“I Could Have Pursued A Career In Cricket Had It Not Been For Music” – Ustad Rashid Khan
Hindustani Classical Vocalist, Ustad Rashid Khan on success, his role models, his advice to the younger generation, and more.
What does success mean to you?
Every time you go on stage and get to do something new, I think that is success for me. That has been a constant endeavour and a parameter of measuring my achievements.
Who is the most unforgettable person you have met and why?
Meeting my wife has been the greatest moment for me. Ours is a different sort of love story, wherein we belong to different religions. But my father had no problems with it and supported the idea of me getting married to her. She has changed my life, and I’m really indebted to her for that.
Do you have any role models or people you look up to?
Being a musician, I’ve always looked up to Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and also Ustad Mehdi Hassan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan and Ghulam Ali Khan. And growing up had been all about idolising Kishore Kumar, Md. Rafi, Mukesh, Lata di and Asha di.
How do you deal with failure?
My mantra to deal with failure is to stay patient. There is no point in getting perturbed to the extent that you lose your cool in such situations. Have faith and just keep going.
If not a vocalist, what would you have chosen to be?
I am an avid cricket fan, so I could have pursued a career in the sport had it not been for music. Sachin Tendulkar is my favourite player and, in fact, I still follow cricket with as much interest. I have my own television set at home to watch cricket matches. From the current lot, I think Virat Kohli is doing really great.
If you could turn back the clock, what would you change?
I don’t hold on to any regrets. With time, your demands from life keep changing, so you can’t really help but think that everything happens for the good.
Has money ever been a problem?
Money means a lot to people these days, but you can’t take any of it to your grave. So I’ve always been thankful for what I’ve had and continue to do so.
Do you think much about death?
No. I believe that the more you think about your death, the more frustrated you get with your life. And those who think that only worshipping God will get them to heaven need to know that doing good deeds is the biggest form of worship.
Do you believe in God?
Yes, I do. And I give the credit for all that has happened with me in life to him. I also visit a lot of shrines as a way to connect to God.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
Religion is the topic of a lot of the debate going around these days. So I would advise the next generation to refrain from the thought that any religion is bad. Treat everyone as an equal and spread the message of love.
What has been your biggest high — personally and professionally?
I think that the love and respect that my motherland has given me has been the biggest high of my professional life. And personally, my close-knit family has been my greatest achievement. Just sitting at the dining table with them gives me a sense of belonging.
What has your field of work taught you about life?
Music teaches you everything. Once you plug in, you are in your own zone, away from the chaos of the outer world. You gain a sense of peace and tranquillity. It even encompasses all religions; it’s a way of life.
We spoke to the maestro on the sidelines of the 17th edition of the Vasantotsav, organised by the Ajivasan Music Academy