The story of Bundu Khan ..


The Story of Bundu Khan, the ustad , the sarangiya , the man whose language was music and sarangi being inseparable part of his body and soul. Bundu Khan’s music had the power to make grown ups cry. For him sarangi was everything ..a Been , a Shahanai , a human voice and also a “kanhayaa ki baansuri” as he used to call it. He truly made Sarangi  a “sau-rangi” or  “shatarangi veena”. It so happened that ,he was BORN to Sarangi !

During the pre-Independence times, it was a common sight to see the engrossed Bundu Khan walking along the streets of Old Delhi, clutching his dear Sarangi, oblivious to the goings-on around him. If anyone requested him to play, he would sit on the footpath and blissfully play the instrument. Such was his frenzy for his beloved Sarangi, that he used to never let go of it, and umpteen legendary stories abound in the Old Delhi area about this soulful and child-like man and his other half – the Sarangi.

His story  is something unique and magical ..a soulful man truly immersed in music for whom music was everything and Delhi a part of his soul. The partition shattered him.

“The Partition and its aftermath proved traumatic for Bundu Khan. This guileless man, ever lost in the abstract world of music and melody, was suddenly hurled into the glaring light of reality and time. He had hoped to continue in this country, but owning to his family migrating to the new country (Pakistan) in search of hope, he was obliged to comply. As a result he left for Pakistan after three years of the Partition. The Delhi AIR tried much to intervene to bring him back here, but travel restrictions made the job even tougher. Distressed and dejected, he died in 1955, a broken man, a tragically alienated artist. AIR apparently has a rich storehouse of Bundu Khan’s recordings. It is hoped that they would release these recordings for the benefit of music lovers and the younger generation of sarangi players.”   – From the IndiaNetZone website

Here is a tribute paid by ITC-SRA to this magical musical soul. To top this all , Rajan Parrikar’s Blog mentions some anecdotes of Bundu Khan .. the one by Shiela Dhar is enjoyable and touching !

Reading all these articles ,the other night, somehow reminded me of an article I had read about a  post-partition Delhi marriage , a story of marriage of our beloved ustad-  Ut Shujaat Khan’s marriage.

Tears dribble out of eyes uncontrollably, as I read through these stories of passionate souls that suffered due to political turmoil of 1947, uprooting lives of people , separating their loved ones , their souls from their  roots. As I write this article , I am listening to the Malkauns and Bhairavi , that occupied a premier special place in Bundu Khan’s heart , the “dilwala” from Delhi.

Here is the link to the Playlist on YouTube

His taans are special ones , not limited to the standard nomenclature of arohi or avarohi.  Passionate people like Ut Bundu Khan attract me. I tend to have a special predilection towards such people , not just for their passion , their character but also for the purity of soul and innocence ,  something one sees rarely in this worldly dwelling.

Rajesh Bahadur presented a wonderful two part tribute (Part 1 , Part 2 )  on AIR to his Ustad , in the national program of Music , few years back.  Bundu Khan was born in 1880 in Delhi and died in 1956 in Pakistan. His place undoubtedly more secure in heaven than it was ever on earth !

I rest here with his short but passionate quintessential Bhairavi , recorded in a makeshift studio in the by-lanes of Delhi , in 1948 , at the age of 67, just before he was about to leave for Pakistan!



About Prasad Bhave

Clinical Scientist / Healthcare Informatics Consultant
This entry was posted in Classical Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Sarangi and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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