Today is the 96th Birthday of Sri Ravi Shankar. Perhaps one of the finest Indian Musician of all time. He not only represented India and it’s music all over the world but he was successful enough to build a musical bridge between the East and the West. Even though he’s not a household name in the Western hemisphere but those who pays serious attention to the World music, may have heard about this legendary musician.
Ravi Shankar playing Sitar.
Born to a Bengali family, Shankarji initially started learning Dance. However, soon he gave up his dancing career and started learning Sitar from Allauddin Khan, yet another great master of Indian Classical Music. Mr. Shankar’s father Shyam Shankar Chowdhury, hails from East Bengal which is currently a sovereign state Bangladesh.
Coming from a Bengali family (Bangladesh) myself, I was bound to get to know about Shankarji. If I am not wrong, most probably it was my Dad who told me about Shankarji and the great Concert for Bangladesh of 1971. Perhaps that is one of the most important reason why almost every single educated Bangladeshi individual knows him and remembers him with great respect. He became more like a “must know” individual for us. Despite the fact that Shankarji was an Indian by birth, it never made me feel that he’s someone from another country rather he was one of us, a Bengali.
Shankarji won so many awards in his lifetime that it’s almost impossible to mention all of them over here within a very limited scope. Notable ones are Bharat Ratna (1999), Grammy Award (1967, 1973, 2002, 2013), Ramon Magsaysay Award (1992) and so on. Today, Google honored this legend with a Doodle on their home page which shows a Sitar.
Here is a little video clip of Shankarji playing Raga Khamaj back in 1997. If you enjoy instrumental music, you might like this one as well. Feel free search with his name on YouTube and you will get what you need.
It’s been quite sometime since Shankarji left (Dec 11, 2012) us. Even though physically he is not with us anymore, Shankarji and his works will live forever and would always be with us, close to our heart. Happy Birthday Pandit Ravi Shankar.