Srinagar: Legendary Sufiyana maestro Ustaad Mushtaq Ahmad Saznawaz breathed his last after a brief illness at his Danamazar, Qamarwari residence in Srinagar on Thursday.
He was 60.
One of the last line artists from Saznawaz family,
Mushtaq recently retired from the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) from its cultural wing.
His health suddenly started deteriorating and was hospitalised for immediate treatment.
However, due to complications, his conditions worsened and he breathed his last on Thursday at his residence.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
According to his fellow artists, Mushtaq was a ‘Panj-Hathyer’ (artist who could play five instruments with precision).
He was a prolific Sufiyana artist who had an equal hold of playing instruments including Santoor, Saaz-e-Kashmir, Sitaar, and Tabla among other instruments.
“Kashmiri Sufiyana music has lost its gem. He was a great artist who had an in-depth understanding about the style of art he was into,” famous singer and composer, Munir Ahmad Mir, told Greater Kashmir.
“His style of music will be remembered for the generations to come,” Mir said.
Mushtaq was the eldest son of legendary artist and Sufiyana music giant, Ustaad Ghulam Muhammad Saznawaz.
“He was the finest of his craft. A top grade artist, Mushtaq Sahab had many feathers to his cap,” singer and composer Waheed Jeelani said.
“Kashmiri Sufiyana is witnessing the worst phase in history. We are losing artists. Art is dying. No one in the next generation is coming forward to learn this art,” he said.
The senior Saznawaz along with his sons including Mushtaq had started a Sufiyana school at their residence, which initially witnessed an immense response of the foreign students.
However, later due to political events in Kashmir, the school could not function properly.
Meanwhile, condolences came pouring in. Chairman Democratic Azad Party (DAP) and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed his grief over the demise Ustad Mushtaq Ahmad Saznawaz.
"I am pained to learn about the death of Ustad Mushtaq, an exponent of Saznawaz Gharana of Kashmiri Sufiyana music. May his soul rest in peace. I offer my condolences to the bereaved family,” Azad said.
Kashmir Rabab Academy expressed sympathies with the bereaved family.
The co-founder of the academy, Ummar Maqbool, termed the contribution of Mushtaq Saznawaz unmatchable.
“His services will be remembered in the Sufiyana music genre,” Maqbool said.
Chairman All Kashmir Folk Artists Association and Director National Bhaand Theatre Shah-e-Jahan Ahmad Bhagat also expressed condolences with the bereaved family.