By R. Srinivsan

Tansen, a famous Indian musician, is the subject of this lesson. It emphasises the value of complete information and the wisdom of problem-solving. Tansen was able to save himself thanks to his extensive knowledge of music and his ability to apply that knowledge.

This is the story of Tansen, a well-known Indian musician. Mukandan Mishra, the singer's only child, raised him. They lived in the village of Behat, which was close to Gwalior. Tansen was a mischievous, but wise and talented, child. One day, in the forest, Swami Haridas found Tansen roaring like a tiger. Tansen then began studying music with him. He studied music for eleven years before becoming a great singer. Tansen's father's dying wish was to be sent to Mohammed Ghaus of Gwalior. Tansen married Hussaini in that city. Tansen quickly came to popularity as a musician. He rose to the position of official singer in Emperor Akbar's court. As a favourite of Akbar, he fell victim to the jealousy of a few courtiers. Tansen was even plotted to be killed by courtiers. Shaukat Mian, a courtier in Akbar's court, requested that Tansen perform Raga Deepak.
Tansen was well aware that Raga Deepak could generate heat around the singer, reducing him to ashes, and Raga Megh could bring rain. As a result, he prepared his daughter Saraswati and her friend Rupvati to perform Raga Megh in court. When the fire broke out near Tansen and the lamps were lit as planned, the girls sang Raga Megh. Tansen's life was saved when raindrops fell on him. Tansen became ill as a result of this incident. The courtiers were punished by Akbar. Tansen recovered from his illness, and his recovery was celebrated.

Tansen was the only child of his parents.

• Naughty but talented, he imitated the calls of birds and animals perfectly.
• Once he tried to frighten a group of travelers by roaring like a tiger.
YOU may have heard the name of Tansen — the greatest musician our country has produced.

  1. Talented : skilled
  2. Frighten : scare

Tansen, his parents' only child, was a mischievous but talented child. He used to replicate the sounds of birds and animals. He once tried to scare a group of tourists by recreating the roar of a tiger. It was Tansen, our country's greatest musician.

A singer called Mukandan Misra and his wife lived in Behat near Gwalior. Tansen was their only child. It is said that he was a naughty child. Often, he ran away to play in the forest, and soon learnt to imitate perfectly the calls of birds and animals.
A famous singer named Swami Haridas was once traveling through the forest with his disciples. Tired,the group settled down to rest in a shady grove. Tansen saw them.

  • Disciples.: pupils
  • Grove : a group of trees planted together

Tansen Misra was Mukandan Misra's son, and he and his wife lived in Behat, near Gwalior. Tansen was a mischievous child. He used to go play in the forest. He learned the art of mimicking the sounds of birds and animals there.
Swami Haridas, a well-known singer, was crossing the forest with his disciples one day. They stopped to rest under a shady tree because they were tired. Tansen took a look at them.

‘Strangers in the forest!’ he said to himself. ‘It will be fun to frighten them’. He hid behind a tree and roared like a tiger. The little group of travelers scattered in fear but Swami Haridas called them together. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Tigers are not always dangerous. Let us look for this one.”

  • Frighten: to scare

He thought it would be funny to scare strangers. As a result, he crept behind a tree and roared like a tiger. All of the travellers fled in fear, but Swami Haridas invited them to gather and sit together. Because there was nothing to be afraid of. Tigers were not always a threat.

Suddenly, one of his men saw a small boy hiding behind a tree. “There are no tigers here, master,” he said. “Only this naughty boy.”

One of the travellers noticed a small boy behind the tree. He informed Swami that there was no tiger, but rather a mischievous youngster.

Swami Haridas did not punish him. He went to Tansen’s father and said, “Your son is very naughty. He is also very talented. I think I can make him a good singer.”
Tansen was ten years old when he went away with Swami Haridas. He lived with him for eleven years, learning music, and became a great singer. At about this time, his parents died. Mukandan Misra’s dying wish was that Tansen should visit Mohammad Ghaus of Gwalior. Mohammad Ghaus was a holy man. Mukandan Misra had long been devoted to him, and often visited him. While living in Gwalior with Mohammed Ghaus, Tansen was often taken to the court of Rani Mrignaini, who was a great musician herself. There he met and married one of the ladies of the court. Her name was Hussaini.

  • Punish: to hurt a wrongdoer

Swami Haridas did not punish him; instead, he went to his father and told him that his son was mischievous but talented. He told him that he could train him to be a good singer.
Tansen was ten years old when he left with Swami. Swami Haridas took on the role of Tansen's music teacher. Tansen studied music with him for 11 years and went on to become a great singer of his time. During this time, both of his parents died. Tansen's father's final wish was that he visit Mohammad Gaus of Gwalior. He was a saint. He even shared a home with the holy man Mohammad Gaus. There, he was frequently taken to Rani Mrignaini's court. She was also a fantastic musician. He married Hussaini, who was in Rani Mrignaini's court.

Hussaini also became Swami Haridas’s disciple. Tansen and Hussaini had five children who were all very musical.

