‘I found out that I was the only one who could explain our music, give a comparative idea of Western and Indian music’


Tell us a bit about your training under him.

Well, he had a violent temper. But I hold the record of being the only one who has not been beaten by him. And the first time he got angry with me was when he was giving me a lesson and it was a very difficult passage with the left hand and the right hand combination. So I could not produce it. So he slowly got angry, so when I saw that I also felt really… 


Not nervous. In fact I felt rather angry because I was very spoilt. I could not take any anger from anyone.

Or criticism?

Yeah. So what happened was that it became worse. So all he said was that "jao jao jake chudi pa lo" which means that jake chudiyan pehan lo. Tumhara haath itna nazuk hai ki tum ye nahi baja sakte ho. And that was all. I went home. I packed. I wanted to go back.  

You decided to run away?

Yeah, and next day he just embraced me. Also I saw for myself that there were students, dumb ones, who were beaten up and they would run away. Ali Akbar Khan ko ped se baandhkar teen teen din tak maara.  

Apne bete ko hi?

Yeah, he was really violent.  

And someone as talented as Ali Akbar Khan?

Yeah, and when he used to get angry with me he would tell me, go and practise. And he would go and beat up some dogs or some other student.  

To take out his anger.

He was absolutely violent. But the love that I got from him and the taleem …  

... contd.

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