Welcome to Guruji Chandan Ram Charan's home page

Welcome to a very special page dedicated to an unrecognized giant in the field of Hindustani sangeet. My families connection with this great personality is through my father Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish. He studied with Guruji and perhaps was one of his most recognizeddiciples. He studied with him till Guruji passed away. Guruji would tell my father "If I had known you would go into the music industry and become so famous I would have taught you some of my more serious compositions" That made my father think of what he was missing out on :) My father was a great devotee of Guruji and and never miss an opportunity to sing his praises. He kept his song book besides him every step of the way although he had memorized these compositions quite thoroughly. he would often sing for us Guruji's songs and sometimes imitate his voice to give us an idea of how it sounded. A great gift was when he wrote down Gurujis songs in Hindi as a personal copy for me so that I may learn these too. I have this cherished copy besides me at all times :)

Ashwin Batish

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Shri Chaandanraam Charan

by Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish of Patiala

Residence: Ghilori Gate, Patiala (Punjab) India.

My most venerated Guruji belonged to a family of Indian herbalists and used to address himself as Hakim. After retiring from the service of the maharaja of Patiala, he opened a shop at his house. Here he kept various herbal medicines in jars with glass lids. But his mind was totally on the side of music compositions. When ever he had some spare moments from his business activity, he would be composing kritis in classical music.

Once during the making of a serious raga kriti, he reached a point of completion. He was tapping the lid of a glass jar as a rhythmic pointer when, he reached the final sum (the first beat) and struck the lid rather heavily. The lid broke and the glass pieces fell into the jar and over the medicine, much to his frustration. He decided there and then to close the shop and concentrate only on his compositions and his music.

Guruji was about sixty years old when I started learning from him. Although I do not remember or know exactly when or where he learnt his art, yet, out of his vast number of compositions in many languages and also according to his having told me once himself, I can vaguely reminisce that his Guru was a sage by the name of Baba Heeraadaas Chakkrapan. This is also substantiated by a line in one of his compositions in which he sang Charan ke Guru baba Heeraadaas Chakkrapaan.

Known widely in the province of the Punjab and adjoining areas as far to the East as Uttar Pradesh, Guruji was endowed with the divine qualities of sages. He always shunned money or presents from his disciples. He followed the scriptural injunctions that the biggest charity that one can give is the gift of knowledge. Unlike many musicians and gharanas (schools) of that time, he strictly followed these principles but, at the same time, he was quite particular in wanting his disciples to keep regularity in learning and practicing daily. People from far of places used to come and prostrate before his feet to learn his incredible art.

Another one of his disciples , the late Shivnath Raman, who taught Master Mohan and the late Kundan lal Sehgal, and from whom I latter had the good fortune of learning Sitar and Dilrubha, ran into me in September 1936 on the day of my first audition in All India Radio, Delhi. He was working there as a staff artist. When he heard me singing one of Guruji's famous compositions in raga Des Chhana nana nana baaje mohan paga painjanee he became very happy. The discovery that we were guru brothers (related through guruji's teachings) brought us very close. At this same meeting the famous tabla and mridangam player Khanshahib Malang Khan was accompany me on the tabla. On listening to this song he at once started praising my Guru, who he said admiringly was his most respected long time friend. To prove this, he started to sing his famous composition in raga Malhar "Baadarvaa ghira ghira aaye".

My venerated Guru was a Gharana by himself. But his simplicity and humility were reflected even in his poet name Charan meaning "humble feelings towards all". But, he was truly a Naayak - a complete master of music, poetry, singing, drama, and musicology. His own written version of the famous epic Ramayana won acclaim in Patiala and adjoining cities of Punjab. He was once specially deputed by the Maharaja of Patiala to organize a small musical get together for his esteemed guest, the late Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, with his disciples. On this occasion while introducing me to Pandit Malviyaji, Guruji asked me to sing one of his recently composed 16 raga ragamala called Shodashragaavali. I proudly sang this composition much to the admiration of all assembled and won praise and blessings from Pandit Malviyaji.

I met Guruji in the year 1932. I was studying at Mahindra college in Patiala. I had won several first prizes as a singer during competitions between students. For my material I used to sing the popular songs of the famous film actor-singer the late Kundanlal Sehgal especially his classic "Jhoolanaa jhulaavo aavo ri" in the ragini Asavari-Gandhari. In the same year the director of the amateur dramatic club of the then maharaja Bhupindra Singh of Patiala extended a special invitation to me to act for a singing role in a drama named Parivartan. In this drama I was taught a song by the director named Vijay Kumar. With my high pitched voice and fresh young energy my singing of this song used to get almost a dozen encores from the public. A few friends and admirers from the dramatic club were so impressed by my performance and popularity that they thought I should get some serious training in music. So collectively they approached my father, the late Pandit Ramgopal and suggested him to take me to Guruji's house and request him to accept me as one of his disciples. On seeing so many earnest well wishers, my father glanced at me with a serious look and agreed and we all headed for Guruji's house.

We were ushered into his living room and soon after my introduction, I was asked by Guruji to sing a song so he may judge and reach an opinion whether to accept me as his disciple. I readily sang the same Parivartan drama song. After listening to my voice, and much to the pleasure of our delegation, he accepted me as his disciple.

His beautiful compositions fascinated me as I learned song after song from him. For practice, he used to hold two open concerts in two separate localities of the town in two different temples. Here, all his disciples would assemble in front of a small gathering of friends and patrons, and sing Guruji's compositions in turn. The disciples would win praise and gentle criticism. It all added to their learning experience.

Guruji was a master of the various styles of classical songs such as thumris, taranas, dadras, prabandhas, khayals, bhajans, tirvats, chaturangs, khamsaas. The members of the Patiala gharana, like the late Ashiq Ali Khansahib, had great respect and admiration for my Guruji. They would frequently use his music and expertly written lyrics. One such song which was also confirmed by the late Dilip Chandra Bedi was a khayal in raga Basant Yaar bahurangi har rang me hai rama.

I have recorded most of the compositions I learned from this great master. It is my sincere wish to have these available in CD albums soon. Guruji also published a book of Bhajans which I also plan on recording. It is also earnest desire to start a vocal music school under the name of my Guru Charan Sangeet Vidyaalaya, as a dedication to him so his legacy may be passed on to the coming generations.

Pt. Shiv Dayal Batish

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