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Chapter-2 Fiction -1 English Language and Literature- Beehive (Latest 2018-19)
The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
By- Deborah Cowley I
About the Author- Deborah Cowley I
Deborah Cowley I – A Short Biography
The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan
This chapter gives in brief the life story of the great musician Bismillah Khan. He is a Shehnai maestro. It also tells us about the origin of the Shehnai. Bismillah Khan is one of the great personalities of Hindustani music. He belongs to the Benaras Gharana. He was born in Dumraon in Bihar. His interest in music was visible from his childhood. As a Shehnai player, he has won national and international awards. He has travelled all over the world. He has also been awarded the nation’s highest award Bharat Ratna. Bismillah Khan thinks that music can bridge the gap between different communities. So he wants that music should be made a compulsory subject in schools.
(यह पाठ संक्षिप्त में एक महान संगीतकार बिस्मिल्ला खान के जीवन वो बारे में बताता है । वे एक कुशल शहनाई वादक हैं । यह हमें शहनाई के जन्म के जन्म के बारे में भी बताता है । बिस्मिल्ला खान हिंदुस्तानी संगीत की महान विभूतियों में से एक हैं । वे वनारस घराने से संबंध रखते हैं । उनंका जन्म बिहार में दुमराओं मेँ हुआ था । संगीत में उनकी रुचि बचपन से ही नज़र आती थी । शहनाई वादक के रूप में उन्होंने राष्ट्रीय एवं अन्तर्राष्ट्रीय इनाम जीते हैं । उन्होंने पूरे विश्व का भ्रमण किया है । उन्हें राष्ट्र का सर्वोच्च पुरस्कार
‘भारत रत्न‘ भी दिया गया है । बिस्मिल्ला खान सोचते है कि संगीत अलग – अलग समुदायों के बीच का फासला खत्म कर सकता है। इसलिए वे चाहते हैँ कि संगीत को स्कूलों में अनिवार्य विषय बनाया जाए । ॰
Plot/ Theme / Central Idea of the Lesson/ Literary Analysis of The Shennai of Bismillah Khan/ Main Idea
The feature is written on the theme that music transcends all barriers. The author’s focus on Bismillah Khan’s achievements in the field of classical shehnai music reveal how this great musician’s life was devoted to his passion for shehnai. It was Bismillah Khan’s secular approach to music that he sharpened his skill without any bias towards the source of his opportunities. The life of this legendary musician is an example of the rich, cultural heritage of India that respects talent, irrespective of the religion of the artist.
Significance of the Title – The Shennai of Bismillah Khan (Value Based)
Justify the title of The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
The title “The Sound of Music” and the subtitle “The Shehnai Bismillah Khan” are very appropriate as they are in accord with the contents of the feature, which celebrates the melodious music produced by Bismillah Khan’s shehnai. It also describes Bismillah Khan’s evolution and achievements as a pioneering shehnai player.
[PAGE 16] : Banned = stopped by order = प्रतिबंध लगाना ; instrument = (here) musical instrument =वाद्ययंत्र; royal = kingly = राजसी /शाही ; generic name = a name given to a group = जेनेरिक नाम, एक समूह को दिया जाने वाला नाम ; reeded = a hollow instrument =बांसुरी जैसा वाद्ययंत्र ; profession = related to profession = पशेवर ; melodious = sweety = माधुर्यपूर्ण ।
[PAGE 17] : Chambers = parts = कोष्ठक ; auspicious = holy = पवित्र ; indispensable = very important = अति आवश्यक ; component = (here) a group of musical instruments = वाद्ययंत्र ; traditional = of old times
परम्परागत ; ensembles = (here) a group of musical instruments = वाद्ययंत्र ; estate= kingdom =राज्य /रियासत ; award = prize = इनाम ; well-known = familiar = प्रसिद्ध ; Shehnai nawaz = Shehnai player = शहनाई वादक ; paternal ancestors = ancestors of the father = पूर्वज I
(PAGE 18) : Fascinated= attracted = आकर्षित किया ; accompanying = along with = के साथ ; employed= put on job =काम पर लगाया ; apprentice =pupil = शिक्षार्थी ; haunt= search = खोज ; solitude= loneliness = एकांतवास ; beyond = far away = दूर ; recital = playing of musical instruments = वाद्ययंत्रों का बजाना ; conference – meeting =सम्मेलन ; patted = stroked = थपथपाया ; big break = a big chance = बड़ा अवसर ; greet= welcome = अभिवादन ; included = being a part of= शामिल होना ; abroad = foreign = विदेश ; taken in by = charmed by = सम्मोहित हो जाना ; souvcniers = things given in a memory = स्मृति चिह्न I
[PAGES 19-20] : chartbuster = record breaker = कीर्तिमान स्थापित करना ; despite instead of = के बजाय ; celluloid = old fashioned= परंपरागत ; venture= dangerous action = जोखिम पूर्ण कार्य ; glamour= modern; fashionable world =आधुनिक , चकाचौंध वाला संसार ; prestigious – reputed = ख्याति प्राप्त ; auditorium = a building where dance, music or other fine arts are enacted = रंगशाला ; conferred= given = प्रदान किया गया ; coveted= much desired = चिर प्रतिक्षित ; fondly = with love = प्यार से ; replicating = redesigning = प्रतिलिपि तैयार करना ; yearning =desiring =इच्छुक होना ; unique = extraordinary = अदभुत ; perfect = complete = पूर्ण ; heritage = that has been inherited = विरासत ; devout = religiously pure = धार्मिक रूप से शुद्ध I
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Moral/ Message of the lesson – The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
The life sketch of Bismillah Khan teaches the important lesson that Indian music is very rich and invigorating. Great musicians like Bismillah Khan not only adopted and inherited traditional music but also enhanced it with their original contributions. The feature conveys the message in Bismillah Khan’s own words: “Teach your children music, this is Hindustan’s richest tradition; even the West is now coming to learn our music.” Another message that the feature gives is that one must love one’s country and rise above communal feelings.
