Annapurna Devi: The Untold Story of a Reclusive Genius – Atul Merchant Jataayu
Foreword by Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia
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Legendary musician Annapurna Devi’s life has been shrouded in mystery. Daughter of the unparalleled Ut. Allauddin Khan of Maihar, sister of Swar Samrāt Ut. Ali Akbar Khan and the estranged wife of Pt Ravi Shankar, she had conquered the summit of Indian classical music. However, following a failed attempt to save her marriage, she renounced public life and spent her days as a recluse.
Until the age of sixteen, Annapurna Devi was confined to her family home at Maihar, where her father was a court musician and guru to the maharaja. During these years, she devoted herself to the deepest study and sadhnā of Indian classical music under the strict tutelage of her father. After her estrangement from her Pandit Ravi Shankar, Annapurna Devi went ever deeper into self-imposed seclusion. The only people whom she met and communicated with were her disciples who used to visit her for music lessons. They included some of the greatest musicians our era has seen – Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Bahadur Khan, Ustad Aashish Khan, Dhyanesh Khan, Nityanand Haldipur and Basant Kabra, to name a few.
Full of anecdotes and untold stories, this is her life story as told by her to her disciples over a period of time, giving valuable insights into their Guru Ma’s personality, music and teachings.
About the Author
Atul Merchant was Annapurna Devi’s disciple from 1982 onwards and had a mother-son-like bond with her. Despite his primary focus being vedanta and music, he has studied storytelling and screenplay writing.
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