The Music of Lucknow After the 1857 Rebellion



In the mid-nineteenth century, Lucknow, Patna and Banaras remained the centres of the lively Purab bᾱj style of sitᾱr music, while the slower and more elaborate Delhi or Masitkhani style retained prominence in the areas of Delhi and Jaipur. Calcutta would soon emerge as the melting pot of 19th century instrumental music. By the end of the century, the movement of musicians all over North India would bring both styles into the repertoire of all professional sitᾱr players. Compositions in both styles attributed to artists of the last half of the 19th century still make up much of the prized repertoire of traditional instrumentalists.

With the British takeover of Avadh (or Oudh), the departure of Wajid Ali Shah for Calcutta with a large number of musicians, and one year later the fighting and aftermath of the rebellion, Lucknow’s musical activities were more or less suspended. Karam Imam says that a musician who returned after the British takeover saw that “the connoisseurs of Lucknnow  had ceased to hold musical concerts because of fear of the new regime” (Vidyarthi 1959:26. In popular history, little is heard of Luckknow in this period. Lucknow books on music such as the “Ghunchah-i rᾱg” (Khan, N.M.A. 1879) and the “Ma’dan al-mûsiqi” (Khan, M.K.I.).*

So, once again, we can see how the British occupiers of India tried to disrupt traditional culture and reduce the glorious arts of Lucknow to a shadow of itself. Also, the art of dance and poetry would also be affected by a curtailment of music. The fact that in the twenty-first century an exhibition of Lucknow art was held in Paris and Los Angeles, shows how truly great art cannot be destroyed.

*I am indebted to Allyn Miner’s Sitar and Sarod in the 18th and 19th Centuries for these concise and masterful comments which end with the asterisk.

To learn more about the unique courtesans of Lucknow and the splendours of the city and court.

About hudsonhousemysteries

I am a graphic artist. My work is based on photography and I am also a writer of historical novels, specializing in the Victorian era with a strong emphasis on the historical connections between that time and this.I began writing by working with my late father, Alvin Schwartz, who wrote Superman and Batman comics for more than twenty years. Starting very early, about age six, I plotted comic book stories then moved on to writing film, advertising and fiction ranging from young person’s novels to my current historical novels In addition to telling a good yarn, I like to use an historical perspective to comment on modern issues. I learned about art from my mother who was one of Hans Hofmann's students and had one of the last show at Peggy Guggenheim's in NYC. I have had one man shows in Montreal and Toronto. My art website is Alan
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s