Monday, July 23, 2007

Bismillah Khan

Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan,s name will be enshrined in the minds of children as his life and art become part of the school curriculum for Class 9 students.In its recently published Class 9 English book, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has devoted an entire chapter on the legendary musician who died at the age of 90 last year.Born on March 21, 1916, Bismillah belonged to the well-known family of musicians from Bihar and took to music at the age of three when his mother took him to his maternal uncle's house in Varanasi. Bismillah was fascinated watching his uncle practise the shehnai.He passed away on Aug 21, 2006.The man who mesmerised generations of Indians with his mellifluous music had wished to give a performance at the historic India Gate. His wish remained unfulfilled after the concert scheduled Aug 9, 2006, was cancelled for security reasons.When India gained independence, Bismillah Khan was the first Indian to greet the nation with shehnai. He poured his heart out into raag Kafi from the Red Fort to an audience which included Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who later gave his famous 'Tryst with Destiny' speech.

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