Summary in English- The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
This chapter tells us about the origin of the Indian musical instrument Shehnai. It also gives the life history of the great Shehnai player, Bismillah Khan. It is said that in the past a musical instrument called pungi used to be played in palaces before the kings and Nawabs. But Aurangzeb did not like the shrill and unpleasant sound of the pungi. So he banned the playing of this musical instrument in the royal residence. There was a barber who belonged to a family of musicians. He had access to the royal palace. He tried hard to improve the tonal quality of the instrument .He chose a pipe with a natural hollow stem that was longer and broader than the original pungi. He carved seven holes on the body of the instrument. When he played on it, an impressive sonorous tonal sound was produced. The barber played it before the king and his courtiers. Everybody was impressed. [he instrument was called Shehnai because it was born in the Shah’s chamber and was invented by a Mar (barber). There is another story about the origin of Shehnai. The original Shehnai players were mostly employed in temples. They played the Shehnai before the images at various times of the day. It was also played on North Indian wedding and an every auspicious occasion. Gradually, the Shehnai became very popular. Ustad Bismillah Khan isthe greatest Shehnai player. He belongs to the Benaras Gharana of Hindustani Music. He was born at Dumraon in Bihar. lie belonged to a family of professional Shehnai players. As a five year old boy, Bismillah Khan used to play gill i-danda near a pond in Dumraon. After playing he generally went to a nearby temple called Bihariji Temple. lie would sit there and sing the Bhojpuri thaita’. The local Maha-raja was pleased to hear him sing. At the age of three, he went to Benaras. There his maternal uncle All Bux taught him the art of playing Shehnai. For hours, he would practisein the temples of Balaji and Mangala Maiya. He would also go to the bank of Ganga mid practise in solitude. Even as a child, Bismillah Khan won many awards. He got his first big award when he was only 14 years old. He got it at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad. On the day of independence, 15th August, 1947, he played at the Red Fort at the request oflawaharlal Nehru. In 1999, lie was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the country. Bismillah Khan is fondly called K hansaab. He has travelled all over the world. Ile got honours in every country, In Tehran, an auditorium was named after him. lie has seen many cities, but he remains very fond of
Benaras and Duntraon. He calls them the most wonderful towns in the world. He has a special fascination for Benaras because of the Ganga there. In his youth, he used to practise Shehnai in solitude on the banks of the Ganga. Once one of his students in the USA requested him to head a Shehnai school there. He said that he would recreate the atmosphere of Benaras by building similar temples there. But the Ustad asked him whether he would bring the Ganga also there. Once he said, “Whenever 1 am in Mumbai. I think of only Varanasi and the holy Ganga”. And while in varanasi, I miss the unique “mattha in Dumraon”.
Summary in Hindi – The Shennai of Bismillah Khan- Full Text
SUMMARY IN HINDI
यह पाठ हमेँ भारतीय वाद्ययंत्र शहनाई की उत्पत्ति के बारे में बताता है । यह महान शहनाई वादक बिस्मिल्ला खान के जीवन इतिहास के बारे में भी बताता है ।
ऐसा कहा जाता है कि अतीत में पुंगी नामक एक वाद्ययंत्र महलों में राजाओं और नवाबों के सामने बजाया जाता था । मगर औरंगजेब को पुंगी की तीखी एवं अप्रिय आवाज अच्छी नहीं लगती थी । इसलिए उसने शाही निवास मेँ इस वाद्ययंत्र के बजाए जाने पर रोक लगा दी । एक नाई था जो संगीतकारों के एक परिवार से संबध रखता था । उसकी पहुंच शाही महल तक थी । उसने इस वाद्ययंत्र को सुधारने की कड़ी कोशिश की । उसने एक ऐसी लकडी की पाईप ली जो मूलभूत पुंगी से अधिक लंबी एवं अधिक चौड़ी थी । उसने उस वाद्ययंत्र पर सात सुराख किए । जब उसने इसे बजाया तो एक प्रभाव शाली धुन वाली आबाज़ पैदा हो गई ।
नाई ने इसे राजा एवं दरबारियों के सामने बजाया । हर व्यक्ति प्रभावित हुआ । वाद्ययंत्र को शहनाई कहा गया, क्योंकि इसे शाह के कमरे में बजाया गया था और इसका आविष्कार एक ‘नाई‘ ने किया था ।
आरंभिक शहनाई वादकों को आमतौर पर मंदिरों में नियुक्त किया जाता था । वे दिन में कई बार मूर्तियों के सामने शहनाई बजाया करते थे । इसे उत्तर भारतीय शादी में तथा हर शुभ अवसर पर भी बजाया जाता था । धीरे – धीरे,शहनाई बडी प्रसिदूध हो गई ।
उस्ताद बिस्मिल्ला खान महानतम शहनाई वादक हैं । वे हिंदुस्थानी संगीत के वनारस घराने से संबध रखते हैँ । उनका जन्म बिहार में दुमराओं के स्थान पर हुआ । वे पेशेवर शहनाई वादकों के परिवारों से संबंध रखते है । पांच साल के बच्चे के रूप में
