Mallik, K

Mallik, K (1888-1959) singer, was born in a poor family in the village of Kusum in Burdwan on 12 Jyaistha 1295 BS (May 1888). His real name was Munshi Muhammad Kasem. But in the world of entertainment he assumed the name K Mallik, just to hide his real identity in the interest of business. In 1902, he moved to Kolkata in search of livelihood and was employed in a shop owned by a Marwari. Later he moved to Kanpur, where he worked for Raleigh Brothers, which traded in hides.

Nothing is known about K Mallik's early schooling in music, but while at Kanpur he studied music under Abdul Hai Hakim. He also learnt baiji (courtesan) songs at Kanpur. Back in Kolkata, he started performing in small functions, and gradually gained popularity. He had a melodious voice and recorded shyamasangit for Becker Records. It was at this time that he assumed the name 'K Mallik', because it was feared that a record of Hindu devotional songs sung by a Muslim would not attract consumers. Later, he recorded Hindi songs under the name 'Pandit Shankar Mishra' and Islamic songs under his original name. After he became popular, His Master's Voice recorded many of his songs.

In addition to Syamasangit, Mallik also sang songs by rabindranath tagore, kazi nazrul islam, rajanikanta sen and atulprasad sen. His singing of Amar matha nata kare dao he (Make me bow at thy feet) by Rabindranath, Bandhu eman badale tumi kothay (O my friend, where are you now when the rain is falling?) by Atulprasad and Baghichay bulbuli tui phulshakhate disne aji dol (O bulbul, do not shake the blossom-laden branch) by Nazrul stirred the emotion of audiences. His other famous recordings include Aj elo khushir Eid (Joyous Eid has arrived), Anandini Uma ajo amar anandini Uma (O my joyful Uma, the wife of Shiva), Amar Uma, kai Giriraj (O my Uma, where is the Mountain-King?), Amar nayane nayan rakhi (With your eyes on mine), Asichhen habibe Khoda, moder nabi kamliwala (Here comes the darling of God, our Prophet Muhammad) etc. The last song was a duet with abbasuddin ahmed.

K Mallik performed a variety of songs from 1909 to 1940. He became so popular that each of his records sold more than 30 to 40 thousand copies. However, despite his fabulous earnings, his final days were passed in Kusum, his native village, in stringent financial circumstances. During his residence in the village, K Mallik passed his time teaching songs to farmers. He died here in 1959. [Wakil Ahmed]