Caretaker grabs Ustad’s land in Bihar

Caretaker grabs Ustad’s land in Bihar

Patna: A small piece of land which was the late Shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan’s only testimony to his Bihar connection is no more. Authorities say the house, located in the Dumroan block of Buxur district, some 130 west of Patna, where he spent his early childhood days is now in the possession of a man who strangely was asked to take care of the property.

Reports said caretaker Subhan Khan registered the property in his name in May.

As per reports, Ustad Bismillah Khan purchased the land in the name of his children in 1975 and that was the lone testimony to his association with Bihar.

“We have been informed the land belonging to Bismillah Khan has been taken away by his caretaker,” the local circle officer Amarendra Kumar told the media on Thursday.

Last week, the caretaker allegedly tried to mislead the state authorities by registering a formal complaint with the police alleging antisocial elements are trying to to capture the parental house of Bharat Ratna shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan post his death, in Bihar.

“A man has been constantly trying to forcibly capture his (late Bismillah Khan’s) ancestral land. On September 20, the accused even broke open the main gate of the house,” the caretaker wrote in his complaint petition to the police.

According to him, the accused even threatened him with dire consequences for opposing his move. He alleged an “Aanganwadi” centre was being forcibly run on legendary artist’s ancestral land despite his protest.

Right now, Khan’s ancestral house in Dumraon is crumbling as no efforts made by the state government to protect this.

Politicians have repeatedly made promises to develop his birthplace. But, over a decade after his death, local residents are disappointed with state and central government’s failure to take concrete steps.

According to locals, Khan’s ancestors were court musicians and used to play in Naqqar khana in the princely state of Dumraon.

His father was a shehnai player in the court of Maharaja Keshav Prasad Singh of Dumraon. When he was barely six or seven, Bismillah moved to his maternal grandfather’s home in Varanasi. His uncle, Ali Baksh ‘Vilayatu’, a shehnai player attached to Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, was his guru.

Two Bihar chief ministers and a host of politicians have promised to develop Bismillah Khan’s birthplace in the Dumraon assembly constituency in Buxar district but beyond tokenism, there has been nothing concrete on the ground, local residents say.