The minister gave the assurance to Neena Jha, a teacher at the St Thomas School, and her journalist husband Shivnath Jha, who have compiled, edited and published a 200-page coloured monograph of Shehnai Maestro Bismillah Khan.
Lauding the contributions of Ustad Bismillah Khan, Mr Sibal said,''he was conferred all the four major civilian awards by the Government of India including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna. It is our responsibility to take care of the legend.'' The couple said the Minister was likely to attend the 91st birthday celebrations of Ustad Bismillah Khan at his Varanasi residence and also give a three kg silver shehnai and financial assistance to the living legend of Indian classical music.
Mr Sibal also assured the couple that he would do his best and would request the government to come out with a suitable package for protection of old age musicians, academicians, scientists and others.
The couple said the coloured monograph brought out by them was in keeping with their pledge to resuscitate the dying art form ever since the Shehnai maestro fell out with the administration.
They also plan to celebrate the 91st birthday of the legend in a grand manner. The duo is expected to present a 91 kg cake and hand over a cheque of Rs 1.5 lakh to the maestro on the occasion.
Also, all the repertoire of the Shehnai genius, his CDs and cassettes of Banarsi Thumri, Chaiti, Hori, Bhairavi, Kajri, Tarana, Ghato and other ragas played by him once upon a time will be played at each and every corner of Varanasi to mark his 91st birthday.
''Ustadji hails from Bihar and so do we. Till date, neither the Bihar government nor the people of the state have organised any public felicitation to pay their tribute to the living legend for his contribution to India classical music. This is the least that we can do to highlight his work.
UNI AR VD HS1812