VARANASI: Five of Ustad Bismillah Khan's shehnais, four of which were made of silver, have gone missing from his son Kazim Hussain's home here.
The families had recently shifted to a new house, and were away visiting their ancestral home when the theft occurred.
"We recently shifted to Dalmandi. We had gone to our ancestral house in Sarai Harha. When we returned to our new house, we found that the door was open and someone had broken the lock of the trunk," he added.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Nitin Tiwari confirmed the theft, saying, "It is true that the shehnais were stolen from the house. We are investigating the matter."
"We lodged a FIR on Sunday evening after we discovered the theft in our new home in Dalmandi area. The stuff that was stolen included four silver shehnais, one made of wood and silver, an Inayat Khan award and two gold bangles," said Bismillah Khan's grandson, Razi Hassan.
Hassan said the family is upset as the shehnais were very special to the late musician and were gifted to him by former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, and former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav.
"One of the shehnais was very precious to him as he played it during the Muharram procession every year. None of his shehnais are left with us except for the wooden one that he played to practice," Hassan said.
The Bharat Ratna awardee's family has been demanding a museum to preserve his keepsakes since his death in 2006.
"We were hoping that there would be a museum in his memory where we would preserve his memorabilia but who knew they would be stolen like this," he added.
The only souvenirs now left with the family, Hassan said, are Ustad Khan's medals, including the Bharat Ratna, and Padma Shree.