The legendary sitar performer of the subcontinent, Ustad Raees Khan, passed away on Saturday in Karachi. He was 77.
He is survived by his wife, renowned singer Bilqees Khanum, and four sons. Raees Khan was born in 1939 in Mewaat Gharana, a family of famous musicians. He was the 13th ustad of Meewat family and a huge name of sitar performers, with the likes of Ravi Shankar, Ustad Sharif Punchwaly, Ustad Walayat Ali Khan, and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan.
Raess Khan learned music from his uncle, Walayat Ali Khan and father Muhammad Khan, following the footsteps of the latter. He gave his first performance at age of five in Bombay’s Sunder Bi Hall. The performance was attended by the governor and Maharaja of India, who appreciated the his talent.
Subsequently, he performed on several occasions and had his first foreign tour to Poland. He travelled almost around the world and in 1963 he visited Pakistan for his maiden performance in Karachi.
In 1968, the year when the sitar maestro was at the top of his fame, he moved to Pakistan.
He met Balqees Begum in 1979 and the following year they tied the knot.
Ustad Raees was the name behind composing famous songs, Jab Tera Hukam Mila Tarkay Mohaabat Kar Di, Ab Kay Saal Poonam Main, Neend Ankhoun Se Uri, Mojoun Sahil Se Milo, Main Khayal Hun Kisi Aur Ka, Kabhi Kitaboun Main Phool Rakhna and many others.
He was honoured with Presidential award and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2005 and 2017, respectively.
“Ustad Raees Khan was a huge name of in the field of arts, and there is no one else like him at this time in the country. The whole world knows about him. He was the torchbearer of the Meewat family. A legend has left us,” said Sajjad Tafu, a guitar performer.
Music composer Raza Shah said: “Ustad Raees has worked a lot for PTV. He was a maestro, an expert. His work is an asset. It was his greatness that he shifted to our country and we request to the government of Pakistan to establish a museum at his residence.”
Two of Ustad Raees’ sons are in India while the other two live in Pakistan.
His sons in India, Sohail Raees Khan is carrying the legacy of the Mewaat family as a sitar performer while Shahzan Khan is famous Indian TV star.
Hazoor Hussnain and Farhan Raees Khan, who live in Pakistan, are also sitar performers.
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