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Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Vocalist Patiala Gharana Also called Sabrang

Musicologists say, He was the Tansen of the 20th century. Universally acknowledged as the greatest interpreter of the Patiala gayaki over the last 100 years, few artistes of the past have been held in such awe and reverence as he has been, even today.


Padma Bhushan (1962)

 Padma Bhushan
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"If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music, this country would never have been partitioned."

- Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

 Bade ghulam ali khan Image'

"Many people have the idea that classical music has no powers of expression. This is because generally our musicians are more interested in technical virtuosity. But emotion is the very soul of our music. In fact our music has the power to express the subtlest nuances of feeling."

- Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

 Bade ghulam ali khan Image'

Born: April 2, 1902 Kasur, Pakistan

Died: April 25, 1968 Hyderabad, India

Father: Ali Baksh Khan


  • Ustad Kale Khan
  • Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan
  • Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan


  • Age of 5 - Started learning Sarangi and vocal.
  • Improvised the musical instrument Kanun to the present Swarmandal which became his trademark.
  • When 21 years old - Moved to Benaras, accompanied a courtesan named Hirabai on the Sarangi and started to perform in public.
  • Became popular as a vocalist after his debut concert in Kolkata.
  • 1947 - after the partition of India - Went to his home in Pakistan, but returned to India later to reside permanently.
  • 1957 - Acquired Indian citizenship and moved to a government-provided bungalow at Malabar Hill.
  • 1962 - Was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Padma Bhushan.
  • 1968 - Died in Hyderabad at Basheerbagh Palace, after prolonged illness which left him partially paralysed in his last years.
  • Continued to sing and perform in public with the support of his son Munawar Ali Khan (1930–1989) until his death.

Music style

  • Amalgamated the best of four traditions: Patiala-Kasur style, the Behram Khani elements of Dhrupad, the gyrations of Jaipur, and the behlavas (embellishments) of Gwalior.
  • His voice had a wide range, spanning three octaves, effortless rendition, sweetness, flexibility and ease of movement in all tempo.
  • His raga expositions were brief, contrary to convention, and while he agreed that the beauty of classical music lay in leisurely improvisation, he believed that the audience would not appreciate long alaps, and he had to sing for the masses and change the music to what the audience wanted.


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  • Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Yaadgar Sabha

    • Founded by his disciple Malti Gilani, keeps his music and memory alive.
    • Aims to promote Hindustani classical music and organises many concerts to this end & provide medical aid to ailing musicians.
    • The Sabha organises a Sabrang Utsav every year in the memory of the maestro.
  • Lineage

    • Son, Munawar Ali Khan, was a classical singer.
    • Grandson, Raza Ali Khan, is also a classical singer.
  • Others

    • Under his pen name, Sabrang, Khan left numerous compositions.
    • The main street at Basheerbagh is named Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Marg in his honour.

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