Ustad Bismillah Khan celebrates 91st birthday | india | Hindustan Times
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Ustad Bismillah Khan celebrates 91st birthday

Bharat Ratna shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan on Saturday cut a 91-kg cake in a birthday celebration in Varanasi belated by four days in protest against the March 7 terror strike.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2006 16:21 IST
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Bharat Ratna shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan on Saturday cut a 91-kg cake in a birthday celebration in Varanasi belated by four days in protest against the March 7 terror strike.

Khan turned 91 on Tuesday but deferred the party on account of it being Chehellum, 40th day of mourning of the slaying of Prophet Mohammad's grandson Imam Hussein, and to protest the Sankat Mochan temple and Cantonment Railway Station blasts that rocked the temple town early this month.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who was to present the monthly cheque of Rs 10,000 he had announced from his personal earnings, could not attend the function due to commitments in New Delhi.

However, several hundred people wished the renowned musician "Happy Birthday" while he was presented a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh by Sulabh International president Bindeshwar Pathak and Rs 50,000 by a media couple Shivnath and Nina Jha who are ardent fans.

The two, who run a publication in New Delhi, also presented the 'ustad' a monograph of his life promising him royalties from the book as a "token contribution" to help him lead a comfortable life and silver shehnai weighing 3 kg in recognition of his contributions to classical music.

The nonogenerian regaled music lovers with renditions from his vast repertoire and expressed a "last wish" to perform at Darbhanga in Bihar and at India Gate in New Delhi.