2nd Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award to Ustad Zakir Hussain


The esteemed legacy of the Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan lives on as his family and students announce the second edition of the prestigious Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award. This event, marking the legendary musician’s third death anniversary, is scheduled to take place over two days – 16th and 17th January 2024. This year, the award will be conferred upon the legendary musician Padma Vibhushan Ustad Zakir Hussain at a ceremony on the 17th of January at Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion, Mumbai. The award will be presented by Ustad ji’s wife Amina Ghulam Mustafa Khan. Following the award ceremony, Padma Shri Sonu Nigam, Khan Saab’s ‘shaagird’, will pay homage to the late maestro in a concert titled ‘Haazri’. Additionally, the inaugural day of the event, i.e. 16th of January, will feature Hindustani Classical performances – Flute recital by Rakesh Chaurasia, Sitar recital by Purbayan Chatterjee and vocals by Pandit Venkatesh Kumar at the Kashinath Ghanekar Natyagruha in Thane, adding an extra layer of cultural richness to the celebration.

Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, an unmatched doyen of Hindustani Classical Music, left an indelible mark on the world of music and his legacy continues to be celebrated through this award. The award stands as a testament to the legacy of this musical giant, honouring those who, like him, have made exceptional contributions to the world of Indian Classical Music. In its debut edition last year, the Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Award was presented to the flute maestro Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to Indian Classical Music.

The Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain avers, “This award holds a very special place in my heart.” He continues, “I feel Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan is one of the great unsung heroes of Indian Classical Music. Over the many decades that he has sung, I would say, he has not gained the recognition and accolades that he truly deserved. His passing away has made a void in the transmission of the tradition of the Indian Classical Music – Khayal Gayaki. Nevertheless, I am happy that his legacy lives on through his sons and grandson who are teaching, singing and promoting Indian Classical Music. I hope the tradition of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana continues to live on. Aur hum sab par Khan Saab ki jo chaap hamesha se lagi hui hai woh lagi rahe.”

Padma Vibhushan Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan, a torchbearer of the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana, was a luminary in the world of classical music. He not only received numerous awards and accolades but also played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of several renowned Bollywood singers such as Asha Bhosle, A.R. Rahman, Hariharan, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Shilpa Rao, his sons and grandsons, among others. Additionally, Lata Mangeshkar had mentioned that she took guidance from Khan Saab whenever she needed it.

Speaking about ‘Haazri’, the tribute to his Guru, Sonu Nigam imparts, “I will do what I am known for. Every artiste should do what his/her core strength is. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan Sahab was an authority in Classical Music but he never ever told his students to quit their music and move to Classical Music. I have in the past performed in front of him and I remember how memorable it was! It is going to be a tribute from a son to his father.” Will he be presenting personal pieces that Khan Saab taught him? “Not necessarily. What he has taught me, and is still teaching me vicariously through his sons, is something very personal. It’s like I would want the audience to have the feast and not the ingredients,” the accomplished singer-performer adds.

Khan Saab’s son Rabbani Mustafa Khan shares, “We take immense pride in presenting the award to Zakir Bhai this year. In addition to my brother Sonu Nigam’s performance, we have incorporated classical renditions by ace Hindustani Classical artistes this year. It is our steadfast duty to champion Hindustani Classical Music and this is a steady step in that direction. We aim to include more cities in our endeavour next year.”

Ahead of his classical tribute in Thane, ace flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, also Flute maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s nephew, expresses, “When I think of Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khansaheb, what strikes me most is the number of celebrity singers he has mentored. A. R. Rahman ji, Sonu Nigam ji, Hariharan ji, and many others consider Khansaheb to be a Guru. In fact, even Lata didi had mentioned receiving musical guidance from him. What can I say about such a colossal personality? I feel blessed to have experienced his music, and to have received his blessings each time our paths crossed.”

Master exponents of Hindustani Classical Music Purbayan Chatterjee and Pandit Venkatesh Kumar eagerly anticipate the forthcoming tribute. Purbayan Chatterjee informs us that he will be choosing an evening ‘raaga’ because it is an evening concert. However, as is customary with Indian Classical exponents, he will choose the ‘raaga’ on the spot, depending on his mood. Nevertheless, he shares, “Rabbani ji (Rabbani Mustafa Khan) has been kind enough to send me some of Ustad ji’s precious recordings. I am very inspired by those, especially Bageshree. I’ll try to learn and play one of these compositions to pay a fitting tribute to this great legend.” “I am delighted that I have been given the opportunity to pay a musical tribute to Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan on his barsi. I look forward to people joining us in order to foster Hindustani Classical Music in this contemporary era,” concludes Pandit Venkatesh Kumar.