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Sitarist’s last sonata pulls heartstrings at home

- Dance and music aficionados all over state condole death of sitar maestro Ravi Shankar

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 12: Think sitar and the first name that comes to the mind is Pandit Ravi Shankar. As news of the death of the sitar maestro reached the state, the music and dance fraternity here were left speechless.

The grief-stricken artistes offered condolences to the Shankar family and said Ravi Shankar’s death was an incomparable loss to the world of music.

Ravi Shankar last performed in the state in the 1970s.

Eminent singer and musician Prafulla Kar said it was shocking to hear the news of his death. “There is no doubt that he belonged to the entire world as a musician. But he was the pride of India and rightly a Bharat Ratna. It is sad that we were not able to see him one last time,” said Kar. “He was extraordinarily humble. Meeting and interacting with him has always made me feel that he was a divine person. His work is a great contribution to the world of music,” he said.

“He was treasured by the whole world. His contribution to Indian classical music is immense,” said Odissi dancer Aruna Mohanty, whose Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav’s Wednesday edition began with paying condolences to the Shankar family.

Ratikant Mohapatra, son of Odissi legend the late Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, said his father and the sitar maestro had been close.

“In 1996, when my father visited USA for a performance, Ravi Shankarji had invited us to his house. He had also been our host a couple of times in Delhi," said Mohapatra. During a dance festival dedicated to Uday Shankar (Ravi Shankar’s iconic dancer brother) when the Odissi guru was the only artiste to begin the performance by offering a garland to his image, Ravi Shankar was deeply touched, reminisced Mohapatra. “He was a father figure to me,” he said.

“Ravi Shankarji made Indian classical music popular in all corners of the world. May his family have the strength to bear the loss,” said Laxmipriya Mohapatra, Kelucharan Mohapatra’s wife.

Legendary musician Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi and his family also condoled the musician’s death.

Well-known Odisha sitarist Ravi Shankar Pradhan, son of sitar exponent Bishnu Mohan Pradhan, said this loss to the music fraternity was unbearable.

“There will never be anyone as great when it comes to sitar. He inspired many to take up the sitar and, in fact, my father named me out of his respect for Ravi Shankarji. When father used to accompany Sanjukta Panigrahi on her dance tours, he had many chances to meet the legend. I am lucky to have met him during my tour to San Diego in 2000. I was nervous about coming face to face with such an iconic figure, but he was the most self-effacing person. He loved me and used to encourage me. His style of playing was unique. I knew about his operation last week and yet it is difficult to come to terms with the news of his death,” said Pradhan.