Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed sadness over the demise of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi
Shankar, saying the "unsurpassable genius" was the country's one of the "most effective cultural ambassadors across the world".
"An era has passed away with Pandit Ravi Shankar. The nation joins me to pay tributes to his unsurpassable genius, his art and his humility," Singh said in his message.
He described Ravi Shankar as "a national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage."
Singh wrote a letter to the music icon's wife Sukanya, saying he joins the family in grieving the loss and extended his heartfelt condolences.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi
Shankar. India has lost an eminent son, the world of sitar has lost one of its ablest exponents ever and a shining light in the firmament of music has been extinguished," the Prime Minister wrote.
He said he considered it a personal privilege to have known Ravi Shankar and to have served together with him as a member of Rajya Sabha.
"It was difficult, often, to judge what was more remarkable – the man or his music. The nation was fortunate not only to be able to enjoy his music, but also to have him as one of its most effective cultural ambassadors across the world," Singh said.
He said the sitar maestro's "humanism, combined with his musical genius, helped him in building
cross-civilizational contacts that served the world of music and benefited humanity at large."
The Prime Minister said he was aware that it will be difficult to come to terms with this grievous loss and that words are scant consolation at such a time.
"I pray that Pandit Ravi Shankar's soul finds eternal peace and that you and your family members be granted the strength and fortitude to bear this loss," he said in his letter.