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Ram Chatur Mallik, The King of Dhrupad

Posted by Awadhesh kumar on July 2, 2016 at 4:00 PM

The artworks of the exhibition “Moolbodh” is related to Mithila in every aspect. Though I have written blogpost on few other artworks but not on the Ram Chatur Mallik. Starting the series of Blogpost associated with the paintings and artworks. This is a consolidated post about Ram Chatur Mallik taken from Wikipedia and Washermans-ajnabi blogpost website.

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Ram Chatur Mallik was an Indian classical musician and an exponent of the Darbhanga gharana of the Dhrupad tradition, one of the oldest genres of Hindustani vocal music. Known to be the last of the court musicians of the Dharbanga court, he was a member of the Mallik family of singers.

Ram Chatur Mallik was born at Amta village, a small hamlet in Darbhanga district in the northern part of the Indian state of Bihar in 1902. At the age of 5 he astonished his elders by repeating a musical composition line for line without having any previous training. From them on his destiny was sealed. He followed in his father’s footsteps as the most prominent singer of Darbhanga court. His family was a family of musicians in the Kartaram lineage, known as the Mallik family of Dhrupad musicians who were court musicians at the Darbhanga court. His father, Ranjit Ram, was a known singer and was credited with the creation of Raga Vinod. Ram Chatur Mallik, the last great court singer of Darbhanga, in northern Bihar, has seen it all and has sung for all of them. Darbhanga was one of the richest princely states, and the late Maharajadiraj Kameshwar Singh owned a fleet of private airplanes, flocks of race dogs, hundreds of elephants, sent his laundry to Paris and invited the Indian and British nobility to tiger hunts and games of polo and tennis. Selected members of the court, among them Ram Chatur Mallik, were taken on trips around the world for which drinking water was supplied from India.


He trained classical music under Kshitipal Mallik, a renowned musician of those days, who was also his father's teacher and later under Rameshwar Pathak. After becoming a court musician at the Darbhanga court of Maharaja Kameshwar Singh, he traveled around the world as a performer and as a companion of Raja Bahadur Bishweshwar Singh, the king's younger brother. Ram Chatur Mallik was a close personal companion of Raja Bahadur Bishweshwar Singh, the young brother of the Maharaja. He was a musician himself and devoted his life to the pursuance of the art. The stars of the Indian music world were his regular guests and Ram Chatur Mallik proved to be the match not only in the ancient dhrupad style, but also in khyal and above all in the romantic thumri. He was a close friend of Ustad Amir Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

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His own heritage has been the austere dhrupad, coming to him through his forefathers Radhakrishna and Kataram, who had arrived in Darbhanga towards the end of the 18th century. They had studied their art from Bhupat Khan, descendant of Tansen, the famous singer of medieval Indian history. In 1785 a terrible drought paralyzed north Bihar. Madhav Singh, the rule of Tirhut, as the area was called at the time, asked the two brothers to invoke rain through a magical performance of Raga Malhar. History tells that a downpour so heavy that the two singers were immersed up to their chests, began immediately. Madhav Singh erected a marker that can be seen to this day in front of a Kali temple in the town. The village of Amta and the surrounding area were donated to the brothers by the Raja. The brothers adopted the title, ‘mallik’ (landowner/lord) and the family has lived there in service to the royal family ever since.


Mallik was known to be adept at Khyal and Thumri, along with his chosen genre of Dhrupad and was associated with the leading singers of his time such as Ustad Amir Khan and Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He followed the Darbhanga gharana of Dhrupad and his virtuosity in the Dhrupad was reported to have earned him the moniker, Dhrupad Samrat. He was honoured by the Government of India in 1970 with Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award.

He was active till his death on 13 January 1990. His concerts have been brought out in CD format under the name, Masters Of Raga: The King of Dhrupad - Ram Chatur Mallik In Concert, by Weltm. He passed away on January 13, 1990 in Patna, Bihar.


  Produced by MithilanchalGroup





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