National House was established in 1913 by Azizudin. The shop was located near Sri Ram Road but was later shifted to a locality near Latouche Road. Azizudin opened the shop with the idea that music was in high demand at the time. He began his shop with the manufacturing and repair of tablas, harmoniums, and sitars.
After Azizudin, the shop was run by his son, Mukhtar Ahmad. Mukhtar Ahmad was then succeeded by his son, Saeed Ahmad, who is managing the shop right now.
Saeed laments the loss of older instruments such as the sitar, tanpura, and pakhawaj. He believes that this is mainly because of the lack of dedication required in the learning and training of these instruments.
His shop still manufactures and repairs instruments such as the tabla, harmonium, and guitar. The tabla, he believes, emerges from the musical instrument called pakhawaj. It is said that Amir Khusrau, the great Persian poet and the father of qawwali, converted the pakhawaj into a tabla by dividing it into two subsequent parts. Earlier, the tabla was made from scratch in Saeed’s shop. Now, however, the parts are transported from Almora and assembled here.
Saeed says that the harmonium still remains one of the most popular instruments that are sold to musicians throughout the country. The sale has mostly remained unchanged due to the fact that harmonium is essential to classical music and any beginner who wants to study the same. From chopping the wood to polishing it to finally setting every component and fitting every key according to the customer’s choice, a harmonium ready for sale has already gone through a tedious process and been in the hands of around ten people.
Saeed is accompanied by his son, Saif, who simultaneously runs a rock band along with helping his father with the business.