A village will be developed in Varanasi in honour of shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan.(HT File Photo)
A village will be developed in Varanasi in honour of shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan.(HT File Photo)

CM gives clearance to build music village in Varanasi in Bismillah Khan’s honour

The village will be named ‘Bismillah Khan Sangeet Gram’ and it will house a museum centre along with a training-cum-research centre.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Oliver Fredrick
UPDATED ON APR 07, 2017 02:36 PM IST

Varanasi, the land of Ustad Bismillah Khan, will soon get a music village.

The one-of-its-kind village to be named as ‘Bismillah Khan Sangeet Gram’ will have a museum centre, a training-cum-research centre and many other rarities associated with musical ‘gharanas.’

The project conceived by Padma Shri Soma Ghosh, the adopted daughter of the legendary shehnai player, got the clearance from chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday.

The chief minister also promised to provide suitable land to set up the musical hamlet as soon as possible.

“It is indeed the biggest day of my life as I can see my father’s dream become a reality soon,” said Ghosh soon after meeting the chief minister at his official residence here.

“The idea to set up a musical hamlet came in 2005. It was a long cherished desire of my late father to preserve India’s ancient musical heritage, including traditional musical instruments,” said Ghosh who is the first woman to sing in the Parliament.

A noted classical singer, Ghosh boasts of a collection of rarest of the rare instruments like surbahar, vichitra veena, rudra veena, saraswati veena, shehnai, tar shehnai, table tarang, sundaree, dukkar, tutari, israj and many others.

“A lot of efforts have gone into collecting such rare items. I went around contacting personal collectors, museums, individuals and old musical gharanas to procure, and many times, buy the age-old instruments,” said Ghosh who initially faced lot of criticism for her idea.

“The critics said there was no point in collecting old pieces of scrap in the age of sitar and guitar,” said Ghosh, whose “madness” later got appreciation from former president APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many others.

Having collected many a rare pieces, the task on her hand was to make use of them

“I was clear that their display at a museum alone won’t help, I wanted an academy or a hamlet where these can be studied, researched and practised,” she added.

Her search for land began in 2015. “But since the government then was busy with assembly polls, my plea went unheard and unnoticed,” she said.

On Tuesday, she again decided to take her plea to chief minister and left a message.

To her surprise, she received a call from chief minister’s official residence, fixing an appointment for Thursday. “I really appreciate Yogi ji’s gesture who also gave clearance to the hamlet,” she said.

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