About Pt. Mohini Mohan Misra

Exposition of a great life
Dilip Misra


Sangeet Nayak * Sangeet  Ratna - Pt. Mohini Mohan Misra “…. Midnight had been crossed, it was about 1 a.m . In the meantime the recognized and established maestros had presented their classical recital befitting the illustrious conference. Now at dead of night what would he begin with ? …… He took up the Darbari Kanada, the raga of lofty mood. There was sign of excitement in the function even before the preclusive singing had been completed.”

Thus described Narayan Sanyal the well versed  litterateur  the episode of letting his banner of victory fly at one night of 1928 in “Murari Sammelan” by music Maestro Pt. Mohini Mohan Misra in his book ‘Panchashordhyo’ (beyond fifty), At that night Shri Misra thus began his recital at 1 a.m and stopped at 7 a.m. next morning after presenting dhrupad, thumri, tappa, bhajan one after another – What happened next? Shri Sanyal writes,’ On the backdrop was hanging a portrait of the Late Murari Mohan Gupta, guru of Shri Durlabh Chandra Bhattacharya.  Yester nights -programme had started with garlanding the said portrait. Durlabh Babu with a scraf with the names of Lord Krishna painted on it laid on his person moved to the portrait with long strides. He took the thick garland  up- with his hands and placed that old garland round the neck of Mohini Mohan, standing in the posture of salutation with his head held downward.”

Yes, this is the Mohini Mohan who as Pt. Mohini Mohan Misra is the leaving soul of ‘Murari Smriti Sangeet Sammilani’. No, the Murari Sammelan referred to above is not the  ‘Murari Smriti Sangeet Sammilini’ of the present time. The former was the annual music conference that had to be arranged earlier in the memory of Pt. Murari Mohan  Gupta, the renowned Pakhowaj and preceptor of Shri Durlabh Chandra Bhattacharjee. The latter is ‘Murari Smriti Sangeet Sammilani’ founded in the memory of prematurely deceased Murari Mohan Misra, the second son of Mohini Mohan by Manoj Mohan Misra, the elder brother of Murari Mohan Misra.

Pandit Mohini Mohan Misra the legendary personality in the realm of music had his ancestral house at the Majilpur, 24 Parganas (S)  from where the Misra moved to Matalibagan area of Mayapur Road (presently Pearymohan Roy Road), Chetla. Father of Mohini Mohan was Harinath Misra and mother Pramodekali Devi. of four sons and two daughters of Harinath and Pramodakali, Mohini Mohan was the eldest.

Probably he was born in1891 and yes died  on 21 February 1963,. From the very boyhood he had great love and attraction for music. Through long and austere endeavour and practice he earned high proficiency in dhrupad, kheyal, tappa, thumri  eli branches of classical music.

 At the same time he was an expert Veen – Player – his playing of  Saraswat Veen in different conferences earned for him great praise and admiration. He had revered Pt.; Pramatha Bandhyopadhyay, the great dhrupad exponent cum Veen – player, of Bishnupur Gharana.

Musical reputation of Mohini Mohan spread throughout the country and abroad also. He earned reputation in playing of Tabla, Pakhowaz, Esraj and other such instruments. Understanding his musical talents, learners from distant America  rushed to him. There had always been an assemblage of knowledge lovers of music from foreign countries at his residence. Honour came from France also. In that sense Misraji was an able teacher of the essence of Indian Music to the foreigners.

Violin Brothers of Symphony Orchestra from England came to take Lessons in Indian music Practically and Theoretically from Pandit Mohini Mohan Misra in 1928 and stayed  for seven days here in Kolkata.


His Musical talent had been felicitated in his country also. The Sunday Dhurapad Club, Benaras’ conferred at him the title of “Sangeet-Nayak’on 16 October, 1938. He received the title of “Sangeet Ratna” on 26 December,1943 from Kashi Sangeet Samaj. His rich collection of musical instruments had earned praise of the well versed music lovers. Three string instruments named “Surayan, Surchayan and Suroranjan” have been created and designed by him.

Shri Misra was not only a reputed artist but he was an ideal music trainer also. Factually Misra the teacher is far more adorable than Misra, the artist.All Bengal Music Conference had offered him an address of honour as a trainer in dhrupad, tabla, pakhowaj, khayal, tappa, thumri, bhajan etc.

In personal life Misraji was employed as an accountant at Aslay George & Co., Kolkata. His wife was Smt. Bhabani Misra of fifteen children born to them the eldest was Manoj Mohan Misra  (01.12.1911 – 16.02.2006) was a great appreciator of music, able organizer and a proficient boxer. Murari Mohan, the second son was a prodigious genius of music having earned country wide reputation at a tender age (25 years) faced a tragic and suspicious death in 1940. And to commemorate him Manoj Mohan with boxerly zeal founded Murari Smriti Sangeet Sammilani and All India Murari Smriti Music competition at Chetla a less – known settlement at that time. This  competition earned countrywide praise and reputation in course of time. Successful Competitors of this competition in later life became Bengal- famous, India-famous and to speak proudly world-famous. Esteemed singer Smt. Nirmala Misra a glorious luminary in the music world is the youngest daughter of Mohini Mohan Misra.

By the bye it is to be mentioned that after a long continuity from 1941 to 1977 owing to different unavoidable reasons the competition had to be suspended. It has again been resumed in the new phase from 2010. Thus Murari Smiriti Sangeet Sammilani has kept up its forward march of long and several years unabated and with the flame lit by the beaming soul of the organization Shri Mohini Mohan Misra and the leading soul Shri Manoj Mohan Misra still ablaze is moving towards a newer, brighter and more spirited future. In this forward march it fervently seeks support and patronage of the nation.


“Without  music, life would be a mistake “

                                                     -  Friedrich Nietzsche