His uncle Ali Baksh 'Vilayatu', a noted shehnai player introduced him to Shehnai and became his mentor and teacher. Bismillah Khan worked in and out to practice the shehnai and didn’t stop until he attained perfection, which he did in a very brief time. He was duly credited for making the shehnai as one of the most popular classical music instruments.
He had the exceptional honor of playing his instrument (Shehnai) on the eve of India's independence in 1947. He was invited to perform at the Red Fort in Delhi and has always played his Shehnai on 15th August right after the Prime Minister delivered his speech. Bismillah Khan was immensely popular in not just India but across the globe and has played in many countries and has a massive fan following globally.
Ustad Bismillah Khan was a gem of a person that India will always be proud of. This Shehnai Shining Star of India was awarded Bharat Ratna for his contribution to Indian classical music. He shared a special coalition with his shehnai and referred it as "Begum" after his wife died. 21st August 2006, was the day when this gem left the world after having suffered a cardiac arrest at the age of 90 in Varanasi. His shehnai too was buried with him in his grave.