Pandit Nityanand Haldipur: India’s Favorite Classical Flautist

Have you ever thought why the world of Indian Classical Music should be indebted to flautist Nityanand Haldipur? The contribution of flute maestro Pandit Nityanand is beyond measure. The talented Pandit Nityanand Haldipur – ranks among the country’s leading flautists and a senior disciple of the reclusive genius, Padma Bhushan Smt. Annapurna Devi – represents the pure essence of a highly revered musical heritage.

Appreciating his music is a tough task; he never strives to show his skills and knowledge.  Instead, he allows the inherent melody of the Raga to pour out through his performance.

Early Life:

Born in Mumbai in a deeply spiritual family, Pandit Nityanand Haldipur was fortunate to have the right environment for his prodigious musical abilities to flourish. His first guru who initiated him into the art, technique and aesthetics of flute playing was his father, the late Shri Niranjan Haldipur – a senior disciple of the renowned flute maestro, the late Pandit Pannalal Ghosh. The warm soothing sounds of the bamboo flute were an early, pervading influence. Pandit Pannalal Ghosh turned into his music icon. Thus, for young Nityanand to be attracted to the instrument was only natural.

Reminiscing his early days, Pandit Nityanand once shared an incident which he fondly remembered as a young boy visiting Pannababu (as Pandit Ghosh was fondly called). During his visit, young Nityanand Ji observed that Pannababu was practicing paltas and alankars with his senior disciples. Nityanand Ji had incidentally learnt some of them from his father and thus attempted to play them before Pannababu. He was happy to see that Nityanand Ji had developed a good facility with the instrument at such a young age. As a gesture of appreciation, Pannababu gifted him a flute from his treasured flute case and blessed him. This gave further motivation to his riaz (practice).

Prior to initiating his journey in the world of Hindustani Classical Music, he loved driving motored vehicles and was also passionate about sports.

Learning The Tradition Of Classical Music

During his initial childhood days, he learnt the foundation of Indian Classical Music from his father. Later, he formally studied under the guidance of Pandit Chidanand Nagarkar and Pandit Devendra Murdeshwar. However, the major turning point in his life was when Padma Bhushan Srimati Annapurna Devi, doyenne of the Maihar gharana accepted him as her disciple in the year 1986. Pandit Nityanand Haldipur has been learning under her enlightened wings for over four decades now.

Pandit Nityanand’s Journey As A Teacher

As a Guru, Nityanand Ji adheres to the strict discipline of the traditional Indian Guru-shishya tradition. Nityanand Ji imparts his musical insights to students through many instruments like the flute, saxophone, violin, guitar and vocals.

He has been a visiting faculty at prestigious institutions like Bhatkhande Music Institute Deemed University, Lucknow, UP, India. He has toured all over India, giving numerous lecture demonstrations on music for eminent organizations like SPIC MACAY. He conducts a series of listening sessions, on Baba Allauddin Khan Saheb across India.

Playing Style

Pt.Nityanand adheres to the Pannalal Ghosh style of playing the bansuri. This style was developed by the great flute maestro and inventor Pt. Pannalal Ghosh. The style primarily has 2 technical characteristics –

1. The playing holes are closed by the finger tips (as opposed to the ‘ Shehnai Style’ where the holes are closed akin to a Shehnai using the central portion of the fingers). This technicality helps the bansuri player to achieve a smoother ‘Meend’ (glissando) and also aids in Drut (Presto, Prestissimo and faster).

2. The bansuri is designed with an extra hole below the Pancham (perfect 5th) hole, called as the 7th hole or the Teevra Madhyam( Tritone) hole. This hole is played using the pinky / little finger. Active use of this hole greatly augments the smoother transition in the Ga-Ma-Pa and Dha-Pa-Ma cluster. This quality is accentuated in the raagas like Yaman, Bihag etc. where this cluster is greatly exploited.

Secondly, this hole renders the player to play as low a note as Komal Gandhar in the mandra saptak (lower octave).

Over the years, Pt.Nityanand has developed his unique style of playing music on the flute. It is an amalgamation of Ustad Wazir Khan (Rampur) and Pt. Pannalal Ghosh. Gurumaa Smt. Annapurna Devi has imparted him the Ustad Wazir Khan’s style.

Distinct Musical Qualities Of The Gharana

Pandit Nityanand Haldipur belongs to the ‘Senia Maihar Gharana’ established by Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan Sahib. In his gharana, there is great emphasis on detailed dhrupad-style alapchari, systematic jod, unique compositions in several different taals (which is a rarity in instrumental gharanas) and preservation of the purity of a raga by adhering to its grammatical framework. The teaching methods in his gharana are highly reflexive and have ensured that even contemporaries in his gharana who play the same instrument do not sound like each other.

What Sets Him Apart In His Style Of Hindustani Classical Music?

Pandit Nityanand’s overall presentation pattern follows the Khayal Gayaki Ang. But within the vilambit portion of the presentation,he does dhrupad-style vistaar and plays jod with tabla accompaniment. Gurumaa Smt. Annapurna Devi has groomed his style in this manner so as to ensure that he has an identity of his own, distinct from other disciples of hers.


His Opinion On Hindustani Classical Music Education In India?

According to Pandit Nityanand Haldipur, an early grounding in Hindustani Classical Music is a privilege that very few have in our country. Owing to the disproportionate importance attached to professional courses such as engineering and medicine, youngsters who wish to take up Hindustani Classical Music professionally feel intimidated. There is also a dichotomy between the study of music and its performance; in that performers are not known for their understanding of the theoretical aspects of music and academics are not valued for the ability to perform. Bridging this gap through exchange and dialogue might effectively transform musical education as well as the performance scene.


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