The famous musician Ustad Bismillah Khan is the originator of the very popular musical instrument, the shehnai. March 21, 2021 marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Ustad Agung. Born in a small village in 1916 in Dumraon, Bihar, he has always had a music virus within him.
His father, Paighamber Bux Khan, is credited with inspiring Bismillah’s love of music, as he himself was a court musician of King Bhojpur. Both of his grandfathers were also musicians. After creating music for more than seven decades, he breathed his last on August 21, 2006 in Varanasi, where he spent most of his life.
On his birthday, here are six little-known facts about maestro Shehnai:
- His last request was not granted
His dream to appear at India’s Gate and pay homage to the country’s brave martyrs was his last wish. Unfortunately, it would remain a dream as he never had the chance to do so.
- His real name is Qamaruddin Khan.
It is said that his grandfather, happy with the birth of his grandson, thanked Allah and said Bismillah as a prayer. As a result, the birth name he chose was changed to Bismillah (meaning: in the name of God).
- He participated in the independence of India
He was invited by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to play Shehnai to celebrate when he raised the flag of independent India for the first time at the Red Fort. He also performed on India’s first Republic Day, and his music is still performed today.
- Connection to cinema
His talent is not limited to the world of classical music. She acted in several Bollywood and Kannada films like Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959) and Sanaadi Appanna (1977). He also participated in the Cannes Film Festival.
- There is no religious limit
Bismillah is known as a devotee of Dewi Saraswati, who is considered the Goddess of art and knowledge. He also performed several rituals dedicated to Hindu gods.
- two wives
Ustad Khan married at the age of 16 to his wife. But she loves her instrument so much that she is known to refer to her as a “woman”.
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