Renowned classical singer Ustad Rashid Khan, belonging to the illustrious Rampur-Sahaswan gharana, breathed his last on Tuesday at a hospital in Kolkata. The 55-year-old maestro had been battling prostate cancer and suffered a cerebral stroke in December, which led to a decline in his health. Hospital officials confirmed his demise, stating that he had been on a ventilator.
Hailing from a lineage of musical excellence, Rashid Khan was the great-grandson of Inayat Hussain Khan, the founder of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana. Known for his exceptional renditions of vilambit khayals, Rashid Khan captivated audiences with his expansive explorations of ragas in the khayal form.
Beyond classical music, Khan was admired for seamlessly blending Hindustani vocals with Sufi-inspired music, showcasing his versatility. His collaborations with western artists further demonstrated his ability to transcend musical boundaries.
The late singer also left an indelible mark on the world of Hindi cinema, having lent his soulful voice to several iconic songs, including “Aaoge Jab Tum,” “Poore Se Zara Sa,” and “Bol Ke Lab Azad Hain.”
Rashid Khan’s contributions to the field of music were duly recognized with prestigious awards. In 2006, he was honored with the Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. His stature in the musical realm was further solidified when he received the Padma Bhushan in 2022, India’s third-highest civilian award.
Reacting to his demise, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that Khan’s mortal remains would be kept in a mortuary on Tuesday and later taken to Rabindra Sadan, a prominent cultural complex in Kolkata, on Wednesday. The classical musician will be accorded a gun salute and state honors before his final rites.
Musicians across the globe took to social media to pay tribute to the maestro. Sonu Nigam, a prominent singer, referred to Rashid Khan as the “pride of classical music of the country” and expressed profound sadness at his passing. Music composer Shekhar Rajivani lamented the loss, stating that the world of music is now deprived of “one of the most precious people to have lit up our world with his immense talent.”
The demise of Ustad Rashid Khan marks a significant loss to the world of classical music, leaving behind a legacy that will continue to resonate with music enthusiasts for generations to come.
Pakistani singer Shafqat Amanat Ali said that Khan’s death was a “terrible loss to the world of music & the subcontinent”.