Raja Chakradhar Singh, also known as Maharaja Chakradhar Singh, was a prominent historical figure.
According to the tradition upheld by the ruling family of the former Raigarh state, the Raj Gond family migrated to this region from Bairagarh/Wariagarh in the Chanda district of Maharashtra state at the start of the 18th century.
They initially settled in Phuljhar, which is in the Raipur district.
From there Madan Singh, head of the family migrated to Banda of the present day Raigarh.
History of Raja Chakradhar Singh
During the reign of Maharaja Bhupdev Singh, music, dance, and literature flourished.
This development continued under the rule of Maharaja Chakradhar Singh.
Maharaja Chakradhar Singh Porte was born on August 19, 1905.
After the death of his brother Raja Natwar Singh, Maharaja Chakradhar Singh Porte succeeded to the throne in 1924 and ruled Raigarh until 1947.
He was also the chief of Bargarh, which was ruled by the Gond dynasty.
The Maharaja was an accomplished musician who played the tabla and was passionate about the arts, particularly dance and music.
Work of Raja Chakradhar Singh
He completed his education at Rajkumar College in Raipur, where he studied literature, English, Sanskrit, and music.
Maharaja Chakradhar Singh Porte was a great patron of the cultural scene in Raigarh and would invite artists from all over India to perform in his court.
He had followers from various fields, including music, literature, and dance, such as Pt. Jagannath Prasad (Jaipur Gharana), Pt. Jailal, and Guru Kalka Prasad (Lucknow Gharana).
Raja Bhupdev Singh was a music lover, and his passion for art significantly impacted the upbringing of Raja Chakradhar Singh.
The young prince was raised in an environment that fostered the pursuit of fine arts.
During the reign of Maharaja Bhupdev Singh, music, dance, and literature flourished, and they continued to thrive under the rule of Chakradhar Singh.
Chakradhar Singh had two uncles who were experts in percussion instruments – Narayan Singh was a skilled gine pakhavaj player, while his younger brother, Pilu Lal, was an accomplished table player.
Raja Chakradhar Singh himself authored numerous books on fine arts, including the revered ‘Nartamsarvaswam,’ which is regarded as the Bible of dance.
Book by Raja Chakradhar Singh
He wrote books in Hindi and Urdu.
The books Kavya Kanan, Mayachakra, Ratnakar, Ramyarasa, Josh-e-Farhat, Alkapuri (in three parts), Nagma-e-Farhat and Bairagadiya Rajkumar reveal a mind that was seeking creative expression through not only dance but also through poetry and prose.
One of the most important contributions of Raja Chakradhar Singh is the treatise he compiled with the help of scholars on music and dance.
They are voluminous and their sheer bulk is staggering.
The treatise on dance Nartan Sarwaswam weighs six and a half kilograms.
Besides this, Raja compiled other treatises on tala and intricate aspects of its manipulations, with diagrams, Talatoyanidhii, a massive treatise, weighs thirty-six kilograms.
Talabalapushpakara is another weighty volume, weighing three and a half kilograms, devoted to the composition of tabla.
He wrote many books related to dance/music and some of his works are- Taal Bal Pushpakar, Raag Ratna Manjusha, Taal Tayonidhi, Muraj Paran Pushpakar, Nartan Sarvaswam, Jashe Pharhad, Nigare Pharhad, Prem ke Teer, Mayachakra, Ratnahar, Kabya Kanan, Bairagadiya Rajkumar, Alkapuri, Teelasmi, Mrignayani, Ramyaras.
work on other filed
Kartik Kalyan was a renowned Kathak dancer who drew inspiration from various other forms of dance to create a unique dance style.
He belonged to the Raigarh Gharana, which is widely recognized in the dance community.
He learned Kathak for three years under the guidance of Pt. Jagannath Prasad from Jaipur Gharana, followed by Pt. Jailal in 1930.
Apart from performing, Kartik Kalyan was also actively involved in organizing and participating in famous music conferences.
In 1938, he led a group of 60 artists to the first All India Music Conference, which was held in Allahabad.
The next year, he performed Tabla for his own Kathak dance presentation at an India-level Music conference, which was held to welcome the Viceroy.
His outstanding performance earned him the title of “Sangeet Samrat” by Viceroy Lord Linlithgow.
In 1943, another music conference was held at Khairagarh in Chhattisgarh, where Kartik Kalyan and Chakradhar Singh performed again to critical acclaim.
Following India’s independence on October 7th, 1947, Raja Chakradhar Singh died.
His son Lalitkumar Singh briefly took over, but Raigarh state was eventually merged into the Union of India on December 14th, 1947.
The Raigarh district was formed by combining the princely states of Jashpur, Raigarh, Sakti, Sarangarh, and Udaipur.
Unfortunately, with the death of Raja Chakradhar Singh, the artists lost their patronage.
The dancers and musicians found it difficult to survive in Raigarh under the new circumstances.
As a result, Kartikram and Kalyan gradually faded away.
Kalyan turned to teaching and worked with Khairagarh University.
The Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad took on reviving the Kathak of Raigarh durbar.
They established Chakradhar Nritya Kendra, a dance academy in Bhopal named after Raja Chakradhar.
Chakradhar Singh, like many Raj Gonds, favored Brahmins during his reign.
Despite this, he remained true to his tribal roots and identity.
Brahmin musicians have taken over his legacy and history.
but a festival is in Raigarh on his birthday during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival to honor him.
The Chakradhar Lalit Kala Kendra and Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Academy jointly organized this festival with the cooperation of the district administration.
Although the king made significant contributions to literature, arts, and Indian classical music and dance, there is no mention of his Gond tribe ancestry.
As an erudite tribal ruler, he was a staunch supporter of the arts, literature, and education.