Eleven years after his shehnai fell silent, the family of Ustad Bismillah Khan found to their horror that the Padma Vibhushan certificate awarded to the musician had partially been eaten up by termites. Yesterday (August 21) was the 11th death anniversary of the shehnai maestro. On the occasion, Khan’s family members, who were organising the certificates won by the Bharat Ratna awardee at his residence at Hadha-Sarai here, found out that the Padma Vibhushan certificate awarded to him in 1980 by the then president Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was partially eaten up by termites. Khan’s grandson Nasir lamented the fact that due to their poor financial condition, they were not in a position to make arrangements for a proper preservation of the musical instruments, awards and memorabilia of the maestro. “We are doing whatever we can with our limited financial resources to preserve his belongings,” he said. Since his death in 2006, the family members of Khan have been demanding a museum to preserve the articles associated with the late musician. After assuming charge as the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, in April, had given a go-ahead to a proposed ‘music village’ to be named after the maestro in Varanasi. Among other features, the unique village, to be named the ‘Bismillah Khan Sangeet Gram’, is supposed to have a museum as well.
On his 11th death anniversary, District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra, Inspector General of Police, Varanasi range, Deepak Ratan, Senior Superintendent of Police R K Bhardwaj and representatives of various political parties offered flowers at Khan’s mausoleum at Fatman Road here. Former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (PAC) Ranjan Dwivedi, state minister Neelkanth Tiwari, former Congress MLA Ajai Rai too offered flowers at the late shehnai maestro’s mausoleum. Khan was born on March 21, 1916, at Dumraon in Buxar district of Bihar. He died of a cardiac arrest at a Varanasi hospital on August 21, 2006.