President Pranab Mukherjee today gave away the first annual Tagore award for cultural harmony to late Pandit Ravi Shankar, which was received by the sitar maestro's wife Sukanya Shankar.
The 92-year-old musical legend passed away on December 11, last year at a hospital in the US.
Remembering him, the President said his passing away from our midst has been a great loss to India and the world.
"His legacy, however, lives on and would continue to illuminate the world of music. With the conferment of the first Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony, we pay a tribute to late Pandit Ravi Shankar for his enormous contribution to cultural harmony," he said.
The award, which carries a citation, plaque and cash prize of Rs one crore, was instituted as part of the commemoration of 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and to promote values of universal brotherhood.
An emotional Sukanya, who was accompanied by her daughter and sitar player Anoushka Shankar, thanked members of the jury and all fans for the award to her late husband.
The President said Ravi Shankar was India's most esteemed musical ambassador and a singular phenomenon in the world of classical music. "As a composer, performer, teacher and writer, he rendered invaluable service to Indian music and culture," he said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was also present during the ceremony along with Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma
Swaraj, in his address expressed "deep sadness" that the first recipient of the award was no more.
"It is therefore in someway a bittersweet occasion as we recall and celebrate the life of a great son of our country," he said.
Praising the sitar maestro, Singh said he was also an outstanding cultural ambassador for India.
"He took the music of India to the world and brought a whole new world of music to our country. He personified 'East meets West' in musical terms and therefore I would go so far as to call him an ambassador of music itself," he said.
Ravi Shankarji's 'Festival of India' and Concert for Bangladesh' albums enthralled music lovers all over the world.
"It is only fitting that the first ever Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony is being conferred on Pandit Ravi Shankar. The Award is intended to recognise great men and women who through their works in any field of art have enriched the greatness of Indian culture and promoted values of universal brotherhood," he said.
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.