Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan's family laments govt. apathy on legend's birthday

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Varanasi, March 21 (ANI): On the occasion of legendary Shehnai player Ustad Bismillah Khan's birthday on Sunday, the family lamented the governments' apathy towards them on the occasion of his birthday in Varanasi town.

Mumtaz Hussain, the late maestro's relative, rued the fact that none of the promises made after the legend's demise had been fulfilled by authorities.

"After the death of Bismillah Khan, a minister of the State government and other leaders had promised to build a mausoleum dedicated to him so that the people can come and pay their respects to him. He is a world famous personality and none of the promises have been fulfilled so far," said Hussain.

The family complains nothing has been done about making a memorial in the late maestro's name. Assurances made by politicians to give Khan's family a petrol pump as also set up a music academy to help other impoverished artistes proved nothing but empty promises.

Ajay Gupta, a social worker, said that even the promise of building an academy dedicated to Bismillah Khan in Lucknow has not yet been fulfilled.

"When he passed away, many big personalities including the State and the Central leaders came to pay respects so that the people after a decade or so at least remember him. But four years have passed and fifth year is on but no such promises have been fulfilled. Immediately after his death the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had promised that an academy dedicated to Bismillah Khan will be built in Lucknow where Shehnai will be taught to those interested even that's not yet fulfilled," said Gupta.

Ustad Bismillah Khan, born into a family of musicians who played for royalty, started his music career in 1930 and earned recognition nationally as well as internationally due to his exceptional talent.

He transfixed generations of audiences across the world with his soulful rendition of classical music on the 'Shehnai', which is played during marriages as well as religious events. For the maestro, the Shehnai mattered more than anything.

Khan was conferred with several awards including India's most coveted civilian award Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. He had the distinction of performing from the rampart of Red Fort on August 15, 1947, when India became independent.

Khan also performed in the Parliament in 2003. (ANI)

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