बिस्मिल्ला खान दुमराओं में एक तालाब के पास गिल्ली-डंडा खेला करते थे । खेलने के बाद वे आमतौर पर निकट एक मंदिर जिसे बिहारी जी का मंदिर कहते हैं जाया करते थे । वे यहाँ बैठते और भोजपुरी ‘चेता‘ गाया करते थे । स्थानीय महाराजा को उसे गाता सुनकर बड़ी खुशी होती थी । तीन साल की उम्र में ,वे बनारस गए । वहाँ उनके मामा अली बक्श ने उन्हें शहनाई बजाना सिखाया । वे बालाजी और मंगल मैय्या के मंदिरों मेँ घंटों अभ्यास कर ते रहते थे । वे गंगा किनारे भी जाते थे और एकांत में अभ्यास करते थे । बचपन में ही, बिस्मिल्ला खान ने कई पुरस्कार जीते । उन्हें अपना पहला इनाम तब मिला जब वे चौदह बर्ष के थे । उन्हें यह इनाम इलाहाबाद में अखिल भारतीय संगीत सभा मेँ मिला । पंद्रह अगस्त, 1947 को आजादी के दिन उन्होंने जवाहरलाल नेहरु के अनुरोध पर लाल किले पर शहनाई बजाई । 1999 में उन्हें देश का सबसे बडा नागरिक पुरस्कार ‘भारत रत्न‘ प्रदान किया गया ।
बिस्मिल्ला खान को प्यार से खान साहिब कहा जाता है । उन्होंने पूरे विश्व का भ्रमण किया है । उन्हें हर देश मेँ सम्मान मिला है । तेहरान मेँ, एक ऑडीटोरियम का नाम उनके नाम पर रखा गया है । उन्होंने वहुत से देश देखे हैं, मगर उन्हें सदा बनारस और दुमराओं से प्यार रहा है । वे उन्हें विश्व का सबसे आश्चर्यजनक शहर मानते हैँ । उन्हें बनारस से विशष लगाव है, क्योंकि वहाँ पर गंगा है । अपनी जवानी में , वे गंगा के किनारे एकांत में शहनाई का अभ्यास किया करते थे । एक बार अमेरिका में उनके एक छात्र ने उनसे अनुरोध किया कि वे यहाँ के शहनाई स्कूल के मुखिया बने ।उन्होंने कहा कि वे वहॉ बनारस जैसे मंदिर बनाकर वहाँ के वातावरण का पुननिर्माण करेंगे । मगर उस्ताद ने उनसे पूछा कि क्या वे वहां पर गंगा ला सकते है ।एक बार उन्होनें कहा,जब भी मैं मुंबई में होता हूँ तो मैं वाराणसी एवं पवित्र गंगा के बारे में सोचता हूँ और जब मै वाराणसी में होता तो मुझे दुमराओ के विचित्र (लस्सी) की याद आती है ।
Line to Line Explanation in Hindi- The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
IMPORTANT PASSAGES FOR COMPREHENSION
Read the folllowing passages and answer the questions given at the end of each :
Emperor Aurangzeb banned the playing of a musical instrument called pungi in the royal residence for it had a shrill unpleasant sound. Fungi became the generic name for reeded noisemakers. Few had thought that it would one day be revived. A barber of a family of professional musicians, who had access to the royal patience, decided to improve the tonal quality of the fungi. He chose a pipe with a natural hollow stern that was longer and broader than the pungi and made seven holes on the body of the pipe. When he played on it. casing and opening some of these holes, soft and melodious sounds were produced. He played the instrument before royalty and everyone was impressed. The instrument so different from the pungi had to be given a new name. As the story goes, since it was first played in the Shah’s chambers and was played by a ‘name’ (the barber), the instrument was named the ‘Shehnai’..
(i) Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of pungi?
(ii) Which family did the barber belong?
(iii) What slid the barber decide to do?
(iv) Where did the barber play the new instrument the first time?
01 What name was given to this new instruments?
(i) Aurangzeb banned the playing of pungi because he did not like its shrill pleasing sound.
(ii) The barber belonged to a family of professional musicians.
(iii) The barber decided to improve the tonal quality °lithe pungi.
(iv) He played k in the Shah’s chamber.
(v) This instrument was named the ‘Shehnai’.
The sound of the Shehnai began to be considered auspicious. And for this reason, it is still played in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding. In the past, Shehnai was part of the naubat or traditional ensembles of nine instruments found at royal courts. Till recently it was used only in temples and weddings. The credit for bringing this instrument onto the classical stage goes to Ustad Bismillah Khan.
(I) How was the sound of the Shehnai considered?
(ii) On which occasions was the Shehnai played?
(iii) What was the Shehnai a part of?
(iv) What change did Bismillah Khan give to ‘Shehnai’?
(v) Name the lesson
(i) The sound of Shehnai was considered auspicious.
(ii) It was played in temples and (on the occasion of) weddings.
(iii) It wara part of the naubat or traditional ensembles.
(iv) He played Shehnai on another occasion also other than in temples and in weddings.
(v) ‘The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan.’
As a five-year-old, Bismillah Khan played Gilli-danda near a pond in the ancient estate of Dumraon in Bihar. He would regularly go to the nearby Bihariji temple to sing the Bhojpuri ‘Chaim’, at the end of which he would earn a big laddu weighing. 1.25 kg, a prize given by the local Maharaja. This happened 80 years ago, and the little boy has travelled far to earn the highest civilian award in India—the Bharat Ratna.
(i) What did Bismillah Khan use to do when he was just five years old?
(ii) Why did he go to the Bihariji temple?
(iii) What award did he win at the end of this Bhojpuri that’?
(iv) What is the highest civilian award in India?
(v) Name the lesson.
(i) When he was five-year-old he used to play Gilli-danda near a pond in Dumraon.
(ii) He went to Bihariji temple to sing the Bhojpuri ‘Chaitra’.
