Ustad Bismillah Khan is no more

With the passing away of shehnai maestero Ustad Bismillah Khan, the subcontinent is a lesser place – a legend of our times has left us and more importantly the Indo-Muslim culture, nurtured over centuries, has lost one of its best exponents. I came across thenews report below on how the Lahore-ites mourned his death. Wish I could be there to be counted. Thanks to blogging, at least I can mourn in the cyberspace!

Samples of his music can be downloaded can be found here. Read this evocative quote from here:

“Where others see conflict and contradiction between his music and his religion, Bismillah Khan sees only a divine unity. Music, sur, namaaz is the same thing. His namaaz is the seven shuddh and five komal surs. Even as a devout Shia, Khan Sahib is also a staunch devotee of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music.”

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Published in: on August 23, 2006 at 5:02 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We are the notes that Allah plays, and now one beautiful note has returned to the Most Sublime Musician.

    May Allah grant him peace.

    Ya Haqq!

  2. Thank you for this.

    Did you ever read “A Suitable Boy” by Vikram Seth? One of the many things I love about that book is how it captures the amazing syncretism of Muslim and Hindu traditions in Hindustani music. Also has several marvelous character portraits of musicians.

  3. That’s one of my favourite books- the way it captures and evokes the diversity and the blending of India’s different cultures and social groups into a unique Indianess. Not only does he bring alive Indian music in the book but the language and style of the book has a relentless musical cadence..

    thanks for leaving the comment.

  4. we are still waiting (for you to appear on DC)


  5. T:I will appear on DC soon. Have been in the lazy mode..
    thanks for visiting ):

  6. Growing up in England in the early 1970s, Khan’s hypnotic effect embedded itself into my subconscious. Played on a cheap turntable, through a crackly amp and flapping, low-rent speakers, his sustained notes of ethereal beauty still projected a richness and clarity that carried through to my blood.

    His sound stays with me over three decades later and I cannot think of the word “shehnai” without associating immediately with Bismillah Khan.

    May Allah (SWT) rest Khan’s soul in peace.

  7. Thanks Shahid – your description of the great Ustaad’s music is compelling. He was a true genius!

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