Published On: Thu, Apr 7th, 2016

Tribute to the legendary sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar on his 96th birth anniversary today.

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Pandit Ravishankar’s memories are still fresh in the minds of all music lovers, thanks to the ever-sweet rendition of his sitar and the emotions those strings evoked. A legend in his lifetime, Ravi Shankar’s impact on Indian classical music is immeasurable.

Pandit Ravi Shankar was born Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on 7th April, 1920, to a Bengali family in Benares.

Ravi Shankar’s initial exposure to music was at the age of 13 when he accompanied his celebrated brother Uday Shankar’s dance troupe as a member where he learnt to dance and play various Indian instruments. Ravi Shankar heard the maestro Allaudin Khan for the first time in 1934 at a music conference in Calcutta. Thereafter, in serious pursuit of knowledge, he trained under the hard task master Ustad Allaudin Khan of Maihar Gharana, along with the illustrious son of his Guru, Ustad Ali Akhbar Khan, for several years. A keen observer, Ravi Shankar had the ability to assimilate musical knowledge. His immense talent and diligence, coupled with his winsome personality, soon made him a celebrity without peer.

After moving to Bombay from Maihar in 1944, he first composed music for ballets of the Indian People’s Theatre Association. He recomposed the music for the popular song ‘Sare Jahan Se Achcha,’ He joined AIR, Delhi, as a music director and founded the Indian National Orchestra there. He was the music director for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and several Hindi movies including Godaan and Anuradha.

No name, both in India and overseas, is more synonymous with Indian classical music than Pandit Ravi Shankar. He was the pioneer and, indeed, the most influential in spreading the awareness of the great tradition of Indian classical music internationally.

Apart from being a universally acclaimed performer, Ravi Shankar was a guru to several outstanding artistes. His collaborations with giants of the world music such as Yehudi Menhuin showed his virtuosity. His influence in creating and shaping the present day instrumental concerts is phenomenal. Most instrumental concerts today are based on the format first popularised by him. Not only did he shape a legion of worthy disciples but several percussion accompanists performing with him have attained fame. Innumerable were his awards, including the Bharat Ratna.

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About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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