The sad story concerning the conferral of honorary titles in Hindustani Classical Music


The story of conferment of honorary titles goes back to the medieval period, or probably even before that. The oldest popular example of such a conferment is the bestowal of the title of ‘Tansen’ to the Dhrupad vocalist Ramtanu Pandey by Mughal emperor Akbar during his reign. The first ever Khayaliyas to be conferred upon such an honorary title might have been Ali Baksh-Fateh Ali Khan of the Patiala Gharana who were famously called ‘Karnail-Garnail’ of Khayal gayaki. Apart from honorary titles such as ‘Taan Samrat’, ‘Mallika-e-Mausiqui’ and so on and so forth, which are often conferred upon the artists by the government of the time, artists are also conferred upon with titles of Ustad or Pandit. In the olden days, these titles were generally bestowed upon an artist in a formal mehfil where the senior masters and contemporaries sat among the audiences to judge the performing artist. And, at the…

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About Prasad Bhave

Clinical Scientist / Healthcare Informatics Consultant
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