(birth March 21, 1916, Bhirung Raut Ki Gali, in Dumraon, Bihar; death Aug. 21, 2006, Varanasi).
Bismillah Khan was born as the second son of Paigambar Khan and Mitthan.
He received his training under his uncle, the late Ali Baksh ‘Vilayatu’, a shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Vishwanath Temple.
Ustad Bismillah Khan and snehai are almost synonyms. He was a legendary shehnai player; attributed for institutionalizing the shehnai. He was the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna (in 2001), the highest civilian honour in India and achieved global acclaim for playing the shehnai for more than eight decades.
Khan was responsible for making and uplifting shehnai as a famous classical instrument.
It was Khan had the infrequent honor of performing at Delhi’s Red Fort on the eve of India’s Independence in 1947 and he had performed Raga Kafi from the Red Fort on the eve of India’s first Republic Day ceremony, on January 26, 1950.
He was regarded with several awards which encompasses: Bharat Ratna (2001), Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi (1994), Talar Mausiquee from Republic of Iran (1992), Padma Vibhushan (1980), Padma Bhushan (1968), Padma Shri (1961), Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1956)
Bismillah Khan had honorary doctorates from, Banaras Hindu University, Visva Bharati University and Santiniketan.
He is survived by five sons, three daughters and a large number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren