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24. September 2010 5 24 /09 /September /2010 23:31
Ustad Bismillah Khan


Ustad Bismillah Khan is a well-known personality from the panorama of Indian Instrumental Music. Bismillah Khan is often termed as the Shehnai maestro. Born on March 21, 1916 in Bhirung Raut Ki Gali at Dumraon, Bismillah Khan was the second son of Paigambar Khan. Originally, he was named Qamaruddin, but his grandfather changed the name to Bismillah.

Talking about his pedigree, most of them were musicians in the court of Bhojpur (now in Bihar). Bismillah's father himself was a shehnai player in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh in Dumraon (part of Bihar). In the early age, he received training from his uncle, Ali Baksh 'Vilayatu', a shehnai player who was a closely attached with Vishwanath Temple of Varanasi.

Bismillah Khan was conceivably the sole one, who really worked hard to bring Shehnai on the stage of India and the World. The impeccable talent of Bismillah Khan was recognized by several universities of India. He received honorary doctorates from Banaras Hindu University, Visva Bharati University and Shantiniketan.

The well deserving Ustad Bismillah Khan has a long list of Awards to his credit. He was honored with Bharat Ratna (2001), Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi (1994), Talar Mausiquee from Republic of Iran (1992), Padma Vibhushan (1980), Padma Bhushan (1968), Padma Shri (1961), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1956) and Tansen Award by Govt. of Madhya Pradesh.

He had performed almost in the every capital city of the world transversely. He took active part in the Cannes art festival and Osaka Trade Fair too. Continuing his musical presence, he was invited in the World Exposition that occurred in Montreol. The modesty and simplicity of Bismillah Khan was reflected in his lifestyle.

Despite of gathering much fame, he continued to live in the town of Benaras. He was a Shia Muslim, yet he had immense regard for the Hindu Gods. His live performance on at Delhi's Red Fort had almost become an inseparable part of the celebrations of the Independence Day, but the sad demise of Bismillah separated the physical presence of Ustad.

After a major heart attack, Bismillah Khan left this world on August 17, 2006. Shehnai was an integral part of Bismillah's life and keeping this fact in mind, his Shehnai was also buried with him after his death. The legend would always be remembered for his remarkable contribution to the Indian music.


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