The young boy took to music early in life. At the age of three when his mother took him to his maternal uncle’s house in Benaras (now Varanasi), Bismillah was fascinated watching his uncles practise the shehnai. Soon Bismillah started accompanying his uncle, Ali Bux, to the Vishnu temple of Benaras where Bux was employed to play the shehnai. Ali Bux would play the shehnai and Bismillah would sit captivated for hours on end. Slowly, he started getting lessons in playing the instrument and would sit practising throughout the day. For years to come the temple of Balaji and Mangala Maiya and the banks of the Ganga became the young apprentice’s favourite haunts where he could practise in solitude. The flowing waters of the Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent raagas that were earlier considered to be beyond the range of the shehnai.
Bismillah Khan started training in music as a habit in his early years. When he was three years old, his mother took him to his maternal (related to the mother's side) uncle Ali Bux's house in Varanasi. Ali Bux used to practise the shehnai every day and Bismillah was attracted to this. Soon he joined his uncle's practice. Ali Bux was the official shehnai player of the Vishnu temple in Varanasi. Ali would play the shehnai and Bismillah would be charmed by the music that he held on to it for hours together. Gradually, he started learning from his uncle and he also started practising throughout the day. He practised in the Balaji temple, Mangala Maiya and on the banks of the Ganga river. These spots became a place frequented by Bismillah as he loved the lonely, uninhabited calmness best suited to his practice. He continued this for many years. The river Ganga flowing in all its glory proved to be an inspiration for him. He felt stimulated to improvise the existing ragas and invent new raagas that were not considered possible to be played in the shehnai instrument.
Meanings of difficult words:
|took to||start to do something as a habit|
|maternal||relating to mother|
|captivated||charmed, attracted and held on the interest|
|apprentice||a person learning a trade from a skilled person|
|years to come||continuing for many years in the future|
|haunts (noun)||a place frequented by a person|
|solitude||a lonely place|
|improvise||create and perform without preparation|
|hours on end||for a long time without stopping|
|beyond the range||not within the scope|
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan (pp. 21-29). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.