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Naubat Khan
नौबात खान
Portrait of Naubat Khan Kalawant by Ustad Mansur, Mughal School ca. 1600, British Museum, London.[1]
Portrait of Naubat Khan Kalawant by Ustad Mansur, Mughal School ca. 1600, British Museum, London.[1]
Background information
Birth nameMisri Singh
BornKishangarh, Rajasthan
GenresHindustani Classical Music
Occupation(s)Karori, Beenkar, Classical Mughal Era Musician, Darogha of Naqqar Khana
InstrumentsRudra veena

Naubat Khan (also known as Ali Khan Karori) was an Indian classical music composer, musician and instrumentalist who was made a Mansabdar by Mughal Emperor Akbar. He is known today for his skills with the rudra veena or bīn, which he is shown playing in paintings by Mughal court artists.Naubat Khan was the contemporary and son in law of legendary Tansen.[1][2]

Early life and background

Naubat Khan was the grandson of Raja Samokhan Singh of Kishangarh.[3] Samokhan Singh, a Jodhpur prince, was himself a great veena player of his time.[4]

As the Mughal Emperor Akbar fought his wars of conquest in India, he fought against Raja Samokhan Singh. Singh was defeated in the battle and his grandson Misri Singh (Naubat Khan) was kept under house arrest. Misri Singh later accepted Islam[5] and was named Ali. He was trained under Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, the son of Bairam Khan to get an understanding of the Mughal court procedures. Ali was given the title of Khan by Mughal Emperor Akbar, and the post of Karori, i.e. Collector of revenue. He was later given the prestigious position of the darogha of the Naqqar Khana. As mentioned in Tuzk-e-Jahangiri, Ali Khan Karori was given the title of Naubat Khan and promoted to the rank of 500 personnel and 200 horse on 9 July 1607 (Gregorian), or 14 Rabi ul Awwal 1016 (Hijri), during Jahangir's visit to Kabul.[6][7][8]

Marriage with Saraswati

Mughal Emperor Akbar himself arranged the marriage of Naubat Khan to Tansen's daughter, Saraswati. Saraswati accepted Islam and was named Hussaini. They had a son named Lal Khan. Lal Khan was the son-in-law of Tansen's son Bilas Khan.[9][10] Lal Khan would become the chief musician of Emperor Shahjahan.[11] Shahajahan conferred on him the title of Gunsamundra.[9][12]

Subject of individual portrait

A double sided Muraqqa Folio, The Verso Folio, ca. 1580-1600.
A double sided Muraqqa Folio, the musician Naubat Khan playing a rudra vina (front side), ca. 1580-1600.

Only highly ranked figures of the court enjoyed the privilege of being painted alone or within an assembly by the painters of the court and Naubat Khan is one of the rare musicians – along with the illustrious singer-composer Tansen – to have been the subject of an individual portrait. Both Tansen and Naubat Khan were individually immortalized by artists of the Imperial atelier during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar.

A well-known portrait of Naubat Khan painted during Akbar's reign and attributed to the artist Mansur, is held in the British Museum. Another tinted drawing of him is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and yet another from the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection is presently held in the San Diego Museum of Art. [13]

In a fourth portrait of Naubat Khan, part of a Double Sided Muraqqa Folio, Naubat Khan is shown playing a rudra vina, or bin, with its large round orange gourds, wearing an Akbar period white muslin chakdar (four pointed) jama with a small white kulhadar (an early Akbar-style turban) on his head. The reverse side of the image has calligraphic nasta'liq script. It contains a work of poetry (possibly Sufi poetry), reading:[14]

"chand gu'i ze koja'i o koja
az nahan-khaneh-ye tajridam o az deyr fana
to jadal mi-koni amma che-koni chun na-koni
goft haqq dar haqq-e to akthar-e shay' jadala".


"How many times will you ask: Where are you? Where are you?  Where?
I am from the closet of separation and from the transitory world.
You dispute, but what will you achieve if you do not?
He said: Truth, you will always be the cause of disagreement".

Beenkar dynasty

Naubat Khan was the founder of the beenkar or binkar dynasty of India. His direct descendants commanded respect in musical circles for several centuries. Notable members of this family are

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Bonnie C. Wade (January 1998). Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India. University of Chicago Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-226-86841-7.
  2. ^ Jahangir (Emperor of Hindustan) (1909). Henry Beveridge (ed.). The Tūzuk-i-Jahāngīrī, Or, Memoirs of Jahāngīr. Translated by Alexander Rogers. London: Royal Asiatic Society. p. 111. On the 14th I gave ‘Alī Khān Kaṛorī, who was one of my revered father’s old servants and was the dārogha of the Naqārakhāna (drum-house), the title of Naubat Khān, and promoted him to the rank of 500 personal and 200 horse.
  3. ^ Stephen Slawek (1987). Sitār Technique in Nibaddh Forms. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 17. ISBN 978-81-208-0200-1.
  4. ^ Sunita Dhar (1989). Senia gharana, its contribution to Indian classical music. Reliance Pub. House. p. 13. ISBN 978-81-85047-49-2.
  5. ^ Rosemary Crill; Kapil Jariwala (2010). The Indian Portrait, 1560-1860. Mapin Publishing Pvt Ltd. p. 70. ISBN 978-81-89995-37-9.
  6. ^ Bonnie C. Wade (January 1998). Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India. University of Chicago Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-226-86841-7.
  7. ^ "London's Portrait Gallery showcases Mughal art". Rediff. 4 June 2010.
  8. ^ Bonnie C. Wade (January 1998). Imaging Sound: An Ethnomusicological Study of Music, Art, and Culture in Mughal India. University of Chicago Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-226-86841-7. ali khan karori.
  9. ^ a b Allison Busch (March 2010). "Hidden in Plain View: Brajbhasha Poets at the Mughal Court". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 44 (2): 285. Descendants of Tansen such as Lal Khan (son-in-law of Tamsen's son Bilas) and Lal Khan's sons, Khush-hal and Vishram, maintained the tradition of druhpad at the Mughal court...The Pādshāhnāmah mentions that Lal Khan was rewarded with an elephant and the title "guna samudra" (ocean of talent).
  10. ^ a b Vijaya Moorthy (2001). Romance of the Raga. Abhinav Publications. p. 27. ISBN 978-81-7017-382-3.
  11. ^ "romance of raga lal khan gunsamudra - Google Search".[failed verification]
  12. ^ Fyzee-Rahamin, Atiya Begum (1979). "The Music of India".
  13. ^ "Rudra-Vina, The musicians - The Mughal period".
  14. ^ "A Double-Sided Muraqqa' Folio: The Musician Naubat Khan Playing a Rudra Vina". Sotheby's.
  15. ^ "Bhupat Khan - Oxford Reference". ISBN 9780195650983.
  16. ^ "Who were Sadarang and Adarang?".
  17. ^ "Artist - Siddhar Khan (Tabla), Gharana - Delhi".
  18. ^ Allyn Miner (April 2004). Sitar and Sarod in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 97. ISBN 978-81-208-1493-6. umrao khan tansen.
This page was last edited on 28 August 2021, at 04:38
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