Ramashreya Jha (August 11, 1928 – January 1, 2009) was a distinguished composer, musician, scholar and teacher of Hindustani Classical music. He was the Head of the Department of Music in Allahabad University from 1980 to 1989. He was known for his deep knowledge, creative genius and his gifts as a teacher. His five-volume anthology Abhinava Geetanjali ranks high among the most influential works in Hindustani music. It contains critical analysis of ragas supplemented by numerous traditional and self-conceived compositions. He is popularly known to musicians, students and music lovers around India by his nom de plume ‘Ramrang.’ His name is also spelled Ram Ashray Jha.
Among the first to notice Jha-sahab’s magnificent compositions and parlay them was the famous maestro, the late Jitendra Abhisheki, who sang and taught Ramrang’s many compositions. In 1968, he was appointed to the faculty of Allahabad University and later in 1980 promoted to the position of Head of the Music Department. This move by the University was in recognition of genuine merit because Ramrang holds no formal college degrees. He retired from his active professorial duties in 1989. In 2005, Ramrang received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. Ramrang died January 1, 2009, in Kolkata, India, due to complications following heart surgery. Jha is especially known for his beautiful musical compositions, readily identified by his colophon “Ramrang.” Until his death, his creative genius remained undiminished. Among his well-known disciples are Shubha Mudgal and Geeta Banerjee.
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