Alla Rakha, who was born on April 29, 1919 in Phagwal, Jammu as Qureshi Alla Rakha Khan, popularised the tabla across the globe and was known to be a perfect accompanist of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Allauddin Khan, Vilayat Khan, Vasant Rai, Ali Akbar Khan and sitar player Ravi Shankar as well as an excellent soloist.
The Ustad ran away from home at the age of 12 to learn the tabla and found tutelage under Mian Kader Baksh of the Punjab gharana and learnt voice and Raag Vidya under Ashiq Ali Khan of the Patiala gharana.
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.