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Annapurna Devi (Roshanara Khan) was born on 16 April 1927 at Maihar, Madhya Pradesh. She was the daughter of Ustad Alauddin Khan and Madanmanjari Devi, a legendary Sitar and Surbahar player. Her father worked as a musician under Maharaja Brijnath Singh (who named khan’s daughter as Annapurna Devi). Her father was the founder of “Senia Maihar School” of Hindustani Classical Music. She married Ravi Shankar, a sitar maestro in 1941.They have a son, Shubhendra Shankar who was also a musician. In 1962 Annarpurna Devi divorced her husband and stopped performing public programs. Later in 1982, she married Rooshikumar Pandya (Her Student). Apart from music, she was a good housewife.
As a woman, she wakes up early and does all house chores even if she is sick. Ali Akbar Khan, the brother of Annapurna, was a legendary sarod maestro, who was considered as a “National Living Treasure” in India and the USA. Some of her disciples who gave fame to her are Hariprasad Chaurasia, Nikhil Banerjee, Amit Bhattacharya and Sasawatti Saha. Annapurna Devi was born with natural talent. She quickly became a very accomplished Surbahar Player, from her father's guidance and knowledge. She began taking classes and guiding many of her father’s disciples in classical music as well as in techniques and methods of instrumental performances. Many of his disciples have been trained by her in various instruments.
Some of the notable disciples Aashish Khan Debsharma – Sarod maestro, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Nityanand Haldipur – Renowned flutists, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee and Sasawatti Saha – Sitarists. List of some more students include: Sitar – Leena Vaze, Amit Hiren Roy, Sandhya Apte. Sarode – State Dey, Uma Guha, Shyamal Sen. Milind Sheorey (Flute) and Kokila Rai (Surbahar). They all carry-on an inheritance of Annapurna’s and Alauddin Khan’s, music through their performance. She is also a key figure of the association, Acharya Alauddin Music Circle (Association brought in the memory of late Alauddin Khan) to promote Indian classical music, in Mumbai.
She was highly respected in Indian classical music for her talent in all fields of music and, her traditional “dhrupad” approach to music. In 1977, she was honored with the Padma Bhushan Award. In 1991, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 1999, she was awarded, the Deshikottam, an Honorary Doctorate by Nobel laureate. Again in 2004, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by Indian Government. The Most interesting fact however is, that she has never recorded her music albums.
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