With the trademark smile on his lips Ustad Alla Rakha appears on the Google India home page tapping a taal.
Reverentially called Abbaji, Alla Rakha was born on April 29, 1919 in Phagwal, Jammu. His full name is Allarakha Qureshi Khansaheb.
He traced his musical lineage to the the Punjab gharana and was responsible for bringing the tabla to the non-Indian audiences while as an accompanist to another Indian musical legend, Ravi Shankar.
He started his career with the All India Radio in Lahore (now in Pakistan) in 1936 and was transferred to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1938. He also composed music for films as AR Qureshi.
He toured the world with Ravi Shankar and played at festivals like the Woodstock introducing classical Indian music to the Western audiences and elevated the status of the humble instrument.
Ustad Alla Rakha was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1982.
His three sons - Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi, and Taufiq Qureshi - are also respected tabla players.
Alla Rakha died after a heart attack on February 3, 2000 in Mumbai.