Ustad Rashid Khan’s demise leaves a big void in classical music

Needless to say, Ustad Rashid Khan was one of the finest Hindustani classical vocalists

Kolkata: Music maestro Ustad Rashid Khan passed away on Tuesday following his battle with cancer. He breathed his last at a hospital in Kolkata at the age of 55.

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He is now no more but his music will always stay alive in the hearts of his avid listeners. Belonging to the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, Ustad Rashid Khan beautifully carried forward the legacy of his great-grandfather Inayat Hussain Khan. His initial training was under his maternal grand-uncle, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan.

He was only 11 years old when his debut concert took place, and since then he never looked back and gradually found a strong foothold in Hindustani classical music.

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One can’t forget him adding chaar chaand to the “mehfil” with him singing thumri Yaad Piya ki Aaye popularised by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, the Patiala gharana exponent. Ustad Rashid Khan also enjoyed a successful stint in playback singing in Indian cinema.

‘Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna’ from Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Allah Hi Rahem’ from Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘My Name is Khan’ are some of his memorable tracks that he created in Bollywood.

Needless to say, Ustad Rashid Khan was one of the finest Hindustani classical vocalists.

With a musical career spanning over four decades, Ustad Rashid Khan was also a recipient of various prestigious awards and honours including Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

After learning about his demise, many noted personalities including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar paid their condolences.

“Pained by the demise of Ustad Rashid Khan Ji, a legendary figure in the world of Indian classical music. His unparalleled talent and dedication to music enriched our cultural world and inspired generations. His passing leaves a void that will be hard to fill. My heartfelt condolences to his family, disciples and countless admirers,” PM Modi wrote on X.

“Saddened to know about the passing of the eminent Hindustani classical music vocalist Ustad Rashid Khan. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Ustad Rashid Khan showcased immense versatility by exploring fusion and performing jugalbandis. He leaves behind a rich legacy in the field of classical music. I extend my deep condolences to his loved ones and admirers,” a post read on the official X account of the President of India.

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on his official X handle stated, “Padma Bhushan awardee, Ustad Rashid Khan was a distinguished Hindustani classical music vocalist whose remarkable legacy is an invaluable treasure, not just for our nation, but for the global music fraternity. Deeply pained by his untimely demise. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and admirers.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that Ustad Rashid Khan will be laid to rest with state honours on Wednesday in Kolkata.
She also penned a long note to express grief on the death of the singer and offer her condolences.

“Deeply saddened by the tragic demise of Ustad Rashid Khan, one of the greatest exponents of Indian classical music of our times. A hugely respected vocalist with unparalleled genius in creating music, he made us proud by settling here and making Bengal his home. He and Soma, his wife, and son Armaan, and the whole family, were close to us and allowed us to be on their side in the maestro’s last journey in life,” she posted on X.

“Ustad Rashid Khan got our highest civilian award Banga Bibhushan and our Sangeet Mahasamman too. He was attached to several of our State cultural bodies in advisory capacity. My profound condolences to Soma, Armaan Khan, and Ustad’s whole family as well as to the countless students and admirers that he leaves behind in the whole world. Ustad Rashid Khan was truly a world famous classical Indian vocal artist,” she added.

Singer Sonu Nigam also reacted to Ustad Rashid Khan’s demise. “My dear Respected Elder Brother and the Pride of Classical Music of our Country Padmabhushan Ustad Rashid Khan Sahab. Aise koi jaata hai kya bhai? Akele akele (Does anybody go like this, all by yourself)? Saddened beyond words. Allah aapko jannat me aala makaam de. You’ll be missed always. Om Shant,” he wrote on Instagram.

Singer Sona Mohapatra shared his rendition of Albela Sajan Aayo on X and wrote, “Ustaad Rashid Khan. A National Treasure. Attended his live concert in the Shanmukhananda auditorium just a few months ago & he was majestic & magical as always. On our playlists forever. May his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti.”

Sharing a picture with Ustad Rashid Khan, Prasoon Joshi wrote, “My very dear friend, a legend & truly a voice through which the divine spoke to us – Rashid Khan’s demise is an irreparable loss to the world of music. Fortunate are those who heard him perform. He was an unparalleled treasure. Milenge Rashid bhai upar milenge (we will meet in heaven)… #Ustadrashidkhan.”

Ustad Rashid Khan is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

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