HISTORY > The Founder | The Builders | The Torch Bearers | The Mahasabha | The Tradition | Down the Memory Lane

Some of the memorable performance during the last so many years are still fresh and alive in the minds of the listeners even to this day.

It is said that when Shri Bala Guru Ji was singing 'Hari hari daliyan-hari-hari Patian' the listeners saw green garden laid with flowers and fruits before their eyes.

In the year 1911 -Shri Ganga Dhar Datarya was singing a Bhajan 'Sudama Mandir Dekh Daree. The Bhajan was so captivating that even after the end of the recital the tabla player continued playing tabla and the listeners also felt as if the recitations were still in progress. It was only Pandit Tolo Ram's announcement which broke the trance of the audience.

In the year 1913 Pandit Vishnu Digamber sang a Bhajan in Rag Bahar; the words were "Na Baba Chorun Ram Nam". All of a sudden it started raining heavily. But the magic of music had already done its work. The devotees were completely possessed. They felt the rain by touching their wet clothes only after the end of the singing.

Yet on another occasion Pandit Vishnu Digamber was singing in his unique style. His controlled and disciplined voice charged the atmosphere with thunder-Iike vibrations. 'Kunwar' Maharaj of Kapurthala was sleeping in his palace in the Bikrampora (Near Devi Talab). The thunderous voice of Pandit Vishnu Digamber woke up the sleeping 'Kunwar Maharaj', he actually felt as if there was a cloud-burst. He called his attendent and came to know from him that perhaps Pandit Vishnu Digamber was singing and soon the 'Kunwar Maharaj' was sitting in the Pandal.

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation had a great respect for Pandit Vishnu Digamber. Mahatma Ji accompanied Pandit Vishnu Digamber in the Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan in the year 1919. His presence honoured the Sammelan.

It was decided that three artists namely: Pandit Bhaskar Rao, Pandit Ram Krishna Bua and Pandit Krishna Rao will present their items during Mahatma Gandhi's stay in the pandal. But rousing welcome to Gandhi Ji enroute from Amritsar to Jalandhar delayed his arrival in the pandal. Gauging the situation and the paucity of  time, all the three great artists made a joint presentation starting with a bhajan in Raag Khamaaj- "Ram Bhajan Ko Diya Kamal Mukh..." Mahatma Gandhi was overwhelmed at this unique presentation.

Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan of 1919 will be remembered for all times to come. Pandit Vishnu Digamber exhibited the remarkable feat of his divine talent. When he brought sound from the center of naval, the listeners present in the Pandal experienced the feeling of an earth quake, it frightened them, consequently they rose from their seats and to their utter amazement they realized that it was the effect of the 'Swar'.

In 1922, Imam Abdin of Gwalior was singing a composition the words of which were 'Raja Ram, Siya Maharani. He raised his voice in 'Aantra' to such a high pitch that the listeners became awe- stricken and the singer also became unconscious.

Pandit Vishnu Digamber always sang the national song 'Vande Matram' at the end of last sitting of the Sammelan even in the British Raj.

Once Kale Khan, the famous court-singer of Maharaja Kashmir, was giving his recital. His rendering was remarkable. Pandit Vishnu Digamber was requested to sing after Kale Khan. Pandit Vishnu Digamber, modest as he was, said "Gana to ab ho chuka". Ab yatan karte hein" Unwillingly, Kale Khan happened to remark, "Gayen to Dekhen" (let us see how you sing). This provoked Pandit Vishnu Digamber who immediately started singing 'Bansury tu kahe Guman Bhari' He exhorted Kale Khan to sit with him but he failed even to raise "aantra" with the Master.

Pandit Omkar Nath Thakur would never charge anything for his performance, instead he used to say that he came to the Samadhi out of sheer devotion. He would only accept the one side fare from Jullundur to Bombay and that too because it was in keeping with Indian tradition of paying the guest the return fare.

Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan enjoyed the patronage of the Maharajas of Kapurthala, Patiala and Kashmir. Maharaja of Kapurthala always attended the Sammelan.

In the olden times, no invitation cards used to be printed. December 26-29 used to be the dates fixed for the Shree Baba Harivallabh sangeet sammelan. The artists, the music lovers, the donors, everybody knew about these dates. These dates were published even in the 'Panchang' under the heading -Important Festivals of  Northen India. The grand tradition of this Sammelan inspired people of Amritsar, Rahon, Hoshiarpur and other places to hold such music festivals.

Only vocal artists attended the Sammelan upto the year 1929. Vichitter Veena was introduced in the Harivallabh stage by Mian Abdul Aziz of Patiala Gharana. Sitar by Ravi Shankar, sarod by Amjad Khan and flute by Shri Panna Lal Ghosh.

Shree Baba Harivallabh Sangeet Mahasabha celebrated the centenary celebrations in the year 1977 in its 101st session. The celebrations lasted for nine days. The music lovers can never forget this centenary celebration function for the reason that they had the occasion to listen to a galaxy of musicians and singers. The prominent participants were Pandit Ravi Shanker, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Munawar Ali Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pt. Jasraj, Sh. Rasik Lal Andheria, Ustad Imrat Khan, Pt. Kumar Gandharva, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Sabri Khan, Pt. Hari Parshad Chaurasia, Sh. Anant Lal and Party, Sh. Samta Parshad and many more.

On this centenary celebration function, the Mahasabha decided to hold a Sangeet Pratiyogita every year for students so that they may be able to display their talents

Compiled by : Mrs. Promila Dada & Mr. Rakesh Dada
out of the books

"A Homage" by Shri J.B.Goyal, I.A.S.
"Trigat Pradesh" - Jalandhar by Shri Krishna Nand Shastri
and Harivallabh Souveniors and other publications of yester years


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