Bismillah Khan

Bismillah Khan (Hindi: बिस्मिल्ला ख़ां; born March 21, 1916 in Dumraon, Bihar; † August 21, 2006 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh ) was one of the most popular Indian musicians of his time. He played the Indian Kegeloboe Shehnai.


Bismillah Khan was born in 1916 in Dumraon, a small village near the town of Buxar in the Indian state of Bihar. His birth name was Qamaruddin, later the nickname refers to the opening sura of the Qur'an Bismillah or basmala. He grew up in a family of musicians who worked as a court musician in the state Dumraon in Bihar. He learned to play an instrument with his uncle Ali Baksh ' Vilayatu '. His teaching began, as usual in musical circles very early age of six.

Bismallah Khan Shehnai freed from the environment of the wedding and procession music and led the folk music instrument in Indian classical music. As a milestone his first classical concert 1937 applies in the Calcutta All India Music Conference. Legendary is Khan's appearance in 1947 when he played for India's independence from the United Kingdom.

The devout Muslim was regarded as the epitome of religious pluralism and the peaceful coexistence of cultures of India. He was a student of the spiritual master Prem Rawat. In 2001 he received the highest civilian Indian honor, the Bharat Ratna for his services.

Bismillah died in 2006 of a cardiac arrest. He was buried with his favorite instrument. The Indian government declared a day of national mourning.