India’s oldest living classical vocalist dies at 107

India’s oldest living classical vocalist dies at 107

Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan taught at the ITC music institute in Kolkata and took his last class hours before his death
Updated 19 Feb, 2016

NEW DELHI: India’s oldest living classical vocalist Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan, regarded as a reservoir of musical knowledge and insights, passed away in Kolkata on Thursday.

Khan Sahib was born in 1910, in the family of the famous musician, Ustad Behram Khan, who had earlier left his native Gwalior and settled in Kasba Salon, near Rae Bareli.

Recipient of numerous awards for his sensational repertoire and range of singing styles, Ustad Rashid Khan was one of the senior faculty members at the ITC music institute in Kolkata. He took his last class hours before his death, apparently from heart failure. He performed in Delhi last year where he received a standing ovation for what was to be his last concert in the Indian capital.

As a child he was under the training of his ‘Bade Baba’, Ustad Bade Yusuf Khan. This early rigorous training was followed up with further tutelage from his elders who had imbibed the Gwalior gayaki.

With sheer merit and extraordinary skill, he further developed this gayaki according to his own artistic sensitivity, retaining the native style of Gwalior. Apart from Khayal, Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan sang Dhrupad Dhamar and Thumri with equal ease and panache.

An earlier version of this story had a factual error, which has been corrected.

Published in Dawn, February 19th, 2016


kadva sach Feb 19, 2016 11:33am
Thanks a lot, Dawn for this news. Unfortunately, we in India have no information about this. Indian media is more interested in publishing news that features photos of wardrobe malfunctions, and which actor is having an extra marital affair. Appreciate the quality content in you, Dawn!
Patriotic Indian Feb 19, 2016 12:10pm
@kadva sach I agree that Indian media has been too much commercialized so that we miss such news. Thanks Dawn for sharing this.
rajeev Feb 19, 2016 12:39pm
@kadva sach In this case what you say is not true the news was carried on 19th TOI
Ramachandra Rao Feb 19, 2016 12:48pm
@kadva sach - You do not seem to have read the newspaper today. This has been covered in the Indian Express
SR Feb 19, 2016 01:01pm
@kadva sach Thats why Dawn always considered media for sober readers.
Sampath Feb 19, 2016 01:04pm
Thanks DAWN for atleast letting those Indians that read your paper about this great musician. We cant go through our media to get this kind of news without being forced to look through the garbage they publish. These musicians highlight the deep humanity that binds us rather than the superficial external differences that are constantly highlighted by media.
vinay Feb 19, 2016 01:06pm
@RAMACHANDRA RAO did not hear any at electronic media.
Vakil Feb 19, 2016 01:29pm
RIP Ustaad sahab. It is people like you that enrich the lives of ALL of us - irrespective of our political and other differences!
Ahmad Feb 19, 2016 02:02pm
We are all very sorry in Pakistan for his sad demise. Rest in peace.
Feroz Feb 19, 2016 02:46pm
He was taking classes and teaching students at the age of 107 ?? Any of us who manage to get to that age will be happy if we are able to merely walk and talk. Knowing his age he must have taught three generations of students, numbering thousands. Such dedication to Music or any profession is very rare. Salutes to you Ustad, may your music live through your students !!
Ankit Feb 19, 2016 03:41pm
@kadva sach Bro you probably don't follow the news properly, it's been covered on most of the news sites and news papers.
M. Emad Feb 19, 2016 05:12pm
Bengal Foundation (Dhaka) and ITC SRA (Calcutta) joint annual 4-nights Classical Music (and dance) Festival in Dhaka is the world biggest classical music performances (10,000 - 40,000 audiences on a single performance). All leading classical musicians from India and Bangladesh take part in the Festival.