Sonic Saturdays

Listen: Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussein and others display the versatility of the Punjab gharana

This is the last in our series on lineages related to the percussion instrument.

We conclude our series on gharanas or lineages related to tabla solo with the Punjab gharana, which has maintained an identity distinct from the Delhi, Lucknow, Ajrada, Farrukhabad and Banaras gharanas.

The founder of this gharana was Lala Bhavani Das, a pakhawaj player. The influence of the pakhawaj on this gharana can be seen in the use of the dukkad or wooden baayaan or bass drum, which uses aata or wheat flour instead of syaahi. The Punjabi tabla pair is called the jodi, though tabla players of this school have since switched to metal baayaans, with the fixed syaahi or black circular portion on the skin-top.

More recently, practitioners of this style have moved away from the predominant pakhawaj influence to incorporate the vocabulary of other styles of tabla playing. Practitioners of the Punjab gharana have an affinity for cross-rhythms and uncommon taals.

The first track features a pakhawaj solo by Talib Hussein from Pakistan. He belonged to the Punjab pakhawaj-tabla tradition. He plays a solo in Chautaal, a cycle of 12 matras or time-units, followed by the 16-matra Teentaal.


We move to a jodi recital by Sukhwinder Singh Namdhari, who has also studied under the maestro Kishan Maharaj of the Banaras gharana. His performance gives the listener an idea of the transition made by practitioners of the Punjab gharana from the pakhawaj to the tabla. The drama in his delivery of bols or syllables is palpable in this recording. He plays a solo in the 14-matra Dhamaar.


Karim Baksh Perna, a well-known exponent and composer of the Punjab gharana, plays a tabla solo in Teentaal.


The next track features Qadir Baksh, one of the best-known maestros of the Punjab gharana. He trained several disciples, many of whom are in Pakistan. He plays solo repertoire in the 12-matra Ektaal.


One of the foremost tabla players of Pakistan, Shaukat Hussein was a disciple of Qadir Baksh after his initial training under tabla player Hiralal. Shaukat Hussein plays a solo in the 15-matra Pancham Sawari.


The final track in this episode on Punjab gharana features the world-renowned tabla maestro Alla Rakha. A pathbreaking performer, composer and teacher, he is seen here in a duet with the inimitable Zakir Hussein, his son and disciple. They play compositions in the 12-matra Ektaal.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Inspiration for the lazy, the casual and the gourmet home chefs alike

Discover, or rediscover the daily delight in food, one ingredient at a time.

It is known that home chefs can be arranged in a pyramid - the lazy ones at the bottom, the casual cooks in the middle and the gourmet experts at the top. While the challenges differ with each level, great solutions exist to make every meal an experience, regardless of the kind of cook you are. This guide to creating delightful food has something for everyone.

The lazy, hassled home chefs

You can ease into cooking by putting together meals that require minimal technique. Salads are a good place to start. Experiment with seasonal and exotic fruits and vegetables, tender vegetables and herbs, and artisanal breads as sides for a fresh, healthy and surprisingly gourmet experience.

Don’t be dismayed if you’re a non-vegetarian. There are still meals that require next-to-no prep. Think sausages that can easily be fried or grilled and cold cuts that pack a flavour punch. Health-conscious people can look for additive-free, preservative-free meat, bromate free bread and produce from free-range farms for assurance of quality. For variety, you can even put together a great Middle Eastern platter with fresh hummus and other dips.

For the casual cooks looking to impress

So, you can cook a decent meal but are looking to give your food that X-factor? To liven up regular dishes, experiment with superfoods which make your meals nutritious and novel. Try combinations like oats chila, quinoa or couscous upmas or a sprinkle of chia seeds in your breakfast pudding. Look for quality imports and efficient distribution for maximum retention of nutrients in superfoods.

Skilled enough to host people? An upgrade from basic ingredients is the most visible sign of your culinary progression. Experiment with exotic herbs like parsley, rosemary and sage as garnishing for intriguing flavours in your soups and salads. For lip-smacking desserts, use exotic fruits like kiwi, dragon fruit, acai berries and rambutan – your guests will be delighted.

For the perfectionist gourmet chefs

You’re quite the culinary expert in your circles, but want to leap to the next level? At the core of a successful gourmet creation lie the best ingredients. Seek a delicatessen which gives you only the freshest and most diverse range of ingredients. You’ll notice the difference in flavours as you move from garlic powder to actual garlic, and from chilli powder to real paprika in your preparations.

From the basic to the exotic, whatever ingredients you seek to implement the tips we just gave you are available at Godrej Nature’s Basket, the best store for fresh, quality ingredients. As the video below shows, their online and offline stores source and serves a wide variety of foods - fruits & vegetables, authentic delicatessen, the finest meats, irresistible bakery products, ready-to-cook sauces, healthy snacks and more.


Health-conscious people can also be assured of unmatched quality. You can choose from pesticide free offerings, organic fruits and vegetables, steroid-free meats, first catch of the day fish and seafood, bromate free bread and the best dairy and cheese from all over the world.

With their collection of hors d’oeuvre, artisanal breads, confectionary and desserts, there’s really no limit to what you can achieve daily in your kitchen. What’s more, all these high-quality products come at great, affordable prices.

To elevate your cooking and discover a world where food is a delight every day, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Nature’s Basket and not by the Scroll editorial team.