Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography: Birth, Age, Family, Career, Awards and Death

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan is famously called the Tansen of the 20th century. Through this article, we look at the life of the emperor of the Sur and Taal.
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography: Birth, Age, Family, Career, Awards and Death
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography: Birth, Age, Family, Career, Awards and Death

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography: Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan is famously called the Tansen of the 20th century. The respect, fame and permanence that he has received are exceptional. Through this article, we look at the life of the emperor of the Sur and Taal.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography

Birth 2 April 1902
Age 66 years
Genres Hindustani classical music
Occupation  Singer
Awards

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1962 and 1967)

Padma Bhushan Award (1962)

Death 23 April 1968

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Bade Ghulam Ali Khan: Birth and Early Life

Popularly known as 'Jagat Ustad', Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was born on 2 April 1902 in Kasur, Punjab, British India (present-day Punjab, Pakistan). He had three siblings namely Barkat Ali Khan, Mubarak Ali Khan and Amanat Ali Khan. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan began learning vocal music at the age of five from his uncle Kale Khan and father Ali Baksh Khan.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Career

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan started his career by singing a few compositions by his late father and uncle. He amalgamated the best of three traditions into his Patiala-Kasur style-- the Behram Khani elements of Dhrupad, the gyrations of Jaipur, and the embellishments of Gwalior. 

As he sang for the masses and believed that the audience would not appreciate long alaps, he changed his singing style that aligned well with the want of the audience. He composed the songs under the pen name Sabrang. 

Following the Partition of India in 1947, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan went to his hometown but permanently returned to India after ten years. 

Then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Bombay Chief Minister Moraji Desai helped him acquire Indian citizenship and accommodation. He moved to a bungalow situated in Mumbai's Malabar Hills. 

For a very long time, he maintained a distance from singing in films despite multiple requests from famous producers and music directors. However, film producer K Asif convinced him to sing two songs -- 'Prem Jogan Ban Ke' and 'Shubh Din Aayo' -- for the 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam. 

It wasn't easy for K Asif to convince Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan to sing for the film. When Naushad, who directed the music, and K Asif went to meet him, he firmly denied the requests made by them. 
 
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan demanded Rs. 25,000 per song when singers such as Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi charged below Rs. 500 per song, hoping that the director will give up and leave. To Khan's disappointment, Asif agreed to pay the price quoted by him and even paid a sum of Rs. 10,000 in advance. 

When Bade Ghulam Ali Khan stepped into Mehboob studio, he was enraged by the absence of Baithak which was instantly arranged by the director and the song was then recorded. K Asif was not happy with the song recorded by Khan and requested to tone it down a bit. 

The director's request made the singing maestro upset and he the studio only to return when the scene in which the song was to be played was shown to him. The director then shot the scene hastily, and the legend sang while the scene ran.  

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Bade Ghulam Ali Khan: Awards

1- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1962. 
2- Sangeet Natak Akademi fellow in 1967.
3- Padma Bhushan Award in 1962. 

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Death

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan died on 23 April 1968 in Basheer Bagh Palace in Hyderabad after battling a prolonged illness that left him partially paralyzed. Until his death, he continued to give live performances with the support of his son Munawar Ali Khan. 

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Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Legacy

1- In 1968, director Harisadhan Dasgupta made a documentary film on Khan titled Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib. 

2- The Government of India issued a stamp in 2003 to commemorate the legacy of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. 

3- The Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Yaadgaar Sabha was founded in 2017 by his disciple Malti Gilani to help keep his music and memory alive. 

4- The main street at Basheerbagh is named after him to honour his legacy. 

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