The Child Prodigy of Indian Music- Master Madan

Among the early popularizers of music in India was Master Madan, a child prodigy who died at the age of 15 in 1942. Few of his recordings survive, though he was a precocious and prolific performer.
Among his famous renditions Hairat se taq raha hai jahan-e-wafa mujhe and yun na rah rah kar hamen tarsaiye can be heard online.

It is impressive to see the mastery of classical music and the command over the Urdu language for someone so young and one can admire the rich texture of his voice even seven decades later.

Pran Nevile on the child prodigy.

… when K.L. Saigal was working with Remington Typewriter Company in Shimla he often visited their house to meet Master Mohan, Madan’s elder brother. Saigal would bring his harmonium and both of them had long singing sessions with Madan (who was only two) attentively listening to them.

Shanti Devi has mentioned an unforgettable train journey from Kalka to Shimla with Saigal, Mohan and Madan. They had kept singing all the way, much to the amusement of the passengers. Later after Saigal had joined New Theatres Calcutta, he always looked after Master Mohan and Madan whenever they visited Calcutta. In fact, Saigal became very fond of Master Madan and admired his instinctive knowledge of music and his mastery in singing intricate classical compositions with perfect ease in his heavenly voice.

Update: Fawad has more information on Master Madan and the 8 recordings that have survived.

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16 Replies to “The Child Prodigy of Indian Music- Master Madan”

  1. Anonymous- the poetry itself is excellent and powerful, I should have mentioned that both the the ghazals by Sagar Nizami are in themselves wonderful works of poetry.

    Fawad: Thanks for the link and your post. I think your post is better titled: “Hindustani” rather than “Indian” is more appropriate.

    Siyaah: I was myself surprised since before reading Pran Neville’s piece, I had presumed the “Master” to have been used in place of “Ustad”- I never imagined Master Madan to have been so young. His name had always carried the halo of a legend.

  2. Red Greetings

    I have read some of your posts.
    I would like to republish them
    on the blog I run

    Do I have premission to do that ?

    Regards

    Abhay

  3. there is story that some one give poision to master madan ? is it true ? he may(who give him poision ) be great singer too ? can enevy and creativity live together ? what is realationship between Pushkin mozart and Salery? i listen Master Madan when i was in 10th class thanks for recalling my memories — raghu

  4. Raghbir: I know what you are trying to indicate- Pushkin’s drama on Mozart and Saleri, but it also reminds me of the movie Amadeus based on the same theme.

    I also wonder why Master Madan’s story has not been taken up by Bollywood, it sure is the stuff that would make for a dramatic movie.

  5. Wah Bhupinder, I am also a ‘purana mureed’ of Master Madan.

    When I was in ‘Jansatta’Chandigarh our colleague Pramod Dwivedi went to jullundar and Shimla for writing a piece in ‘itwari jansatta’ on Master Madan. Pramod is from Kanpur and he has a very good collection of Cassettes. This article in the form of cover story was published sometime in 1996. Pramod also collected all the 8 recordings which also include 2 punjabi gazals (rawi de kande…machda dil da shor…. We have with me all the songs right from 1996, when i was in chandigarh. Our many friends of jansatta and Indian express copied and shared the collection. Perhaps ‘vernacular’ world of hindi and punjabi has ‘discovered’ these songs earlier then English public sphere.
    -ishwar singh dost.

  6. Ishwar- good to see you here after so long !

    What your comment clearly brings out is that there is a yawning gap between Hindi and regional languages and the work done in these languages not finding their way into English media- something that also came into glaring demonstration at the Frankfurt book fair where only the Indian writers writing in English got attention, at the expense of those writing in other languages.

  7. Oh God! You all guys..Pramod Diwedi, Bhupinder (Pratibadh!) and Ishwer Dost!
    I am among the lucky people who got twelve recorded song’s gift from pramod (of saigal)..he (pramod) too sings well in saigal’s voice..i still remember when pramod wrote that sunday piece on saigal and master madan he got series of appreciations…it was a wonderful effort and luckily i was the witness for all the hard work which pramod did for the same…

  8. it is interesting to see so many people respond to a post on an obscure but brilliant singer. music has always had an inspiring effect on people and it is a pity that the music today is so uninspiring

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