Department of Public Relation:Government of Madhya Pradesh

Fact File - Art And Craft



Madhya Pradesh occupies a special position in the history of Indian music. The Gwalior Gharana or the school is among the most prominent arbiters of style. Raja Mansingh's patronage of Dhrupad singers is well known. The rivalry of Tansen and Baiju Bawara is remembered in fantastic detail to this day. Tansen, the folk lore has it, was a Brahmin boy - Tanna Pande was his name - exceptionally talented and caught the prince's eye. He was  adopted by the court and provided all facilities to excel as a musician.

When the emperor in Delhi heard him sing, he was so enchanted that he asked Tansen to be sent to the imperial court. Mansingh could not demur, and Tansen in his new manifestation became one of the nine jewels. There was another local lad, no less gifted, who used to learn music with Tanna from a sadhu (hermit) Baba Haridas. This was Baiju, an eccentric- adolescent who was nicknamed bawara - the mad one - due to his unpredictable behaviour. Baiju stayed back and went on practicing with his guru. People often wondered which singer was better - the court musician overcoming Madhya Pradesh has played a significant role in the evolution of classical Indian music. One of the most hallowed names in this tradition is that of the legendary court musician Tansen. fresh challenges everyday or the unchained spirit who sang to please no one but himself. There are many anecdotes which seek to establish the superiority of Baiju over Tansen. The tales are embellished with charming romantic touches. The stories are apocryphical but the rivals continue to be fondly remembered. 

In modern times the revival of North Indian classical music was accomplished not to a small extent by the exertions of the legendary genius Ustad Allaudddin Khan, the Guru of the famous sitarist Ravi Shankar and the sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. Baba, as he was known, lived in Maihar a small state in eastern Madhya Pradesh. He was a man of great originality and passion, who should be given credit for rejuvenating a dying tradition - guru-shishya parampara - which does not recognize religious division or any class barriers. He was proud of his inheritance but did not let this interfere with robust experimentation. There are other names, Ustad Hafiz Khan, sarodiya and Ustad Hussu Khan, beenkar who were legends in their lifetime.

It was not only the classical musicians who brought glory to the land of their birth or domicile, the craftsmen too have attained great heights in Madhya Pradesh. 

The  sari weavers from Chanderi town are identified sari weavers from Chanderi as artists in their own right. Their creations in silk and cotton are sheer magic in gossamer, very delicately embellished with silver or gold threads.

Maheshwar  is another famous centre of sari making and Ujjain is renowned for chippa work - block printing by hand.The art of embroidery and bead work have been lovingly nurtured in Bhopal. 

 In tribal areas of Bastar and Chhattisgarh metalware, wood work and terra cotta display a well developed aesthetic sensibility. The heart of India in Madhya Pradesh beats with an exuberant rhythm casting a powerful spell. Madhya Pradesh is indeed the magical domain where myth mingles with historic memories - royal splendour is coupled with moving romance and nature continues to nourish its children in luxuriant abundance.