Dagar Gharana
Guru Parampara
Haddu Khan
Sadiq Ali Khan
Behram Khan
Bade Mohammed
Khan (Delhi)
Chote Mohammed
Khan (son)
Bande Ali Khan
Mubarak Ali Khan
(son, Jaipur Court)
Murad Ali Khan
Waris Ali Khan
Munnawar Ali Khan
Kutub Ali Khan
Wahid Khan
(son, beenkar)
Ghagge Nazir Khan
(son, founder)
Munavvar Ali
Ghulam Qadir
Jaiwant Singhji
Begum Kaniz
Pratap Narayan
Rais Khan
Jatin Pandit &
Lalit Pandit
Siraj Khan (sitarist)
Arwind Thatte
Rattan Mohan
Kala Ramnath
Asad Khan


Mewati Gharana singer Sandeep Ranade performs at Bhave Natya Mandir, Sangli in December 2012.

Aesthetic Approaches[edit]

Though the gayaki has roots in the style and trends of the Gwalior and Delhi, the Mewati gayaki has some distinct qualities. The Mewati gayaki emphasizes the importance of bhava and literature (bandish).[29] The gayaki includes substantial use of sargam and tihais.[30] In a crude sense, the approach to taankari is similar to the Patiala gayaki and Tappa Gayaki in execution but is closer to the Gwalior gayaki in application.

The gayaki's meend applications have been regarded for their smoothness and naturalness.[31]

Religious themes[edit]

Through Sufiana mausiqi and bhaktic influences, the Mewati gayaki includes theistic and spiritual elements, where religious verses from Hinduism and Shia Islam (especially Ismailism) are incorporated not only in the grammatical content of the music, but as intrinsic elements in melodic expression.[32] Jaiwant Singhji[33] and Jasraj contributed numerous devotional compositions to the gharana's repertoire.[34][35]

Some contemporary compositions invoke the name and attributes of Aga Khan as the manifest Imam and the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu according to the dashavatara.[citation needed] The verse "Om Shri Anant Hari Naaraayañ" is typically invoked as the initiation of a performance, and as the grammatical medium for an alap.[citation needed]

Specialty ragas and compositions[edit]

The Mewati Gharana holds raags unique to its tradition.[36] These include:

  • Raag Jaiwanti Todi: A mixture of raags Ahir Bhairav and Todi, created by Jaiwant Singhji.
  • Raag Jaiwant Sarang: A mixture of raags Jaijaiwanti and Sarang, created by Jaiwant Singhji.
  • Raag Gyaankali: Inspired by Raag Gorakh Kalyan, created by Jaiwant Singhji.
  • Raag Rajrajeshwari: Created by Jaiwant Singhji.
  • Raag Bagkauns: Created by Jaiwant Singhji.
  • Raag Din Ki Puriya
  • Raag Audav Bageshree
  • Raag Khamaj Bahar
  • Raag Bhavani Bahar

Haveli Sangeet[edit]

Informed by the gharana's kirtankar tradition, Jasraj researched the haveli sangeet of Mathura and Brindavan. Consequently, many devotional compositions have been brought into the gharana's repertoire.[37]


Utd. Ghagge Nazir Khan[edit]

Ghagge Nazir Khan (c. 1850 - c. 1920) was born to Utd. Bade Mohammed Khan of Delhi and Haddu Khan's daughter. He learned vocal music from Utd. Chote Mohammed Khan (his maternal uncle) and Utd. Waris Ali Khan (his elder brother).[38] He had no children. He taught music to Pt. Natthhulal, Pt. Chimmanlal, and Utd. Munavvar Khan (his younger brother).

Utd. Wahid Khan (beenkar)[edit]

Wahid Khan (c. 1840 - 1933) was born to Utd. Bade Mohammed Khan of Delhi and Haddu Khan's daughter. He learned rudra veena from Utd. Bande Ali Khan (his maternal uncle through marriage).[39] Influenced by the Dhrupad ang, Wahid Khan taught instrumental music to his six children who also became musicians.

See also[edit]


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  9. ^ Nagarkar, Samarth (2013). Raga Sangeet: Understanding Hindustani Classical Vocal Music. New York: Chhandayan, Inc.
  10. ^ Afshan Ahmed, Afshan (15 December 2013). "Pandit Jasraj brings his Mewati style of Hindustani classical music to Dubai". The National. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  11. ^ Roy, Ashok (2 February 2004). Music makers: living legends of Indian classical music. Rupa & Co. p. 97.
  12. ^ Chib, Satyendra Krishen Sen (2004). Companion to North Indian classical music. Munshiram Manoharlal Pub. p. 171.
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  14. ^ Wade, Bonnie C. (1984). Khyal: Creativity Within North India's Classical Music Tradition. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press. p. 37.
  15. ^ Dhar, Sunita (1989). Senia gharana, its contribution to Indian classical music. Reliance Pub. House. p. 15.
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  17. ^ Haḷadaṇakara, Babanarāva (2001). Aesthetics of Agra and Jaipur Traditions. Popular Prakashan. p. 16.
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  19. ^ Mukhopādhyāẏa, Kumāraprasāda (2006). The Lost World of Hindustani Music. India: Penguin Books. p. 64.
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  21. ^ Dāśaśarmā, Amala (1 December 1993). Musicians of India: Past and Present : Gharanas of Hindustani Music and Genealogies. Naya Prokash. pp. 78, 239–240.
  22. ^ Te Nijenhuis, Emmie (1974). Indian Music: History and Structure. Belgium: E. J. Brill. ISBN 90 04 03978 3.
  23. ^ Nadkarni, Mohan (1999). The Great Masters: profiles in Hindustani classical vocal music. India: HarperCollins Publishers India. p. 38.
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  26. ^ Shafi, Afshana (2017). THE LEGACY OF GANGUBAI HANGAL. Horizon Books. p. 125.
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  28. ^ "Mewati Gharana Lineage". Retrieved 20 December 2018.[unreliable source?]
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  31. ^ Chatterjee, Partha (6 December 2017). "At the crossroads". Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  32. ^ Nadkarni, Mohan (29 June 1980). "Hindustani Music in Rajasthan". The Illustrated Weekly of India. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
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  35. ^ Zutshi, Minna (22 April 2006). "Sangeet Samrat". The Tribune (India). Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  36. ^ Singhji Waghela, Jaiwant (1974). Shri Sangeet Saurabh. Sanand, Gujarat.
  37. ^ Ray, N. R. (1990). Dictionary of National Biography. Calcutta: Institute of Historical Studies. p. 173.
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