No wedding in India, or any auspicious occasion, is complete without his mellifluous, rich music. Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahib lifted the shehnai, a unique Indian instrument, from the dancing parlours to its rightful place in Indian music history—trulyba assar (immaculate). He played for the film Goonj Uthi Shehnai which popularised the instrument like never before. From his debut at the age of 14 in Benaras, where he grew up and now resides in his unpretentious abode 'Sarai Hara', he went on to play the first tunes for Independent India in 1947. It was Bharat Ratna Khan sahib who poured his heart out into Raga Kafi from Red Fort on the eve of India's first Republic Day ceremony. He trained under his uncle, the late Ali Bux Vilayatu, a shehnai player attached to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. A simple man untouched by fame, Khan sahib feels he's still standing on the shores of the ocean of music. His namaaz is the seven shuddh and five komal swars —"music, sur, namaaz—it's all the same," he says. A devout Shia, Khan sahib's also a devotee of goddess Saraswati.