NCERT English Beehive Class 9 Chapter 2 - The Sound of Music (Part II Bismillah Khan)

Chapter 2 The Sound of Music

Part II - The Shehnai of Bismillah Khan
Question and Answers
Question 1: Why did Aurangzeb ban the playing of the pungi?
Answer:
Emperor Aurangzeb banned the playing of the pungi in the royal residence because it had a shrill unpleasant sound. Pungi became the generic name for reeded noisemakers.

Question 2: How is a shehnai different from a pungi?
Answer:
Shehnai looks like a pipe, which is longer and broader than the pungi and has 7 holes on the body of the pipe. When it was played, closing and opening some of these holes produced soft and melodious sounds whereas the pungi had a shrill unpleasant sound.

Question 3: Where was the shehnai played traditionally? How did Bismillah Khan change this?
Answer:
The sound of shehnai began to be considered auspicious. It is still played in temples and is an indispensable component of any North Indian wedding. Earlier, the shehnai was part of the naubat or traditional ensemble of nine instruments fund at the royal court. The credit for bringing shehnai onto the classical stage goes to Bismillah Khan.

Question 4: When and how did Bismillah Khan get his big break?
Answer:
When the All India Radio opened in Lucknow in 1938, Bismillah Khan got his big break. He soon became an often-heard shehnai player on the radio.

Question 5: Where did Bismillah Khan play the shehnai on 15 August 1947? Why was the event historic?
Answer:
When India got independence on 15 August 1947, Bismillah Khan became the first Indian to greet the nation with his shehnai. He poured his heart out into Raag Kafi from the Red Fort to the audience. Later Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave his famous speech, “Tryst with Destiny”.

Question 6: Why did Bismillah Khan refuse to start a shehnai school in U.S.A.?
Answer:
A student of Bismillah Khan once wanted him to head a shehnai school in U.S.A. The student also promised to create the atmosphere of Benaras by replicating the temples there. Bismillah Khan asked the student if he could transport River Ganga as well. Bismillah Khan also says that while he is in a foreign country, he keeps yearning to see Hindustan, while in Mumbai, he thinks of only of Benaras and holy Ganga. And when he is in Benaras, he misses the unique mattha of Dumraon.

Question 7: Find atleast two instances in the text which tells you that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.
Answer:
Bismillah Khan says that teach your children music, that is Hindustan’s richest tradition and even the West is learning our music. He also says that while he is in a foreign country, he keeps yearning to see Hindustan, while in Mumbai, he thinks of only of Benaras and holy Ganga. And when he is in Benaras, he misses the unique mattha of Dumraon. This shows that Bismillah Khan loves India and Benaras.

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