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Annapurna Devi: Facts about Women

Annapurna Devi: Facts about Women

Sentinel Digital Desk

Annapurna Devi

There is a mystique that surrounds Annapurna Devi—unprecedented in the era of celebrity musicians—that makes her practically unknowable to music lovers. With her death in Mumbai on 13 October, at the age of 91, the reclusive and legendary guru of Indian classical music has exited her never-quite centre stage with the same quietness and devotion with which she once occupied it.

Reclusive celebrities are a writer's obsession. They do not give interviews (author J.D. Salinger, who died in 2010, gave his last interview in 1980), they don't go shopping or do any of those things that other celebrities do in the public gaze. To the curious outsider, everything about sitar maestro Ravi Shankar's first wife appears to be tragic. It's as if this great practitioner of the surbahar—a rare instrument, played in dhrupad style—knew her role was to withdraw from the public domain once her complete mastery over her music had been established, acknowledged, and duly celebrated.

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