Ustad Allah Rakha and the Tabla

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be so passionate about music that you were ready to leave everything behind you to learn it, your village, your province, your friends, even your family, at the age of only twelve? If you have, then maybe you should look at Ustad Allah Rakha’s story.

Ustad Allah Rakha was born in a Muslim Dogra family in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He was extremely interested in music, and enjoyed listening to it, but his father looked down upon it, and did not wish for his son to become a musician. He then ran away from home at the age of twelve, and managed to reach Lahore all by himself. There he was formally adopted as a son by the head of the Punjab tabla gharana, Mian Qadir Bakhsh, and began to learn how to play the tabla. The rest, as they say, is history.

This was quite unusual for that time, where tabla players were normally born into a gharana, and were taught how to play by their teachers, or ustads. The gharana thus lived up to its name, which means household, as certain families were associated with each gharana. Ustad Allah Rakha broke this tradition. His story shows us that nothing can stand in your way when you dedicate yourself to something, that nothing can stop you from pursuing your passion. Check out this video to see his tabla mastery for yourself:


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