Ustad Kale Khan

Ustad Kale Khan – simple, quiet and aloof by nature – was a renowned singer of Awadh. Music was his personal pursuit and not a vocation.

When Nawab Nasir ud Din of Awadh heard of the singer, he was surprised that Kale Khan has not tried to come to him despite the talent, whereas every one else who can do some thing tries hard to get close to him for reward and recognition. He wanted to see the artist.

The state functionaries went to Kale Khan and requested him to accompany them to the court to see the Nawab. Kale Khan tried hard to avoid but he had to go with them. In the court he performed for the Nawab. The Nawab was so happy on the show that he wanted to grant Kale Khan any of his wishes. Kale Khan declined but again he had to agree. Kale Khan finally came up with two of his wishes: first, he is fond of Kheer (rice cooked in milk) so he should be given to eat, and second, he should never be called to the court again. The Nawab was surprised and said, “I want to award you any thing you want and you are not even ready to come here. Why?”

After a deliberate pause, Kale Khan replied, “Head of any state is an important person. When he passes away or steps down from the authority, any one can be his successor. Whereas when some expert performer dies or moves away, one cannot find a replacement. I want to avoid coming to the royal court because here I can get hurt, which may prove fatal.

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