15 DECEMBER 2012


He was perhaps the master world musician of the 20th century. His rhythmic melodic rendering of his great Indian culture blended with his unfettered zeal for made its remarkable unique impact as he reached out to outstanding musicians of other cultures. As he held joint concerts with the most prominent classical and pop artists, he instinctively and inspiringly preserved and represented his authentic roots. Whether at the United Nations in New York with Yehudi Menuhin, in London with the Rolling Stones, with Beatle George Harrison, in Paris with Jean Pierre Rampalnthe Indian Virtuoso could never be confused with anyone else. There was no mistaking Ravi Shankar.

India is beyond doubt a United Nations country. In addition to its outstanding political representation since Premier Nehru and his daughter Indira Ghandi, it offered dedicated and talented Secretariat international civil servants starting with the formidable C.V. Narasimhan. Despite endless demanding work, U Thant's Chef de Cabinet found time to introduce colleagues to his country's tunes and offer Ravi Shankar a welcoming podium. A special concert for Bangladesh in 1971 at Madison Square Garden, with an all-star cast helped thrust him onto the world stage. With him was the most enchanting Tabla player Ali Rakha and Sarodmaster Ali Akbar Khan. It signaled the beginning of "East meets West" series around world capitals. A label was started later with that name in India, he was designated a member of Rajya Sabha, the Upper House Of Parliament.

The great Ravi Shankar passed away on 12 December while on a visit to San Diego, California. Two of his daughters followed in his footsteps though with their own identity and style. Singer Norah Jones, born in 1979, from a marriage with concert producer Sue Jones. Another daughter from a marriage to Sukanya Rajan, was born in 1981. Ms. Shankar is already an accomplished Sitar player.