Legendary musician Annapurna Devi passed away at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai on 13 October 2018. She passed away at 3.51 am. She was suffering from age-related issues for the past few years, said hospital officials.
Annapurna Devi, 91, was an Indian surbahar player of Hindustani classical music and she was the daughter and disciple of the music maestro Baba Allauddin Khan. She was the youngest of Khan's four children. Her brother Ali Akbar Khan is also a legendary sitar player.
Born in 1927, in the erstwhile princely state of Maihar (now in Madhya Pradesh) — where her father was the royal court musician to Maharaja Brijnath Singh — Annapurna was a child prodigy who, like her father, developed an instant knack for any musical instrument and attained a virtuoso stature. However, her skill at playing string instruments, especially the sitar and surbahar (a rare string instrument) were unparalleled.
In 1941, she was married to her father's student and renowned sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. They divorced after nearly 20 years of marriage in 1962. Since then, she resolved never to play any instrument in public or give any performances; she became a recluse. She lost her son Shubhendra Shankar — from her marriage with Ravi Shankar — in 1992.
Despite being away from the limelight for decades, she had been schooling a number of master musicians — belonging to different musical instruments genre — who have made their mark in their respective field. Aashish Khan (Sarod), Amit Bhattacharya (Sarod), Bahadur Khan (Sarod), Hariprasad Chaurasia (Bansuri), Nikhil Banerjee (Sitar) are among some of her most well-known students.
Following the news of her demise, both the President of India Ramnath Kovind and the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu expressed their condolences:
Sorry to hear of the passing of classical musician and surbahar exponent Annapurna Devi. A legatee of her father and guru Baba Allaudin Khan, she was a rare talent and a generous teacher. Her life will always serve as a poignant inspiration for women artistes #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) October 13, 2018
Saddened by the passing away of legendary Hindustani Classical Musician, Annapurna Devi. She left a rich legacy & her death is a great loss to world of music. #AnnapurnaDevi pic.twitter.com/DnAdj0WL0j
— VicePresidentOfIndia (@VPSecretariat) October 13, 2018
— With inputs from Press Trust of India
Updated Date: Oct 13, 2018 13:13 PM