Lauding the 102nd birth anniversary of India’s highest civilian honoured with Bharat Ratna Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan, Google Doodle pays tribute to the Shehnai maestro. Hailing from a family of musicians, the legendary musician was born in the year of 1916 in Bihar, British India. His ancestral were court musicians employed in the Dumrao Palace by the Raja of Bhojpur. Ustad Salar Hussain Khan and Rasool Baksh Khan, the great-grandfather and grandfather of Khan were also court musicians who used to play in Naqqar Khana.

Khan at the age of six moved to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh where he received training from his uncle, Ali Bux ‘Vilayatu’ who was a shehnai player attached to Vishwanath Temple. He has performed at the first Republic Day ceremony on January 26, 1950, and at the Red Fort on India’s Independence Day. Since Khan’s performance at every Independence Day ceremony soon after the speech of Prime Minister, he became popular and started getting offers from international stages. His fear of flying made him turn down various invitations from abroad but he soon accepted to perform in at the Edinburgh festival on the condition that he should first be taken on an all-expense-paid trip to Mecca and Medina.

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He was also honoured with Bharat Ratna (2001), Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi (1994), Talar Mausique from Republic of Iran (1992), Padma Vibhushan (1980), Padma Bhushan (1968), Padma Shri(1961), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1956). He died at the age of 90 on August 21, 2006.

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