Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan : A biography

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan was an Indian classical musician in the Hindustani classical music tradition, belonging to the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, followed by Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Padma Vibhushan in 2018. In 2003 he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.


Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan was born in Badayun, Uttar Pradesh. His mother was the daughter of the great Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan and music was the legacy of his family. Inayat Hussain Khan was also the court musician during the reign of king Wajid Ali Shah and also the son-in-law of the pioneer of Gwalior Gharana Haddu Khan.

Since both Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s parents wanted him to be a singer, his training in music started very young at a time when he could remember the tune but could not understand the words. After his father, he was trained by Ustaad Fida Hussain Khan who was the court singer at the Baroda’s royal durbar, and then from Nissar Hussain Khan. The traditional styles of Rampur, Gwalior and Sahaswan gharanas are therefore part of his performance.

At the time, every city had a Victoria Garden and it was the custom that on Janmashtami, the first public performance of those interested in music be performed as a debut. Ali Maqsood, the Chairman of the Municipality, organised the Janmashtami function every year and asked Ghulam Mustafa Khan to perform when he was 8 years old.

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s cousin brother in law, Hafeez Ahmed Khan was the Deputy Chief Producer with All India Radio.


Ghulam Mustafa was awarded the Padmashri in 1991, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 2003, the Padmabhushan in 2006, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2018.

The first film he sang for was in Marathi, ‘Chand Pretticha’. From 1957, he started singing playback for Marathi and Gujarati films. He started with Mrinal Sen’s ‘Bhuvan Shome’ and sang ‘Sajanaa kahe nahi aaye…’ for ‘Badnaam Basti’ under the same music director, Vijay Raghav Rao. He played the role of Baiju Bawra in a German Documentary “Rain Maker” shot in Jaipur, besides being playback singer in the same film. He has given his voice to more than 70 documentary films made by Films Division, many of them receiving international & National Awards. He has performed across India and European countries.

From the late 50s, he has been a guru to Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Kamal Barot, Waheeda Rehman, Ranu Mukherjee, Geeta Dutt, A. R. Rahman, Hariharan, Shaan and Sonu Nigam, Sanah Moidutty, Sagarika, Alisha Chinoy, Shilpa Rao, and Kalpana Patowary was one of his students. Rashid Khan is his nephew as well as his disciple. Aftab Ahmad Khan is his youngest brother & disciple. His four sons Ghulam Murtuza, Ghulam Qadir, Rabbani Mustafa Khana and Ghulam Hasan Khan were also trained by him. Currently they are professional singers and have sung in films like ‘Fiza’,‘Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities’ and ‘Saathiya’. His grandsons Faiz and Aamir were also receiving their taalim from him.

In Coke Studio, composer A. R. Rahman shared the stage with his 82-year-old guru, also featuring his four sons- Murtuza, Qadir, Rabbani and Hasan- and his 12-year-old grandson, Faiz. All five vocalists and Rahman collaborated on two numbers as a part of Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s 3 generation performance.


Ghulam Mustafa Khan was married to Amina Begum who is grand daughter of Padma Bhushan Mushtaq Hussain Khan. They had four sons who are Murtuza Mustafa, Qadir Mustafa, Rabbani Mustafa and Hasan Mustafa.

Khan died on 17 January 2021 at his residence in Mumbai, aged 89.