Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar

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Category: Music

Ravi Shankar Profile

  • Name:
  • Ravi Shankar
  • Other Name:
  • Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury
  • Born:
  • April 7, 1920
  • Died:
  • December 12, 2012
  • Father:
  • Shyam Shankar
  • Mother:
  • Hemangini Devi
  • Spouse:
  • Sukanya Rajan
  • Awards:
  • Bharat Ratna (1999)

Ravi Shankar Biography

Ravi Shankar was an Indian musician who is often called as Pandit. He was a famous sitar player. He was born on 7th April 1920 in Varanasi in a Brahmin family as the youngest of seven brothers. His birth name was Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury. His father was Shyam Shankar and mother was Hemangini Devi.


When Ravi Shankar was just ten years old, he went to Paris with a dance group of his brother Uday Shankar. He learned French, western classical music and jazz. He took Allauddin Khan the leading musician together with him to the European tour and he trained Ravi Shankar to become a serious musician. In 1941 he married Annapurna Devi, daughter of Allauddin Khan and has one son Shubhendra Shankar. He separated from Annapurna after few years and had relationship with Kamala Shastri who was a dancer. He had an affair with Sue Jones and Norah Jones was born to him in 1979. He has one daughter Anoushka Shankar through Sukanya Rajan. He separated from Kamala Shastri in 1981 and lived with Sue Jones. In 1989 he married Sukanya Rajan.


In 1956 he toured Europe and America and played Indian classical music there. He recomposed the music for the song Sare Jahan Se Achcha. In 1970 he became the Chairman of the Department of Indian music of the California Institute of the Arts after teaching at the City College of New York, University of California, Los Angeles and Ali Akbar College of Music.


He worked with Harrison and undertook world tour in 1970s and 1980s. His band visited White House invited by John Gardner Ford who was the son of the then US President Gerald Ford. He worked with the composer Philip Glass and released an album named Passages in 1990.


He won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Prize at the 1957 Berlin International Film Festival for composing music for the movie Kabuliwala. He received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1962 and Padma Bhushan in 1967, Padma Vibhushan in 1981 and Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1992. He was nominated for Rajya Sabha, upper chamber of the Parliament of India in 1986. He received the highest civilian award of India Bharat Ratna in 1999 and has received three Grammy Awards.


He lived with his wife at Encinitas at California during the last few years of his life. He was admitted at Scripps Memorial Hospital at San Deigo and underwent a surgery. He did not recover from it fully and died on 12th December 2012.

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Updated: December 26, 2015

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