Monday, July 23, 2007

Bismillah Khan now in Class IX syllabus

Bismillah Khan now in Class IX syllabus

New Delhi, July 23 (UNI) : Shehnai maestro late Ustad Bismillah Khan was not destined to fulfil his lifetime desire to play the instrument at the historic India Gate but his name will be enshrined in the minds of children with his life and art becoming part of the curriculum for Class IX students.

While performing at a cultural programme in Delhi three years ago, the maestro said '' When I sing the bhajan 'Raghupati Raghav Rajaram', it gives me tremendous satisfaction to know that at least some of the children will remember the 'old man' for the song''.

That dream has now been realised with the NCERT including a chapter on the Ustad in the Class IX syllabi.On India's first Republic Day, Bismillah Khan enthralled audiences with a sterling performance from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

The legendary musician has been an inspiration for the world and thus the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) thought that students in India should learn about such achievers. In its recently published Class Ninth English book, the NCERT has devoted an entire chapter on the legendary musician who took his last breath at the age of 91 on August 21 last year.

When India gained independence, Bismillah Khan was the first to greet the nation with a mellifluous rendition of shehnai. ''He poured his heart out into 'Raag Kafi' from the Red Fort to an audience which included Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who later gave his famous 'Tryst with Destiny' speech,'' says the relevant chapter in the book.

''Ustad Bismillah Khan's life is a prefect example of the rich cultural heritage of India, one that effortlessly accepts that a devout Muslim like him can very naturally play the shehnai every morning at the Kashi Viswanath temple,'' the book said.

Five years ago, when the Ustad did not have money and resources to meet the cost of his needs, he had to virtually give a charity show at the Parliament Annexe for his own benefit. It was then that a Delhi couple Neena and Shivnath Jha, who had launched a programme "Andolan Ek Pustak Se" to protect musicians, academicians and artists who brought pride and laurels to the nation, thought of bringing out a monograph on the life and art of the Ustad to extend financial support to him. The Ustad released the book on his 91st birthday.

''The introduction of the life and art of the Ustad in the syllabus is another victory of our movement to promote his secular philosophy. It will be a tribute to the Ustad on behalf of the entire Indian nationals on his first death anniversary on August 21,'' the couple said.

Where others saw conflict and contradiction between his music and his religion, Bismillah Khan saw only a divine unity. Even as a devout Shia, he was also a staunch devotee of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of music. During his long and fruitful career as an artiste, Khan enthralled audiences by his performances across the globe.

''Bismillah was an epitome of Hindu-Muslim amity, the rich cultural heritage of the country and passion for the occupation. His love for India is unique and we are sure the chapter would help a new generation know about the legend and a genre of music,'' the book read.

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