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we remember the 20th death anniversary of tabla wizzard Pandit Samta Prasad (1921-1994)

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on May 31, 2014

Pandit Samta Prasad (July 20, 1921, – May 31, 1994) was an Indian classical musician and tabla player from the Benares gharana. He played tabla in many Hindi films including, Meri Surat Teri Ankhen (1963) and Sholay (1975), and film music composer Rahul Dev Burman was one of his disciples.

He was the son of Pandit Hari Sunder, also known as Bacha Mishra, his grandfather was Pt. Jagannath Mishra, and his ancestors included Pt. Pratap Maharaj, also known as Gudai Maharaj.

He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1979, given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama and the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour given by Govt. of India in 1991.

Tks to Parthasarathi Mukherjee for sharing this poto of his guru

Tks to Parthasarathi Mukherjee for sharing this poto of his guru.

Early life and training

Pandit Samta Prasad was born on 20 July 1921, in Kabir chauraBanaras (Varanasi), Uttar Pradesh into a family steeped in the tradition of tabla and pakhawaj of Benaras gharana, sometimes referred as Poorab baaj school.

His preliminary taalim (training) began with his father, who died when Samta was seven. Thereafter, he took the discipleship of Pt. Bikku Maharaj, himself a disciple of Pt. Baldev Sahai, and began to practise for long hours daily.


Samta Prasad gave his first major performance at the “Allahabad Sangeet Sammelan” in 1942, where he impressed the musicians present there, and soon established himself as an accompanist as well as a soloist.

Throughout his career, he performed in various parts of India, such as KolkataMumbaiChennai and Lucknow. He also represented the Indian cultural team while abroad, in such places as FranceRussia and Edinburgh.

He also played the tabla in Hindi films like, Jhanak Jhanak Payal BajeMeri Surat Teri AnkhenBasant BaharAsamapta and Sholay. It is believed that music director,S.D. Burman postponed the recording of the song, “Nache mora manwa magan tikta dhighi dhighi” being sung by Mohd. Rafi in the film Meri Surat Teri Aakhen until the arrival of Pandit Samta Prasad from Banaras.

He died in May 1994 in Pune, India. He was on a visit to Pune to conduct a coaching workshop organized by Naad Roop. The workshop was a success, but Panditji’s unexpected demise left a permanent scar on the minds of those who attended the workshop.

Awards and recognitions

He was awarded “Padma Shri” in the year 1972, and received the “Sangeet Natak Akademi Award” in 1979 and the President Scholarship in 1987. He achieved thePadma Bhushan in 1991.


Amongst his noted disciples are Pandit Bhola Prasad Singh, Patna, Shashanka Bakshi, Nitin Chatterjee, Naba Kumar Panda, Rahul Dev Burman (R.D.Burman), Gurmit Singh Virdee, Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, Satyanarayan Bashisht, and his son, Pandit Kumar Lal Mishra, now a noted tabla player himself.

(Source: 05/2014 –

Fully Tabla solo (part 1)…

… and part 2.


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