The Youngest Son of Patiala: Ustad Hamid Ali Khan

Ustad Hamid Ali Khan

Ustad Hamid Ali Khan

What we now appreciate as Hindustani (north Indian) classical music grew to maturity under the patronage of the great Mughal emperors in the 17th century.  Babur, the founder of the Empire, Akbar his grandson, Jehangir, and even the pious Aurangzeb were lovers of music.  In their darbars, in Delhi, Agra and Lahore, dhrupad singers were prominent and well respected as well as equally well-rewarded courtesans.  Music was very much a vocal art in that epoch with nothing akin to the instrumental soloists that we have become so accustomed to in the modern ear.  Still, musical instruments, many adapted from Afghan, Persian and Central Asian instruments, were common and it was during this time that the sitar began to emerge as a popular instrument.

In the 18th century, the Empire was shaky.  Ambitious marauders from the north and south could smell the rot. Tributary nobles and rajas on the fringes of Mughalistan asserted their own authority over the great Shahenshah in Delhi.  Cities like Dhaka, Lucknow and Hyderabad grew economies and developed societies to which artists of all types began to migrate. The old Indian style of music dhrupad was displaced by a lighter more imaginative style that became known as khyal.  It is this style of singing that we love today.

In these regional cities, especially in Gwalior, ambitious and cultured rulers invested heavily in the arts (to use modern language).  Singers and their families were invited to settle, practice and indeed, to a certain extent, ‘ invent’ their art. In these cities and in these times many of the established gharanas (schools) of classical music were founded.

The Sikh princely state of Patiala was fabulously rich. As the 20th century dawned and India moved towards Independence, the State’s maharaja, was a debauched fatty who loved cricket, whiskey and women more than statecraft and the social welfare of his people.  The music of Patiala was also of an exceptional quality.  Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, one of the sub-continent’s greatest male voices, was the great proponent of the Patiala gharana.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala

After Independence in 1947, Patiala was subsumed into the Indian state. His ‘Exhausted Highness” as the Maharaja had been referred to, had died 10 years earlier. But the Patiala gharana  lived (and lives) on.

In the new country of Pakistan, the gharana was represented by three brothers: Amanat, Fateh and Hamid.  The first two rank in the forefront of Indo-Pakistani classical singers, and in my opinion, Amanat Ali Khan had the best voice of his generation. He sang classical khyal as a duo with his brother Fateh Ali, and in the last years of his short life became a much loved singer of ghazals and nazms.  After Amanat’s premature death, Fateh was heart broken and stopped singing for many years but has since returned to the public stage and is considered Pakistan’s greatest living khyal singer.

Hamid Ali Khan

Hamid Ali Khan

Youngest brother, Hamid, is often referred to as a classical singer and indeed, he is. But his fame and honour in Pakistan and India derives primarily from his ghazal singing.  A serious singer with a strong mid-range voice, Hamid Ali Khan has sung some of the most loved ghazals in Pakistan.  The collection tonight is from the Radio Pakistan archives and includes many of these fine interpretations.  My own favorites being, Tarq-e-Mohabbat and Abad Nay Dil Kay.


Hamid Ali Khan

Hamid Ali Khan_0001

Track Listing:

01 Mujh Say Bichar Kay

02 Mumkin Ho Aap Say

03 Chehray Parhta

04 Ghairon Ko Bhala

05 Tarq-E-Mohabbat

06 Kab Woh Sunta Hai

07 Sirf Ahsas Ki Aankhon

08 Suna Kar Haal

09 Abad Nay Dil Kay

10 Nahaq Us Zalim Say

11 Ik Moamah Hai

12 Hameen Say Apni

13 Kya Tumay Mera Haal


8 thoughts on “The Youngest Son of Patiala: Ustad Hamid Ali Khan

    • Dear Dr sahib,
      I am pleased that you have found my website and are enjoying it albeit with
      frustration. Sadly, you seem to have made your discovery too late!

      99% of the links are dead. The albums I’ve shared and which you are trying
      to get access to were posted many years ago. As I mentioned, I have moved
      on to other pursuits. My time is precious and sadly, re-uploading all the
      links you have requested is not a priority for me at this stage.

      some of them are compilations of tracks from a wide variety of sources that
      would take a while to put together and so are gone forever!

      I am willing to consider restoring links/making new links for a few but
      with no guarantee of time line. If you want to make a list of albums you
      would like, no more than 12-15, I’ll do my best over the next few
      weeks/months to do it. But I don’t make any promises. Send me your list and
      I’ll see what I can do.

      Washerman’s Dog/Harmonium Music

      • Thanx dear.. am so glad to read you .. yes you are right.. am late to party .. but in ur Dialogues from Films Post you mentioned Raj Kapoor saying “the show must go on” so considering your lack of time all i can suggest is my 2 websites and ..and my personal web all are on your disposal if you want the content to be posted there and let me take care of it in ur absence. If you want me to upload then am a retired person from govt service and have ample time for this (already uploaded thousands of songs on different servers like youtube, dailymotion, mediafire etc.) but for that you have to physically send me CDs or DvDs (original or copies) so that i can continue your mission. Am more interested in the dieing 57 audio CDs of Music Pakistan and want to share them first before they get extinct altogether. So all options now reside to you brother. Am on Once again thanx for the prompt reply. Waiting you on email.

      • Sure that was one of the options in which i was willing to upload on your behalf. Other one i said if you ever need webspace then all my websites are at ur disposal .. any FTP uploading i can arrange for you.. there will be nothing like expired links cuz hosting and bandwidth are my own. Thirdly if you want to restore links on ur a-drive workspace then i’ve already explored upto 40 pages of this new blog in past 48 hours with only 4 hour sleep in between 🙂 luv ur work and want it to reach everyone who loves music. I have already commented wherever i found missing links (of my interest) so kindly update them. If those comments are not reaching you Sir then i’ll manually send a list (of 15 pages maximum) by going through all 40 pages again. In general i had noted that upto 20 pages of blog dont need updation and the re-updates shall start from page 20 backwards. Thank you so much for ur precious time. I’ll be surely sending you a list soon.. A person of 70 years just want a night rest before i cud go through 40+ pages again. Thanx for caring. Adios!

  1. Why not start with re-up of this lovely album of Hamid Ali Khan sb plz .. and if you can plz tell the poet names too and the composers (as mentioned on the back of CD perhaps) then it will be much more appreciable. Thanx again Sir.

      • Marvellous job bro. You really made my day today (Y) Luv ur choice n passion. Thank you so much. I noted that you have some 5 or 6 “special anniversary release albums. Can you please just add a Tag to them so that we can search them quick. Those have lovely selections for true music lovers and i dont want anyone to miss them plz. Hope am not asking for too much.

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