The honey is the sweetest thing that nature has ever made. It’s so sweet that no matter what you add it to, its sweetness engulfs everything else. The Indian classical music is like honey; adds sweetness to life. Indian classical music has been recognized all over the world as a profound art form. There have been men and women who were responsible for making Indian classical music what it is today. Men like Zakir Hussain, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, Pandit Jasraj and Pandit Ravi Shankar are the facets of this priceless diamond.
His tabla beats can make the trees groove and put the patter of rain to shame. Yes, I am talking about the greatest tabla player ever, Zakir Hussain. Born in 1951 in Mumbai, he was a prodigy and started performing at an early age of 12. He has been a recipient of many awards like the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and the Grammy Award. It has been 50 glorious years to his performance and he continues to grow young with his music with each passing day. He is one of those great men who shaped the future of Indian classical music with his own magical hands thumping on the leather of the table.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is man who made the North Indian Bamboo famous. He was born in 1938 in a family, which had not even remotely anything to do with music. Over the years he studied the art of flute playing under Pandit Bholanath and went on to play for the All India Radio (AIR). Hailing from the holy city of Allahabad, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia brought Indian classical music to the world stage with his work with the Banssori. Many awards have honored him; some of the notable ones are Sangeet Natak Academy, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Hafiz Ali Khan Award. It is an overwhelming experience to hear him play the Banssori with such effortless style and grace.
When it comes to the house of classical Indian music singer, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi is one who leads the line. Born in 1922 in Gadag, Karnataka he started practicing singing at a very early age. He trained under Inayat Khan, Pandit Shyamacharya and Sawai Gandharva. Bhimsen Joshi is known for his control over vocal and a stern voice, his notes were so clear that it could put a cuckoo to shame. He was awarded the Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan, Bharat Ratna and Lifetime Achievement Award by the Delhi government for the work he has done and the way he changed the perspective of Indian classical singing. He molded the Indian classical singing into a new and better shape and sang for it though his melodious voice.
Bismillah Khan was the man responsible for bringing Shehnai from being an instrument, which held importance only in marriages and ceremonies to being an instrument, which started playing in concerts. The Shehnai has been related to happiness and celebration from times unknown and it was Bismillah Khan who was responsible for popularizing it almost in all the spheres of musical globe. Born in 1913, Bismillah Khan hailed from a family of musicians in Bihar. He performed world over, uplifting the Indian classical music to a whole new level. While he rests in peace, we still remember him every time we hear a Shehnai being played.
Pandit Ravi Shankar needs to details, his name is enough to create a turbulance in both the classical as well as the western music scenario. Everything ranging right from Bollywood music to The Beatles to the fusion music has been transformed due to his work. Born in 1920, he toured the world tasting different kinds of music and leaving a trace of the Indian sitar almost everywhere. He has been honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Grammy Award, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan to name a few selected ones. He passed away in 2012 leaving behind a rich legacy of arts and music, a gift that the world in indebted hid for.
Pandit Jasraj is a born talent, suffering a tragic loss of his father at an age when children play around the courtyard, he worked his way up the rungs of vocal music. Born in 1930 in Hisar, he belongs to the Mewati gharana and has been practicing classical music since he was just three years old. He has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Sangeet Kala Ratna to name a few though awards are a lesser entity to honor a man of such value. His latest works can be studied in the multiple Oscar winning movie, Life of Pi. His vocal chords can make your most inner muscles quench and your mind go numb with its immense clarity and piousness.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments below.