the musicians of the Sahaswan khandan, that is family or dynasty,
are said to have descended from two brothers, Karim Bux and
Rahim Bux. These two exponents are said to have belonged to
the dhrupad tradition. Ustad Mushtaq Hussain's father was
the son of the first, while Ustad Inayat Hussain's father
was the third son of the second. Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan's
grandfather, Ustad Haider Khan was the son of Rahim Bux's
first son, Ali Bux.
story of the Rampur Sahaswan khayal gharana begins with Ustad
Inayat Hussain Khan (1849-1919). He was the son of Ustad Mehboob
Khan, a khayal singer and Veena player of the Rampur court.
He taught younger sons Ali Hussain and Mohammed Hussain the
veena and they were employed in the Rampur court in that capacity.
Khan is said to have performed khayals in a simple style with
an emphasis on tappa-style taans, which can be taken to be
an indication of his affiliation to the Gwalior khayal gharana
which introduced this kind of taan and also the tappa genre
itself. He was also a beenkar or veena player. His first off-spring
was a daughter who was married to the earlier-mentioned Ustad
Hussain is said to have shown unusual singing talent in his
childhood and so his father after some basic training took
him to one of the chief court musicians of the Rampur court
for further training . So as Inayat Hussain, the founder of
the gharana, hailed from Sahaswan and was trained and lived
in Rampur, gharana came to be called Rampur Sahaswan.
was at the time of Nawab Yusuf Ali and the chief court musicians
were sursringar maestro Ustad Bahadur Hussain (expired 1870)
of the Rababi gharana believed to have originated from the
youngest son of Mian Tansen and Ustad Amir Khan of the Beenkar
gharana believed to have descended from Tansen's daughter.
Though a dhrupad exponent and a sursringer player, Bahadur
Hussain taught exquiste taranas to khayal singers and tarana-based
compositions to sitar and sarod players.
Hussain was put under the charge of Bahadur Hussain from his
childhood . According to his third son-in-law, the late Ustad
Nissar Hussain Khan (1912-1993) who was Rashid Khan's maternal
grand-uncle and guru, Inayat Hussain was initially taught
only paltas (ascending and descending permutations and combinations
of notes) in the ragas Gour Sarang and Bhairav. This was apparently
done to build his vocal prowess and grasp of the tonal compass.
For the scales of the two ragas together cover 10 notes of
the 12-note chromatic scale. This went on for a very long
asked by interested ustads what kind of progress young Inayat
was making, Bahadur Hussain used to say that the boy was very
young and was not being taught any compositions or ragas proper,
he was only practicing paltas to build up his voice. Once
he developed sufficient control over the notes he would be
taught ragas and songs proper and the means of elborating
these, he used to say. But the interested ustads wanted to
hear the boy singing and could not be put off for long. Succumbing
to the pressure one day, Bahadur Hussain invited some of these
ustads to come and hear the boy after a week or so. The moment
the prospective listeners left, the ustad called Inayat Hussain
and taught him some compositions in Yaman and Bihag and showed
him how he was to alter the paltas of Gour Sarang to suit
these ragas and the notes and phrases that were to be emphasised
in the new ragas. When the boy sang khayals in these ragas
on the designated evening, the assembled ustads were simply
astounded by his skill and artistry. They congratulated Bahadur
Hussain for his amazing teaching methods and left awe-struck.
Inayat Hussain was taught traditional khayals and the exquisite
taranas created by Bahadur Hussain in all major ragas and
also many rare ones. He not only became one the greatest khayal
singers of the Rampur court but one of the all-time greats
of Indian classical music. He composed many classic khayals
in major ragas which are sung by exponents of many gharanas
today. Many of these like 'tadapata raina din' in Maru Bihag,
'jhanana jhanana' in Chhaya Nat and 'papi dadurba bulai' in
Gour Malhar are regularly sung by exponents with little or
no connection with Rampur Sahaswan whatsoever.
the Inayat Hussain style was not only made up of the material
and training he received from Ustad Bahadur Hussain. It acquired
a further dimension when Inayat Hussain married the second
daughter of Ustad Haddu Khan of the Gwalior khayal gharana.
This gharana, out of which practically all khayal gharanas
are believed to have evolved, has produced some of the greatest
khayals singers of the nation, Haddu Khan being one of the
best of these. The story goes that Haddu Khan's sons Rahamat
Khan and Chhote Muhammed Khan were looking for a suitable
groom for their sister. Inayat Hussain was then on a tour
of Gwalior and had performed in several important mehfils.
Impressed by the artistic prowess, fame and tall, strapping
physique of Inayat Hussain and his noble, courtly manners,
they invited him to meet their father.
the meeting, Haddu Khan himself was equally impressed. After
some time, the ustad asked Inayat Hussain to sing. After politely
refusing a couple times, saying that he was not good enough
a singer to perform before a personage of the stature of the
great Ustad Haddu Khan, Inayat Hussain started his performance.
The complex style, astounding vocal prowess and three-octave
taankari bowled Haddu Khan over and he immediately proposed
that Inayat Hussain should marry his daughter. A son and daughter
resulted from this marriage but both of them died young. However,
the marriage resulted in Inayat Hussain receiving training
from Haddu Khan. This led to the the stretching of the horizons
of the original Inayat Hussain style and the additon of the
wealth traditional Gwalior gharana techniques, formats and
compostions to his repertoire.
Hussain trained his son Sabir Hussain and a lot of stalwart
pupils in his day. These included Khadim Hussain, Chharju
Khan, Nazir Khan, Bashir Khan, Ramkrishna Bua, Shivsevak Mishra
of Varanasi, Hafiz Khan of Gurdwani gharana of Mysore and,of
course, his son-in-law Ustad Mushtaq Hussain Khan (1874-1964).
It is through the styles of his sons-in-law that contemporary
experts have formed their idea of the Rampur Sahaswan style
and it is through their pupils and their sons-in-law that
the gharana stays aloft today. Like the sons-in-law, Inayat
Hussain's three daughters, naturally played a big role in
keeping the gharana alive. The third daughter Sabri Begum
was married to Waris Hussain Khan and gave birth to leading
senior contemporary exponent Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan and
daughter Shakhri Begum.
Begum, married to Hamid Raza Khan, gave birth to Ustad Rashid
Khan, the younger but equally famous contemporary exponent.
Ghulam Mustafa was trained by his father, who in turn had
been trained by Inayat Hussain himself, Nissar Hussain's father
Fida Hussain (1883-1948) and Nissar Hussain himself. Nissar
Hussain, who received his training from his grandfather Ustar
Haidar Hussain Khan also trained up his son and successor
Sarafraz Hussain (who expired in 1999), son-in-law Ghulam
Akbar and son-in-law Hafiz Ahmed Khan and nephew Ghulam Mustafa
Khan. Rashid Khan also received all his training from Nissar
Hussain partly at Sahaswan from the age of six and thereafter
at Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta from the age of eleven.