Google’s Tribute to Pt Ravi Shankar – The Beatles’ Sitar Man
Sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar turns 96 today.
He introduced the sitar to the world, even to The Beatles. Google
rings in the 96th birthday of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar through
a doodle dedicated to him. The illustration done by artist Kevin Laughlin features
the kind of sitar Pandit Ravi Shankar usually played.
Apart from India, internet browsers in Indonesia, Japan, USA, Britain, Sweden and several other European countries can view this doodle.
Other High Points:
- Pandit Ravi Shankar made his film debut when he was only 26
for Chetan Anand’s first film as director, Neecha Nagar (1946).
- During his stint at the All India Radio, he founded the
Indian National Orchestra
- The rendition of Saare Jahan Se Achha that we hear today was given by him
- He composed music for Satyajit Ray’s debut
film Pather Panchali (1955)
Born in Benares as Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury, Ravi Shankar
was taught the nuances of classical music under the guidance of sharod and
multi-instrumentalist Ustad Allauddin Khan. He eventually married Khan’s
daughter, another sitar exponent Annapurna Devi.
Ravi Shankar’s association with The Beatles began when its lead guitarist George Harrison started learning Sitar from the former’s disciple Shambhu Das.
However, once Harrison visited India it catapulted Ravi Shankar to
a celebrity status which the sitarist did not clearly approve of.
Then what happened was that I became a pop star all of a sudden. All young people, bearded, long hair, wearing beads and not normal would behave like Naga sanyasis [cannabis-smoking holy men] if they were permitted. And I was not happy at all. I would tell George, ‘What have you done?”Pandit Ravi Shankar, Sitar Maestro
Ravi Shankar eventually distanced himself from the hippie
culture (of which he never was a part of anyway) but his friendship with
On the personal front, the maestro had a rather colourful
life – two wives, one companion and three children through those – daughters Anoushka
Shankar, Norah Jones and son Subhendra Shankar (who died prematurely in 1992 of
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