Today is the birth anniversary of great music maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar. Born on 7 April 1920 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Pandit Ravi Shankar joined the dance troupe of his brother, noted dancer Uday Shankar, in his early days. This dance troupe was the reason for Pandit Ravi Shankar's association with the sitar. Once upon a time, the famous sitar maestro Ustad Allauddin Khan also went on a tour of Europe with this troupe. Meanwhile, Ravi Shankar expressed his desire to learn sitar from the maestro.
Formal education in music for 8 years
The maestro clearly told him, 'You have to give up dancing to learn sitar. You will have to leave the dance troupe and live in Maihar for formal music education. Ravi Shankar agreed to his advice and came to Maihar for music education. He made his abode near the Ustad's hut and for the next 8 years took formal education in music. Ravi Shankar started his public performances in 1939. He started it with a jugalbandi with sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan.
Ravi Shankar moved to Mumbai in the year 1944 after completing his formal education. While living in Mumbai, he composed music for many Bollywood films. He composed music for many films, some of the well-known names being Richard Attenborough's 'Gandhi', Satyajit Ray's 'Appu Trilogy', Chetan Anand's 'Neecha Nagar', Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's 'Dharti Ke Lal', Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 'Anuradha', Gulzar's 'Meera', 'Godaan'.
According to the book 'Dhunon Ki Yatra' written by Pankaj Raga, Pandit Ravi Shankar composed the music of famous Pakistani poet Iqbal's historical composition, 'Saare Jahan Se Accha' at the age of 25. Satyajit Ray's famous film 'Pather Panchali' also has the tune of Ravi Shankar's sitar. His songs composed in films were not only linked to the soul of the music but were completely different from the common film music. Pandit Ravi Shankar won three times the most famous 'Grammy' award given in the world music world.
The book used to have two seats on the ship
Everyone knows that the sitar resided in the soul of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Pandit Ravi Shankar had a spiritual relationship with his sitar. There was such a deep bond between the two that whenever Pandit Ravi Shankar went anywhere in the world, two seats in the ship were booked for him. Both the seats are right next to each other. Pandit Ravi Shankar used to sit on one seat and Sur Shankar on the other. This Sur Shankar was actually Pandit ji's sitar, which was always with him everywhere.
Pandit Ravi Shankar was a great musician as well as personally a very loving person. He first married Annapurna Devi. Annapurna Devi was the daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar's teacher, Ustad Allauddin Khan. After this, he separated from Annapurna Devi and established a relationship with dancer Kamala Shastri. Later Sue Jones and Sukanya both came into his life in America. Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar are their daughters.
During his lifetime, Pandit Ravi Shankar also served for All India Radio. From 1949 to 1956, Pandit Ravi Shankar also did music direction for All India Radio. He also registered his presence in the country's biggest panchayat i.e. Parliament. He was also a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1986 to 1992. This great artist, belonging to the Banaras Gharana, was awarded the country's highest honor Bharat Ratna in the year 1999.