A chronicle of shehnai

Image: LifeisMusic ‘Shehnai’ is a well-known musical instrument which is popularized by one of the musical legends ‘Ustad Bismillah Kh...

Image: LifeisMusic
‘Shehnai’ is a well-known musical instrument which is popularized by one of the musical legends ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan’. ‘Shehnai’ was a folk instrument which only had enjoyed an official traditional status until ‘Ustad Bismillah Khan’ introduced it to international stage.

He had utmost love and devotion for Shehnai. His love for Shehnai can be credited to his hometown Dumraon which is in Bihar. His father was a Shehnai player in royal court of Dumraon estate. Due to his family’s background for Shehnai, Ustad Bismillah Khan learnt to play Shehnai.

He got his name Bismillah from his grandfather who said ‘Bismillah’ (i.e in the name of god) at his first sight. He developed such devotion to Shehnai that nothing remained as important to him as Shehnai. He used to call it ‘Begum’.

Shehnai was restricted to only traditional functions in India but it was only due to his efforts that Shehnai became a renowned name in the world of music. Today Shehnai enjoys an international status and is played by many musicians.

He is the sole person responsible in the popularization of this instrument. His way of playing Shehnai was flawless and nobody could deny the charm of this instrument created by Bismillah Khan.

Not only he popularised Shehnai but he was a true devotee of music. He set an example for all the Hindus and Muslims of society and joined them with the thread of music.

“Music has no case”- Bismillah Khan

Video Credits: TangibleEmotions

He belonged to a Muslim family but has worshipped ‘Goddess Saraswati’ like all other musicians. He never saw any wall between a mosque and temple. He has played Shehnai at temples too. ‘Vishwanath Temple’ was one of the temples where he used to play his art in front of many people and he had always got drown in his art.

He was one of the finest musicians ever born to the mankind. He had shown his love for his art by remarkable popularization of this instrument to the world. His love for music was so profound that it seemed to be the only immortal thing to him.

“Even if the world ends, the music will still survive”- Bismillah Khan

He had performed at Red Fort when India got independence in 1947 in front of our first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. His art was so flawless that it became an integral part of Independence Day celebration till day. Prime Minister himself announced that Doordarshan would broadcast his live performance every year at the eve of Independence Day.

He earned his share of respect from all over the globe. There were many people who wanted to learn this art and Bismillah Khan joyfully taught them. He was a guy who believed that Knowledge grows by sharing and he wanted to share his art with as many people as he can.

His love and devotion has now transformed ‘Shehnai’ from a traditional classical instrument to an instrument showing its grace at international stages!

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