The Meticulous Art of “Sujan” — Pandit Shrikrishna Narayan Ratanjankar

Ratanjankar’s influence as a teacher is widely felt both in the work of singers like K.G. Ginde, S.C.R. Bhatt, and Dinkar Kaikini — and in the institutions of music education in contemporary India. His own singing reflected his considerable erudition and deep scholarship. These recordings are from an A.I.R. Special Programme.

Raga Yamani Bilawal

Raga Basant Mukhari

Pandit Shrikrishna Narayan Ratanjankar was an able and talented singer as well as an excellent and experienced music teacher. his songs were disciplined and entertaining. His singing style was classical and without any mistake.

Ratanjankar was born on December 31, 1890 in Bombay . He learnt music from the famous Pndit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande and Ustad faiouz Khan. In 1926, he did graduation from Bombay University . Later he became the Principal of Bhatkande Sangeet Vidyapeeth and held this post till 1928.

He was a singer of Dhrupad and Khayaal of Agra Gharana. He wrote many books related to music that included ‘Taan Sangrah’, ‘Sangeet Shiksha’, ‘Abhinava Geet Majnani’. In 1957, he was honoured with the title of Bhushan by the Indian government for his contribution to art and culture. In 1963, he was chosen a fellow of Sangeet Natak Academy . He died on February 14, 1974 .


Raga Sampurna Bageshri

Raga Vibhaas (Marwa Thaat)

Raga Adana (Lakshan Geet)

Shrikrishna Narayan Ratanjankar `Sujan` occupied a pre-eminent position in the spectacular developments in the field of Hindustani music in the 20th century. A foremost disciple of Chatur Pandit Bhatkhande and a ganda-bandh shagird of the great Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ratanjankar was an excellent performer, a learned scholar and a great guru with a number of accomplished disciples. His ascetic simplicity, his dedication to and personal sacrifice for the propagation of classical music are legendary.
Born in Bombay on January 1, 1900, Ratanjankar first trained under Pt. Krishnam Bhat of Karwar and then under Pt. Anant Manohar Joshi (Antu Bua). However, it was the influence of Pt. Bhatkhande which shaped his career and life for the next sixty years. In 1917, with a scholarship by Baroda State, Bhatkhande placed Ratanjankar under the tutelage of the legendary vocalist, Ustad Faiyaz Khan.
Besides being a graduate and a polished musician, he was already a profound scholar in music when in his early 20s. By common consent, Ratanjankar was regarded as the leading musicologist of his generation, and the indisputable successor of Bhatkhande as a supreme authority on historical and musicological questions. Ratanjankar went on to become professor and subsequently, Principal of Marris College of Music, founded by Bhatkhande. During his tenure, Marris College came to be regarded as a place of pilgrimage by most famous Hindustani musicians. He remained committed to Bhatkhande`s Music College through difficult times, even parting with his salary to pay the other staff members whenever there was a financial crunch. Later, when Indira Kala Sangeet University was inaugurated in Khairagarh (Madhya Pradesh), Ratanjankar was appointed Vice-Chancellor. He was also associated with AIR as the chairman of the Music Auditions Board.


Raga Mian Ki Sarang

Raga Kedar Bahar

Decades ago, when Pt. Ratanjankar was known with affection and respect as “Anna Saheb” among his colleagues, friends and followers, and his voice was in excellent form, he could have chosen the more paying and exciting life of a practical musician. But, such was his reverence and loyalty to the memory of his Guru, that he chose to follow the latter’s footsteps, to continue the work of training generations of musicians and music teachers, and to work in every possible way for the propagation of classical music. So dedicated was he to his ideals, that he stuck on steadfastly to the Principalship of the Bhatkhande Music College, Lucknow, through three long decades when emoluments were meagre, and sometimes, not forthcoming at all! Leaving his family in Bombay, Srikrishna Ratanjankar spent the best years of his life cooped up in a small room next to his equally small office-cum-class room in the college. It would not be an exaggeration to say that but for the enormous personal sacrifices that he made, this music college would not have survived the years of poverty and emerged as such a reputed institution today. While personal tragedies assailed his life repeatedly, this small, frail, man continued to live like a true Karma Yogi, imparting music to students and scholars who flocked to him from all parts of India, and Ceylon, writing scholarly articles on music for various journals, seminars and radio-talks, and enriching our music with a prolific number of masterly compositions such as Khayals, Lakshanageets, Taranas and Bhajans (in Hindi and Sanskrit). An erudite scholar in music, he remained an eager student and research-scholar till the end.

Born on the first dawn of this century in a middle-class Maharashtrian family of Bombay, Srikrishna’s father (an officer in the C.I.D.) had a deep and discriminating interest in music. Therefore, he was able to have the good fortune of receiving excellent training in the art under the most efficient masters available. At the age of 7, young Srikrishna was put under the training of Pt. Krishnam Bhat of Karwar (a pupil of Kale Khan of Patiala Gharana) whose method of teaching was so thorough that in 2 years of (nothing but) scale exercises, the boy’s “swar-jnan” was perfected. His next teacher was Pt. Anant Manohar Joshi (a pupil of Balakrishna Buwa). It was about this time that Srikrishna’s family came into contact with Pt. Bhatkhande Ji. The latter was so deeply impressed by the boy’s talent and zeal, that the Chaturpandit predicted that with proper training, he would not only become a great musician, but also a pioneer in the rejuvenation and popularization of Hindustani classical music.


Raga Ramdasi Malhar

Raga Jaitshri

Until I compiled this page it had escaped my notice that Ratanjankar was for a time a student of Antubuwa Joshi. My own guru Devasthalibua had learned briefly with Antubuwa many decades later, at the behest of his son Gajananbua Joshi.

I wish his books like abhinav sangeet shiksha vol 2 and vol 3 are avaiable for purchase. His abhinav sangit shiksha vol 1 is avaialble in the market. These books should be in print. They are classic works written by the masters of hindustani music.Other books like taan mallika by RajaBhaiya Poonchwale are also out of print and may never be availble in the future which is a pity.

I wish his books like abhinav sangeet shiksha vol 2 and vol 3 are avaiable for purchase. His abhinav sangit shiksha vol 1 is avaialble in the market. These books should be in print. They are classic works written by the masters of hindustani music.Other books like taan mallika by RajaBhaiya Poonchwale are also out of print and may never be availble in the futuere.

4 Dec 2016, 6:29am
by Hemant Ghayal

Human Institutions like S.N.Ratanjankar are needed to rejuvenate Indian Classical Music and make it reach great heights to rest the world what is “class”. He was a worth pupil of the great Faiyaz Khan to whom Bhatkhande sent Ratanjankar send for learning classical music. I bow to these great men.
A correction: He was awarded title of “Padma Bhushan” by the Indian government.

31 Jan 2016, 10:31am
by S. G. Ratanjankar


24 Aug 2015, 2:49am
by Siddhartha Gajanan Ratanjankarp

It is written excellently and correct to the point.I really liked and enjoyed reading it. For factual incidents one may read Annasaheb Ratanjankar’a biography in “User:kunjuratan.sandbox/ Wikipedia…”


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