Bismillah Khan was a saint

Published on Nov 23, 2006 12:25 AM IST

USTAD ALI Ahmad Hussain Khan, grandson of noted exponent of the Banaras gharana Ustad Wazir Ali Khan, said fusion experiments spoiled the purity of traditional classical music.

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None | ByVishwajeet Singh, Kanpur

USTAD ALI Ahmad Hussain Khan, grandson of noted exponent of the Banaras gharana Ustad Wazir Ali Khan, said fusion experiments spoiled the purity of traditional classical music.

Coming from the family of Ustad Wazir Ali Khan, who was the first Indian musician to play the Shehnai at the Buckingham Palace in London, the 66-year-old ustad said lifestyle and social changes had adversely affected the traditional and rich repertoire of classical music.

The widely acclaimed Shehnai player was in the city to pay a musical tribute to Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan here today.

Speaking about Ustad Bismillah Khan he said, “He was a saint. Unlike many musicians he was never taken in by the lure of money. For him Shehnai came first and last”. Commenting the visit of Pakistani musicians to this country, the ustad welcomed the trend. He said music lovers here hold great respect for the Pakistani exponents but regretted the same was not the case with Indian musicians visiting the neighbouring country. “Not many are invited to perform there,” he lamented.

Khan was also concerned of the overdose of vulgarity in films and wanted a ban on such display. He requested the media to help check the decline of Indian traditions and Indian classical music. Khan, who began playing the Shehnai from the age of six, showed his unhappiness over the selection procedure of major awards. He suggested that before the final selection is made the person’s contribution to the art should be considered in details.

Khan also had words of praise for legends like Lata Mangeskar, Pt Ravishankar and Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan and spoke about their commitment to Indian classical music.

A disciple of Ustad Wazir Ali, Khan has been a regular TV artiste and his Shehnai has been heard in several films. Winner of several national and international awards, Khan has also performed all over the world.

Among others who performed here today were Deepshikha Biswas (Kathak), Mihir Kundu (Tabla) Hasan Haider Khan and Ahmad Abbas Khan (Shehnai), Pallav Chatterjee (Harmonium). 

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