Get well messages are pouring in from across the country for shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan, who was hospitalised in Varanasi on Thursday morning following a brief illness.
Musicians, Bollywood stars, artistes and many others have sent messages for Bismillah Khan, 92. He was admitted to the hospital after he became very weak. He had fallen ill about a week ago and was being treated by a private consultant at his residence in Varanasi.
Singing legend Lata Mangeshkar and her sister Usha Mangeshkar wished that the maestro gets well soon and is also able to perform at the India Gate—his ardent wish. "We appeal to the people and music lovers to pray for his good health and early recovery."
Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar's Ravi Shankar Foundation, in a message, said they prayed for Khan's recovery. Ravi Shankar, a contemporary of Bismillah Khan, is out of the country.
In a message, superstar Amitabh Bachchan said: "I appeal to people across the world and music lovers to pray to god for Ustad Bismillah Khan's good health."
Actor Rahul Bose said: "I hope that Ustad Bismillah Khan recovers and blesses us with the incomparable sounds of his shehnai again. India prays for his good health."
"May god grant him a longer life with good health," said actor Farouque Shaikh in a message, while John Abraham said: "God bless and take care of him."
Get well messages also came from veteran actor Dilip Kumar and from noted classical musician Amjad Ali Khan.
The priest of the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Rajendra Tiwary, also sent a message for the maestro.
Messages were sent to Bismillah by The Beginning also, a movement launched by a Delhi-based couple—Neena Jha and Shivnath Jha.
The maestro, who has been put on an intravenous drip, is well, said Haider Hussain, Khan's son-in-law, adding that his condition was otherwise stable.
Bismillah Khan was admitted to the Heritage Hospital. "Khan Saheb had been complaining of acute weakness over the past few days. He was also suffering from loss of appetite. So on the doctor's advice, we shifted him to a well-known private nursing home," the musician's personal secretary Syed Javed Ahmed told.
The maestro, who was awarded the Bharat Ratna—India's highest civilian honour—in 2001, was presented a cheque of Rs.250,001 as ex-gratia grant from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday assured the shehnai wizard that the state government would bear the cost of his treatment. The chief minister's assurance was conveyed to Khan by the Varanasi district magistrate, who visited the hospital in the morning.
On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Governor TV Rajeshwar spoke to the Varanasi district magistrate and enquired about his health.