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Pandit Ravi Shankar was Indian culture's global ambassador: Sitarist Purbayan

Pandit Ravi Shankar  was Indian culture's global ambassador: Sitarist Purbayan

Pandit Ravi Shankar: Indian classical music's greatest ambassador to the world

Purbayan has performed all over the world and his music has been appreciated by jazz artists Chick Corea, Bela Fleck, and Pat Metheny. He has performed several times with Ustad Zakir Hussain. A disciple of the Maihar Gharana, the school that Pandit Ravi Shankar also came from, he interacted with IBNLive readers on the sitar maestro's role in taking Indian classical music to a global audience.

Q. The strings of George Harrison and Ravishankar gave pleasant hearing feast. In this fusion was any traditional sanctity compromised? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The greatness of Pt Ravishankar was that he never compromised the sanctity of the raga. Whenever he collaborated with any musician he was conscious that he stood for Indian Classical Music and respected the parameters of our music.

Q. The Sitar maestro's demise is a loss to the traditional Music school. Has he developed a successor to carry forward his tradition? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I think there are several musicians today who carry forward Pt Ravishankar's legacy among them his daughter Anoushka. I am sure that we will all try to take the great work he did forward.

Q. Sitar maestro's role in taking Indian classical music to a global audience? Asked by: Smita

A. Pt Ravishankar was a global ambassador of Indian culture like nobody else was. He redefined the reach of Indian Music. He carved a path which is being followed by all of us today. His life is a celebration of how much one person can achieve in a lifetime.

Q. How will history remember him? Asked by: Sasi

A. I think Pt Ravishankar place transcends that of a musician. He will be remembered as a global icon for Indian Music, philosophy and culture. He took India to the world.

Q. What role did his music play in your development as a musician? Asked by: anand

A. I, like all other students of Indian classical music followed his music and philosophy closely. The current format of Alap Jod Jhala followed by Gats is his making and I think I most closely observed his mode of presentation both on stage and off it. The way he spoke about music and the way he could meticulously look after everything from attire to backdrop, makes him a role model for everybody.

Q. Has there been a greater "phenomenon" in India classical music than Pandit Ravi Shankar. If yes, who would you choose? Asked by: Isha

A. Comparisons are odious but I think Ustad Zakir Hussain is the other iconic Indian classical musician. In this generation it is our responsibility to achieve a revival and renaissance of Indian classical music and make it a greater "phenomenon" than ever.

Q. He had somewhat controversial beginnings in the sense that a lot of people say he deliberately kept his wife Annapurna Devi away as she was way better. Any comments? Asked by: Abhishek Bhaduri

A. I don't believe that anybody can keep anybody away. I think personal equations are best kept personal. I think anybody who is in the public domain is always under a great deal of pressure because our private lives are always under the scanner.

Q. You mentioned Ustad Zakir Hussain but did not mention Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. I find it a bit strange as he is widely held as the most impactful Indian musician by many including Yehudi Mehunin. Asked by: Naushad

A. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was a musician's musician. He is my Guru and I think he was one of the greatest musicians ever. When I meant phenomenon I meant somebody who was able to showcase music to a world audience. Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib did so too....but I think Ustad Zakir Hussain after Pt Ravi Shankar redefined the reach of our music.

Q. Take the taking Indian music to the world out, Whom do you appreciate most as a sitarist? Pt Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan or Pt Nikhil Banerjee? Asked by: Alokesh Sharma

A. Pt Nikhil Banerjee is my idol as an all round musician. Ustad Vilayat Khan is my idol as far as his technique went and Pt. Ravishankar is one of the greatest conceptualizers and presenters ever. Pt Nikhil Banerjee came almost one generation after the other two legends and synthesized the best elements of both.