Jaunpur is a musical city. It has gifted the world of Indian Classical Music with the form of “Khayal” and soulful ragas like Jaunpuri. A small village named Surtaanpur of Jaunpur district, was the birthplace of Pt. Rajaram Shukla in the year 1925. Since from the childhood Rajaram used to listen to the musicians of those times. Those great Maifals of various ragas like Pilu, Khamaj and Kaafi etc sowed the seeds of music in his heart. His melodious voice would undoubtedly attract applauds from the connoisseurs. Amidst of this, he lost his mother and three brothers in an epidemic. Though his father was also a music lover but those times were not so conducive for artists like today so he wished his children should take academic educations and not become musicians. Panditji had a deep desire for learning music so there aroused a dispute between father and son as they failed to realise mutual understanding and finally young Rajaram left home for Ahyodhya.
Pt. Bhagvat Kishor Vyakul was a harmonium Maestro then. He was honoured with great titles by Rulers of different kingdoms and many Princely States which existed back then in British India. Young Rajaram started taking musical lessons from Pt. Bhagvat Vyakul. He came to know about the dispute between Rajaram and his father so he himself went to his native place and presented a musical program in the village. In spite of getting influenced from his performance, father did not venture to change his decision. Vyakulji tried his best to solve the ambiguities between the father and son and finally his father accepted Rajaram as a musician.
Kunwar Shripal Singh was the prince of Singramau, a small princely town in Jaunpur. He was music lover and could also sing very beautifully. At every festive occasion a large crowd of artist would gather at his palace. On one such occasion along with his guru, Vyakulji, Rajaram were invited to perform. Prince was completely delighted with his performance and asked Rajaram to stay at his place. From the very next day he was appointed as the lecturer / professor of music in Raja Harpal Singh College. Despite of having every possible facility one artist could get he was not content and very uncomfortable in the environment so he finally left this job.
He roamed along the streets of Mumbai in search of himself, his music, his ‘Swara’ which ended soon and he eventually established himself. All India Radio, Mumbai Doordarshan would play him on air. Meanwhile, he got acquainted with Pt. Lakshman Prasad Jaipurwale. He was a stalwart representative of Gusai tradition of Hindustani classical music. Pt. Rajaram became disciple of Pt. Lakshman Prasad and continued to learn music from him. Rajaram’s ability to hit the note or Swara with ease and a gentle flow in his voice enabled his mastery over music. It was noted that, Voice modulation techniques, such as ‘Meend’ and ‘Gamaks’ would come out through Rajaram’s vocal chords with a great ease and subtle endurance. He made a remarkable contribution to the Hindustani Classical Music by composing more than 400 ‘Bandish’ (Musical compositions). All of his compositions were composed with a beautiful amalgamation of soulful words ingeniously crafted with the suitable ragas which culminated into the aesthetics of emotions or ‘Bhava’. Pt. Rajaram Shukla was also a great Guru; some of his senior disciples were Pt. Murli Manohar Shukla, Shri. Kalki Maharaj, Shrinivas Baal, Shri. G. G. Upadhyay, Shri Rajendra Jhaveri, Smt. Kunda Kulkarni, Smt. Jayshree Chaugule, Shri. Rajkumar Singh, Shri. Pramod Chokshi, Shri. Vijay Singh, Shri. Ramashankar Tripathi and many more.
Jaunpur hold its own significant position in the history of Hindustani Classical Music and Pt. Rajaram Shukla has his own eminent place in it.