Indian shehnai Maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan Passes Away

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ustad Bismillah Khan

The legendary Indian shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahib (March 21, 1916 - August 21, 2006) was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001), the highest civilian honour in India. According to the Indian Home Ministry officials, the musical maestro would be given a state funeral. Flags would be flown at half mast in all the government buildings as part of the mourning.

He also had the distinction of heralding in India's Independence, mesmerizing audiences before the start of Pandit Nehru's speech and the unfurling of the tricolour on August 15, 1947. Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahib was one of the few people to be awarded all the top four civilian awards.