Sixteen years ago, Ustad Rashid Khan was awarded the Padma Shri. On Tuesday, the name of the Hindustani classical music exponent was announced as a Padma Bhushan recipient. Undoubtedly, the classical singer was elated. But he sounded upset with the way legendary 90-year-old singer Sandhya Mukherjee was conferred with the Padma Shri at the 73rd Republic Day. He also cited similar feelings for tabla maestro Anindya Chatterjee.
“Sandyadidi should have received the Padma award long ago. In fact, she should have been given the Padma Bhushan. Anindya da also should have received the Padma Bhushan,” said the singer, whose most popular Bollywood song is Aaoge Jab Tum Saajna from Jab We Met.
Though the musician was born in Uttar Pradesh’s Badayun in 1968, it came as a big surprise to Khan when UP was mentioned as his state. He has been living in West Bengal since the age of 10. Khan performed at his first concert at the age of 11 and when he turned 14, he joined the ITC Sangeet Research Academy (SRA) in Kolkata.
“I was born in Uttar Pradesh but Bengal is where I got my identity. This award is for Bengal. I have been living in Bengal since the age of 10. I have great feelings for this state and Bengal is where I belong,” he shared.
The classical vocalist received his initial training from his maternal grand-uncle Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan. Dedicating his award to his guru, father, mother and the listeners, he said: “The fans gave me my identity and I couldn’t be thankful enough. I didn’t get an award… music got awarded.”
Khan believes the Padma Bhushan will act as an inspiration for the younger generation of classical singers. With academies in Kolkata and Tripura, he wants to open more branches across the country. “The award will inspire and encourage the young and talented singers,” said the singer of Rampur-Sahaswangharana.
President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards this year. Madal artist Kajee Singh, businessman Prahlad Rai Agarwala, Kali Pada Soren (literature and education), Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay (science and engineering) will be awarded the Padma Shri. Actor Victor Banerjee has been named as a recipient of Padma Bhushan.