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We will remember the Ustad like Sant Kabir
Samsher Singh | August 21, 2006 19:19 IST
Samsher Singh, the New Delhi-based music composer and classical vocalist, is a disciple of Pandit Amarnathji and belongs to Ustad Amir Khan's gharana.
While paying his heartfelt tribute to Ustad Bismillah khan, Singh says no other artiste after Sant Kabir has achieved so much in creating a fusion between Hindus and Muslims. His tribute:
My first introduction to Ustad Bismillah Khan's music was through Satyajit Ray's classic, Pather Panchali. In the film, Harihar Ray, a poor farmer, returns to his native village in Bengal from
That piece of music haunted me for years.
I started understanding the nuances of his music when I attended his live performances in
He would perform regularly at the annual festival of the Shankarlal Music Centre in
Ustad Bismillah Khan will be remembered even after a century as we remember Sant Kabir.
Here is a man who through his sheer talent turned a folk instrument like the shehnai into a classical instrument.
Till then artistes were playing short and easy pieces on the shehnai but the Ustad introduced raagdari on the instrument. Never before him was the shehnai considered a classical instrument.
His commitment to classical music was complete. Once, during a performance at the India International Centre in
The Ustad reluctantly played Dil ka khilona on his shehnai but he cleverly improvised the tune and turned it into a pure classical piece.
The Ustad was humble and simple in his habits and his nobility was reflected in his music. His music could be understood even by a person who doesn't have an ear for classical music.
His tonal quality, prolonged meandering and his lungpower added to the beauty of his music. His music was a combination of sweetness, emotion and passion.
I will miss him on every August 15 because since 1947 Ustad Bismillah Khan performed the Mangal Dhwani every Independence Day on All India Radio! Only this year he was so sick that he could not perform.
Only after Ustad Bismillah Khan's shehnai on AIR on August 15, would the prime minister of
Pandit Ravi Shankar's sitar was more famous in the Western world but Ustad Bismillah Khan was one step ahead of him because he had reached the West and Eastern countries, both. There is an auditorium in his name in
His towering personality has brought about solidarity between Hindus and Muslims in
As told to Sheela Bhatt