Pandit Ravi Shankar's Sitar that he played in the 1960s, is to go on display on Friday 10 November as part of a phased renovation of the museum's Asia galleries. It will be displayed near the ancient statues of Hindu Gods and show how Indian culture went global in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The sitar has been donated by the Indian sitarists's surviving widow Sukanya and daughter and sitarist Anoushka Shankar. He is also survived by another daughter, the US-singer Norah Jones, born from a separate relationship.
The Beatles' Guitarist George Harrison studied under Shankar in India and also collaborated with him on two Concert for Bangladesh benefit performances in 1971, co-produced a four-CD album for Shankar’s 75th birthday, and produced Shankar’s album Chants of India (1997), in which classical Indian forms were combined with a choir and Western instrumentation including vibraphone, harps, violins and cellos. Harrison also edited Shankar’s autobiography, Raga Mala (1999), and once dubbed him as 'the Godfather of world music'.
Richard Burton, head of the British museum's south and southeast Asia section, reportedly said, Indian music is renowned because of Shankar.
This updated museum collection coincides with the 70th anniversary of India's independence and the India-UK year of Culture. Works by renowned sculptor Mrinalini Mukherjee, Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray and the famous poet, novelist and artist Rabindranath Tagore will also be on display.