Indian classical musician Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's sarod, which he has been playing for the last 45 years, has gone missing while he was returning to Delhi from London by a British Airways flight.
The Padma Vibhushan sarod maestro had gone to London along with his wife Subhalaxmi for a performance at Dartington College to celebrate the life of Rabindranth Tagore on June 21 and returned on the night of June 28. He and his wife were travelling first class on British Airways flight (BA-143) on their return journey from London.
"But when we arrived at Delhi airport on June 28, I could not find my priceless sarod. We waited there for four to five hours while airline people tried to trace the instrument. But they were not able to trace it, and they said most likely it would come by the next flight," Khan told PTI.
"But now its more than 48 hours and still I am waiting for some news. How can such a big airline be so irresponsible," Khan said.
When contacted, British Airways said, "There have been intermittent problems with Heathrow Airport's baggage system in Terminal 5. We are working round-the-clock to make sure we reunite all of our customers with their baggage as quickly as possible."
"This process has taken longer than anticipated and we apologise for the inconvenience caused," an airline spokesperson said.
The maestro said he has lodged a complaint with the airlines but he does not want a compensation. "I want the airlines to trace my sarod and give it back to me as it is priceless and I don't want any compensation," said Khan.
The maestro said that he had told the airlines in London "to handle it with care as it is my life, but now this has happened."
"Being an artist I communicate through my sarod, which was with me for last 45 years, but if it is lost now, then how will I communicate," he asked.
According to sources, Khan's sarod was packed at London as per procedure carried out for packaging of such precious instruments, before they are being sent as check-in luggage.
Image: Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performs at the United Nations. Photograph: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com