Airline loses Indian maestro's 'priceless' instrument

In his 50-year career, Amjad Ali Khan (centre) has elevated the sarod - a 16th-century Indian string instrument - to being one of the most popular instruments in Indian classical music. He is seen here flanked by his sons Amaan and Ayaan Al
In his 50-year career, Amjad Ali Khan (centre) has elevated the sarod - a 16th-century Indian string instrument - to being one of the most popular instruments in Indian classical music. He is seen here flanked by his sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash (right). -- FILE PHOTO:  JLM & ASSOCIATES PUBLIC RELATIONS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Legendary Indian musician Amjad Ali Khan said Monday British Airways had misplaced his beloved Sarod, a string instrument he has played on for 45 years.

The 68-year-old maestro realised the instrument was missing when he flew to Delhi with the airline on Saturday.

"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," he tweeted.

The classical musician, who was awarded India's second highest civilian honour in 2001, had gone to London with his wife to perform at a function on June 21.

Recalling his ordeal, Khan said he waited for nearly five hours at the airport as the airline tried to trace his "priceless" instrument, but in vain.

"Being an artist, I communicate through my sarod, which was with me for the last 45 years.... How can such a big airline be so irresponsible?" Khan told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

A British Airways spokesman blamed "intermittent problems" with the baggage system at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 for the problem.

"We are working round the clock to reunite customers with their bags. We are very sorry that this process is taking longer than anticipated, and we fully understand the frustration that this is causing," he was quoted as saying by PTI.

Earlier this month, Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone said the airline had lost her baggage for a fourth time.

"Seems like British Airways' hobby is losing bags! 4th time & pretty sure not the last! #appalling," tweeted Padukone, who has 6.5 million followers on the micro-blogging website.