January 2003




JANUARY  2003 Contents


 Peace in South Asia
 - Is it attainable?
 Read what they have 
 to say:


 Swami Agnivesh &
 Rev Valson Thampu

 Ardeshir Cowasjee

 Lt. Gen Arjun Ray 

 Raju Narisetti

 Waheguru Pal Singh 



 Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
 - 50 years of sarod


 Secular symbols of
 Sri Lanka

 2002 Round-up

 Books 2002

 Sports 2002


 Raju Nasiretti

 Mahreen Khan

Real Issues

 Corruption vs. NGOs


 Letter from Pakistan


 'India in Slow Motion'
 - by Mark Tully

 Serialisation of  'Knock at every alien 
 door' - Joseph Harris



 South Asian Events in
 London &  Washington DC

 Editor's Note

 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in










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Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

- celebrates half a century of sarod playing


Rajdeep Datta

amjad ali khan&wife.jpg (71562 bytes)
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan with wife Subhalakshmi

" There is no appropriate translation of the word 'music' in Hindi… music is much more than sangeet. … it is conversation, recitation, chanting, singing, rhythm , the best of everything put together....."


  started playing professionally in 1952 at age six. His first international performance came in 1963 when he was 17.  He has performed in virtually every country to thundering ovations. He is one of the most frequently recorded Indian musicians. His concerts in the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Centre, Santury Hall in Japan and St. James' Palace are sell-outs. He has been composing symphonies for the Hong Kong philharmonic orchestra;  ghazals for HMV (Vaada); and  will soon be performing a jugalbandi with a cello player of the London Philharmonic orchestra!

He is perhaps among the few exponents of Indian classic music, who was, very literally,  born into art,. He has developed a unique style of playing that has made the instrument appealing to the classes as well as the masses.

The maestro born on October 9, 1945 in Gwalior, is the youngest son of legendary Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan. His father was also his guru who handed him the skill under the strict discipline of the Guru Shisya Parampara.

Interestingly, his father was 60 when Amjad was born. " He could easily have been my grandfather," he says. " Though Ravi Shankar and I are contemporaries, he is really from my father's generation. They both shared the same guru."

At the age when he should have been playing with toys, Amjad Ali Khan was playing the sarod. As a young boy studying in Delhi's Modern School, he was already becoming famous for his performances. Wrote a critic of a show in 1962: " It was 16-year-old Amjad Ali Khan who stole the show with his polish, poise and confidence. His contribution was too good for his age."

The poise and confidence came from the time spent in riyaz to please his larger -than-life father who still looms over him from the gilt framed pictures in his house.

" My ancestors invented the sarod, which is the present day modification of the ancient rabab (an Afghan folk instrument)," says this sixth generation sarod player who traces his ancestry to the famed musician of Akbar's court, Mian Tansen.

Indeed, with such a lineage, Khan was expected to live up to the glorious past. Within the discipline of the classical tradition, his innovations have created change in the styles and technique and breathed a new life into an ancient form.

One of his important contributions is that he has introduced the khayal style on the sarod thus enlarging the creative range of the instrument. He has also kindled interest in classical music among the MTV generation. For this, he has made his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash the young brand ambassadors of the sarod.




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