Tributes to one of India’s most beloved musicians, Shehnai Maestro, Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, on his 13th death anniversary today.

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Tributes to one of India’s most beloved musicians, Shehnai Maestro, Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, on his 13th death anniversary today.

Ustad Bismillah Khan was undoubtedly a gem that India is proud of. He can be truly called a pure artist who always believed that music will survive even if the world perishes. He believed in Hindu-Muslim unity and spread the message of brotherhood through his music. He always announced that music has no caste.

Bismillah Khan had the rare honor of playing his shehnai on the eve of India’s independence in the year 1947. He performed at the Red Fort in Delhi and since that year he has always played on 15th August right after the Prime Minister gave his speech.

Bismillah Khan was awarded all the top four civilian awards — Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna.

Despite the fame that he achieved, Bismillah Khan always remained where his roots were. He never accumulated wealth and other materialistic possessions and lived in humble surroundings in the holy city of Benares.

He shared a special bond with his shehnai and called it “Begum” after his wife died. On 21st August 2006, at the age of 90, Bismillah Khan breathed his last after having a cardiac arrest. His shehnai was buried with him in his grave.

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