According to information provided by music critic Batuk Diwanji when I interviewed him more than a couple of decades ago, the first Swami Haridas Sammelan was organised by Sunderji Monji. However, I have not been able to any information about Sunderji Monji. Any discussion about the Swami Haridas Sammelans held in Mumbai under the aegis of the Sur Singar Samsad always assumes that the music festival was initiated by Brij Narayan, a music connoisseur, as it is under his leadership that the Samsad rose to prominence in the musical firmament of the city.

The Samsad organised not just the Swami Haridas Sammelan, but also the Kal-ke-Kalakar festivals, held to encourage young talent. Both drew attention from across the country.

In more recent times, festivals organised by the Samsad have not attracted as much of a public response as in the past – and more so when one compares this response to the attendance at music festivals that began much later. But the significance of the Samsad in Mumbai’s Hindustani music history cannot be ignored.

We conclude our series on music conferences with an episode featuring a few more artistes who were included in the Swami Haridas Sammelan of 1962.

Gwalior gharana maestro Sharadchandra Arolkar sings two compositions in the raag Yaman Kalyan. The first composition is a khayalnuma, a rarely heard form that contains syllables normally heard in taranas. But unlike conventional taranas that are composed in medium or fast tempi, this form is structured for the vilambit or slow pace and is developed like a vilambit khayal.

The khayalnuma presented by Arolkar is set to the 16-matra Tilwada. It is followed by a fast-paced tarana set to the 16-matra Teentaal. The text accompanying the track states that it was recorded in 1969.


Sarod exponent Sharan Rani Mathur of the Maihar gharana plays two compositions set to Teentaal in the raag Hemant. She is accompanied on the tabla by Manikrao Popatkar.


The final track features Sahaswan-Rampur gharana maestro Ghulam Mustafa Khan. He presents two compositions in the raag Bihag. The vilambit or slow composition is set to the 12-matra Ektaal and is followed by a drut or fast composition set to Teentaal.


One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.