Pandit Ram Narayan

Childhood and Training

Pandit Ram Narayan never learnt the technique of Sarangi playing or the music as such from any Sarangi player. He was taught the basic finger technique and the bow technique by his father, Nathuji Biawat, who was neither a Sarangi player nor a professional musician. He used to play the Israaj for his own joy. He had also introduced young Ram to the concept of an 'up' & 'down' bow from the very childhood. That is the prime reason why his technique and approach is unique as compared to the rest of the Sarangi players.

Pandit Ram Narayan was fortunate to have learnt music from vocalists with a spiritual bent of mind. His first Guru, Udaylalji, was a disciple of Allabande khan and Zakiruddin Khan (of the Dagar family of Udaipur). He used to sing daily at the Ram temple in Udaipur. An often forgotten fact is that our classical (Raag) music had always been seeped in spirituality and was always deeply rooted in the ritual of the temples. All the major schools of classical music have a spiritual foundation. The compositions would mainly consist of praise for or description of the Almighty or Hindu philosophy.

Panditji had many gurus for whom he has the deepest reverence. Giridharilalji, Jahauddin Khan were two more stalwarts of Udiapur from whom he learnt valuable lessons. His next Guru was Mahadev Prasadji Maiharwale a singer of the highest order and a performing musician. Panditji had learnt the bow & finger technique from his father. So he was able to cope technically without any difficulty and the music kept developing under the tutelage of Mahadev Prasadji. Young Ram used to travel with him wherever he would travel for his music performances. Ram had a job as a music teacher in a school in Udaipur at the age of 12, where he was generally happy to have the respect and the monetary benefits, but he gave it up to be with Mahadev Prasadji who had very high expectations from him. Mahadev Prasadji was of advanced age by then and before his death he advised Ram to go to Lahore to learn from Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan who too was not a regular Ustad but more of a Sufi saint. So in a way Pandit Ram Narayan's musical journey was at every point related to the spiritual aspect of music. As a result his Sarangi and his music are different.

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