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Bismillah Khan : The Shehnai Maestro

Bismillah Khan : The Shehnai Maestro
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Item Code: IDI726
Author: Neeraja Poddar
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 9798129103511
Pages: 62 (Black & White Illus: 33)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 7.1" X 6.9
weight of the book: 270 gms
About the Author

Neeraja Poddar grew up in Kolkata where she received her BA in English Literature. She is currently working towards her MA in History of Art at the National Museum Institute. This is her first published work.


From The Jacket

Even at the age of eighty-seven, Ustad Bismillah Khan continues to woo his listeners with the melodious notes of the shehnai, an instrument that he almost single-handedly brought out from the Purdah and firmly established on the international stage.

Ustadji's life is a perfect example of the rich, cultural heritage of India, one that effortlessly accepts that a devout Muslim like him can very naturally play the shehani every morning at the Kashi Balaji temple. It also accepts when Ustadji-while openly flouting orthodox religious practices-plays the shehnai in the streets of Benaras on the occasion of Moharram. His reason? Something as beautiful as music is possibly the best channel of communication with God.

In this book, discover the life of one of India's greatest musical legends, with all his endearing qualities and quirks-be it his humility, fondness for his cup of tea, or his need for Benaras, the city that continue to inspire him.

Charitavali is a series of biographies dedicated to the legendary figures of India. The series presents the lives of great kings, freedom fighters, political thinkers, social reformers, pioneers of industry, eminent scientists, philosophers, artists, musicians, dancers and film stars, writers and sports people. These biographies have been written for the reader who is curious about the life, achievements and character of these legends. Full of fascinating stories and facts, written in an easy, story telling style, these biographies will make these great Indians and their times come alive for the reader.




Cervantes said, "Where there is music, there can be no evil". The shehnai is one such instrument, a mangala vadya whose melodious sound dispels all evil. Earlier, the shehnai player would be heard and not seen. At weddings, temples and ceremonial occasions, he would sit in the naubatkhaana and play his instrument, invisible to the eyes of those attending the ceremonies. But now the shehnai has emerged from behind the Purdah, the veil has been dropped and it is seen proud and glorious in the very midst of listeners it hid its face from before. It has become a favourite with many discerning enthusiasts of Indian classical music and has attained worldwide fame. One man's efforts are responsible to a great extent for giving the shehnai its world renowned status. It is a name that has become synonymous with the instrument itself. He is arguably the greatest shehnai-vadak of all times, Ustad Bismillah Khan.


Acknowledgements 9
Introduction 5
Kashi 6
Guru-Shishya Parampara 11
Religion and Spirituality 23
A Humble and Sensitive Artist 27
A Simple Man 31
Awards and Recognition 37
Conclusion 56
Forefathers of Ustad Bismillah Khan 60
Landmarks 61
References 62


Sample Pages

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