Updated: Oct 1, 2021
In 1940, Rikhi Ram Sharma was making harmoniums at Kartar Music House in Lahore. Casual conversation with a customer sparked his interest in the construction of sitars, so he took one apart to see how it was made. Sometime between 1940 and 1943, Rikhi Ram Sharma started learning sitar making from Sher Mohammad and Sher Mohammad’s son, Mohammed Maksud Ali (Usef Mohammed Ali), at Sher Mohammad Sitar Makers in Bansanwala Bazaar, Lahore.
Rikhi Ram was joined by his nephews, Kartar Chand Sharma and Hansraj Sharma, and by Mohan Singh, at Sher Mohammad Sitar Makers in 1943. They made sitars together in Lahore until partition in 1947.
As a result of partition, Rikhi Ram Sharma, Kartar Chand Sharma, & Hansraj Sharma moved to Delhi to start the Rikhi Ram Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. in Paharganj. The structure at the original location no longer exists. They later open a showroom in Connought Place, which is still there, and now run by grandson Ajay Sharma. Rikhi Ram Sharma, Kartar Chand Sharma, & Hansraj Sharma continued to work together until 1959, and the Rikhi Ram workshop in Paharganj closed. Rikhi Ram Sharma, together with his son, Bishan Das Sharma, started a new workshop.
In 2002, Sanjay Sharma split from his father Bishan Dass Sharma and his brother Ajay Sharma to open his own shop. Today Rikhi Ram sitars are fitted by Sanjay Sharma and Ajay Sharma, grandsons Rikhi Ram and sons of Bishan Dass Sharma, in separate shops.