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A History of Hiren Roy Sitars

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Hiren Roy bringing a new instrument up to pitch

The early 1920s were an important era for the future of Indian classical instrument making. Hiren Roy, founder of Hiren Roy & Sons, was born in East Bengal, India (later Bangladesh) circa-1923. Three other of the great makers were born in the 1922 to 1925 time frame: Hemen Chandra Sen, founder and head of Hemen & Co., Kartar Chand Sharma, nephew of Rikhi Ram Sharma and founder of Kartar Music House, and Kishori Mohan Naskar, founder of Naskar & Co.

In 1937, Hiren Roy moved to Calcutta in West Bengal to learn sitar playing. He did not have enough money to buy his own instrument or pay for lessons, so he took a job in the instrument shop of Yogesh Chandra Chakraborty.

The classic badge of an early Hiren Roy. Other badges were used over the years.

Hiren Roy opened his own shop, Hiren Roy & Sons, circa-1942. In 1971, he was honored by the cultural forum called "Nikkon" in Kolkata.

Hiren Roy passed away in December 1992, and his eldest son, Himangshu, took over the business. Himangshu passed away in 1997, leaving the shop to be run by Hiren Roy's third son, Barun Ray. Hiren Roy's fourth son, Amit, pursued a career as a sitarist.

Late-2000s Hiren Roy made by Barun Ray

Barun Ray continues to make high-quality instruments in his home today, using the badge "Barun Ray, Hiren Roy's Son."


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