The Marris College of Hindustani Music,
Lucknow was established in July 1926. Originally, it was knows as the All
India College of Hindustani Music and the name of Hindustani Music and the
name of Sir William Marris was associated with it about six months later.
the establishment of the College date back to the year 1917 when the scheme
of establishing a school of Indian Music at Lucknow was presented by Rai Uma
nath bali to the 2nd All-India Music Conference held at Delhi
under the president ship of late His Highness the Nawab of Rampur, who
supported the scheme, but unfortunately it did not find the favour of late
Pandit Vishnu Narain Bhatkhande and late Raja Nawab Ali Khan, the two
veteran leaders of Music in Northern India, as they were then busy
establishing an All-India Academy of Hindustani Music at Delhi, the capital
city of India.
made again by Rai Uma Nath Bali at the 3rd All-India Music
Conference at Banaras in 1918 to gain the favour of the two leaders but in
vain as they were even then hopeful of establishing the Central Academy of
Music at Delhi. Not only could the Academy not be established at Delhi, the
All-India Music Conference could also not be held till 1924, though efforts
were made to hold the conference at Bhagalpur,
Calcutta and Indore. Rai Uma Nath Bali extended the invitation to hold the
fourth All-India Music Conference at Lucknow in 1919 at the Banaras
Conference but it was not accepted and the invitation of Bhagalpur was
disappointed Rai Uma Nath Bali ventured to edit and publish a monthly
magazine of Indian Music to popularize classical music and push through his
scheme of establishing a school and started one in Hindi in 1919 by the name
of Sangit Sudha which toiled for its existence for about a year with only 5
issues being published. This magazine also did not get the support of the
two veteran leaders and its publication had to be stopped.
In 1920 Rai
Uma Nath Bali ventured to make yet another experiment by undertaking a tour
of India to enlist support for his scheme of establishing a college of
music. He visited Gwalior, jaipur, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Alwar, Rewa, Dholpur,
Delhi etc. and met Maharajas, Rajas and music-lovers as also musicians.
encouragement and support he got on the tour were much to his satisfaction.
In Bombay he visited Pandit Bhatkhandeji and had long conversations with
him. Bhatkhandeji was rather disappointed at the slow progress of the scheme
for an Academy at Delhi and at personal and petty quarrels among
music-lovers which made it impossible to hold music conferences at
Bahagalpur and patna and Indore, etc. He promised to visit Rai Uma nath Bali
Daryabad on his way back from Banaras where he was to go the invitation of
Shri Malaviyaji to organize music classes at the Hindu
Bhatkhande visited Rai Uma Nath Bali in November, 1922, and stayed for full
one month with him. He revised his scheme and drew up the curriculum of the
He agreed with Rai Uma nath Bali’s suggestion to hold the 4th
All-India Music Conference at Lucknow and to pass a resolution establishing
a music college. He invited Rai Uma Nath Bali to attend a meeting to the
standing committee of the All-India Music Conference at Delhi on December
18, 1922 and there secured the permission to hold the 4th
All-India Music Conference at Lucknow. The 4th All-India Music
conference was, therefore held at Lucknow in December 1924 with great pomp
and grandeur in which the representatives of almost all the Gharanas of
musicians of Northern India participated. The conference that the resolution
establishing an All-India College of Music was passed and secondly
Bhatkhandeji was able to get the agreed consent of the assembled musicians
for standardizing his theory of ‘thats’ and notes used in the rags of
some technical mistakes in the resolution, the 5th All-India
Music Conference had also to be convened at Lucknow in January 1926 and the
College was established in 1926. the credit for the success of both the
conferences goes to the untiring efforts of Rai Uma Nath Bali who acted as
Honorary General Secretary. The appointment of Dr. Rai Rajeshwar Bali, O.B.E.,
Taluqdar of Daryabad, as Minister of Education in 1924 was most opportune.
Interested as he was in the art of music himself, he gave all possible
assistance in the establishment of the College. He also persuaded Sir
William Marris, the then Governor of U.P., to allow his name to be
associated with the College. He also acted as President of the Managing
Committee from 1929 to 1943.
Narain Bhatkhande, B.A., L.L.B., of Bombay the greatest scholar of music at
the time, gave his fullest cooperation and came down to Lucknow to deliver
lectures in music which attracted many students to the College. He
prescribed a set notation system, prepared text books and advised generally
on all technical matters. He used to visit the College twice every year till
1993. He died in 1936.
Ali Khan, Taluqdar of Akbarpur, a great musician cooperated in the
establishment of the College and acted, as the first President of the
Managing Committee of the College till 1928.
Some of the
Ruling Princes, like the late Nawab Saheb of Rampur, the Nizam of
and late Maharaja of Patiala gave financial assistance. A number of
music-loving Taluqdars also extended their helping hand by subscribing to
the College in times of need.
College came into existence, Music was considered low and unworthy of high
society. As an art it was forgotten; it had lost its prestige and patronage.
Within the period of 25 years of the College’s existence, a great change has
taken place. Many music schools, music classes, music clubs and music
societies have sprung up, the status of musicians has been raised and music
has found its rightful place in society. The general awakening of musical
sense and the revival of decent taste are indications enough of the
achievements of the College.