Hussaini also became a disciple of Swami Haridas. They had five children, all of whom were musical.

Tansen had, by this time, become very famous. Sometimes he sang before Emperor Akbar, who was so impressed by him that he insisted Tansen should join his court.

  • Impressed: to cause someone admire deeply
  • Insist : to say something firmly and forcefully

Tansen came to popularity. He was given opportunities to perform in front of Emperor Akbar. Akbar was so taken with Tansen's music that he invited him to join his court.

Tansen went to Akbar’s court in 1556, and soon became a great favourite of the Emperor. Akbar would call upon Tansen to sing at any time during the day or night. Quite often he would just walk into Tansen’s house to hear him practise. He also gave him many presents. Some of the courtiers became jealous of Tansen. “We shall never be able to rest till Tansen is ruined,” they declared. One of the courtiers, Shaukat Mian, had a bright idea.

Tansen joined Akbar's court in 1556, and Akbar adored him. Akbar used to call him to sing at all hours of the day and night. Rather, he used to come to his house to hear him sing. He lavished him with gifts. His growing popularity, as well as Akbar's interest in him, made other courtiers jealous. They were so jealous that they plotted to destroy him. Shaukat Mian had a clever idea.

“Let us make him sing Raga Deepak”, he said. “How will that help us?” asked another man. “If Raga Deepak is properly sung, it makes the air so hot that the singer is burnt to ashes. Tansen is a very good singer. If he sings Raga Deepak, he will die, and we will be rid of him.”

Tansen should sing Raag Deepak, he suggested. Another man inquired as to how this could be of assistance to them. He replied that if that Raag was sung correctly, the air would become so hot that the singer would be burned to ashes. Tansen was a great singer. He'd die if he did that, and they'd get rid of him.

Shaukat Mian went to Akbar and said, “We don’t think Tansen is a great singer. Let us test him. Tell him to sing Raga Deepak. Only the greatest singers can sing it properly.”

Shaukat Mian went to Akbar and told him that Tansen was not a good singer in their opinion. If he was, let them put him to the test by asking him to sing Raag Deepak. That could only be sung by the greatest singers.

“Of course he can sing it. Tansen can sing anything. ” Akbar said. Tansen was afraid, but could not disobey the king. “Very well, my lord,” he said, “but give me time to prepare myself.” Tansen went home. He had never been more downcast and unhappy. “I can sing the Raga,” he told his wife, “but the heat it gives off will not only set the lamps alight, it will also burn me to ashes.”

Akbar responded firmly, demonstrating complete faith in Tansen's ability to sing anything. Tansen, on the other hand, was terrified and unable to say no to the king. Tansen therefore requested that the king grant him some time. Tansen returned home, dissatisfied. He told his wife that he could sing that Raag, but that the heat would not only light the lamps, but would also turn him into ashes.

Then he had an idea. “If someone sings Raga Megh at the same time, and sings it properly, it will bring rain. Perhaps our daughter, Saraswati, and her friend, Rupvati, could do it,” he said

Then idea took place to him that if someone could sing Raag Megh, Raga Megha, if sung correctly, would bring rain. He assigned the task to his daughter Saraswati and her friend Rupvati.

He taught the two girls to sing Raga Megh. They practiced night and day for two weeks. Tansen told them, “You must wait till the lamps start burning, and then you start singing.”

He taught them Raga Megh. They worked extremely hard for two weeks. Tansen instructed them not to sing until the lamps began to burn.

The legend goes that on the appointed day the whole town assembled to hear Tansen sing Raga Deepak. When he began to sing, the air became warm. Soon people in the audience were bathed in perspiration. The leaves on the trees have dried up and fell to the ground. As the music continued, birds fell dead because of the heat and the water in the rivers began to boil. People cried out in terror as flames shot up out of nowhere and lighted the lamps.

  • Legend : a person who is admired for his abilities

Tansen followed the plan. The entire town gathered to hear him sing. As he began to sing, the air became hot and people began to sweat. The leaves dried and dropped to the ground. Birds died, and the water in the rivers began to boil. People began to cry out in terror, and the lamps were lit.
At once Saraswati and Rupvati began to sing Raga Megh. The sky clouded over and the rain came down. Tansen was saved. The story goes that he was very ill after this, and Akbar was sorry that he had caused him so much suffering. He punished Tansen’s enemies. When Tansen got well, the entire city rejoiced. Tansen remained Akbar’s court singer till 1585 when he died. He composed several new ragas. Tansen’s tomb is in Gwalior. It is a place of pilgrimage for musicians.

  • Rejoice : to feel happy

As soon as the lamps were lit, Saraswati and Rupawati began singing Raga Megh. The sky became cloudy immediately, and rain began to fall on the earth. Tansen was rescued. Tansen became ill as a result of that incident, and Akbar felt bad for causing him pain. He punished Tansen's enemies. Tansen's recovery from illness was met with joy and celebration throughout the city. Tansen served as Akbar's court singer until his death in 1585. He created plenty of new Ragas.