(iii) A big laddu weighing 1.25 kg.
(iv) The Bharat Ratna.
(v) ‘The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan’.
Born on March 21, 1916, Bismillah belongs to a well-known family of musicians from Bihar. His grandfather, Rasool Bux Khan was the Shehnai-Nawaz of the Bhojpur king’s court. His father, Paigambar Bux, and other paternal ancestors were also great Shehnai players.
(i) When was Bismillah Khan born?
(ii) Which family did Bismillah Khan belong?
(iii) What was the name of his grandfather?
(iv) What was his grandfather’s Profession?
(v) Name Bismillah Khan’s father.
(i) Bismillah Khan was born on March 21, 1916.
(ii) He belongs to a well-known family of musicians in Bihar.
(iii) ftdsool Bux Khan.
(iv) He was the Shehnai-Nawaz of the Bhojpur King’s Court.
(v) Paigambar Bux.
Awards and recognition came thick and fast. Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to be invited to perform at the prestigious Lincoln Center Hall in the USA. He also took part in the World Exposition in Montreal, at the Cannes Art Festival and in the Osaka Trade Fair. So well known did he become internationally that an auditorium in Teheran was named after him—Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.
(i) Where did Bismillah Khan perform in the USA?
(ii) Where was the Cannes Art Festival held?
(iii) What honour did he receive in Teheran?
(iv) In which country do you think Teheran is?
(v) What performance did Bismillah Khan give in Osaka Trade Fair?
(i) He performed at the prestigious Lincoln Center Hall.
(ii) The Cannes Art Festival was held in Montreal.
(iii) An auditorium in Teheran named after him—Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.
(iv) Tehran is the capital of Iran.
(v) He gave the performance of ‘Shehnai recital’.
PASSAGE FOR PRACTICE (UNSOLVED) PASSAGE
Bismillah Khan has given many memorable performances both in India and abroad. His first trip abroad was to Afghanistan where King Zahir Shah was so taken in by the maestro that he gifted him priceless Persian carpets and other souvenirs. The King of Afghanistan is not the only one to be fascinated with Bismillah’s music. Film director Vijay Bhatt was so impressed after hearing Bismillah play at a festival that he named a film after the instrument called “Gunj Uthi Shehnai”. The film was a hit, and one of Bismillah Khan’s composition, “Dii ka khilona hai toot Gaya “, turned out to be a nationwide chartbuster!
- What was Bismillah Khan’s first visit abroad?
- What gifts did King Zahir Shah of Afganistan give to him?
- Which film director was much impressed with him?
- What honour did Vijay Blatt give to Bismillah Khan?
- How was Bismillah’s composition ‘DO ka khilona hai toot Gaya’ judged by the public?
Q.1 Why was this musical instrument named Shehnai?
Ans. This musical instrument was first played in the Shah’s chamber and was played by a ‘nai’. So this instrument was named Shehnai.
Q.2. Describe Bismillah Khan as a boy in Duniraon.
Ans. As a boy, Bismillah Khan played Gilli-danda near a pond at Dummon. Alter that he would go to Bhihariji Temple and sang Bhojpuri ‘Chaitra’. The local Maharaja was pleased to hear him sing.
Q.3. What prize did boy Bismillah Khan earn? Why was he given this prize?
Ans. Bismillah Khan earned a big laddu weighing 1.25 kg. He was given this prize by the local Maharaja. Bismillah Khan earned this prize for singing the Bhojpuri ‘Chaita’ at the Bihariji Temple.
Q.4. “I5th August. 1947, the first Independence Day was the happiest day of his life.” Why?
Ans. On the first Independence Day, Bismillah Khan played the Shehnai at the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi. Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru had invited him to play the Shehnai there. It was a great honour for him. So it was the happiest day of his life.
5. Why is Bismillah Khan so attached to the Ganga?
Ans. Bismillah Khan is greatly attached to the Ganga. lie had spent his childhood playing and practising Shehnai on the blanks of the Ganga. He gets inspiration from the Ganga. He cannot imagine his life happy if he is away from her. He loves the Ganga very much.
Main Characters of the Story- The Shennai of Bismillah Khan
Bismillah Khan In “The Sound of Music” (Part II), Bismillah Khan has been portrayed as a great musician, a devout patriot, and a liberal human being. Bismillah Khan has been one of the most eminent musicians of India who honoured rich, cultural heritage of Indian music. Born and brought up in the family of musicians, he inherited and learnt a lot from his paternal and maternal families. But he further enriched the shehnai music by his improvised raagas which he harmonised with the waves of the Ganga. His passion for music started at the early age of three and continued up to his death at ninety.
Starting with playing music in temples and on the banks of the Ganga, Bismillah Khan rose to fame with international conferences and concerts. Such was his fame that he was invited to play shehnai at the Red Fort on the occasion of the independence of India on August 15, 1947. Many awards like the Padamshri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan were conferred on him. He has also been honoured with the Bharat Ratan, the greatest civilian award in India. He played shehnai in Afghanistan before King Zahir Shah; was invited to perform at Lincoln Central Hall, USA; participated in the World Exposition in Montreal, in the Cannes Art Festival and Osaka Trade Fair. Such is his international fame that in Teheran, an auditorium has been named after him.
Bismillah Khan was a great patriot who declined the offer of his student to settle down in the USA. He had a profound love for the Ganga in Benaras and his birthplace, the estate in Dumraon, Bihar. Such high regard does he have for the rich heritage of India, that he was not allured by the glamour of the film world.
Bismillah Khan was a liberal human being who had respect for all religions. Though a devout Muslim, he played shehnai every day in the Kashi Vishwanath temple, Benaras. Thus, a great musician and a great human being, Bismillah Khan earned international repute for himself.
