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 the video, Khan talks about his days in Benaras.
“Ganga mein nahaaye, masjid mein namaaz padhe, aur Balaji mandir mein riyaaz kar liye (We bathed in Ganga, offered namaz in mosque and practiced our recitals in Balaji temple),” the Bharat Ratna awardee says.
In ther video, Khan talks about how such integrity and plurality is only unique to India and how highly it is valued.
The clip is part of a 1989 documentary film titled ‘Sangemeel Se Mulaqat’ by Goutam Ghose.
“The India of Music has never discriminated one from another on the basis of Religion, Caste, Language, Gender or any other factor. Music unites Humanity. Let this simple Humanity triumph over all other facets that desperately try to disintegrate the Nation,” wrote one user sharing the clip on Facebook.
Another commented, “Ustad Bismillah Khan while recounting his days as a struggling musician, draws a portrait of India that most of us believe in. It is shameful that the current government is hell bent on burning this country, it’s institutions and its students. Take a stand, reject hate. No to NRC, CAA, NPR.” (ALSO READ | ‘From Bharat chhodo to Bharat jodo’: Netizens cheer 101-year-old freedom fighter protesting against CAA)
Here’s how others reacted to to the clip:
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.
— salman qadeer (@salmanqadeer19) January 9, 2020
Ustad Bismilla Khan was one of a kind
They don’t make like them anymore
Truly Indian. Hope people learn from him to respect India & Indian Civilization & not resort to violence.
APJ Kalam was one such great. We hold all in high esteem who love India. Religion is not the basis
— Anand 🇮🇳 (@anandmer4u) January 9, 2020
What heartens me is that the youngsters who have just entered voting age get this, it is beautiful how they embrace unity! More power to the younger generation, I wish my generation had been more politically active in youth, this situation would not have arisen.
— Bhavana Sheth (@drbhavana7) January 9, 2020
kitna acha bol rahe hai, aisi saadgi bahut dino baad sunne mili hai. Bahut acha laga, Dhanyawad.
— Cricweet (@BeingCricketMad) January 9, 2020
Humare buzurg hai ye, bhagwan inki aatma ko shanti de. Inhi Divya aatamwo ki wajah se banaras hai. Har har Mahadev!
— Rakesh Kumar Rai (@rairakesh1904) January 9, 2020
we’r n will proud of these things always🤗
nd, yes we r in turbulent time but not lost completely !
We will always stand together n firmly agnst anykind of false appeasement n extremism🙏
— राज गौरव (@raj_kabira) January 9, 2020
This is my India.. uff i am tearing up. Thank you for sharing.
— roohdaar (@Sai_ki_bitiya) January 8, 2020
This footage conveys such a sense of loss..of what could have been. ❤️ https://t.co/MsQls9CuXZ
— Satyadeep Misra (@satyadeepmisra) January 9, 2020
Idea of India https://t.co/HozAn19eIc
— Gaurav Mishra (@GauravM73818094) January 9, 2020
We Are One People, One Nation & One World. https://t.co/yYWnuWXEco
— Sikandar Mahan (@SikandarMahan2) January 9, 2020
Unfortunately the very spirit of Indianness is now been defined in a different way. The true fabric of this country is slowly getting destroyed. https://t.co/wGCVJbDskf
— Bhim Raju (@BhimRaju) January 9, 2020
This is the country where some of the best singers of Radha-Krishna leela were Muslims, and two of the best qawwals were Hindu.
Our plurality has withstood harsher times. https://t.co/zU0sMyxhaq
— Tejas Bhatt (@Tejas_Bhatt) January 9, 2020
— Superconcious2000 (@Superconcious23) January 9, 2020
This is my real India :) btw Ustad Bismillah Khan was once blessed by Lord Krishna Himself – his and many other instances prove, Universe/God is ONE, human is ONE :) https://t.co/aOmXXqnddW
— Kaustubh Agnihotri (@KP_Agnihotri) January 9, 2020
— Noman (@nomansiddiqui) January 8, 2020
Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan tasing about Benaras.
I was blessed to have grown up in a multicultural India, let’s not deny the future generations that privilege.
Diversity is our strength, we shouldn’t dislike what makes us stronger. https://t.co/iK1GnHrr7a
— Anshuman Singh (@anshumansingh75) January 9, 2020
Seriously.. To think that we may have lost this feeling forever as a country is sad https://t.co/pWrt0h3Nt9
— probal sen (@probs2311) January 8, 2020
Hindu kahu to main nahi musalman bhi nahi
Panch tatwa ka putla gaibi khele mahi
— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) January 8, 2020
“It was Ustad Bismillah Khan who changed the fortune of the shehnai. A sub-continental equivalent of the oboe, the shehnai was an improvement over the pungi or the been that was used by snake charmers. It is a delicate instrument that needs a pitch-perfect reed — the sound tends to alter even with the slightest variation in temperature and altitude. Khan’s father, Paighambar Bux alias Bachai Miyan, was a court musician in the royal palace of Dumraon in Bihar. He played the shehnai, and young Bismillah, his second son, listened to the music with rapt attention,” says this Suanshu Khurana article on the shehnai’s place in Indian music.
“In Dumraon, among the many legends that float around about Bismillah Khan, one goes thus: in 1921, when the maestro was five years old, his father took him to the Biharji Temple. The young boy sang, “Ehi matiya me bhulail hamar motiya hai Rama (It’s in this place that I lost my pearl)”, much to the amazement of those present. The boy was rewarded with a motichur laddu and rigorous training in shehnai from his uncle, the late Ali Baksh Vilayatu, a shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Balaji Temple.” (Read the full piece)