29 July, 2021

The Ustad’s Last Solo

Ustad Allah Rakha, tabla maestro, strict teacher and rare guru leaves behind a rich legacy

The Ustad’s Last Solo

Last week India lost one of her great sons. The world of music, specially Indian classical music, will take a long time to recover from the shock of Ustad Allah Rakha’s sudden demise. For me, it’s a double loss. I still can’t believe Abbaji is no more, neither can I believe that the next time I enter his house, he won’t be there with his brilliant, welcoming smile.

It’s more than two decades now since I met Abbaji. My first impression of him was that of a strict disciplinarian, an authoritative guru. That he was, but he was also very kind-hearted and unbelievably considerate. Irrespective of the age, religion or the socio-economic background of his students, he showered his love on all alike. He would always enquire about the arrangements for lodging and boarding for all those who came from other parts of the country. In fact, it was a common feature to have at least two to three students staying with the family till they could find proper accommodation.

Once, I asked him how Zakir bhai was as a student. His face lit up. He was obviously proud to...

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