Additional Very Short Answer Type Questions
1. What did Aurangzeb do to the playing of pungi in his royal residence?
Ans.Ms. Aurangzeb banned the playing of pungi in his royal residence.
2. Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of pungi in his royal residence?
Ans. Aurangzeb banned the playing of pungi in his royal residence because he did not like its shrill unpleasant sound.
3. Which family did the barber belong to?
Ans. He belonged to a family of professional musicians.
Q.4. Who invented `Shehnai’?
Ans. A barber in Aurangzeb’s court invented Shehnai.
5. How many holes does a Shehnai have on its body?
Ans. It has seven holes in its body.
6. Where was Bismillah Khan born?
Ans. He was born in Dumraon in Bihar.
7. When was Bismillah Khan born?
Ans. He was born on 21 March 1916.
8. Which highest civilian award in India was conferred on Bismillah Khan?
Ans. The Bharat Ratna.
9. What was the name of Bismillah’s grandfather?
Ans. His name was Rasool Bux Khan.
10. What was the name of Bismillah’s father?
Ans. His name was Paigambar Bux.
11. What was the profession of Bismillah’s paternal ancestors?
Ans. They were great Shehnai players.
12. Who was Ali Bux?
Ans. AN Bux was Bismillah’s maternal uncle.
13. When was All India Radio in Lucknow was opened?
Ans. In 1938.
14. What is Bismillah Khan’s special achievement on 15 August 1947?
Ans. Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to greet the nation with his Shehnai on this day.
15. To which foreign country did Bismillah Khan go on his first trip?
16. Which film was made by Vijay Matt after hearing Fsismillah’s Shehnai?
Ans. `Gunj Uthi Shehnai’.
17. Which auditorium is named after Bismillah Khan in Tehran?
Ans. The name of the auditorium is Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan.
18. What name is Bismillah Khan fondly called?
Ans. He is fondly called `Khansaab’.
19. When Bismillah Khan is in Mumbai he missed two things badly. Name those two things.
Ans. They are Benaras and the Ganga.
20. What did one of his students in the U.S.A. want him to do?
Ans. One of his students in the U.S.A. wanted him to head a Shehnai school in the U.S.A.
SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS (to be answered in about 30 – 40 words each)
Q1. Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi? (Textual) Ans. Emperor Aurangzeb banned the playing of the pungi because he considered it as a reeded noisemaker with its loud, shrill, and unpleasant sound. He prohibited its play in the royal court.
Q2. Why did the pungi become a generic name for “reeded noisemakers”?
Ans. The pungi produced a loud, unpleasant and jarring music. Because of this shrill music, Aurangzeb banned it in the royal house. As it was made from a reed and produced noisy sounds, it became a generic name for “reeded noisemakers”.
Q3. How is a ‘shehnai’ different from a pungi? (Textual) Ans.Though a reeded instrument like a pungi, a shehnai differs from it in width and sound. It is made with a longer and broader stem than a pungi and produces soft, melodious sounds instead of the loud, jarring sound of a pungi.
Q4. Who revived the pungi and what shape did it take?
Ans. When Aurangzeb banned the playing of the pungi in the royal residence, a barber who belonged to a family of professional musicians revived it by taking a wider and longer hollow stem and making seven holes in it. The improved pungi produced soft and sweet sounds.
Q5. How did the ‘shehnai’ get its name?
Ans. It is believed that the barber (nai) who improved the pungi, played his instrument in the chamber of the emperor (shah). The c combination of the two words ‘shah’ and ‘nai’ formed the name ‘shehnai’.
Q6. Why was the shehnai played in temples and weddings?
Ans. The music of the shehnai was melodious and soft. It came to be believed that it was auspicious. Therefore, in the holy temples and on the happy auspicious occasions of weddings, the shehnai was played.
Q7. Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change it? (Textual)
How did Bismillah Khan bring the ‘shehnai’ onto the classical stage?
Ans. Traditionally, the shehnai was played in the royal court as one of the nine instruments together known as naubat. Bismillah Khan made it an independent instrument and gave its music a place among other classical instrumental music.
Q8. Where did Bismillah Khan usually sing at the age of five? How was he rewarded and by whom?
Ans.At the age of five, Bismillah Khan usually sang the Bhojpuri ‘chaita a’ in the Bihariji temple in his native town Dumraon in Bihar. At the end of the song, he earned a big laddu weighing 1.25 kg which was given by the local Maharaja as a prize.
Q9. What does the feature “The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan”, tell us about the paternal ancestors of Bismillah Khan?
What kind of family did Bismillah Khan hail from?
Ans. Bismillah Khan hailed from a family of musicians in Bihar. His grandfather Rasool Bux Khan was the shehnai player in the royal court of the king of Bhojpur. His father Paigambar Bux and many paternal and maternal uncles were also ‘shehnai vaadaks’ (players).
Q10. Who was Ali Bux? Where was he employed and what was his influence on Bismillah Khan?
Ans. Ali Bux was the maternal uncle of Bismillah Khan and may be regarded as his mentor and trainer. He was a great shehnai player and was employed to play the shehnai in the Vishnu temple of Benaras. At a very young age, Bismillah Khan started accompanying him and got lessons in playing the shehnai from him. The young boy would sit for hours listening to his uncle and later practise throughout the day.
Q11. Which places were young Bismillah Khan’s favourite haunts for practising music? Why?
Ans. The temple of Balaji and Mangala Maiya, as well as the banks of the Ganga, were young Bismillah Khan’s favourite haunts because he could practice his music there in solitude. The flowing waters of Ganga inspired him to improvise and invent raagas which were earlier considered beyond the range of the shehnai.
