In 2010, I went to Raviji to share my dream of reconstructing the ‘ Concert for Bangladesh 71’ by George Harrison and friends in Bangladesh to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence. I told him I wished to stage a big concert in Dhaka to reflect the spirit of that concert and use the voice of music to draw attention to climate change. He patiently listed and pondered – there was an excitement in his eyes but his wisdom prevailed and he quietly gave me some advise which I heard and respected. When I then wrote to him a few months later to let him know that instead we were staging the first ever ‘ Dhaka World Music Festival’ – he sent me blessings which once again spoke of his deep belief that the voice of music transcends all geographical barriers and it is a powerful voice of unity. I realised also at the time that he has a real soft corner for Bangladesh and that it was sad that his role in the ‘Recognition of Bangladesh’ by the ordinary people of the world was never recognised and honoured as it should have been…. 40 years had gone by.
In 2011, Channel i, one of the largest TV Channels in Bangladesh approached me in London to see if Raviji could be present at one of their mega celebrations being staged at the Jamuna Bridge with the Jamuna river as a backdrop. Sounded amazing, but I told them that in view of Ravij’s age and ailing health it would be impossible to do that ,even though they were ready to make best possible travel arrangements. The alternative suggested was for Channel i to perhaps relay a message from him on the day.. They agreed and said they would arrange for their crew from New York to go to San Diego to record Raviji’s message which would be transmitted onto three big screens to reach the thousands in the audience. I took the proposal to Raviji – we had 3 days to do something. His response was surprising. He said it would be superfluous and costly for a team to fly all the way from New York and added that he had his own recording crew , so he would do a video recording and with mordern technology now available Channel i would get it well in time to transmit it on screen. It was done and delivered as promised in two days! Raviji was a very special human being – his positive mind and forward thinking was exemplary…….. and these recent instances I recollect only reflects that .
One could go remembering so much more – the small dinners at my home when he wanted Maach Bhat . He always insisted that we keep it small and contained within the family so we could all meaningfully interact. There were other festive gatherings when he would delight us all with his stories or his views on a political situation or share encouraging and generous words on other up and coming musicians…….and so much more.
Today – the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year of the 21st century we have lost a Sitar maestro, a guru, a legendary figure in the world of music, a dear friend, a well wisher and a very special human being who so many in the world so loved and will so miss.
Message from Sukanya
I am not able to write to all of you myself as my grief is overpowering. Although this is a sad time I wanted to thank you for your kind words and let you know that I am overwhelmed by all of the love and support of my friends and family and I am so grateful for this as everyday passes.
Below are the details of the Memorial for Pandit Ravi Shankar are as follows, please do attend if you are able:
We writing to inform you of a memorial service for Pandit Ravi Shankar. The family would love to share this moment with you and to celebrate his amazing life and legacy.
We understand that time and distance may be an issue for many of you. Rest assured another memorial will be held in India in January, and we will update you with those details as they are finalized.
Day: Thursday, December 20th
Location: Self Realization Fellowship, on the corner of Highway 101 & K Street, Encinitas, CA. Please enter through the main tower.
RSVP: Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and number of attendees
***Please arrive between 9am & 9:30am to allow adequate time to find parking in the area.***
Please help us by sharing this with anyone you know should be present, as this is a moment for friends and family to celebrate the man we all knew and loved.
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