Legendary musician Ustad Rashid Khan passes away at 55

Ustad Rashid Khan

New Delhi: The Indian classical music fraternity is mourning the loss of one of its most revered and respected exponents, Ustad Rashid Khan, who passed away on Tuesday at a hospital in Kolkata. He was 55 years old and had been battling prostate cancer for several years. He breathed his last on a ventilator, surrounded by his family and disciples.

Ustad Rashid Khan, who was hailed as the music emperor by his admirers, had suffered a stroke in December last year, which had affected his speech and mobility. He was initially admitted to the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Mumbai, where he underwent chemotherapy and radiation. However, as per his wish, he was shifted to Kolkata in January, where he continued his treatment at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital.

Ustad Rashid Khan was a scion of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, one of the oldest and most prestigious musical traditions in India. He was born in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh into a family of musicians. He received his initial training in music from his maternal grandfather, Ustad Nisar Hussain Khan, who was a renowned vocalist and composer. He later moved to Mumbai, where he was groomed by his uncle, Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, who was also a celebrated musician and a Padma Vibhushan awardee.

Ustad Rashid Khan was known for his mastery of various genres of classical music, such as khayal, thumri, dadra, tarana, and bhajan. He had a distinctive voice that could span three octaves and a remarkable ability to improvise and innovate. He was also adept at playing various instruments, such as the harmonium, the tabla, and the sarangi. He had performed on numerous prestigious platforms, both nationally and internationally, and had collaborated with many eminent artists, such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Ustad Rashid Khan was honored with several awards and accolades for his contribution to the field of music. He was conferred the Padma Shri in 2006, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2009, and the Padma Bhushan in 2013. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010 for his album Music of Central Asia Vol. 5: The Wind of Almaty. He also composed music for several films, such as Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, Raincoat, and Welcome to Sajjanpur.

Ustad Rashid Khan

Ustad Rashid Khan is survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter. He also had many disciples, who regarded him as their guru and mentor. His demise has left a huge void in the world of music, which will be hard to fill. He will be remembered as a legend who enriched Indian classical music with his soulful and sublime renditions.