Q12. When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break? (Textual)
Ans. The ‘big break’ came to Bismillah Khan when in 1938 the All India Radio was started in Lucknow. Khansaab was regularly invited to play the shehnai and soon became an often-heard shehnai player on the radio.
Q13. Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on August 15, 1947? Why was the event historic?
Ans. Bismillah Khan played the shehnai on August 15, 1947, at the Red Fort in New Delhi prior to the speech of Pandit Nehru. It was a historic event as India had got independence from the British on this day. Bismillah Khan was the first Indian to greet the nation and he poured his heart out while playing the melodious Raag Kafi on his shehnai.
Q14. Where did Bismillah Khan go on his first foreign trip? How was he honoured there?
Ans. Bismillah Khan’s first foreign trip took him to Afghanistan where King Zahir Shah was so impressed with the maestro’s shehnai recital that he honoured him with gifts of priceless Persian carpets and other souvenirs.
Q15. Why did the film director Vijay Bhatt name his film “Gunj Uthi Shehnai“?
Ans. The film director, Vijay Bhatt, once heard the shehnai recital of Bismillah Khan in a festival. He was so fascinated by the performance that he decided to name his next film after the instrument and called it “Gun Uthi Shehnai“
Q16. Which films did Bismillah Khan provide music for? Why did he discontinue playing the shehnai for films?
Ans. Bismillah Khan ventured into the film world with Vijay Bhatt’s “Gunj Uthi Shehnai” . Then he played in a Kannada film – “Samadhi Apanna“. Though he was very successful, he gave up the film world because his tastes did not tune well with the artificiality and glamour of filmdom.
Q17. How was Bismillah Khan’s music appreciated and recognised on the international level?
Ans. Bismillah Khan’s music was so much appreciated on the international level that he became the first Indian to be invited to perform in the prestigious Lincoln Central Hall, USA. He participated in the World Exposition in Montreal, the Cannes Art Festival and the Osaka Trade Fair. In Teheran, an auditorium was named after him.
Q18. How did India honour and reward the great musician, Bismillah Khan?
Ans. India honoured Bismillah Khan by conferring on him the greatest national awards – the Padmashri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. He was also awarded the Bharat Rama in 2001, the highest civilian award in India.
Q19. Why did Bismillah Khan want that the children in India shoulds be taught music?
Ans. Bismillah Khan had a great regard for Indian music and considered the Hindustani music to be its richest heritage. He wanted that children must not cut off their bond from this grand tradition which was fascinating even for the people of the west.
Q20. What offer did one of Bismillah Khan’s students in the US make to him? Why?
Ans. A student of Bismillah Khan, who himself was settled in the US, wanted that the great maestro should be the head of a shehnai school in the U.S. He promised that he would create the environment of India by erecting the temples like those in Benaras, India.
Q21. Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in the U.S.A.? (Textual)
Ans. Bismillah Khan was a staunch patriot and was passionately in love with Benaras and Dumraon in India. He intensely loved the Ganga and could not stay away from the sacred river. Therefore, he declined the offer to settle down in the US and head a shehnai school there.
Q22. Why does the author believe that Bismillah Khan’s life is “a perfect example of the rich, cultural heritage of India”?
Ans. India has always shown a liberal attitude to all communities and religions. Its cultural heritage is a blend of various castes and creeds. Bismillah Khan’s life perfectly represents this blend. Although a devout Muslim, Khansaab played the shehnai in the Kashi Vishwanath temple every morning.
Q23. Find instances in the text which tell you that Bismillah Khan loved India and Benaras.
Ans. Bismillah Khan’s love for India and Benaras is revealed by the fact that he refused to settle down in the US as the head of a shehnai school in spite of a strong assurance from his student to build temples like those in India. This love also becomes obvious in his acceptance speech after receiving the Bharat Ratna when he declared Hindustani music to be the richest heritage.
ESSAY TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. Write a note on the origin of the Shehnai.
Ans. It is said that in the past a musical instrument called pungi used to be played in palaces before the Kings and Nawabs. But Aurangzeb did not like the shrill and unpleasant sound of the pungi. So he banned the playing of this musical instrument in the royal residence. There was a barber who belonged to a family of musicians. He had access to the royal palace. He tried hard to improve the tonal quality of the instrument: Ile chose a pipe with a natural hollow stem that was longer and broader than the original pungi. lie carved seven holes on the body of the instrument. When he played on it, an impressive sonorous tonal sound was produced. The barber played it before the king and his courtiers. Everybody was impressed. The instrument Was called Shehnai because it was born in the Shah’s chamber and was invented by a ‘nai’ (barber). There is another story about the origin of Shehnai. It is said that a doctor of Iran invented it. His name was I laquim Bu All Saina and the instrument was named after him.
Q.2. What are the recurring themes of Bismillah Khan’s music and how did they originate?
Ans. At the age of flute, Bismillah Khan went to Benaras. #1 here his maternal uncle All Bux taught him the nuances of the Shehnai. the lie used to practise in the temple of Balaji and Mangla Maiya. He also practised on the banks of the Ganga. There is practised for hours in complete solitude. The flowing waters of the Ganga inspired him to improvise his music. There he invented the ‘ragas’ that were earlier considered beyond the range of Shehnai. The atmosphere of the temple and the solitude of the banks of the Ganga had a great effect on him. They influenced the themes of his music also. One such theme was the ethos of the temple. The other theme was the relationship between human beings based on the tune of the flowing river. These became the recurring themes of Bismillah Khan’s music.
