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A Stunning Recreation of Ustad Enayat Khan's 1920s Surbahar

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Wasim Salim Maner, proprietor of Mohammad Waseem Sitarmaker in Miraj, has crafted a faithful recreation of Ustad Enayat Khan's Kanailal & Brother surbahar.

Here we trace the history of the original instrument and document its recreation in the Mohammad Waseem workshop.

The instrument was made during the early decades of the 20th century in the Kanailal & Brother shop on Upper Chitpur Road in the Burrabazaar area of Kolkata under the direction of Enayat Khan. Wasim has named his recreation the Ustad Imrat Khan surbahar, after Enayat Khan's late son and our guru-ji, who played the instrument for many decades after his father's passing. It was, in fact, Ustad Imrat Khan who made this surbahar famous.

Here is a beautifully detailed early photograph of Imrat Khan playing the original instrument.

Enayat Khan died in 1936 at the age of 43, a year or two after Ustad Imrat Khan was born and about eight years after the birth of Imrat's brother, the legendary Ustad Vilayat Khan.

Because of his success as a performer, Enayat Khan's family had lived well, but difficult economic times followed his death. Bashiran Begum, Imrat and Vilayat Khan's mother, sold many of the family's possessions just to put food on the table. But the one possession she refused to part with was Enayat Khan's Kanailal & Brother surbahar.

Playing this instrument, Ustad Imrat Khan would become the most influential surbahar player of the 20th century. He is pictured playing it here in the late 1950s.

Ustad-ji is also pictured with the instrument here, together with Ustad Vilayat Khan on sitar and Shanta Prasad on tabla, in 1962.