Says the legendary musician shapes the lives of many of his disciples

Mohan Veena maestro and Grammy Award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt has paid rich tributes to legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar, who passed away in San Diego, California, on Tuesday. Pandit Bhatt described him as a fatherly figure who had helped shape the lives of a large number of his disciples.

“He used to describe me as the best among his disciples. He had a great affection for me and my family and he was proud of the fact that all of my family members are musicians,” Pandit Bhatt told The Hindu at his residence here. Whenever the two musicians were together during foreign visits, Ravi Shankar took care of Pandit Bhatt, asking about meals and other essentials.

Ravi Shankar last spoke to Pandit Bhatt from San Diego barely a week ago when he was being shifted to the hospital following a breathing problem. “He asked in detail about my new compositions on Mohan Veena and also enquired about my son Salil and grandson Satvik, both of whom are engaged in musical pursuits. He gave his blessings to the entire family,” said Pandit Bhatt.

Ravi Shankar probably wanted to speak to all of those whom he considered close to him. “I asked him not to strain himself and take care of his health. I never knew this would turn out to be our last conversation,” said Pandit Bhatt.

Ravi Shankar had visited Jaipur twice earlier and spent some time with the Bhatt family at their Bapu Nagar house.

He liked Jaipur

At the Pandit Manmohan Bhatt Smriti Samaroh organised here in memory of Pandit Bhatt’s father, Ravi Shankar was honoured twice, in 1991 and 1996. “He liked the quiet atmosphere in Jaipur and was pleased to be in the Pink City. He was curious to know about the rich history of the erstwhile princely state of Jaipur.”

“Calm and serene”

Pandit Bhatt said he had travelled with Ravi Shankar to countries such as the then USSR, Britain, Germany, Canada, France and the U.S. and thoroughly enjoyed his companionship. “He was a great human being... always calm and serene. I never heard him talking in an unpleasant manner with anyone.”