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Ustad Allarakha Qureshi & Raja Ravi Varma

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Ustad Allarakha Qureshi & Raja Ravi Varma

Ustad Allarakha Qureshi

Born:29 April 1919

Died:3 February 2000

  • He popularly known as Alla Rakha, was an Indian tabla player specialized in Hindustani Classical music.
  • He was a frequent accompanist of sitar player Ravi Shankar.
  • He began his career as an accompanist in Lahore and then as an All India Radio staffer in Bombay in 1940, playing the station’s first ever tabla solo and elevating the instrument’s position in the process.
  • Soon after, he composed music for a couple of Hindi films from 1943–48.
  • He became a Ustad (teacher) to Shankha Chatterjee (in 1962), Yogesh Samsi, Prafulla Athalye, Aditya Kalyanpur, Anuradha Pal, Nishikant Barodekar, Uday Ramdas, Shyam Kane, and his sons Taufiq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi.
  • His eldest son, Zakir Hussain is also an accomplished tabla virtuoso.
  • He popularised the art of tabla, playing across the globe, elevating the status and respect of his instrument.
  • Abbaji (as he was affectionately known by his disciples) also bridged the gap between Carnatic music and Hindustani music by playing with both renowned Carnatic musicians and other Hindustani stalwarts.

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Raja Ravi Varma

Born: 29 April 1848

Died: 2 October 1906

  • He was a celebrated Indian Malayali painter and artist.
  • He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader social reasons.
  • Firstly, his works are held to be among the best examples of the fusion of European techniques with a purely Indian sensibility.
  • While continuing the tradition and aesthetics of Indian art, his paintings employed the latest European academic art techniques of the day.
  • Secondly, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure.
  • Indeed, his lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people for several decades.
  • In particular, his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas have received profound acceptance from the public and are found, often as objects of worship, across the length and breadth of India.
  • He was closely related to the royal family of Travancore of present day Kerala state in India.
  • Later in his life, two of his granddaughters were adopted into that royal family, and their descendants comprise the totality of the present royal family of Travancore, including the latest three Maharajas (Balarama Varma III, Marthanda Varma III and Rama Varma VII).
  • He was patronised by Ayilyam Thirunal, the next Maharajah of Travancore and began formal training thereafter.
  • He learned the basics of painting in Madurai. Later, he was trained in water painting by Rama Swami Naidu and in oil painting by Dutch portraitist Theodor Jenson.

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