c. 1860 – 1922


By Michael Kinnear, originally Published 2003 in
“Sangeet Ratna – The Jewel of Music”
Khan Sahib Abdul Karim Khan – A Bio Discography

Rahimat Khan with Vishnupant Chhatre and his brother Vinayakra Chhatre

Rahimat Khan with Vishnupant Chhatre and his brother Vinayakra Chhatre

Rahimat Khan at Dharwar

Rahimat Khan at Dharwar

Rahimat Khan – Malkauns

Rahimat Khan – Yaman

Rahimat Khan is believed to have been born at Gwalior in 1852 {or 1860} and was one of the three sons of Haddu Khan, who along with his elder brother Hassu Khan had achieved fame as Khyal singers at the court of Gwalior. 

The ancestral home of this family was at Husanpur-Lohari, a twin-village some twenty-five miles to the northwest of Muzaffarnagar in the district of the same name in Northern India.

 It is not known if this family originally came from Husanpur-Lohari, or if they had migrated there from Lucknow during the reign of Nawab Saddat Ali Khan II (r.1797-1814).

Of the ancestors of Rahimat Khan, Ghulam Rasool Khan and Mian Jani were Qawwali singers at Lucknow under the patronage of Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah (r.1753-1775), and Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah  (r. 1775-1797).

Ghulam Rasool Khan’s son Ghulam Nabi Khan, known as Mian Shori, was also a great Qawwali singer of the time, and is said to have been the originator of the ‘Tappa’ style of singing.  Ghulam Rasool Khan’s sister is said to have been the mother of Shakkar Khan and Makkhan Khan, while her daughter is said to have been the mother of Kadar Bakhsh Khan and Abdullah Khan, who achieved some fame at Lucknow as Khyal singers.


It is said that Nawab Saddat Ali Khan had little interest in music and that during his reign many musicians left Lucknow to seek their futures elsewhere.  Of these musicians, Shakkar Khan’s sons Bade Mohammad Khan and Ahmed Khan went to Rewa, while Makkhan Khan’s son Nathan Pir Bakhsh went to Gwalior. 

With Nathan Pir Bakhsh and his sons, Nathu Khan and Ghulam Imam, the families of Husanpur-Lohari, including Kadar Bakhsh Khan’s sons, Hassu Khan and Haddu Khan, resided at Gwalior and established a musical tradition that is now known as the ‘Gwalior’, gharana.

After his service at Lucknow, Kadar Bakhsh Khan is thought to have resided at Husanpur-Lohari, where be died at an early age. Although young Kadar Bakhsh Khan is said to have had at least three wives and a very large family, of whom Hassu Khan (c.1790-1851 or 1859) and Haddu Khan (c.1800-1870 or 1875) were singers, born of one wife, while another son born of a younger wife was Masid Khan  (c.1820-1880) a wrestler.

Masid Khan had at least three daughters, of whom Mije was married to Rehman Bakhsh Khan of Kandhla, Sarangi player, and was the mother of Majid Khan, Hamid Khan Rashid Khan and Bashir Khan. The second daughter, Jilaye, married Kale Khan of Kairana, Sarangi player, and the father of Abdul Karim Khan.  The third daughter Habiban, is also said to have been married to Rehman Baksh Khan of Khandla.

 Hassu Khan spent most of his life as a professional musician at Gwalior, and had one son named Ghuliman Khan, while Haddu Khan had three sons Chote Mohamed Khan, Hyder Khan and Rahimat Khan (c.1852, or 1860-1922).  The younger Haddu Khan was at the ‘Durbar’ of Banda for some years in about the 1840’s, and returned to Gwalior for the rest of his years.  Haddu Khan also had a daughter who was given in marriage to Bande Ali Khan.

Rahimat Khan with Vishnupant Chhatre

Rahimat Khan with Vishnupant Chhatre

Following the death of his father Haddu Khan at Gwalior in 1870, Rahimat Khan is thought to have returned to Husanpur-Lohari for some years and then wandered around India for some time before being employed by Vishnupant Chhatre (1840-1905), the proprietor of a touring circus company, known as Chhatre’s Circus, and who had studied music with Haddu Khan.

Pandit Vishnupant Chhatre’s father, Moropant Chhatre had been in the service of Shrimant Appasaheb, the Raja of Jamkhandi, and secured a job for the young Vishnupant as a horse trainer, although the family left Jamkhandi and then settled at Tikota in Kurundwad State.

