Meena Harmonium was established by Mohammad Ateeq in 1955, near the Akbari Gate in Lucknow. A few years later it was shifted to a spot near Ghulam Hussain bridge, Chaupatiya where it stands to this day. Mohammad Ateeq had learned how to make harmoniums from a shop in Latouche Road where worked for a few years before moving out and starting a shop of his own. According to his son, he has worked alongside Naushad, the famous music director from Lucknow.
After Mohammad Ateeq, the shop was run by his son, Mohammad Ameer. Mohammad Ameer had learnt the business from his father. Born and brought up in Lucknow, he had been visiting the shop ever since he was really young, most of what he knows has also been learnt by observing.
Apart from manufacturing new harmoniums, this shop repairs old ones too. Mohammad Ateeq did not know how to play the harmonium but knew just enough so that he could tune them and the same goes for his son. Interestingly, one need not know how to play the entire instrument and just needs to know the basic notes so as to be able to tune the instrument.
Another fascinating thing about harmoniums is that there are different harmoniums for lower and higher pitches. The difference lies in a part called the reed of the harmonium which is much finer for higher pitched voices and slightly thicker for lower pitches. Harmoniums for beginners and proffesionals have a difference in the quality of wood used.
Some parts of the instrument are shipped in from Delhi and Punjab while some of them are made in Lucknow itself. For example, the part which makes the reed of the harmonium comes from Panipat. The wood that forms the basis of the instrument is from Lucknow. Other further decorations such as handles, etc., are brought in from Delhi.
Meena Harmonium has provided harmoniums for various famous qawwali singers and local musicians from the city. Despite the fact that the shop is not on a main road, loyal customers manage to find it anyway. The shop is famous in various cities other than Lucknow.