Farewell Maestro: Legendary classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan dies at 89

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passed away on Sunday. The legendary classical singer was 89. Apart from being a singer, he was also one of the most revered classical music gurus in the country, and his disciples include the likes of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Hariharan, AR Rahman, Sonu Nigam and Shaan.

Although Khan seldom sang playback and dedicated his life in the service of music and in carrying forward the legacy of his gharana, he had no mind block against film music. In his own words, “Any kind of music is music and I have no qualms about any form enjoying more popularity than another.” But, one thing he was categorical about was that anything you do, do it properly and there is no substitute for training and riyaaz. ‘Jaldi ka kaam shaitaan ka,' he would insist.

In 2013, the ustad, along with his sons, Murtuza Mustafa, Qadir Mustafa, Rabbani Mustafa, Hasan Mustafa, and grandson, Faiz Mustafa came together for a Coke Studio session that was composed and produced by his student AR Rahman.

The Padma Vibhushan awardee was born in Badaun on March 3, 1931 into music royalty. His mother, Sabri Begum, was the daughter of the great Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan — a child prodigy who is regarded as the founder of Rampur-Sahaswan gharana. Ustad Inayat Hussain Khan trained under Bahadur Hussain Khan, a descendent of the legendary musician of Akbar’s court, Miyan Tansen. Hence his gharana is born out of the Senia (the followers of Tansen’s school of music) traditions. Inayat Hussain Khan was married to the daughter of Ustad Haddu Khan, one of the pioneers of Gwalior gharana. His father and first guru, Ustad Waris Hussain Khan, was trained by Inayat Hussain and he was the son of Ustad Mureed Baksh, another great musician. He considers his cousin, Padma Bhushan Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, as his formal guru.

On his demise, his students took to social media to express their love for their guru. Lata Mangeshkar tweeted: “Mujhe abhi abhi ye dukhad khabar mili hai ki mahan shastriya gayak Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Saheb is duniya mein nahi rahe. Ye sunke mujhe bahut dukh hua. Wo gayak to acche the hee par insaaan bhi bahut acche the. Meri bhanji ne bhi Khan sahab se sangeet sikha hai, maine bhi unse thoda sangeet sikha tha. Unke jaane se sangeet ki bahut haani hui hai. Main unko vinamra shraddhanjali arpan karti hun.”

While A.R Rahman wrote, “The sweetest teacher of all ..May the Ghafoor-ur-Rahim give you a special place in the next world #UstadGhulamMustafa.”

His mortal remains will leave at 7 PM today (Sunday, January 17) from his house. As per the latest update, the last rites with state honour will be performed at Santacruz (West) Kabrastan by 7:30-8 pm.

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