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Sitar Maestro Ustad Imrat Khan dies in US

PW Bureau

Imrat Khan had performed at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970 for a merchant-ivory partnership and had turned down the Padma Shri last year New Delhi: Ustad Imrat Khan, who lived his 83-year-long life propagating the sitar and surbahar, died in the US on Thursday. His son, Nishant Khan, said that he was hospitalised for a week in Missouri’s Saint Louis and died after a stroke on Thursday. The funeral will take place on Saturday. Before leaving for the US, his son, a sitarist by profession, said, “He had developed pneumonia. He was in hospital for a week. He had a stroke last night. He had not been keeping well for the last few months.”

Imrat had performed at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970 for a merchant-ivory partnership. He had toured the world, performing his art of music and also kept on visiting India during various music festivals. He had turned down the Padma Shri Award last year, saying that it had come too late.

Imrat belonged to one of the oldest gharanas in India, called the illustrious Etawah Gharana or the Imdadkhani Gharana. The gharana was named after his grandfather. The gharana traces its roots to Agra with a musical legacy of over 400 years. Before settling down in Kolkata with Ustad Inayat Khan, Imrat’s father, the family stayed in Etawah for a while. The family is highly known for developing musical instruments surbahar which is a string instrument, sometimes called “bass sitar.” Imrat had performed at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970 for a merchant-ivory partnership. He had toured the world, performing his art of music and also kept on visiting India during various music festivals. He had turned down the Padma Shri Award last year, saying that it had come too late. Nishat, remembering his father as his mentor, said, “He was my guru, mentor, teacher and father. He was a great philosopher, an evangelist for music. He really carried forward the heritage of Indian classical music all over the world to the very end of his life.”