Great Indians - Ustad Bishmillah Khan
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Great Indians> Ustad Bishmillah Khan
Ustad Bishmillah Khan
(Shehnai Maestro)

He achieved Rostam Award in Asian Music conference in 1996. Shehnai is played on auspicious occasion like marriage etc. “Shehnai maestro” Bishmillah Khan has been awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour in the year 2001. The whole world comes swarming to him as soon as he breaks into melody, but he contends that he is only a simple artist, a Kalakar.

He was born in 1913 at Dumrawn (Bihar). His parents hailed from Banaras. From his childhood, he learnt shahnai from Ustad Ali Baksh and Ahmad Hussain of Banaras. Since the age of 5, in 1921, he used to play shehnai, only for one laddu. For him, the music assumed the definition of divinity. His life took a complete turn after three and a half years of practice at Varanasi’s Balaji temple. His guru was his Mamu. To him the highest court of democracy and secularism was God’s court. His riyaaz at the temple had brought to him closer to the intagible. He believed that he could, he must and he would play shehnai. He played at 30th All India Sangeet Sammelan at Allahabad. Then he represented India by singing in Common Wealth Art Festival, Music Council, Indian Festival in France. He recalled that on August 15, 1947, he had played shehnai at the Red Fort.

He was awarded with Nepal Academy, Sangeet Natak Academy. He was also awarded by Pctdma Shree, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibushan and lastly Bharat Ratna. He had a desire to play shehnai in Rashtrapati Bhawan, which was fulfilled. The Khan Saab wanted his sons to carry his legacy forward. Bishmillah Khan did not have any more expectations. He had a long innings of fulfilment. The great ‘Shehnai maestro’ Bishmillah Khan left this world on August 21, 2006.