New Delhi, Jun 30 (PTI): Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's sarod, which he has been strumming for the last 45 years, has gone missing on a British Airways flight while the iconic musician was returning to Delhi from London on Saturday night.
The airline claimed that there have been “intermittent problems” with Heathrow Airport's baggage system in Terminal 5 and that efforts were underway to resolve it.
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.
Amjad Ali, 68, 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 or 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.
Khan later posted on his Facebook page, “After damaging my Sarod in 1997, British Airways now misplaces my Sarod. 48 hours and I still wait anxiously for some news. Still not traced!!!
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 on being asked about the missing sarod and when it will be returned to the maestro.
A furious Khan said he has lodged a complaint with the airlines and made it clear that he does not want any 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 (sarod) 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 the last 45 years, but if it is lost now, then how will I communicate,” he asked.
Khan had got his sarod specially packed at London in line with the procedure required for packaging of such precious instruments, before being sent as check-in luggage with due instructions.