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Air India Breaks Ustad Amjad Ali's Sarod

PTI 15 Jan 2010, 13:57:05 PM IST

India's famous sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was a broken man on Thursday when he found his instrument broken as it came out  from the belly of Air India plane on to the conveyor belt at Mumbai airport.

This sarod had been the Ustad's companion for the last 25 years. It traveled with him far and wide earning laurels for India. But when the instrument came out of the Air India plane, it was cracked and broken and perhaps unplayable for ever, reports The Times of India.

The Ustad had been to Ahmedabad and was flying to Mumbai, for a concert at the Fine Arts Society, on Thursday morning.

He told  TOI: “It was 25 years old. I will now not be able to perform at the Fine Arts Society and I will have to go there to apologize to the people who will turn up to listen to me and my sarod. It must be the work of some porter who tried to open the case. I almost cried when I saw the state of the instrument.”  

“They should at least take care of instruments of musicians like us,'' he said. The polite-to-a-fault musician does not intend to sue or ask for compensation from the airline.

“Money can't buy everything. Had it been any other international airline, I would have sued it. But the damage has been done by our national carrier and I want to appeal to the officials to at least learn to take care of musicians like us,'' he said. 

The sarod, which he described as “anmol'', is made of Burmese wood and weighs 15 kg. The irreparable damage to the instrument comes less than a fortnight after another great loss. 

The person who would repair the sarod, Hemendra Chandra Sen, passed away in Kolkata a few days back. “I will send the broken sarod to someone else in Kolkata and hope for the best,'' the Ustad said. 

But the artiste, despite his loss, does not plan to leave Mumbai's aficionados in the lurch. He plans to change places with another artiste, who was supposed to be performing on Friday.

 “My wife is flying down from Delhi with another instrument so that I don't miss the event completely,'' he said. An Air India spokesperson said the airline was not aware of anything. “There is no complaint filed with the baggage section or the duty manager so far,'' he said.