Even as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act continue, an old interview of shehnai maestro and Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan talking about religious harmony is going viral. In ther video, Khan talks about how such integrity and plurality is only unique to India and how highly it is valued. Music unites Humanity. Take a stand, reject hate. I loved what he does and has said,ganga main nahayee, masjid main namaz aur Mandir main riaz. Wah, this should be how the world needs to be, mutual respect and love for every ethnicity and faith, please, Indians do rise again to this level. APJ Kalam was one such great. We hold all in high esteem who love India. Religion is not the basis.
The sweet music of freedom
Born to a family of court musicians, Khan's musical journey started early in life with his uncle, Ali Bux 'Vilayatu', stepping in as his tutor in Varanasi. Khan's music echoed from the ramparts of Red Fort in New Delhi on August the day India declared its independence from the year-old British rule. He also performed on the country's first Republic Day ceremony on January 26, Over the years, the music legend was heaped with prestigious awards and honours. The versatile player whose music is considered to be a perfect blend of emotions and melody also played the shehnai for many Hindi films. Khan is said to have shared a close bond with the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Gandhi family.
The birth of a legend
New Delhi: Shehnai — a wind musical instrument — was largely reserved for weddings and other celebrations before Ustad Bismillah Khan elevated its status in Indian classical music and took it to a global audience. His ancestors were all musicians who performed in temples for generations, earning a pittance. During those times, musicians performing in temples were not regarded with much reverence. More importantly, it enforced in him a kind of secular spirit that no other artiste has so far been able to embody. An Iraqi maulana had once confronted Khan and said his music was blasphemous, since Islam considered it so. I said to him: Maulana , all I ask is that you be fair.
Upon seeing the new born, his grandfather Rasool Baksh Khan, also a shehnai player, is said to have exclaimed "Bismillah", or "In the name of Allah", and thereafter he came to be known by this name. At the age of six, he moved to Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh,  to be apprenticed to his maternal uncle, Ali Bux 'Vilayatu' Khan, a shehnai player attached to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Being a devout Shia Muslim , throughout his long career Khan took issue with rigidly orthodox Islamic elders who felt that playing such music on his shehnai was haram contrary to the principles of his faith. Instead, Khansaheb, as he was usually respectfully called - came to be seen as an example of the successful, progressive culture that evolved out of the Hindu-Muslim encounter in India. Khan had a brief association with movies. He played the shehnai for super star Rajkumar 's role of Appanna in the Kannada movie Sanaadi Appanna which became a blockbuster. Khan attributed his skill to the blessings of Lord Vishwanath, and believed that there was little that he could teach his disciples. He 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.