Abdul Wahid Khan

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan (1871–1949) was an Indian subcontinental singer from the Kirana gharana. He died in 1949 in Saharanpur, India.[1]

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan
Born1871 (1871)
Kirana, British India
Died1949 (aged 77–78)
Saharanpur, India
GenresIndian Classical Music
Occupation(s)Singer, Indian Classical Vocalist,
One of the founder of Kirana Gharana of Classical Music

Early life and backgroundEdit

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan was born in Kirana, Uttar Pradesh in 1871.[2] The town of Kirana was home to many families of musicians from the Mughal court, who migrated from Delhi after the Mughal Empire fell in 1857. Kirana gharana's three disciplines are rudraveena, sarangi and vocals.[3]

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan initially learned vocal and sarangi from his father, Ustad Abdul Majid Khan. Around age 12, he moved to Kolhapur to learn from Ustad Langde Haider Baksh Khan, a disciple of Mian Bande Ali Khan, a famous master of veena and vocal music.[2]

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan founded the Kirana gharana musical family with his cousin Ustad Abdul Karim Khan in the late 19th century.[3] Ustad Abdul Karim Khan had married Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan's sister, Ghafooran Bibi. The relationship between Abdul Wahid Khan and Abdul Karim Khan later soured when Abdul Karim neglected Ghafooran Bibi and married his student, Tarabai Mane. Abdul Wahid Khan's hearing was deficient and he was sometimes referred to as Behre Wahid Khan (Deaf Wahid Khan). Wahid Khan's son Ustad Hafizullah Khan was born in 1946. Hafizullah's uncles trained him in music, and he became a Sarangi player.[2]

Singing careerEdit

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan forbade recordings of his performances to avoid imitation by other singers. Only three of his performances survived, recordings of the ragas Patdip, Multani, and Darbari Kanada, accompanied by Chatur Lal on tabla. They were preserved by music producer Jivan Lal Mattoo, who secretly recorded a radio broadcast in 1947, 2 years before his death, to document Khan's style.[4]

"Although a youthful prodigy of the Kolhapur court, remaining unchallenged after his public debut there at age 18, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan had no inclination to spend time singing in the courts. Instead he lived a devout, reclusive life, singing in the presence of holy men and at the tombs of Sufi saints and only occasionally sang in public."[2]

Death and legacyEdit

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan died as an Indian national in 1949 in Saharanpur.[4][5] Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan's students included Pandit Jaichand Bhatt (Khyal Singer), Sureshbabu Mane, Hirabai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Saraswatibai Rane, Pran Nath, Sukhdev Prasad, Ram Narayan, and Mohammed Rafi. See: List of music students by teacher: K to M#Abdul Wahid Khan.

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan's greatest contribution was his influence on Amir Khan of Indore gharana, although he was not one of his formal disciples. Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan and Ustad Abdul Karim Khan had started evolving the vilambit khyal and their work inspired Amir Khan to develop his trademark ati vilambit singing.[1]

Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan evolved the classical Hindustani music by extending recitals of a raga from approximately 20 minutes to up to an hour. Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan was one of the greatest icons of the Kirana gharana.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b Profile of Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan on parrikar.org website Retrieved 12 January 2022
  2. ^ a b c d e Treasures from the Past – Abdul Wahid Khan (Profile of Abdul Wahid Khan on ITC Sangeet Research Academy website) Retrieved 12 January 2022
  3. ^ a b c Sanghamitra Mazumdar (27 June 2016). "The others who left Kairana, many decades ago (Abdul Wahid Khan)". The Indian Express (newspaper). Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b Sorrell, Neil; Narayan, Ram (1980). Indian Music in Performance: a practical introduction. Manchester University Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-7190-0756-9.
  5. ^ Wade, Bonnie C. (1984). Khyal: Creativity within North India's Classical Music Tradition. Cambridge University Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-521-25659-3.