Hari Prasad Chaurasia to be honoured on Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s 2nd death anniv

World-renowned Flautist and music director, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia shall be conferred the first ‘Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award’, instituted in his memory on the occasion of his second death anniversary here on Tuesday (January 17).

The event, ‘Haazri’, will see a grand musical concert at the Shanmukhananda Hall when Ustad Khan’s disciples like Ustad Zakir Hussain, Hariharan, Faiz M. Khan and other music stalwarts shall render their melodic tributes.

An overwhelmed Pt. Chaurasia, 85, decorated with the Padma Vibhushan, expressed gratitude to the Ustadji family’s gesture with a smile, “Ustad Khan Sa’ab and his family have always been very special to me”.

“Khan Sahab was an exemplary singer, performer and Guru. He is unparalleled in the number of new talents he mentored to reach greater heights of glory, and several of the popular singers of the current generation are his students… he must be so proud of them,” said Pt. Chaurasia.

Ustadji’s widow, Amina Mustafa Khan, 76, will give away the annual maiden award — comprising a specially-crafted, 18-inch, 3 kg brass ‘Tanpura’, Rs 2.51 lakh cash, a certificate and a shawl — to her late husband’s associate.

“This year, Pt. Chaurasiaji, one of the senior most artistes who was close to my father, shall be conferred the first award. They had performed together all over the world and there couldn’t be a better personality to start the award journey with,” Ustadji’s son Rabbani Mustafa Khan, told IANS.

Hariharan recalled how — when he and Rabbani met Pt. Chaurasia — his first warm reaction to the award decision was: ‘Arrey, Ustadji is my brother!”

Hariharan told IANS: “Ustadji was like a father to me and an artiste par excellence, the ‘Badshah of Khayal singing’… I had goosebumps listening to the beautiful anecdotes about my Guru from Pt. Chaurasia.”

Rabbani Khan informed that next year, the family will start a foundation to keep the traditions of Indian Classical Music, especially Ustadji’s ‘Rampur Sahaswan Gharana’ alive, hold concerts all over India, promote fresh talent, nurture poor and needy artistes, add a few more categories for the newly-instituted award and organise a three-day music festival.

Hariharan remembers Ustadji as a maverick, a celebrated vocalist who even wrote all his ‘bandish’ in multiple languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian. etc., “he taught me not just music but also about life, said how there needs to be a certain ‘thehraav’ in music for it to be soulful, and the same ‘thehraav’ was the essence of life, too”.

On taking forward the legendary Master’s rich musical legacy, Rabbani Khan said three generations of the family, including Ustadji’s four sons — Murtuza, Qadir, Rabbani, Hasan, and grandson Faiz Mustafa Khan — are all reputed maestros.

In fact, Faiz Murtuza Khan was the youngest musician on Coke Studio to perform with the Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman, and will also helm the opening performance at ‘Haazri’ on Tuesday, he added.

Former Minister Aditya Thackeray unveiled a plaque ‘Padma Vibhushan Ghulam Mustafa Khan Chowk’ in Bandra west to honour the ‘guru’ of many musical giants like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Rahman, Hariharan, Shaan, Salim Merchant, Sonu Nigam, et al, in April 2022.

Born on March 3, 1931 in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan was the eldest son in a family of musicians, four brothers and three sisters and learnt basics in Hindustani classical music from his father, Ustad Waris Hussain Khan, at a very tender age.

Later, he was groomed by his uncle Ustad Fida Hussain Khan and cousin Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, which helped polish the traditional styles of Rampur, Sahaswan and Gwalior gharanas that were distinctive to Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan’s singing.

He was keenly interested in the history of Indian Classical music, studied the ancient styles — JatiGayan — with Acharya K.C. Brahaspati and conducted research with him, rendered compositions derived from ‘Natyashastra’ and ‘Brihat Deshi’ — penned by Matang Rishi and sharing Dev’s ‘Sangeet Ratnakar’ based on JatiGayan — that were heard for the first time in over 700 years.

Ustadji brought to life this ancient Indian Classical Music from the hoary era with his seven records of 30 minutes each, now preserved at the Sangeet Natak Akademy in New Delhi.

His vast repertoire includes significant contributions to Hindi and regional films for which he composed and sang, starting with Mrinal Sen’s “Bhuvan Shome”, and also documentaries.

Ustadji essayed the role of ‘Baiju Bawra’ in a German documentary “Rainmaker”, and in 2013, performed on Coke Studio when A.R. Rahman wanted to present three generations of his Guru — including Ustadji, his sons and grandson. The virtuoso Ustadji, 89, became immortal after his passing on January 17, 2021 in Mumbai.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

20230115-100203

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