Bismillah Khan, Aged 90 years, is a renowned Shehnai maestro
of international repute. He was born on March 21, 1916 in a family of professional
Shehnai players of a princely state Dumraon in Bihar.
He came to his maternal uncle Ustad Ali Bux, an eminent Shehnai player in Varanasi and at the tender age of six, started his practice in
solitude on the banks of the Ganga and in the holy temples of Balaji, Jaru Mandir and Mangala Maiya etc.
Since his ancestors were all Shehnai players including his great great grandfather late Ustad Salar Hussain Khan, great grand father late
Ustad Husain Bux Khan, grand father late Rasool Bux Khan and father late
Paighamber Bux Khan, Ustad Bismillah Khan carried forward his legacy of
Bismillah Khan who holds Honorary Doctorate from the Banaras Hindu University and
Shantiniketan gave his first public performance at the age of 14 in 1930 at an all India music conference in
Allahabad. At an early age, he familiarized himself with various forms of the
music of UP, such as Thumri, Chaiti, Kajri, Sawani etc. Later he studied Khayal
and mastered a large number of ragas.
He celebrates the most prestigious award of India
, BHARAT RATNA. He has also been bequeathed with the Sangeet Natak
Academy Award, the Tansen Award of the Madhya Pradesh
Government and also the prestigious Padma Vibhushan.
Ustad Bismillah Khan has spent a considerable period of his struggle
in Darbhanga, known for its cultural atmosphere under the patronage of the Darbhanga royal family.
During the 91st birthday celebrations of Ustad Bismillah Khan, the maestro said:
"I will be overwhelmed if I get an opportunity to perform at Darbhanga in Bihar. I would like to take a dip in the same pond
where I used to take bath twice a day in my childhood."
Bismillah Khan had the honour to play Shehnai for the free nation from the ramparts
of the Red Fort on August, 1947. Khan has also rendered Shehnai in the famous movie
Goonj Uthi Shehnai. He has played in Afghanistan, Europe, Iran, Iraq, Canada, West Africa,
USA, USSR, Japan, Hong Kong and almost every capital city across the world.
Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan died of cardiac arrest on August
21, 2006 at 0200 hrs IST following cardiac arrest.
www.biharandjharkhand.com pays respects and homage to this great 90-year-old Bharat Ratna awardee.