Ustad Amjad Ali Khan had been invited to USA for delivering a performance. He was requested to perform Jingle Bells. And he performed it nicely. But it attracted a number of critics and Ustadji was blamed a lot. So, I consider it my duty to throw some light on the quality of performance.
The first thing is that, he was condemned so much because it was not a traditional classical composition. If we analyze the tune of Jingle Bells, it fits very well in Raag Khamaj in Hindustani classical music. In instrumental music, words play no role. So, why this composition was not accepted as a composition in Khamaj Raag? I think critics somewhere consider other types of music substandard and that’s why they are hurt so much when a Hindustani classical artist plays a Western Tune. And I can point out thousands of tunes having same notes being played by many other renowned artists.
The second thing is that, many critics many times say that Ustad Amjad Ali Khan lacks deapth in his music. I totally disagree. This is basic mistake committed by humans. We associate simplicity with less quality. I would like to highlight that simplicity is the highest form or the highest virtue of any art. If we judge Amjad Ali Khan on these criteria of simplicity, I think probably no other musician will reach the heights which Amjad Ji has seen. His music is very deep. But it just flows simply..and that’s why people misunderstand it as substandard or as deficient in depth.
It hurts when people call him a second rate artist. It hurts when people doubt his dedication. When his Sarod was broken, he was broken with it and this shows his dedication, his love for his art. His wife brought his spare sarod herself next day. It was not difficult to send the Sarod by courier by any other agency; but his wife comes. This shows the love and intimacy of Khan Couple towards the art.
I will request the so called learned condemners of Amjad Ali Khan that please have a look at him when he is holding his Sarod in his hand. Observe the care, the love and also the depth. It Is rare to find artist who is so much absorbed and who is so much in unison with his instrument.