Born: April 7, 1920
Achievement: Made a major contribution in popularizing Indian
classical music in the West; Recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Magsaysay
Award, AND two Grammy Awards.
Ravi Shankar is a legendary sitar player and one of India's most
esteemed classical musicians. Pandit Ravi Shankar has made a major
contribution in popularizing Indian classical music in the West through
his association with The Beatles (especially George Harrison).
Pandit Ravi Shankar was born on April 7, 1920 at Varanasi, India. His
elder brother Uday Shankar was a famous Indian classical dancer. In his
early years Ravi Shankar joined his elder brother, Uday Shankar and his
troupe and went to Paris in 1930 to experiment with the stage by playing
small roles in ballets for the next three years.
1938, Ravi Shankar gave up a possible dance career and started learning
sitar under Allauddin Khan, founder of the Maihar Gharana of Indian
classical music. Ravi Shankar's formal training ended in 1944.
Thereafter, Pandit Ravi Shankar joined the IPTA and composed music for
several ballets, started Renaissance artistes in 1947 and was in charge
of Vadya Vrinda at the All India Radio in 1949. Ravi Shankar first
performed outside India in the Soviet Union in 1954. He also performed
at major events such as the Edinburgh Festival as well as major venues
such as Royal Festival Hall. In 1960s, Ravi Shankar's fusion with George
Harrison, a member of The Beatles became very popular in the US and
helped in popularizing Indian classical music in the West.
Pandit Ravi Shankar has won several honours and awards. These include:
Padma Vibhushan, Magsaysay Award, two Grammy Awards, Fukuoka Grand Prize
from Japan, and the Crystal Award from Davos. In 1999, Ravi Shankar was
awarded with Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour. He was also
a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of
Parliament, from 1986 to 1992.