Pandit Ravi Shankar was global ambassador of India's cultural heritage: PM
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday condoled the passing away of legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar and described him as a national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage.
In his condolence message, Dr. Singh said: "An era has passed away with Pandit Ravi Shankar. He was national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage."
"The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility," he added.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was admitted in the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla for breathing difficulties, passed away in San Diego on Tuesday at the age of 92.
The sitar maestro had been admitted at the Scripps Memorial Hospital on December 6.
The sitar exponent was responsible for making Indian classical music popular in the West and was also India's musical ambassador.
He had collaborated with several international artists including George Harrison of 'The Beatles', which had garnered him fame all over the world.
He was active as a professional musician till the end and was one of the contenders for the next Grammys.
Panditji is survived by his wife Sukanya and musician daughters, sitar player Anushka Shankar and singer Norah Jones.
Ravi Shankar was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury on April 7, 1920 and was referred by the title Pandit.
Shankar was born in Varanasi and spent his youth touring Europe and India with the dance group of his brother Uday Shankar.
He gave up dancing in 1938 to study sitar playing under court musician Allauddin Khan.
After finishing his studies in 1944, Shankar worked as a composer, creating the music for the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray, and was music director of All India Radio, New Delhi, from 1949 to 1956.
In 1956, he began to tour Europe and America playing Indian classical music and increased its popularity there through teaching, performance, and his association with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and George Harrison.
Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999, and received three Grammy Awards.