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Pt. Ravi Shankar

Pt. Ravi Shankar

Pt. Ravi Shankar is the famous 'sitar' player and composer from India. He is considered as the master of contemporary Indian music and classical singing.

Personal Profile (Personal Biography)

  • - Original Name: Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury
  • - Date of Birth: 7 April 1920
  • - Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • - Birth Place: Varanasi, United Provinces, British Raj
  • - Religion: Hindu
  • - Marital Status: Married

Family Background

  • - Father's Name: Shyam Shankar
  • - Mother's Name: Hemangini Devi
  • - Brother : Taufiq Qureshi and Fazal Qureshi
  • - Wife : Annapurna Devi (Separated), Kamala Shastri (Relationship), Sue Jones (Relationship), Sukanya Rajan
  • - Son : Shubhendra Shankar
  • - Daughters : Norah Jones, Anoushka Shankar

Interesting Facts About Pandit Ravi Shankar

  • - Pt. Ravi Shankar served as music director of All India Radio, New Delhi from 1949 to 1956.
  • - He holds the honor to serve as a nominated member of the upper chamber of the Indian Parliament from 1986 to 1992.
  • - At the age of ten Shankar went to Paris with the dance group of his brother.
  • - Pt. Ravi Shankar studied Indian classical music from Allauddin Khan, living with his family in the traditional gurukul system.
  • - Shankar visited the White House on invitation of John Gardner Ford, son of U.S. President Gerald Ford.
  • - Shankar recomposed the music for the popular song "Sare Jahan Se Achcha" at the age of 25.
  • - Famous english musician George Harrison of 'The Beatles' study sitar under Shankar in Srinagar.
  • - Shankar opened the Kinnara School of Music in Los Angeles, California, in May 1967.
  • - Shankar underwent an angioplasty in 1992 due to heart problems.


After the compilation of his training in Indian classical music, Pt. Ravi Shankar moved to Mumbai and composed music for ballets in the name of Indian People's Theatre Association. After this he began to record music for HMV India and worked as a music director for All India Radio (AIR), New Delhi, from February 1949 to January 1956. Shankar also composed for the Indian National Orchestra. In the mid-1950s he composed the music for the 'Apu Trilogy' by Satyajit Ray, which bought him recognition at international level. Shankar performed as part of a cultural delegation in the Soviet Union in 1954 after which he was invited by western violinist Yehudi Menuhin to perform in New York City. But he declined the offer due to personal problems.

In 1956 Pt. Ravi Shankar toured United Kingdom, Germany and United States where he played and preached Indian classical music on world scale. He recorded his first LP album Three Ragas in London, released in 1956. In 1958, Shankar participated in the tenth anniversary celebrations of the United Nations and UNESCO music festival in Paris. He became the first Indian to compose music for non-Indian films.

Shankar became chair of the department of Indian music of the California Institute of the Arts in 1970. Shankar's album from the Concert for Bangladesh became one of the best-selling recordings featuring it and won Shankar a second Grammy. During the 1970s, Shankar worked with Harrison recording 'Shankar Family and Friends' and touring North America. [33] He collaborated with contemporary composer Philip Glass to release an album 'Passages' in 1990.

Awards and Honors

  • - Sangeet Natak Akademi Award - 1962.
  • - Padma Bhushan - in 1967.
  • - Padma Vibhushan - 1981.
  • - Bharat Ratna - 1999.
  • - Music award of the UNESCO International Music Council in 1975.
  • - Three Grammy Awards.
  • - Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 1991.
  • - IRamon Magsaysay Award in 1992.
  • - Polar Music Prize in 1998
  • - Shankar is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters./Li>
  • - Shankar received the Praemium Imperiale for music from the Japan Art Association./Li>
  • - Shankar holds honorary degrees from universities in India and the United States.