Savita Devi, Indian Classical Music Pioneer Passes Away
Famed classical music vocalist, Savita Devi breathed her last at the Fortis Memorial Research Institute in Gurugram on Friday morning. She was 80. Her son, Ajey Maharaj informed sources, “Her condition was quite critical when we brought her to the hospital. She had to be ventilated and kept in the ICU and was under constant watch. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the doctors, she passed away at around 10.52 am.” She was admitted to the hospital on Thursday on account of being unwell for the past few days.
Following the footsteps of her mother late Padmashri Smt. Siddheshwari Devi, she made a name for herself in the world of Indian Classical Music and was dedicated to it with all her heart. She was comprehensively trained by her mother from an early age, thus acquiring the exemplary skill of singing the classical forms in their true manifestation. She specialised in Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti, Kajri, and Tappa of the Banaras Gharana (Purabang). Although she had a varied and rich range of music, one form never mixed with the other, and thus she was called a purist.
She completed her graduation in arts. After that, Vidushi Savita Devi studied classical music at the Banaras Hindu University and received a postgraduate degree. She later received the Sangeet Alankar from Pune. She had also received training as a Sitar player under late Pandit Ravi Shankar at Kinnara, an institution established by him. During her teenage years, Vidushi Savita Devi won acclaim as a Sitarist and bagged the coveted Gold Medal at an Inter-University Youth Festival. But she eventually opted for vocal music.
RIP Padmashri Savita Devi. Indian classical music has lost a great. My deepest condolences are with her fans and her loved ones, a bit more with her son Ajey Maharaj.
— Suparno Satpathy (@SuparnoSatpathy) December 21, 2019
The academy was to carry forward the “Guru Shishya Parampara,” in which her mother strongly believed. She focused on preserving and strengthening the expansive repertoire of music by creating an atmosphere of national and international integration.
Facts About the Classical Music Veteran:
- Apart from performing at numerous prestigious concerts in India and abroad, Savita Devi performed regularly for the All India Radio and the national television
- Savita Devi was the Head of the Music Department of Daulat Ram College, affiliated to University of Delhi for many years
- Vidushi Savita Devi is a member of the Jury of ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) as well as the Jury of Audition Board, All India Radio
- She has authored a Biographical book of her mother, titled, Maa… Siddheshwari
Carrying the Legacy Forward
Sarita Devi was doing extensive research in classical music, specifically, in the Thumri style of music. This research aimed to develop new and more pleasing ways to present the old traditional compositions of this style. She established “Smt Siddheshwari Devi Academy of Indian Music” in the memory of her mother in 1977, the year in which Siddheshwari passed away. This academy was to carry forward the “Guru Shishya Parampara”, in which her mother strongly believed. She focused on preserving and strengthening the expansive repertoire of music by creating an atmosphere of national and international integration.
Awards and Recognition
Her performances all over the world have won her wide acclaim, globally. Some of her awards are as follows:
- Academy Ratna Samman by UP Sangeet Natak Academy
- Sangeet Praveena by Divine Life Society, Rishikesh
- Best Singer of the Year (1990) by Sharma Cultural Society
- Apostle of International Understanding by Unity International, Delhi
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy Teacher’s Award by Raja Ram Mohan Roy Institute
- Award given on International Women’s Day by Mahila Morcha Delhi for her contribution to Indian Classical Music
Apart from performing at numerous prestigious concerts in India and abroad, Savita Devi performed regularly for the All India Radio and the national television
For Vidushi Savita Devi, music was always an offering made to god, marked by melody and a noble feeling.
Image Credits: savitadevi.com
Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV