After the partition of India, the princely states of both India and Pakistan, which until then were the main patrons of classical music, became almost defunct. The former Nawabs and Maharajas of these small and large kingdoms were more worried about their own fate, rather than look after the cause of classical musicians. Fortunately, the state controlled Radio and TV stations of both countries soon took over and became the only mediums where the ancient music tradition continued. Those were really hard times for classical musicians. Many classical vocalists in Pakistan turned into part-time Ghazal singers and some found singing Punjabi folk songs to be more fruitful. Noted Pakistani vocalist Roshanara Begum was so disgusted that she stopped singing altogether.
All India Radio (AIR) and Radio Pakistan must be given due credit for the pains both took in preserving the musical heritage of the subcontinent. Of course later on, Doordarshan, India’s sole TV station until the early 1990s and PTV, Pakistan’s own national TV, took the baton. Both lacked advanced technology and took refuge in transmitting recordings, sometimes live programmes, of classical music during the leisurely afternoon hours, much to the delight of classical music lovers.
Presented here are a few audio recordings of classical music, relayed on PTV about 10-11 years ago. I had assembled a rudimentary recording device, which I had used to record these songs straight from the TV to the hard disk of my computer. In the first post of this series, I find it appropriate to feature two of the greatest vocalists of Pakistan, the famous brothers, Amanat Ali Khan and Fateh Ali Khan of the Patiala Gharana. These are unpublished songs, perhaps not available anywhere, except maybe in the PTV archives.
.. more songs, ripped from the tube, very soon.