Glimpses : ‘Like!’

Through social media we are familiar with the ‘like’ button as a way of expressing support for the issue or content displayed, but it is only a digital recreation of a much older custom, when handwritten letters were often sent as a courtesy. During the years before he sailed to the west, Hazrat Inayat Khan, who was extremely talented and had won the support of the foremost crowned head of the sub-continent, the Nizam of Hyderabad, traveled extensively through India as a performing musician. Visiting one city after another, Inayat received many notes of appreciation from leading figures of the communities where he performed. Some of these have been preserved, and we offer a small selection of them below, together with photos and a map that traces the journeys that Hazrat Inayat made in India, both before and after his voyage to the west. In the first image of the gallery, the celebrated Professor Inayat Khan R. Pathan wears some of the medals he was awarded by appreciative audiences. Note that ‘Pathan’ is a family name; Inayat’s father was Rahmat Khan Pathan. He is also seen playing the Jaltarang, an instrument composed of an array of porcelain bowls filled with varying amounts of water to produce the tones of the scale when struck.

        I have had the pleasure of hearing Professor Inayath Khan sing in the Cosmopolitan Club and at Mr. Chitti Babu Naida’s Bungalow. He has a very sweet voice and those who are competent to give an opinion have said that his singing is quite scientific. He has come to Madras with an already built up reputation and I believe he is leaving it with the well wishes of all who heard him for his prosperity and greater success than what he has already attained.

Kaurkabhavan                         A. Pattabhirame Rao,
22′ April. 08.                            Retired Dewan of Cochin

Tanjore Palace
July 23 – ’08

     Professor Inayat Khan

Dear Sir,
     Prince Shivaji Rajah Sahib Chathropathy desires me to inform you that he was very highly delighted with your performance of music, both vocal and instrumental, last night in his palace. He wishes you every success, and hopes that you will be the pioneer of a uniform scientific system of Indian music.

                                                        Yours faithfully,
                                                        U. P. Subramani Ingar

Professor Inayat Khan R. Pathan entertained the members of the Union Club Madura, with his performance of both vocal and instrumental music on Sunday the 16th inst. He has got a sweet voice and his songs won the admiration of the members present. He is conversant with music of various parts of this country, as well as with English and Persian music. His attainments in music are of a very high order, and I think, his music will be appreciated in all countries which he may happen to visit in his present tour.

                                                        K. Ramaswami Aiyar
                                                        Honorary Secretary
20th August 1908

      Professor Inayat Khan R. Pathan of Baroda was good enough to discourse music (vocal + Jhaladharam) to the public of Ernakulam and Cochin at a party held for that purpose on Friday 11th September 1908. The numerous certificates and Medals possessed by the Professor testify to his great abilities in the art, and they hardly require further amplification. We wish only to add which we do with great pleasure that his reputation will be a piece of valuable asset to the credit of Hindustani music.

12th Sept 1908

I had the pleasure to listen to Professor Inayat Khan’s performance on Saturday last, the 10th of April 1909, at the Calcutta University Institute & was quite charmed with the music. It has never been my good fortune to listen to such Jaltarang music as I did that day, & the vocal music also was of a very superior order. I hope to see more of this accomplished musician in the future.

                    Lord S.P. Sinha, Law Member,
                                        Imperial Council,
                                        12 – 4 – 09

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