21 Facts About Bismillah Khan


Bismillah Khan played it with such expressive virtuosity that he became a leading Hindustani classical music artist.


Bismillah Khan's name was indelibly linked with the woodwind instrument.


Bismillah Khan was a devout Muslim but performed at both Hindu and Muslim ceremonies and was considered a symbol of religious harmony.


Bismillah Khan's fame was such that he was selected to perform for the ceremony at Delhi's historic Red Fort as the Indian flag unfurled at the hour of India's independence on August 15,1947.


Bismillah Khan's music was played on television every Independence Day.


Bismillah Khan turned down invitations to perform in other countries before 1966, when the Indian government insisted that he play at the Edinburgh International Festival.


In 2001, Bismillah Khan was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, and the country observed a national day of mourning following his death in 2006.

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Bismillah Khan was born on 21 March 1916 into a family of traditional Muslim musicians at the town of Dumraon, British India, as the second son of Paigambar Bux Khan and Mitthanbai.


Bismillah Khan's father was a court musician employed in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh of Dumraon Estate in Bihar.


Bismillah Khan was named Qamruddin at birth, to rhyme with his elder brother's name Shamsuddin.


At the age of 14, Bismillah Khan accompanied his uncle to the Allahabad music conference.


Bismillah Khan began his career by playing at various stage shows.


Bismillah Khan got his first major break in 1937, when he played at a concert at All India Music Conference in Calcutta.


Bismillah Khan then went on to play in many countries including Afghanistan, USA, Canada, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, West Africa, Japan, Hong Kong and in various parts of Europe.


Bismillah Khan attributed his skill to the blessings of nath, and believed that there was little that he could teach his disciples.


Bismillah Khan thought that if he would be able to share his knowledge it wouldn't be useful as it would only give his students a little knowledge.


On 17 March 2006, Bismillah Khan's health deteriorated and he was admitted to the Heritage Hospital, Varanasi for treatment.


Bismillah Khan died of cardiac arrest on 21 August 2006.


Bismillah Khan was commemorated on his 102nd birth anniversary by Search Engine Google which showed a special doodle on its Indian home page for him on 21 March 2018.


Bismillah Khan played the shehnai for Rajkumar's role of Appanna in the Vijay's Kannada-language film Sanaadi Appanna which became a blockbuster.


Bismillah Khan acted in Jalsaghar by Satyajit Ray and provided sound of shehnai in Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai.