Politicians mourn demise of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 07:22 hrs

Leaders cutting across political parties on Wednesday mourned the demise of world renowned Indian Sitar maestro and composer, Pandit Ravi Shankar, who died near his home in Southern California.

Shankar, 92, a three-time Grammy winner with legendary appearances at the 1967 Monterey Pop festival and Woodstock, was admitted to hospital last week after he complained of breathlessness.

Shankar was in fragile health for several years and last Thursday underwent surgery, his family said in a statement.

Shankar had suffered from upper respiratory and heart issues over the past year and underwent heart-valve replacement surgery last week. The surgery was successful but he was unable to recover.

Information Minister, Manish Tewari on Wednesday expressed grief over Shankar's unfortunate demise and said that India has lost a great son.

"Shri Ravi Shankar spread the Indian musical genius around the world. He not only enriched Indian music and culture but also sensitized it with other musical traditions and created an extravaganza for music lovers. In his unfortunate demise, India has lost a great son," said Tewari.

He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, in 1999.

While mourning the death of well-known sitarist, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Rajiv Shukla said that it is not only a setback for India but it is also a great loss for the music fraternity.

Janata Dal (United) General Secretary Prabhat Ranjan said the death of Pandit Ravi Shankar is a setback for India and recalled his immense contribution in popularising the Indian music around the world.

Shankar had introduced sitar to the Western world through his collaborations with The Beatles.

Echoing similar views, leader of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party, Jay Panda, said that Shankar was a national legend and an early exponent of what is today being called India's soft power.

He had also been nominated for the 2013 Grammys for his album "The Living Room Sessions Part 1" and was pitted against his daughter Anoushka in the same category.

He lived in both India and the United States. He is also survived by his daughter, Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, three grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that Shankar brought fame to the country and was an inspiration for the millions of youth.

"I do not have words to express. It is like we have lost our country's soul. Ravi Shankar brought fame to the country and I feel that he was like a sun of the music world. The sun has set now. There will now be no other Ravi Shankar," said Raut.

Shankar performed his last concert with his daughter Anoushka Shankar on November 04 in Long Beach, California.

Shankar is credited with popularising Indian music through his work with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and The Beatles in the late 1960s. (ANI)

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