Pannalal Ghosh

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Pannalal Ghosh
পান্নালাল ঘোষ
Also known as Amal-Jyoti Ghosh (अमलज्योति घोष)
Born (1911-07-24)July 24, 1911
Barisal, Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)
Origin Barisal, Bangladesh
Died April 20, 1960(1960-04-20) (aged 48)
New Delhi, India
Genres Hindustani classical music, film score
Occupation(s) Flutist, composer
Instruments Bansuri
Associated acts Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Ravi Shankar, Allauddin Khan

Pannalal Ghosh (24 July 1911 – 20 April 1960), also known as Amal Jyoti Ghosh (অমলজ্যোতি ঘোষ), was an Indian flute (bansuri) player and composer. He was a disciple of Allauddin Khan, and is credited with popularizing the flute as a concert instrument in Hindustani classical music.[1] [2]

Early life[edit]

Ghosh was born on 24 July 1911 in Barisal, in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). He was named Amal Jyoti Ghosh with Pannalal having been his nickname.[3] His father, Akshay Kumar Ghosh, was a sitarist.[4] Ghosh received his initial training in music from his father, learning to play the sitar. Two apocryphal incidents in his childhood are believed to have influenced Ghosh in taking up the flute.[3] As a child he had picked up a small flute that cowherds usually played, and on the basis of the education he was receiving on the sitar from his father, he would try to play musical patterns on the flute. The family’s ancestral house was on the banks of the Kirtankhola river.[4] At the age of nine, while swimming in the river one day, Ghosh found a long bamboo stick that was half-flute and half walking stick. The flute part of the stick was longer than a traditional flute and Ghosh started practising on it.[4] Then at the age of eleven, Ghosh is said to have met a holy man who held a conch and a flute and asked if he could play the flute. When Ghosh obliged, the man blessed him and said that music would be his salvation.[3][5]

He was married to Parul Ghosh (née Biswas) in 1924 when she was only nine and he was thirteen years old. She was the younger sister of Ghosh’s friend Anil Biswas who went on to become a celebrated music composer. Parul was a talented singer herself and later became a well-known playback singer.[6] In 1928, Ghosh became a part of the Indian Independence Movement. He joined a gymnasium and learnt martial arts, boxing and stick fighting.[3] As he became more involved in the independence movement, the government started keeping a close watch. Consequently, he shifted to Calcutta at the age of seventeen in search of a livelihood. At the age of eighteen, he started focusing his attention on the flute. Ghosh realised that a bigger flute's pitch and sonority would be more appropriate for both classical and light music. Ghosh experimented with various materials including metal and different types of wood, and decided on using bamboo. He finally settled on a flute which was thirty two inches long.[3]

Panna Lal Ghosh's daughter Shanti-Sudha was married to the flute player Devendra Mudeshwar, who was her father's disciple. Their son Anand Murdeshwar, Panna Lal's grandson, also made a name as flute player but died at a very young age. Ghosh's younger brother, Nikhil Ghosh, was a noted Tabla player and Padma Bhushan awardee.[7]


Having assisted in music production while he was in Calcutta working with New Theatres Ltd. In 1940 he came to Bombay to further expand his music career. Sneh Bandhan (1940) was his debut film as an independent music composer. The popular songs from the film were "Aabroo Ke Kamaanon Mein" and "Sneh Bandhan Mein Bandhe Hue" sung by Khan Mastan and Bibbo.[8] Pannalal Ghosh jointly scored the background for “Aandhiyan” in 1952 along with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar.[9] He was the first to introduce the seven-hole flute.


Authentic list of Pannalal Ghosh’s noteworthy students at Calcutta contained Haripada Choudhary, Aminur Rehman (MintuDa), Fakirchanda Samanta, Sudhanshu Choudhury, Mukul Roy and Gaur Goswami. The students at Bombay included Tribhuvan Gondkar, Rasbihari Desai, Devendra Murdeshwar, V.G. Karnad, Chandrakant Joshi, Mohan Nadkarni, Prabhakar Nachane, Niranjan Haldipur, Krishnarao D. Desai, Ramaprasad Mukherjee, Mahesh Mastfakir, Sharad Maholay, Bhailal Barot, Suraj Narain Purohit and Hari Chabria.


  1. ^ "A name synonymous with the flute". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Oct 11, 2005. 
  2. ^ Ray Chowdhury, Tathagata (January 26, 2015). "Bansuri innovator ignored in city". The Times of India. Retrieved January 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Philipson, David. "Pt. Pannalal Ghosh - Wizard of the Bansuri". Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Deb, Arunabha (September 17, 2011). "A stick full of music". The Times of India Crest Edition. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  5. ^ ABBI. "From boxing to bansuri: Pt Pannalal Ghosh". The Kalaparva. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ Misra, Susheela (2001). Among contemporary musicians. Harman Publishing House. p. 156. ISBN 978-81-86622-46-9. 
  7. ^ "About Nikhil Ghosh". Parrikar Library. 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ Kulkarni, Karkhanis, Vishvas M., Aarti. "A Brief Life Sketch-Pannalal Ghosh". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "My First Break: Pandit Ravi Shankar". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 7 October 2010. 

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