Ustad Allah Rakha Khan


The full name of noted Tabla vaadak Ustad Allah Rakha Khan was Qureshi Allah Rakha. He invariably accompanied Pt. Ravi Shankar in all the concerts. He was born in Padhval, a village in Jammu,on 29 April,1919. His mother tongue was Dogri. He first heard the Tabla at his uncle’s residence in Gurdaspur and the sounds and laya of the Tabla lured him. He left his home at the age of 12 and became a disciple of Miyan Qadir Baksh of the Punjab gharana. He studied voice culture (awaaz sadhana) and tecnnicalities of ragas from Ashique Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana. His disciplined and systematic hours of riyaaz made him a maestro in Tabla vaadan.


He was married to Baavi Begum and he had five children – Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi, Rafique Qureshi, Razia and Khursheed Aulia and nine grandchildren. Allah Rakha Khanji commenced his career as an accompanist Tabla vaadak from Lahore. His first solo Tabla vaadan was in 1940 on All India Radio. Hereafter, he fulfilled his desire of gaining eminence as a Tabla player. He composed music for Hindi films from 1943 – 1948. He had the honour of accompanying artists like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Allauddin Khan, Vilayat Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and Pt. Ravi Shankar. He made Tabla vaadan famous in the world. He connected the Carnatic and Hindustani style of music by playing with artists from both the genres.


He died on 3 February 2000 due to a heart attack exactly 24 hours after the death of his beloved daughter Razia.




Sons Zakir Hussain, Rafique and Fazal Qureshi; Shankh Chatterjee , Yogesh Samsi, Prafulla Athalye, Aditya Kalyanpurkar, Anuradha Pal, Nishikant Barodekar and Uday Ramdas




1977: Padmashree

1982: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award