Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II Class 9 English

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II
Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II Summary & Read:

Best StoriesThe Shehnai of Bismillah Khan

Do you know these people? What instruments do they play?

Think of the shehnai and the first thing you’ll probably imagine is a wedding or a similar occasion or function. The next would probably be Ustad Bismillah Khan, the shehnai maestro, playing this instrument.

I) EMPEROR Aurangzeb banned the playing of a musical instrument called pungi in the royal residence for it had a shrill unpleasant sound. Pungi became the generic name for reeded noisemakers. Few had thought that it would one day be revived.

A barber of a family of professional musicians, who had access to the royal palace, decided to improve the tonal quality of the pungi. He chose a pipe with a natural hollow stem that was longer and broader than the pungi and made seven holes on the body of the pipe. When he played on it, closing and opening some of these holes, soft and melodious sounds were

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II
Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II

II) The sound of the shehnai began to be considered auspicious. And for this reason, it is still played in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding. In the past, the shehnai was part of the nub at or traditional ensemble of nine instruments found at royal courts.

Till recently it was used only in temples and weddings. The credit for bringing this instrument onto the classical stage goes to Ustad Bismillah Khan.

III) As a five-year-old, Bismillah Khan played Gilli-danda near a pond in the ancient estate of Dumraon in Bihar. He would regularly go to the nearby Bihariji temple to sing the Bhojpuri ‘Chaita’, at the end of which he would earn a big laddu weighing 1.25 kg, a prize given by the local Maharaja.

This happened 80 years ago, and the little boy has travelled far to earn the highest civilian award in India the Bharat Ratna.

IV) Born on 21 March 1916, Bismillah belongs to a well-known family of musicians from Bihar. His grandfather, Rasool Bux Khan, was the shehnaiNawaz of the Bhojpur king’s court. His father, Paigambar Bux and other paternal ancestors were also great shehnai players.

V) The young boy took to music early in life. At the age of three when his mother took him to his maternal uncle’s house in Benaras (now Varanasi), Bismillah was fascinated watching his uncles practise the shehnai. Soon Bismillah started accompanying his uncle, Ali Bux, to the Vishnu temple of Benaras where Bux was employed to play the shehnai.

Ali Bux would play the shehnai and Bismillah would sit captivated for hours on end. Slowly, he started getting lessons in playing the instrument and would sit practising throughout the day. For years to come the temple of Balaji and Mangala Maiya and the banks of the Ganga became the young apprentice’s favourite haunts where he could practise in solitude.

The flowing waters of the Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent raagas that were earlier considered to be beyond the range of the shehnai.

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II

VI) The young boy took to music early in life. At the age of three when his mother took him to his maternal uncle’s house in Benaras (now Varanasi), Bismillah was fascinated watching his uncles practise the shehnai. Soon Bismillah started accompanying his uncle, Ali Bux, to the Vishnu temple of Benaras where Bux was employed to play the shehnai. Ali Bux would play the shehnai and Bismillah would sit captivated for hours on end.

Slowly, he started getting lessons in playing the instrument and would sit practising throughout the day. For years to come the temple of Balaji and Mangala Maiya and the banks of the Ganga became the young apprentice’s favourite haunts where he could practise in solitude. The flowing waters of the Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent raagas that were earlier considered to be beyond the range of the shehnai.

VII) When India gained independence on 15 August 1947, Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to greet the nation with his shehnai. He poured his heart out into Raag Kafi from the Red Fort to an audience that included Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who later gave his famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech.

VIII) Bismillah Khan has given many memorable performances both in India and abroad. His first trip abroad was to Afghanistan where King Zahir Shah was so taken in by the maestro that he gifted him priceless Persian carpets and other souvenirs. The King of Afghanistan was not the only one to be fascinated with Bismillah’s music.

Film director Vijay Bhatt was so impressed after hearing Bismillah play at a festival that he named a film after the instrument called Gunj Uthi Shehnai. The film was a hit, and one of Bismillah Khan’s compositions, “Dil ka khilona hai toot Gaya …,” turned out to be a nationwide chartbuster! Despite this huge success in the celluloid world,

Bismillah Khan’s ventures in film music were limited to two: Vijay Bhatt’s Gunj Uthi Shehnai and Vikram Srinivas’s Kannada venture, Samadhi Apana. “I just can’t come to terms with the artificiality and glamour of the film world,” he says with emphasis.

IX) Awards and recognition came thick and fast. Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to be invited to perform at the prestigious Lincoln Centre Hall in the United States of America. He also took part in the World Exposition in Montreal, in the Cannes Art Festival and in the Osaka Trade Fair.

So well known did he become internationally that an auditorium in Teheran was named after him Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.

X) Awards and recognition came thick and fast. Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to be invited to perform at the prestigious Lincoln Centre Hall in the United States of America. He also took part in the World Exposition in Montreal, in the Cannes Art Festival and in the Osaka Trade Fair.

So well known did he become internationally that an auditorium in Teheran was named after him Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.

XI) In 2001, Ustad Bismillah Khan was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. With the coveted award resting on his chest and his eyes glinting with rare happiness he said, “All I would like to say is: Teach your children music, this is Hindustan’s richest tradition; even the West is now coming to learn our music.’’

XII) In spite of having travelled all over the world Khansaab as he is fondly called is exceedingly fond of Benaras and Dumraon and they remain for him the most wonderful towns of the world. A student of his once wanted him to head a shehnai school in the U.S.A., and the student promised to recreate the atmosphere of Benaras by replicating the temples there.

But Khansaab asked him if he would be able to transport River Ganga as well. Later he is remembered to have said, “That is why whenever I am in a foreign country, I keep yearning to see Hindustan. While in Mumbai, I think of only Benaras and the holy Ganga. And while in Benaras, I miss the unique mattha of Dumraon.”

XIII) Ustad Bismillah Khan’s life is a perfect 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 Vishwanath temple.

[Ustad Bismillah Khan passed away on 21 August 2006 at the age of ninety after a prolonged illness. He was given a state funeral and the Government of India declared one day of national mourning.]

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -II

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Q. 1) Tick the right answer.

  1. The (shehnai, pungi) was a ‘reeded noisemaker.’
  1. (Bismillah Khan, A barber, Ali Bux) transformed the pungi into a shehnai.
  2. Bismillah Khan’s paternal ancestors were (barbers, professional musicians).
  3. Bismillah Khan learnt to play the shehnai from (Ali Bux, Paigambar Bux,
    Ustad Faiyaaz Khan).
  4. Bismillah Khan’s first trip abroad was to (Afghanistan, U.S.A., Canada).

Best Stories The Sound of Music Part -I

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