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DR. ABAN MISTRY - BIOGRAPHY

“Mistry was a pioneering woman artiste with a golden personality. She was an authority on the tabla and the pakhawaj…”

Born on 6th May, 1940, Tabla was her potent stimulant and despite facing umpteen hurdles she went on to pursue her career in the field of music at a very tender age.

Her Training and Education

Her initial training was provided from her aunt, Late Mehroo Workingboxwalla, After this she learnt Tabla from Pt. Keki S. Jijina, Pt. Laxmanrao Bodas and Ustad Amir Hussain Khan. This went on for a period of thirty years. Dr. Aban Mistry, being an ardent devotee of Maa Saraswati took up Tabla as her everyday prayer to the Goddess.

Indeed, she was first of HER kind. Getting command over the otherwise male-dominated percussion instrument, Dr. Mistry mastered it with her passion and perseverance. Besides this, she continued her academics too. She was a celebrated scholar, a much sought after lecturer, an acclaimed musicologist and a Sahitya Ratna in both Sanskrit and Hindi. She is a Sangeet Praveen in Tabla, Sangeet Alankar in Vocals and Sangeet Visharad in Sitar.

 

Dr. Aban

 

She is known for her tabla skills not just in India but also abroad. For this, she is rightly acknowledged as the World’s First Professional Lady Tabla Artiste. It is not known by many people that Dr. Aban is also trained in Vocals, the Sitar and is also a Kathak dancer. Affiliated to several universities, Dr. Aban has had guided a number of Ph. D students and has also been a popular visiting faculty in many colleges, conducting workshops across the nation.

She is known for her intensive practical and theoretical knowledge of Tablavaadan. Moreover, it is not just one particular Gharana that she excels in but she possesses knowledge about four different Gharanas. She has been able to carve a niche for herself by infusing the styles and techniques of four different Gharanas- Delhi, Faroukabad, Azradabada and Benaras.

 

Her Books

During her lifetime, she has been showered with several titles and awards. Her intensive knowledge led her to author some books as well. In the world of Shastriya Sangeet, her book which was initially her Sangeet Pravin Thesis, Tabla aur Pakhawaj ke Gharaney evum Paramparayen has been made a part of several University curricula and libraries. This book is available both in Hindi and English.

 

Dr. Aban

 

Another of her books, Tabla ki Bandishein (available with CD) provides rare insights into music for music enthusiasts. Along with this, her newspaper articles, columns and research papers have assured the legacy of her gurus in right hands. Dr, Aban Mistry with her guru Pt. Keki S. Jijina wanted to establish an environment which provides more than simple music tuitions.

 

Swar Sadhana Samiti

On 19th October, 1961, which was the day of Dusshehra, both these eminent maestros laid the foundation of Swar Sadhana Samiti. Till date, it is known to conduct 652 consecutive monthly music programmes. It was directed towards their direct cause and concern for Indian Classical Music.

This duo was a notable Guru-Shishya example.Their belief stands in the faith of living music beyond the boundaries of class, creed, caste and gender. They ensure that all Samiti programmes are free of charge and anybody can participate in it. Their primary goal is to encourage the young talent for stage performances.

 

Her Death

On 30th September, 2012 Dr. Aban Mistry died of multiple organ failure. She was posthumously presented the ‘First Lady of India’ award on 20th January, 2018 by Hon’ble President of India, Ramnath Kovind. Her in-depth research about the History of Tabla has shattered the myth that the Persian, Amir Khusro is apparently known to introduce Tabla. Her discovery of an ancient mural in the Bhaja Caves, Maharashtra depicting the picture of a woman playing the Tabla provides a completely different dimension to the origin of Tabla.

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