Abdul Rashid Khan, an exponent of the Gwalior gharana has been active on the cultural scene for over four decades now. Today, at the age of 105, the celebrated vocalist who has composed over 2,000 compositions under his pseudonym, Rasan Piya, will perform in the city.
“I perform as many concerts as I get every year,” says Khan, who recently performed a 90-minute recital in Pune. Ask him where he gets his energy from and the sprightly centenarian, who also teaches at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, says, “From Allah, bhagwaan. People think I’m 102 or 103, but I’m, in fact, 105 years old. As long as Allah gives me voice, I will continue singing,” he adds.
Practising ahead of his concert, ask the Hindustani classical vocalist to spell out his riyaaz routine and he says, “I stopped practicing 20 years ago. Earlier I would sing for 12 hours a day. I don’t know which raga I will pick tonight. I plan to go on stage and decide.”
Today, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan begins his day at the crack of dawn with a cup of tea and two biscuits. “I also enjoy a hookah with it. Then I read the namaaz, five times a day. I don’t eat the whole day, but eat something light to digest for dinner,” he says.
Celebrated flautist Rupak Kulkarni will also perform with the centenarian today. “It will be a rare concert,” says Kulkarni and adds, “I’ve learnt so many rare ragas from ustadji, I will perform some of them tonight.”
Watch vocalist Abdul Rashid Khan and flautist Rupak Kulkarni perform at YB Chavan Pratishthan auditorium today, 6.30 pm onwards.