Ustad Bismillah Khan was the first person to bring the instrument called "shehnai" to the stage of classical music. The pungi instrument had a shrill noise and it was modified by the barber of Emperor Aurangzeb's kingdom to make the Shehnai.
Bismillah, who was born into a family of royal musicians, learnt the Shehnai and started practice during his young age. He practised in temples in Bihar and the banks of the river Ganga and sought inspiration from the same. Bismillah got his big break when the All India Radio launched in Lucknow and soon he became famous. Bismillah was the first Indian to greet the nation with his music on \(15\)th August \(1947\), where he played from the Red Fort to an audience that included Gandhiji and Nehruji. He also got a few film offers but soon he resigned as he did not like the artificiality of the industry.
He received National Awards like Bharat Ratna, the Padmashri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. He declined offers to go to the USA as he did not want to leave his motherland. Being a devout Muslim, hearing his shehnai music at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the best example of India's rich cultural heritage.