Hindustani Classical Music

HINDUSTANI CLASSICAL MUSIC

Ustad Bismillah Khan

The legendary shehani maestro, a man of tenderness, a man who believes in remaining private and who believes that musicians are supposed to be heard and not seen. The legend was born on 21 March 1916. His ancestors were court musicians in the princely state of Dumraon in Bihar and he was trained under his uncle, the late Ali Bux `Vilayatu’, a shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath Temple. It was Khan Sahib who poured his heart out into Raga Kafi from Red Fort on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony.

Where others see conflict and contradiction between his music and his religion, Bismillah Khan sees only a divine unity. Music, sur, namaaz are the same thing. His namaaz is the seven shuddh and five komal surs. Even as a devout Shia, Khan Sahib is also a staunch devotee of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music.

His honorary doctorate from the Benares Hindu University and Shantiniketan bespeaks of his fame. He has been bequeathed with the Sangeet Natak Academi Award, the Tansen Award of the Madhya Pradesh government and also the prestigious Padma Vibhushan.

He has played in Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Canada, West Africa, USA, USSR, Japan, Hong Kong and almost every capital city across the world.


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