Some of the interesting trivia about the life of the sitar virtuoso, Pandit Ravi Shankar

The legend who popularized Hindustani classical music and sitar worldwide and was popularly known as “The Godfather of the world music”.

A trailblazer, who dedicated his whole life to music and sitar, Pandit Ravi Shankar was a legend in his own right. The ace sitar player and the music composer who influenced musicians all over. He was called Pandit, because of his artistic endeavours and for being an inspiration for sitar players worldwide. Here are some of the interesting trivia about the life of Pandit Ravi Shankar.

  1. Pandit Ravi Shankar was born as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury.
  2. He started his career as a dancer in his brother’s dance group. He spent most of his youth travelling and touring Europe and India.
  3. He left dancing for the love of sitar at the age of 18. He went to Maihar and started learning sitar under the tutelage of legendary musician Allauddin Khan, following the ancient gurukul system.
  4. He not only learned sitar but also understood the nuances of musical styles such as dhrupad, khayal, dhamar. He also learned the techniques of other string instruments such as Rudra Veena, Rubab, Surbahar and Sursingar.
  5. He married his teacher’s only daughter Annapurna Devi, who was an ace musician herself. The Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan starrer ”Abhimaan” is said to loosely based on the married life of Pandit Ji and Annapurna Devi.
  6. The patriotic song ”Saare Jahan Se Accha” written by Mohammad Iqbal was retuned by Pandit Ravi Shankar.
  7. When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, Pandit Ravi Shankar was asked to play mournful music by all India Radio. He made music from three notes “Ga”,” Ni”, “Dha”, inspired by the name “Gandhi”. He called this raga “Mohankauns”.
  8. He was also a genius music composer and composed soundtrack for many films such as “Gandhi”, “Apu trilogy”, “Meera”.
  9. He inspired George Harrison from the world-famous band “The Beatles” to learn sitar. George Harrison flew to India to learn from the master himself.
  10. He has won five Grammy awards, two of which were won by him posthumously.
  11. His daughters Anoushka Shankar and Norah Jones are also a talented musician. Norah Jones has been awarded Grammy six times whereas Anoushka Shankar is nominated Six times.
  12. He has won all three highest Indian civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan in 1967, the Padma Vibushan in 1981, and Bharat Ratna in 1999.

Though Pandit Ji passed away in 2012, he left behind a vast legacy of his incomparable music which would shine on and inspire the generations to come.

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