3. Why is Benaras so important to Bismillah Khan?
Ans. Mr Bismillah Khan is fondly called Khansaab. He has travelled all over the world. He got honours in every country. In Tehran, an auditorium was named after him. He has seen many cities, but he remains very fond of Benaras and Dumraon. He calls them the most wonderful towns in the world. He has a special fascination for Benaras because of the Ganga there. In his youth, he used to practise Shehnai in solitude on the banks of the Ganga. Once one of his students in the USA requested him to head a Shehnai school there. He said that he would recreate the atmosphere of Benaras by building similar temples there. But the Ustad asked him whether he would bring the Ganga also there. Once he said, “Whenever I am in Mumbai, I think of only Varanasi and the holy Ganga”.
Q4.Write a note on the life and achievements of Bismillah Khan as a ‘shehnai vaadak’. What values of life do you derive from his story?
Ans. Bismillah Khan’s journey as a ‘shehnai vaadak’ carries in itself deep moral values of dedication, simplicity and patriotism. It started at the young age of three and continued up to the age of ninety. The journey ranged from playing the instrument in the temples to getting international fame.
Hailing from a family of musicians, Bismillah Khan inherited an interest in the shehnai. At a young age of three, he started accompanying his maternal Uncle Ali Bux to the Vishnu temple in Benaras and learnt a lot from him. He would sing scriptures like the Bhojpuri chaita’
Bismillah Khan got a significant break when he started playing for the All India Radio, Lucknow in 1938. His music was so admired that he was invited to play at the historic moment of Indian independence on 15 August 1947. In recognition of his talent, he was conferred upon with the greatest awards of India – the Padmashri, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 2001. Bismillah Khan ventured into the film world but abandoned it after he found it to be too artificial and glamorous. On the international level, he mesmerized the King of Afghanistan with o his shehnai music. He was the only Indian to be invited to play shehnai in the Lincoln Central Hall, USA. He also played inn international events like the World Exposition, Montreal, the Cannes Art Festival and the Osaka Trade Fair. As a token of appreciation, the Teheran government has named an auditorium after Bismillah Khan.
Bismillah Khan has a deep devotion to his motherland and is proud of its heritage of music. Hence, he declined the offer to settle down in foreign countries. F His journey teaches the values of dedication to one’s talent and persistent efforts to reach the greatest heights of excellence.
Q5. How does the author of The Sound of Music” portray Bismillah Khan as a great patriot?
Bismillah Khan, on receiving the Bharat Ratna, remarked, “Teach your children music, this is Hindustan’s richest tradition; even the West is now coming to learn our music.” What does it reveal about his sentiments towards India?
Ans. Bismillah Khan, in “The Sound of Music”, emerged as a person imbued with intense and strong patriotic emotions. He had a profound and passionate love for his birthplace, Dumraon in Bihar and for Benaras where he took training to play the shehnai. He feels a deep bond with the Ganga because the flowing waters of the holy river made him improvise and spontaneously play new raagas – the ones which were earlier regarded to be beyond the range of the shehnai. Such was Bismillah Khan’s love for his country and the Ganga that he refused to settle down in America to head a-school for the shehnai. His strong attachment with the sacred river made him miss Benaras when he was in Mumbai or elsewhere. Equally strong was his bonding with his birthplace Dumraon.
Bismillah Khan had a great regard for the Hindustani music which, for him, is the richest cultural heritage of India. He wanted the tradition of the Indian music to be carried on from generation to generation. That is why he advised the people of India to teach music to their children and felt proud that this music fascinated even the people of the west.
Q6. You have now read about two musicians, Evelyn Glennie and Ustad Bismillah Khan. Do you think that they both worked hard? Where did they want to go? (Textual)
Evelyn Glennie and Bismillah Khan shared the values of hard work and perseverance. Discuss.
What important lesson does the life of Evelyn Glennie and Bismillah Khan teach us?
Ans. Evelyn Glennie and Bismillah Khan, the two eminent music maestros, through their achievements, have proved to the world that the values of hard work and unstaggering efforts are always rewarded. Evelyn Glennie became an internationally admired multi-percussionist only because of her untiring work which could conquer even her handicap. Instead of yielding to her deafness, she made all-out efforts to sense the sounds of music through different parts of her body and never looked back. With her persistent efforts, she made it to the Royal Academy of Music, London and bagged the most prestigious awards. Her sincere devotion to her art has given percussion a new place on the international stage.
Bismillah Khan, like Evelyn, was dedicated to his art and attained greatest heights as a ‘shehnai vaadak’. He too worked diligently and transformed the shehnai into a classical instrument. He added enormously to what he had inherited by widening the range of the shehnai. He invented many new raagas spontaneously. Starting with playing in the temples of Benaras and on the banks of Ganga, he reached the stage of international acclaim. His hard work enabled him to win the most prestigious awards in India and in the world.
Thus, the lives of both Evelyn Glennie and Bismillah Khan are perfect examples of how dedicated efforts and persistent hard work lead to grand achievements.
Q7. Write a note on some of the most memorable performances of Ustad Bismillah Khan as described in the feature “The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan”.
Ans. During his illustrious career spanning over 80 years, Bismillah Khan gave countless music performances, but a few of them stand out as milestones in his career.
For example, his performance of the Bhojpuri ‘chaita’ at the Bihariji temple at the age of five indicated the signs of a maestro he was to evolve into. For every recital, he would get a 1.25 kg laddu as a reward from the local king. At the age of 14, he was patted for his performance at the Allahabad Music Conference by Ustad Faiyaz Khan. In 1938, Bismillah Khan got perhaps the biggest break of his career when he got to perform on the All India Radio, Lucknow. Equally remarkable was the opportunity to usher in the Independence of the country from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15th August 1947. His first foreign performance in Afghanistan got him rich accolades and honours. He also had the chance to provide music to two films – Vijay Bhatt’s “Gunj Uthi Shehnai” and Srinivas’s Kannada movie “Samadhi Apanna”. Then followed a string of international performances, notable among them being the performances at the prestigious Lincoln Centre Hall (USA), World Exposition (Montreal), Cannes Art Festival and Osaka Trade fair.
