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Farewell To The Santoor Maestro- Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma the known name in the Indian classical music industry, left for his heavenly abode on 10th May 2022. He was 84 years old and is survived by his wife Manorma and 2 sons Rahul and Rohit. He has been suffering from a kidney-related ailment for the past 6 months and was on dialysis. However, the cause of his death was pointed out to be a cardiac arrest. So, let’s take remember his great legacy and the work which made him famous across the globe.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma playing santoor

Related Article: A Soulful Farewell To The Gold Man of India- Bappi Lahiri

Early Life

Shiv Kumar Sharma playing Santoor

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was born on 13th January 1938 in Jammu. His mother, Mrs. Uma Dutt, was a classical singer who belonged to the Banaras Gharana and came with immersive music knowledge. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma started his musical journey by learning to sing and play the tabla with his father when he was just 4 years old. In one of his interviews, Shiv Kumar Sharma was quoted saying that it was his mother’s dream to become the first Indian musician to play Indian classical music on the Santoor. And that is how he stepped into the world of santoor and started playing at the age of 13 and fulfilled his mother’s dream.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Being a versatile musician, he has collaborated with many known and popular musicians such as Zakir Hussian and Hariprasad Chaurasia. Pandit Sharma, composed music for popular Hindi flicks such as “Daar”, “Silsila”, “Lamhe”, etc. He has been associated with a lot of popular music albums including Call of the Valley, Sampradaya, Elements, Jal, Sangeet ki Parbat, etc. Shiv Kumar Sharma has imparted his music wisdom to his son Rahul too who happens to be a Santoor player.

Pandit Shiv Kumar getting an award

He is the recipient of many prestigious awards and recognitions including Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Honorary Doctorate from Jammu Universit, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award, Maharashtra Gaurav Award, etc. To celebrate his impeccable performance and talent, he was also awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Baltimore in the US. Indeed, he was a musical magician!

Family Life

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma with his elder son Rahul

As already mentioned above, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is survived by his wife Manorma and 2 sons. Pandit Shiv Kumar made his elder son Rahul Sharma his disciple and made him an expert in santoor playing. The father-son duo has been working and playing Santoor together since 1996 and has carved an identity for themselves in the world of classical music.

His Career

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma playing Santoor

Back in 1955, he gave his first public performance in Bombay. After a year, he composed background music for a scene in the film- “Jhalak Jhalak Payal Baje”. And his first solo album was recorded in 1960. It was in 1967 that he collaborated with flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia and composer Braj Bhushan Kabra to produce an album titled “Call of the Valley”. And the album turned out to be the biggest hit in the history of Indian classical music. Throughout his career, Shiv Kumar Sharma performed Santoor music such as “The Glory of Strings- Santoor”, “Varsha- A Hodges to the Rain Gods”, and “Hundred Strings of Santoor”, and released many innovative musical albums.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Apart from music, he has been a part of many Bollywood movies such as “Silsila”, “Fasal”, “Chandni”, “Lamhe”, and “Daraar”. His collaboration with Hari Prasad Chaurasia was appreciated by everyone around and the duo came to be known as the ‘Shiv-Hari’ musical duo. The life of the Santoor maestro has been filled with achievements and in 2002 he published his autobiography titled- Journey With a Hundred Strings: My Life in Music. Apart from being a great musician, he passed on his Santoor wisdom to the students without even charging a fee.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma thanking his audience.

His students came from India, Japan, Germany, Australia, and different parts of America. He was loved by all and his talent was appreciated by all the music and non-music lovers.

Related Article: A Soulful Tribute To The Nightingale Of India-Lata Mangeshkar


Apart from being a great Santoor player, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was a doting husband and a loving father. His love for Santoor and Indian classical music cannot be described in words. Being a legend, he was loved and appreciated by everyone around. Though his loss is inevitable and we all will miss his presence around. His smile and dedication will be remembered by everyone. The entire PiggyRide family is sending heartfelt condolence to his family. May his soul rest in peace!
Om Shanti!

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Ridhi Dogra

Hi Friends! I am Ridhi Dogra.
I am working as a Content Writer with PiggyRide. I graduated from Delhi University with a bachelor's degree in Home Science and I did my post-graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University. I am an avid reader, a passionate traveler, and a movie buff.

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