Happy Centenary Birthday to our beloved Guruji
This year, as millions around a pandemic-stricken globe seek solace and peace, we remember and celebrate our beloved Guruji, Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi Shankar, who did more than any artist to awaken the world to the beauty and balm of classical Indian music.
Guruji, who would have turned 100 years old this year, holds a very special place in my heart and the hearts of San Diego’s rasikas. He chose to make San Diego his home and was one of IFAASD’s greatest champions. Guruji was eager to embrace the newest generation of performers bringing Indian fine arts to the West. In his later years, Guruji avidly attended Hindustani and Carnatic concerts in San Diego, making our city a coveted venue for the highest caliber musicians seeking an audience with a living legend.
To the global music community, Guruji is fondly remembered as India’s foremost cultural ambassador of the 20th century. With charisma and inimitable charm, Guruji carried Indian classical music to every corner of the world, offering a positive view of rich Indian culture to combat the often-cynical stereotypes of the subcontinent. His diverse musical collaborations - from western classical to rock - defied convention and were perhaps more effective than traditional diplomacy in the powerful way in which those fusions drew cultures together.
To me, and those who were lucky enough to know him personally, Guruji is missed most dearly for his kind nature, his irrepressible curiosity, his uncanny knack for telling jokes, and his attentiveness to his family and friends. When I think of him, I think of our conversations and our mutual love for Indian music, culture, and food that refuses to waiver despite living away from India for so many years. I think of him with gratitude for the support he showered on IFAASD and on me and my family, and for the innumerable gifts that he bestowed on rasikas everywhere.
I hope you and your family members are safe. Our prayers for the current pandemic to end soon.
Secretary, Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego
© 2020 Indian Fine Arts Academy of San Diego