Bismillah to be laid to rest at UP dargah | india | Hindustan Times
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Bismillah to be laid to rest at UP dargah

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 20:05 IST

The mortal remains of shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan, who died of cardiac arrest at age 91, would be laid to rest on Monday evening at the Fahtiman Dargah where he used to play the shehnai every Mohurrum.

A state funeral is being given to the late maestro. His body will be carried in a gun carriage from Benia Bagh to Fahtiman Dargah for the last rites. A contingent of the Indian Army will march alongside.

All Government offices and schools in Uttar Pradesh were declared closed on Monday as a mark of respect to the musician.

After the central government declared a national mourning as a mark of respect for the maestro, who received the nation's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna in 2001, national flags were flying at half-mast.

The shehnai virtuoso was taken ill around 10 days ago and admitted to the Heritage Hospital on August 17. His death came at 2.20 am in the Hindu holy town that had been his home for decades.

Hundreds of people thronged his home in the crowded Serai Harah locality to pay their last respects. His body was kept at the Benia Bagh grounds in the heart of this city where local residents continued to flock through the day to have a last glimpse of the great musician.

Among them were Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Union Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal and state Congress president Salman Khurshid, besides a number of prominent political leaders, social workers, artists and common citizens.

Several prominent Hindu saints and seers as well as Christian clerics also turned up to pay their tribute to Bismillah Khan, who was widely known for his secular outlook. Many maulanas and moulvis also came.

Wreaths were placed on the body on behalf of President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.

The district administration is organising the state funeral.