1928 – Renowned Sitar Maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan was born. The Sitar exponent was a prodigy as a child and had recorded his first 78-RPM disc at the age of 8. Ustad Vilayat Khan gave his first concert at the All Bengali Music Conference in Kolkata. In 1944, his performance at a concert organized by Vikramaditya Sangeet Parishad in Mumbai was hailed by newspapers. He was the first Indian musician to have played in England after Independence(1951). Ustad Vilayat Khan also composed and played for films like Satyajit Ray’s ‘Jalsaghar'(1958) that won the National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film in Bengali and ‘The Guru'(1969) co-written by acclaimed novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala with director James Mory. In 1964, the Ustad refused to accept the Padma Shri and in 1968 the Padma Bhushan stating that the committee wasn’t competent enough to judge his music.

Ustad Vilayat Khan

In 2000, he also turned down the Padma Vibhushan stating that he couldn’t receive the honour that other sitar players who were less deserving had received it ahead of him. He also refused the ‘Sahitya Natak Akademi’ Award. The only titles conferred upon him that he accepted were the ‘Aftab-E-Sitar’ by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and the ‘Bharat Sitar Samrat’ by Artistes Association of India.

1929 – Well known poet, academic and translator Prof. Purushottam Lal was born. He is best remembered for the translation of the epic ‘Mahabharata’ into English. This translated version is the most complete in any language containing all the shlokas that feature in the original. In 1958, he founded the Calcutta-based literary publisher ‘Writer’s Workshop’ that published first books by many authors who went on to become famous including Ruskin Bond, Vikram Seth, Pritish Nandy, Shiv Kumar etc. In 1970, Prof. Lal was honoured with the Padma Shri.

1973 – India and Pakistan signed an agreement at New Delhi with the concurrence Bangladesh. The Agreement provided a solution for release and repatriation of the Prisoners of War in India, of Non-Bengalis from Bangladesh to Pakistan and of Bengalis from Pakistan to Bangladesh.