Music is inspired by the sound present in cosmos, since ancient time, mankind has longed to solve this mystery and tried to immerse in this long wave of spiritual fabric. In India performing classical music was a tradition followed by many generations. Its practice was penance and a way to discipline an individual soul. In the modern era, only the ‘shehnai’ of Ustad Bismillah Khan was able to reach and understand these heights of music.
Today on March 21, 1916, Ustad Bismillah Khan was born in the family of court musicians in the Princely State of Dumraon in Bihar. He learnt the art of playing Shehnai from his uncle Ali Bux Vilayatu, an official shehnai player at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. According to Bismillah Khan, the music which is not played for the god does consist as art, there is no magic to it. He conveys it further that this achievement will be like standing on the edges of an ocean and never reaching its purity.
The mythical connection of music was the striving definition for Ustad Sahe. His performance at all India music conference in Kolkata in 1937, established him as a major artiste and Shehnai as the major classical instrument. He performed Raag Kafi on the occasion of India’s first independence day celebration in 1947. On 26th Jan 1950 in the celebration of the first republic day he composed and performed ‘Sange dware bandiye baje’.
Ustad Bismillah Khan was recognized with many awards like Sangeet Natak Academy, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan. He was also conferred with the highest civilian award the ‘Bharat Ratna’.
This Bishmillah of Benaras passed away on 21st August 2006. His music was the living metaphor of classical music traditions of India.
To mark and recognized his achievements and contribution to the classical music India post issued a commemorative stamp in 2008. India Post has also issued a definitive stamp illustrating Ustad Bismillah Khan in 2016.
Image Courtesy: Mintage World