Bismillah Khan’s home fades into memory

This was the place where the Bharat Ratna recipient’s shehnai rested. His favourite room was demolished on August 12. 

Published: 19th August 2020 09:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2020 09:07 AM   |  A+A-

Ustad Bismillah Khan (File|PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: The next time as you regale yourself with the timeless strains of Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai, do remember he had a three-storey home at Varanasi’s Sarai Haraha, near Dalmandi — a home now being razed for a commercial complex. 

This was the place where the Bharat Ratna recipient’s shehnai rested. His favourite room was demolished on August 12.  The family of the late maestro has not been able to preserve and carry forward his legacy. Four years back, one of his grandsons sold off four of his shehnais which were later recovered by the UP Special Task Force (STF). Nazre Hassan alias Shadab was arrested for selling three silver and one wooden shehnai with a silver base to a city jeweller for Rs 17,000.

Three days before the maestro’s death anniversary, all that remains of his ancestral house is a mound of rubble. The descendants of the Ustad handed the land to a builder who would build a commercial complex to financially accommodate them.  There has been a 50-50 deal between the grandsons of Bismillah Khan and the builder, known to be close to mafia don-turned-politician Muktar Ansari.

Sources close to the family said as per the deal, after the construction of the complex, half of the shops and flats would be handed over to the family while the remaining half would be owned by the builder himself.
The upper floor room of his house which the Ustad had bought in 1936 in Bhikhamshah lane in Haraha Sarai locality was demolished on August 12.

However, the youngest of Bismillah Khan’s four sons, tabla player Nazim Hussain, and his foster daughter Shoma Ghosh, have come out to oppose the move. Both have urged PM Narendra Modi, who is an MP from Varanasi, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath to help save the heritage.  “It has come as a shock to me to know that the room of ‘Baba’ (Khan) was demolished and his belongings were thrown out,” said Soma Ghosh.

"It was not just a room, but a temple or mosque for musicians like us. It is a heritage, and I appeal to all to preserve it,” she said. The district administration seems ignorant about the deal. The Ustad’s another grandson Afaq Haider has also objected to the demolition, saying it was a symbol of national pride. Haider says his grandfather led his life in penury, but preferred to die in his own land rather than accept offers 
to lead a comfortable life abroad.  


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp