Twenty years after it was first conceived, and 10 years after the death of shehnai maestro Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan, the Bihar government is now ‘seriously’ pursuing a proposal to honour him by putting up a statue and plaque in his name at Dumraon, his native town, in Bihar’s Bhojpur district , 110 kms west of Patna.
Also under active consideration is to begin a music festival in the memory of Bismillah Khan and a shehani training centre after him.
The Hindustan Times had on February 12 reported (‘Bihar on verge of losing only link with shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan’) that Bihar was set to lose the lone connect with Khan after his house in Dumraon had been sold off to an individual, who planned to demolish it and construct a new structure there.
READ: Bihar on verge of losing only link with shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan
Khan, who was born in Dumraon and spent his childhood years there, had built a house at Bhirukh Raut Ki Gali, which has since been sold. A memorial at this site, thus, cannot be raised.
Khan, who was born on March 21, 1913, passed away on August 21, 2006 at 93 years of age.
The government had planned a memorial to the maestro during Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s regime (1990-1997), but land could never be acquired for the purpose. Several other proposals to perpetuate Bismillah Khan’s memory have been buried in department’s files.
“We plan to construct an auditorium in his memory and to hold a memorial festival at Dumraon,” said Bihar culture minister Shiv Chandra Ram. “Efforts are on to keep alive the late artiste’s legacy,” he added.