Song of Surrender

Monday, 28 August 2017

Ustad Vilayat Khan

28.8.1927-2004
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Vilayat Khan’s was a personality shaped by the conviction that it was destined to leave its mark on the world. He would not have been happy with just being the greatest sitarist; he had to be amongst the all-time greats of Hindustani music. This set him on a path of passionate absorption of the tradition, unrelenting innovation and the pursuit of superhuman standards of perfection in the execution of his musical vision.

The burning ambition that powered Vilayat Khan’s sense of destiny was, partially, a reaction to the humiliations and privations suffered early in life. He had a very comfortable early childhood as the elder son of Ustad Enayet Khan, court musician at Gauripur (now in Bangladesh). After he lost his father at the age of eleven, the most prosperous and eminent amongst his father’s disciples denied him the gharana’s training, and abandoned the family to virtual destitution. This experience re-activated— after five generations the Rajput genes of Thakur Srujan Singh—the founder of his lineage, and made Vilayat Khan a warrior determined to conquer the world and rule it. He left Calcutta in his early teens in search of training and a career, swearing not to return until he had become India’s foremost sitarist.  


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