Bharat Stories
Light of Knowledge

Bismillah Khan – Bharat Ratna Adward Winner

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Born on the 21st of March in the year 1913, Bismillah Khan was a renowned personality in the field of classical music, who established himself as a distinguished Shehnai player. He was rewarded with the title of “Ustad” before his name, which when translated into English means “Master.”

The popularity of the instrument Shehnai was very much there since the beginning and existence of folk instrument in India, however, it was Khan, whose aesthetic journey of playing the folk instrument led to its immense popularity in the nation, during the later years.

Despite being a Muslim, he kept himself aloof from religious divisions and believed in the sanctity of every religion. He worshipped Goddess Saraswati, who in Hindu mythology is regarded as the goddess of music and wisdom. Throughout his life, he performed at many places which even included Hindu temples.

The government of India honored him with the Bharat Ratna Award in the year 2001 for his contributions to music and arts, and that made him the third musician after M.S. Subbulakshmi and Pandit Ravi Shankar to enjoy the stature of the highest civilian honor.

He passed away on the 21st of August in the year 2006, at the age of 93.

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