Tansen – Summary

Short Summary

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 travellers by roaring like a tiger. Tansen learnt music from Swami Haridas for eleven years. He stayed with a holy man called Mohammad Ghaus. He married Hussaini, one of the ladies in the court of Rani Mrignaini.

Tansen became a favourite in Akbar’s court. Once he was asked to sing Raga Deepak. Tansen asked his daughter and her friend to sing Raga Meghafter Raga Deepak to counteract the effect of the latter. Both Ragas were sung according to plan. Akbar punished Tansen’s enemies. Tansen died in 1585.


Tansen has been the greatest musician of India. His father Mukundan Misra who was also a singer lived in Gwalior. Tansen was the only child of his parents and was very naughty from an early age. He used to run away to the forest and soon learnt to imitate the calls of birds and animals.

Once Swami Haridas, who was a famous singer and his group were travelling through the forest. Tired, they settled down to rest. Tansen saw them and thought that it would be fun to frighten them. So he roared like a tiger. Swami Haridas was not scared and suddenly one of his men saw Tansen hiding behind a tree.

Swami Haridas did not get angry but found Tansen to be very talented. So he made him his disciple. Tansen learnt music from Swami Haridas for eleven years. Tansen also visited Mohammad Ghaus of Gwalior to fulfil his father’s last wish. He married one of the ladies of the court of Rani Mrignaini. They had five children.

By this time Tansen had become very famous. He became the favorite of Akbar, the Great Emperor. Some courtiers grew jealous of him. They wanted Tansen to prove his worth as a singer. They conspired against him and asked him to sing Raga Deepak which could light lamps and also burn the singer to ashes.

Tansen got an idea. He knew that if Raga Megh was sung properly, it could cause rain. So he taught his daughter Saraswati and her friend Rupwati to sing Raga Megh.

On the appointed day, Tansen sang Raga Deepak and as soon as the lamps got lighted due to the flames caused by this Raga, the two girls began to sing Raga Megh. Suddenly the sky was overcast with clouds and rain began to pour down and put out the fire. Tansen was saved from burning. Akbar rewarded him and punished his enemies.

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