QUICK REVIEW OF CHAPTER I
- Who banned the playing of pungi in the royal palace?
(A) Babur (B) Akbar
(C) Shah Jahan (D) Aurangzeb
Ans. (D) Aurangzeb
- Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of pungi in the royal palace?
(A) it was played only by the Hindus (B) it was an ill-omened instrument
(C) he did not like its unpleasant tone (D) none of these
Ans. (A) it was played only by the Hindus
- Which family did the barber belong?
(A) professional barbers (B) professional musicians
(C) professional soldiers (D) professional beggars
Ans. (B) professional musicians
- What did the barber decide to do?
(A) to play the pungi before the Emperor (B) not to cut the emperor’s hair
(C) to request the emperor to lift the ban from the playing of pungi
(D) to improve the quality of the pungi
Ans. (D) to improve the quality of the pungi
- Where did he play his newly discovered music instrument for the first time?
(A) in the Shah’s chambers (B) before the public
(C) in the open court (D)) none of these
Ans. (A) In the Shah’s chambers
- What name was given to this new instrument?
(A) new pungi (B) improved pungi
(C) shehnai (D) none of these
Ans. (C) shehnai
- How the sound of shehnai began to be considered?
(A) auspicious (B) ill-omened
(C) unpleasant (D) a sign of mourning
Ans. (A) auspicious
- When and where is shehnai played?
(A) in temples (B) in weddings
(C) on auspicious occasions (D) all the options are right
Ans. (D) all the options are right
- What credit is given to Ustad Bismillah Khan regarding shehnai?
(A) inventing shehnai (B) inventing pungi
(C) bring shehnai onto the classical stage (D) none of these
Ans. (C) bring shehnai onto the classical stage
- Who do you know is Bismillah Khan?
(A) a politician (B) a shehnai maestro
(C) an actor (D)) a writer
Ans. (B) a shehnai maestro
- Where did Bismillah Khan regularly go to sing Bhojpuri thaltat ?
(A) Bihariji Temple (B) Jama Masjid
(C) Rumpurva Temple (D)) Durga Temple
Ans. (A) Bihariji Temple
- Where was Bismillah Khan born?
(A) Varanasi (B) Prayag
(C) Dumraon (D) none of these
Ans. (C) Dumraon
- What was Bismillah Khan’s grandfather?
(A) a soldier (b) an actor
(C) a courtier (D) the shehnai Nawaz of the Bhojpur King’s court
Ans. (D) the shehnai Nawaz of the Bhojour King’s court
- What was the name of Bismillah Khan’s father?
(A) Rasool Brix Khan (B) Paigambar Bux
(C) All Bux (D) liazrat Rasool Kaar
Ans. (B) Paugambar Bux
- Who was Ali Bux?
(A) Bismillah’s father (B) Bismillah’s grandfather
(C) Bismillah’s maternal uncle (D) Bismillah’s friend
Ans. (C) Bismillah’s maternal uncle
- Bismillah Khan was deeply attached to____
(A) the Sutlej (B) the Ganga
(C) the Narmada (D) the Godavari
Ans. (B) the Ganga
- On August 15, 1947, which Raag was played by Bismillah Khan from the Red Fort?
(A) Raag Malhaar (B) Raag Deepak
(C) Raag Kati (D) Raag Megh
Ans. (C) Raag Kafi
- Which film is named after Bismillah’s instrument?
(A) Shehnai Ki Awaj (B) Shehnai Ka Raja
(C) Shehnai Wala (D) Gunj Uthi Shehnai
Ans. (D) Gunj Uthi Shehnai
- Of the following which is Bismillah Khan’s composition?
(A) Dil ka khilona hai toot gaya (B) Mere khuda mujhko na bhoolana
(C) Main Tere dar to aaya Noon (D) Ye Dil ka taranaa hai
Ans. (A) Dil ka khilona hai toot gaya
- When was Bismillah Khan awarded the highest civilian award ‘Bharat Ratna’?
(A) in 2000 (B) in 2001
(C) in 2002 (D) in 2003
Ans. (B) in 2001
- Where is Lincoln Center Hall situated?
(A) UK (B) the USA
(C) Canada (D) France
Ans. (B) USA
- Bismillah Khan took part in :
(A) the World Exposition in Montreal (B) the Cannes Art Festival
(C) the Osaka Trade Fair (D) All of these
Ans. (D) All of these
- Tahar Mosiquee Ustaad Bismillah Khan auditorium is situated in :
(A) Montreal (B) Osaka
(C) Teheran (D) Behrin
Ans. (C) Teheran
24.Which national award was conferred on Ustad Bismillah Khan?
(A) the Padmashri (B) the Padma Bhushan
(C) the Palma Vibhushan (D) All of these
Ans. (D) All of these
- Which is India’s highest civilian award?
(A) the Padmashri (B) the Padma Bhushan
(C) the Padma Vibhushan (D) the Bharat Ratna
Ans. (D) the Bharat Ratna
- According to Bismillah Khan, what is Hindustan’s richest tradition?
(A) earning money (B) music
(C) spirituality (D) politics
Ans. (B) music
- Bismillah Khan was called
(A) Khansaab B) Bismillahsaab
(C) Kingsaab (D) Ustadsaab
Ans. (A) Khansaab