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Images: Remembering Ustad Bismillah Khan

August 21, 2006
Despite the international fame and countless accolades, Ustad Bismillah Khan remained a man of simple tastes, who often spoke of his dal-chawal meals and the cycle-rickshaw, his constant mode of transport. He lived his 91 years out in Varanasi, the temple town, where he often played at the famous Vishwanath Temple.

While several people saw a rift between his religion and the music he played, the Ustad saw the dichotomy as a divine one. A devout Shia, he also worshipped Goddess Saraswati. "Music has no caste," he often said.

Image: The Ustad photographed at his Varanasi home some years ago

Photograph: Sharad Pradhan

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