Following a career as a horse-trainer, Vishnupant Chhatre took an interest in music and came into contract with Haddu Khan at Gwalior from whom he took music lessons.  After holding down positions as a horse-trainer for the Rajas of Kagal, Kurundwad, Jawhar and Vinchur, Vishnupant Chhatre organised a circus company, which toured the Bombay Presidency.

By the early 1890’s Vishnupant Chhatre had acquired the assets of the Wilson Circus at Bombay, which then operated as Chhatre’s Circus and toured in other parts of India. Some reports suggest that Rahimat Khan had travelled with the circus company for several years, while another report suggests that Vishnupant Chhatre had found Rahimat Khan wandering on the roadside while the circus was on tour at Benares. 


Vishnupant Chhatre

In 1899, Vishnupant Chhatre and his brother Vinayakrao placed the owner-ship and management of Chhatre’s Circus in the hands of Kashinathpant, the adopted son of Vinayakrao Chhatre.  Under Kathinathpant’s management the circus continued to prosper and eventually toured overseas in the Dutch East Indies, Siam and China. 

Following his retirement, Vishnupant Chhatre lived at Tikota, near Kurundwad, is said to have organised a number of recitals of Rahimat Khan   At about the turn of the century, Rahimat Khan took up residency at Kurundwad, a town and state of the same name, some sixteen miles south of Miraj. 

The Patwardhan Rajas of Kurundwad had for several generations been known as great patrons and sponsors of music and provided accommodation at Kurundwad for Rahimat Khan.

Rahimat Khan remained with Vishnupant Chhatre’s circus for several years, touring all over India, and also gave performances in many princely states during his years with Vishnupant Chhatre.

Maula Bakhsh, in center framed picture below was the founder of Gayanshala, which is now the music faculty of the University of Baroda. Maula Bakhsh was the maternal grandfather of Inayat Khan.  Rahimat Khan is seated in the second row left, and his son Inayat Khan seated right.

Rahimat Khan and Son Inayat Khan, Gayanshala

Inayat Khan, Son of Rahimat Khan

Son of Rahimat Khan, Inayat Khan (1882-1927)

In 1900 the most celebrated Hindustani musicians were invited to a music conference at Kathmandu, Nepal, sponsored by Bahadur Shamsher Jang (1875-?) the Maharaja of Nepal.  Rahimat Khan took his son Inayat Khan along with him.

Gathering of musicians, Music Conference Nepal c. early 1900’s, Rahimat Khan. front row – far rightGathering of musicians at a Music Conference in Nepal circa early 1900’s
Rahimat Khan – front row – far right

The Princely State of Kurundwad lies in the Southern Maratha Country, and was founded in 1733, by Raja Trimbakrao Appasaheb. In 1854, the state was divided into Senior and Junior branches, with the senior section being the larger.  Of the twin states Kurundwad senior has only three towns of significance, Kurundwad, some sixteen miles from Miraj, and Tikota, some twelve miles west of Bijapur, along with Angol situated in Belgaum district.  The junior branch is basically comprised of villages.

The major town of the state, Kurundwad is situated on the right bank of the Panchganga River near its junction with the Kistna River. Farming essentially supports the town with no significant features except the Palaces of the Rajas. 

The Palace, Kurundwad (Senior)The Palace, Kurundwad (Senior)
Courtesy –  Kamakhya Sinh Chauhan
 — in Kurundwad, India

Nearby, towards Kolhapur, at the confluence of the rivers, is the village of Narsoba-wadi, a sacred pilgrimage site, where each year a festival is held in honour of Shri Dattatreya {known as Narashiva Saraswati}. The festival also attracts a number of musicians as an appendage to the festival, and one that Abdul Karim Khan and Rahimat Khan used to participate in.

The Narsobachi Wadi

Narsobachi Wadi

Following the death of Vishnupant Chhatre at Indore in 1905, Rahimat Khan retired to Kurundwad, as a guest of the Raja of Kurundwad, who had also been a patron of Vishnupant Chhatre, and when Bala Saheb died in 1908, his son Appa Saheb continued to support Rahimat Khan.

Although Rahimat Khan continued to reside in Kurundwad after the death of Vishnupant Chhatre in about 1905, he is said to have little interest in giving recitals after the death of his friend, although he was always happy to perform whenever he was invited to do so. 

The close proximity of Kurundwad to Miraj also meant that whenever he was stationed in Miraj, Abdul Karim Khan took every opportunity to listen to Rahimat Khan sing, and was greatly influenced by him.                                                                                                         


Anna Saheb Patwardhan, Kurundwad

Anna Saheb Patwardhan, Kurundwad

The State of Kurundwad was divided into two branches and originally ruled by three Chiefs. The senior branch was ruled by Raja Chintaman-rao Raghunath-rao, alias Bala Saheb Patwardhan (1850 – r. 1876 -1908) and succeeded by his son Balchand-rao Chintaman-rao, alias Anna Saheb Patwardhan (1873 – r. 1908 – 1927).  

The junior branch was jointly ruled by Raja Ganpat-rao Harihar, alias Bapu Saheb Patwardhan (1839 r.1854-1899) and Raja Harihar Rao Vinayak, alias Daji Saheb Patwardhan (1852 r. 1854 – 1911) then followed by Madhav-rao Ganpat-rao, alias Bhav Saheb Patwardhan (1899-1931) and Vinayak-rao Harihar-rao, alias Bapu Saheb Patwardhan (Nana Saheb Patwardhan (1911-1931).

With the formation of The Philharmonic Society of Western India in 1912, Anna Saheb Patwardhan became one of the society’s major sponsors and financiers.  In some respects Anna Saheb Patwardhan had retained Rahimat Khan as his personal musician was is reported to have been reluctant to have him appear in public.

Rahimat Khan, Khyal Singer

Rahimat Khan

Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, who had been born and raised in Kurundwad, was a great admirer of Rahimat Khan, and often presented him in concert recitals put on by the branches of the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.

In his later years, Rahimat Khan is said to have rarely given public recitals, but is known to have occasionally given concerts at Wilson College, Bombay.

Rahimat Khan is said to have been a simple man of great charm, and to have had a fondness for sweetmeats and to have been addicted to ‘pan’ chewing. 

Other accounts of his life suggest that he was addicted to opium, and that this addiction later caused him to loose his voice.

His singing style was gentle, and melodic, and he was known in music circles as ‘Bhoo Gandharva’ on account of the sweet delivery of his songs.



Rahimat Khan - Khyal Singer

In 1919, Rahimat Khan was persuaded to make eleven recordings for The Gramophone Co., Ltd., at Bombay.

According to Master Krishnarao (Phulambrikar) who made recordings at the same session, the accompanying musicians on these recordings were Bal Gandharva and himself on tanpuras, along with Balantrao Rukdikar and Rajanna on Tablas.

Rahimat Khan is said to have been very amused by the recording horn placed in front of him, and technique of recording sound and became angry on hearing his voice replayed. 

The recordings were issued on the “His Master’s Voice” label in June 1921, labelled as by ‘Rahimat Khan-Haddu Khan’,  (HMV – P-4696 to P-4701)


Rahimat Khan, His Master's Voice, P 4696


Rahimat Khan died at Kurundwad in 1922, at the age of about 70 years, and is buried in the Muslim cemetery to the east of the township.

Rahimat Khan with Sursingar

Rahimat Khan with Sursingar


Rahimat Khan - Catalogue 1922

Rahimat Khan – Catalogue 1922

Rahimat Khan, Khyal Singer - DISCOGRAPHYRahimat Khan, Khyal Singer - DISCOGRAPHY


All photos are from the Private Collection of Michael Kinnear

Copyright © 2020 Michael Kinnear

Nminated for the 2020 ARSC Awards for Excellence

Michael Kinnear, Bajakhana, ARSC 2020 Awards for Excellence Nomination

Publication of the 2nd Edition, 2019

The Gramophone Company’s Persian Recordings 1899-1934
By: Michael Kinnear
16 + 219 Pages 

A Complete Numerical Catalogue, by matrix serials, of Persian recordings made from 1899 to 1934, by The Gramophone Company, Limited, together with a Supplement of recordings made by Columbia Graphophone Company, Limited, from 1928 to 1934.  With appendices on numbering blocks and matrix serials with illustrations in the text.

Between 1935 and 1947, there were no recording sessions undertaken in Iran by Electric and Musical Industries, Limited, or its associate companies.  However, in 1947, the company arranged for some six hundred recordings to be taken under the auspices of Sherkat Sowt Iran, Limited, of Teheran.  Approximately two hundred recordings were produced equally for the ‘His Master’s Voice’ – ‘Columbia’ and ‘Odeon’ labels. The discographic documentation for the ‘His Master’s Voice and ‘Columbia’ labels have now been included in the Supplement section of this volume.

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