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Tuesday, February 08, 2000

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Vilayat Khan declines award

CALCUTTA, FEB. 7. Sitar maestro, Ustad Vilayat Khan, today refused to accept this year's Padma Bhushan on the ground that it was a belated decision of the recommending authorities.

The septuagenarian sitar wizard regretted that his name figured in the list of awardees much later than some of his juniors in the world of sitar players, who had been honoured with this civilian award years back.

``This is an insult to me. If there is any award for sitar in India, I must get it first,'' he said alleging that the Sangeet Natak Academy had been influenced by lobby, politics and favouritism while deciding the awardees.

``There has always been a story of wrong time, wrong person and wrong award in this country,'' a visibly enraged Khan said at a crowded press meet here.

Pointing out that sitar and its `Parampara' had seen the longest ever tradition in his family and his ancestors had chiselled the `Gayaki Ang', crucial to the playing of the instrument, Khan said no other `gharana' was older than his in this arena.

``Four generations, both from my paternal and maternal sides, have made sitar their religion and today the entire nation is copying our work,'' he said.

- PTI

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