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THE FAMILY of legendary Dhrupad singer of Darbhanga gharana, the late Pandit Ram Chatur Mallick, has alleged that two influential villagers have grabbed their ancestral land, measuring nearly eight katha (or about 10,000 square feet) in Gangadah village, under Bahedi police station of Darbhanga district.
Peter Muller, grandson of German scholar Max Muller, and sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar are said to have stayed at the property to learn Dhrupad music from exponents such as Ram Mallick’s father and guru, Pandit Rajitram Mallick.
According to Vijay Kumar Mallick, one of the late singer’s two grandsons, the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) court of Darbhanga had ruled in their favour, but alleged that the district administration has not been able to get back possession of the “grabbed” land.
Vijay, who lives in Darbhanga and runs a small spare-parts shop in the town, said the family has no “influence” in Gangadah to get back possession as they have always lived in adjoining Amta village. “My brother Arun, a farmer in Amta, cannot visit the Gangadah property without police protection,” he claimed, and said the property is valued at over Rs 30 lakh.
The eight-katha land is part of a 17-katha plot with a three-room house that was given over a hundred years ago to ancestors of Ram Chatur Mallick, winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Tansen Samman, who died in 1990.
Vijay said the Mallick family had settled in Darbhanga’s Amta village some 300 years ago. In 1990, the Bihar government instituted a music award named after Mallick, a Padma Shri awardee.
Stating that the property in Gangadah village came to his brother and his share, Vijay told The Indian Express, “…we found two influential villagers have grabbed almost eight katha land in front of our plot. They have blocked our way to the bungalow.”
In 2015, Vijay took up the matter with the SDO court against the two Gangadah residents, identified as Satyanarayan and Vinod Sah. “The Sah family produced forged papers of the land and later faced a separate case. The court ruled in our favour but the local administration has not been able to get us possession,” Vijay said.
Vijay said he also approached then Revenue Minister Madan Mohan Jha in 2016 for help. “After the minister’s intervention, the Darbhanga district magistrate had ordered an inquiry by an assistant collector in November 2016 but nothing has come of it,” he said.
Darbhanga DM Chandrashekhar Singh was not available for a comment.