Tag Archives: dead

Sultan Khan: a king at heart

Humility is the hallmark of a person and by this yardstick Sarangi maestro Late Ustad Sultan Khan was miles ahead of others.

This is no obituary piece or great remembrance, but an experience that came to my mind the moment I came to know of his demise.  Having only met him once and listened to his song tracks a few times I cannot vouch more about the maestro, but can share an incident which spoke volume about the man.

It goes seven years back in time, somewhere around February March 2004. It was Monday for sure for I had just entered office a couple of hours behind   time for I was returning back from Jodhpur.

Responding to the good afternoon, my bosses reading something handed me an envelope and looked at his watch signalling me to rush. I saw the envelope stepping out and it was press invite to meet Ustad Sultan Khan at Park Royal hotel,Nehru Place.

It started  10 am sharp and I was already over two hours late for the interview.

I rushed with my photographer  by 1 pm and by then all the media had left and Ustadji was in his room set to order his lunch.

Outside his suit I pleaded with the publicist Harish Sharma, “I have just returned from Jodhpur and got late.” I tried to make my point and before I could further argue a voice emerged from the room.

Jodhpur se kaun hai? (who’s there from Jodhour?),” said a voice. I dashed in fancying my chances, but was clueless what was in store for me.

Wearing a chequred lungi and white kurta, an elderly man was sitting on the bed leaning against the wall. A smile emerged as I walked in, “Aap ho jodhpur se, kathe birajo( you are from jodhpur and where in the city do you stay put),” he asked signalling me to sit on the bed  next to him.

I said near masjid in jalap mohalla and he said I used to live near that place barely a kilometre from my house, he recalled an elderly khan sahab in my area and was chatting as if we had known each other for ages.

“Take your note-book out,” he ordered. Very sweetly without me asking he quickly started speaking about his album Piya Basanti and in a matter of few minutes responded to all my questions.

As I was about to pack my bags he said, “aaj daal roti aur subzi le aao, (get daal and bread with vegetables), will eat with the pandit after a long time.”

He held my hand and said I am your elder and you can’t say no to me. Over the next half hour we chatted and had lunch, much to everyone’s amazement.

Done with lunch, he took his paan daani and offered me a pan, “isme tambaku nahi hai (there is no tobacco in this one.)”

Taking the paan, I just wished him well and he patted my back and put his hand on my head as a gesture of giving blessing.

As I came out of the room amazed Harish commented, “you got a lottery today.” I just smiled back.

That was the end of my tryst with the Sarangi player, may be would have listened to the Piya basanti track a couple of times later playing on TV, but still today that hour spent with the maestro is clear in my memory.

May his soul rest in peace.

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Gaddafi gone, but his last moves still haunt

Muammar Gaddafi is dead.

But video clips, photographs of his capture followed by killing bring the disturbing images of his last moments alive. The debate looms large on whether it was required for broadcasters or publications to go over the board with their images and commentary?

This post though delayed by a day is no opinion but an attempt to understand if these images of a blood stained Gaddafi were required or not?

In a situation where the world was looking for whereabouts of the longest reigning dictator gone into hiding, proof was required.

But how much is too much is something that creates a difference of opinion.

A superb slide show in Huffington post ensured that the post isn’t irrelevant even as I write. Front pages of various newspapers worldwide are showcased to show how the news which indeed was the global lead story captured by newspapers.

Headlines varied, “No Mercy for Merciless Tyrant,” “With Gadafi gone, Libya Exhales,” “Don’t shoot,”…..straight ones to some like “That’s for Lockerbie, Yvonne Fletcher and IRA Semtex victims”, “Gadhafi’s Bloody End,” and variants.

To these the pictures add the sense of war or sensation or can’t say what. Some bloodstained face close-up, some with fighters gleefully being pictured with his dead corpse, some showing him being captured and later killed to other gruesome options.

There are others saner versions, soldiers jubilant, Libyans celebrating, archival picture of the colonel with words doing the talking.

The news itself was so powerful that words and pictures were mere add ons, so the question arises, was it required?

One can understand the websites and news channels arguing that apart from editorial lines it was also a case of competition and eyeballs.

In my limited understanding another reason would have been that if these guys wouldn’t have published, still these images and videos would have reached people within minutes via social media.

So was that also a consideration, that when something is already going to be out why not join the party.

Feel each one has its own reason, but for me the gruesome display of war took away sanctity of news and reporting, but may be I am still old-fashioned when it comes to news.

Replies most welcome and appreciated, for I would like to understand why such a reaction.

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