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Bismillah Khan turns 90

BHARAT RATNA awardee and renowned shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan completed 90 years on Tuesday, though he did not celebrate the occasion. Saddened by the bomb blast in Varanasi on March 7 which claimed 15 lives and left many injured and due to the mourning on Chehellum, Bismilah Khan decided not to celebrate his birthday today.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 23:59 IST

BHARAT RATNA awardee and renowned shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan completed 90 years on Tuesday, though he did not celebrate the occasion.

Saddened by the bomb blast in Varanasi on March 7 which claimed 15 lives and left many injured and due to the mourning on Chehellum, Bismilah Khan decided not to celebrate his birthday today.

No function was organised here to mark the birthday of the virtuoso as Bismillah Khan had urged his relatives and cultural organisations of the city not to celebrate his birthday due to the mourning of Chehellum and recent blasts.

As per information, Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibbal will felicitate Khan by presenting a silver shehnai weighing 3 kg on March 25.

A 91 kg cake will also be cut to mark the entry of Khan in the 91st year.

Bismillah Khan was born on March 21, 1916 in a family of professional shehnai players of a princely state Dumraon in Bihar.

He came to his maternal uncle Ustad Ustad Ali Bux, an eminent shehna player in Varanasi and at the tender age of six, started his practice in solitude on the banks of the Ganga and in the holy temples of Balaji, Jaru Mandir and Mangala Maiya etc.

Since his ancestors were all shehnai players including his great great grandfather late Ustad Salar Hussain Khan, great grand father late Ustad Husain Bux Khan, grand father late Rasool Bux Khan and father late Paighamber Bux Khan, Ustad Bismillah Khan carried forward his legacy of shehnai.

He gave his first public performance at the age of 14 in 1930 at an all India music conference in Allahabad.

He also played shehnai for the free nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August, 1947. Khan has also rendered shehnai in a famous movie Goonj Uthi Shehnai.

First Published: Mar 21, 2006 23:59 IST