Kali Mirza

Kali Mirza (1750-1820) singer, composer of tappa. Kali Mirza was born in Guptipara, Hughli. His original name was Kali Das Mukherjee, but he was popularly known as 'Mirza' because he knew Persian and Urdu, sang Muslim classical songs, and wore Muslim dress. Kali Mirza was an educated man. He had studied Sanskrit at the tol, Hindu scriptures and music at Benares, and Persian and Urdu at Delhi and Lucknow.

Kali Mirza's patron was Gopi Mohan Thakur, one of the early founders of the Tagore of Kolkata. For some time, he was also a musician in the majlish of Raja Pratap Chand of Burdwan. He also once taught music to Raja rammohun roy.

Kali Mirza modified the tappa songs of nidhu gupta, by an admixture of the classical style. His songs of love and devotion reveal his aesthetic sense. Giti Lahari (1904) is a collection of 236 songs of Kali Mirza. Of these songs, 65 are on Kali, 59 on radha and krishna, 14 on other deities, and 98 on love. His other collections include Bangalir Gan (1905), edited by Durga Das Lahiri, which contains 91 of his songs, and Sabgit Ragakalpadrum (1915). His songs are inspired by love, both spiritual and human, as the following lines suggest: 'Olo shunlo sajani, amar rodane pohay rajani (My love, listen to me, my nights pass in pain) and 'Man je keman kare, kemane kahiba tare (How can I explain my feelings to her?). The literary and musical qualities of his songs earned him immense popularity. [Wakil Ahmed]