Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pandit Ravi Shankar : Oh Man, What A Life!

Robindro Shaunkor Chowdhury
(B. 1920)

The Young Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar posing as an old man along with his legendary brother Uday Shankar in a Bhil Dance (1937)

He moves on the stage like a semi-divine being. Believe me, there are still some beautiful things left in this world..

~ James Joyce on Uday Shankar

My dada (Uday Shankar) was the first one to direct my attention towards stagecraft, showmanship, manners and discipline on the stage. And yes, his insatiable passion for women and sex influenced me greatly in my life too!

~ Ravi Shankar, in his autobiography, Raga Mala

Baba always said that music is not meant for commercial purpose. Music is like worshipping, and through music you worship God. However, like many other people's, mine is an imperfect quest... We can never count on quite getting there..

~ Ravi Shankar, in his autobiography, Raga Mala

Without Ravi, I would have ended up a boring old fart. Some people may still say I'm a boring old fart, but atleast my life was enhanced and given much more depth..

~ George Harrison

Norah Jones (b.1979) with her sister 
Anoushka Shankar Wright (b.1982)

I remember when I found out that John Coltrane had come to my Dad once to study... That impressed me at the time, more than the George Harrison thing just because I was such a jazz nerd.

~ Norah Jones

I felt I could be in love with different women in diferent places. It was like having a girl in every port - and sometimes there was more than one!

~ Ravi Shankar, in his autobiography, Raga Mala

My love life now evokes in me is a mixed feeling, you know. I am grateful for everything that I got, but I had to pay for it with pain and torture. Many of my lady loves are now dead and gone. A couple of them I still meet and try and be friendly with. With some, of course, things are not good..

~ Ravi Shankar

Her instant reaction was one of shock heart wrenching loss. But soon it gave way to tears. I let her sob hard in the hope that it would offer her natural catharsis..

~ Rooshi Kumar Pandya, present husband of the 83 year old Annapurna Devi, one among the estranged wives of Ravi Shankar

He was 58 when we got married and told me he couldn't change. I realised I was too much in love... I really couldn't care. Even if he gave me a few days in a year, I was fine. That experience would help me tide over a whole year. He was a gypsy. I wanted to give him the home he never had.. 

~ Sukanya Shankar

When I am gone, don't wait too long to be born again for me..

~ Ravi Shankar to Shukanya Shankar


  1. Excellent and thought provoking collection of photographs and sundry quotes. Potentialities of a man are infinite. This is a theoritical statement. But Pandit Ravi Shankar has put it into practice. Hats off to him.

  2. red earth and pouring rainJanuary 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    very touching. read the rare interview of Annapurna devi, for different take.