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A genius who delighted the world with his ethereal music: Pranab

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A national treasure and a global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage: PM

At a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1971 for the benefitof Bangladeshi refugees.— fILE Photo: AP
At a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1971 for the benefitof Bangladeshi refugees.— fILE Photo: AP

Leaders and artists across the spectrum mourned the demise of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar with President Pranab Mukherjee describing him as a genius who delighted India and the world with his ethereal music.

“He became a global icon of music, art and culture. Panditji’s passing away has left a void in the field of music which will be difficult to fill,” Mr. Mukherjee said in his message to the music icon’s wife Sukanya.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a national treasure and a global ambassador of India’s cultural heritage.

“An era has passed away with Pandit Ravi Shankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility,” Dr. Singh said.

As news of the sitar maestro breathing his last came in from California, messages started pouring in, with melody queen Lata Mangeshkar and top musicians Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia condoling his death.

Ms. Mangeshkar said “he was a worshipper of Lord Krishna and was like the lord for us. We used to talk about everything. The classical sun of India has set and a darkness has come over. There is no artist who spread Indian music this rapidly across the world. He was unique and was a blessed soul.”

In his message to the sitar icon’s wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka, Santoor player Shivkumar Sharma said: “It’s a loss for the whole world. He was a global musician. Musicians like him are rarely born. I am very fortunate that I know him from half a century.”

Flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia remembered the times he performed with Shankar at concerts. “I started crying when I heard the news. I am still learning music under Annapurna Devi, who was Shankar’s first wife. I was also associated with Allauddin Khan, who taught Shankar as well. I used to work with him in the film industry and outside. We did 55 concerts together. I remember each and every moment spent with him. I learnt so much from him also. His hard work and love for Indian culture have made him a legendary musician,” Mr. Chaurasia said. — PTI


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