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Bismillah Khan's family boycotts voting in Varanasi
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Bismillah Khan's family boycotts voting in Varanasi

Family and friends of late Ustad Bismillah Khan, India's legendary Shehnai maestro, today boycotted their ballot in ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

Varanasi, May 3 : Family and friends of late Ustad Bismillah Khan, India's legendary Shehnai maestro, today boycotted their ballot in ongoing Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.

The late maestro's sons, Nayyar Hussain and Nazim, accompanied by relatives, friends and residents from the neighbourhood in the pilgrim city of Varanasi gathered in a market to organise a commemorative recital instead of going to cast their ballot.

They said that the assurances made by politicians to give Khan's family a petrol pump as also a music academy to help other impoverished artistes had turned out to be empty promises.

"We have boycotted the election because politicians came to our home promising us a petrol pump, a memorial for Khan sahib (Ustad Bismillah Khan), and even opening an academy in his name. But nothing has been done till date," said Nayyar Hussain, Ustad Bismillah Khan's elder son.

Over 65 members of Ustad Bismillah Khan's extended family and scores of residents from his neighbourhood did not vote in the polls to show their displeasure at the system's lack of apathy.

His younger brother, Nazim, added, "Khan sahib has been dead for six months now. Fulfilling our needs is secondary... they (the government) still hasn't built a memorial for him as promised."

Ustad Bismillah Khan, born into a family of musicians who played for royalty, started his music career in 1930 and earned recognition nationally as well as internationally purely on the strength of his talent.

He transfixed generations of audiences across the world with his soulful rendition of classical music on the 'shehnai', which is played during marriages as well as religious events.

Khan was conferred with innumerable awards including India's top civilian awards like Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri and had the distinction of performing from the rampart of Red Fort on August 15, 1947, when India became independent.

Varansi went to polls on Thursday in the penultimate phase of the seven-phased polls.

ANI

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