Holding forth in Pune this week, the octogenarian doyen of Kirana maintained it was "undignified" for an artiste of Khan’s stature to seek financial help. "A big artiste has to maintain his dignity," Joshi thundered. And then came the real slammer. The Pandit accused the Ustad of asking to be bailed out of a "self-created financial crisis". Joshi told Outlook from his Pune home: "He has earned all his life. He should have put aside money for his old age. Why should such a big artiste be waiting for the state to help him? I don’t like this." Drawing on his experiences with Khan—the two were colleagues at the Lucknow All India Radio in the 1940s—Joshi pointed out that Khan had never thought about putting things aside for the rainy day.
He also had some words to spare for the huge joint family that Khan has been supporting all these years. "He has a family of 60 people. What are the others doing?" the Pandit wanted to know. Joshi recalled that a few years ago, Lata Mangeshkar had organised a programme to raise funds for the Benaras-based shehnai maestro. But he had made it clear he was in no mood to humour such attempts at charity. He also revealed how he had flatly refused to sing at a charity concert organised in Khan’s benefit by the wife of a classical vocalist. With this kind of mudslinging, here’s one jugalbandi that’s gone sour.