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‘Saint of santoor’ Bhajan Sopori passes away

14 Jun 2022

‘Saint of santoor’ Bhajan Sopori passes away
Renowned santoor player Bhajan Sopori passed away at a Gurugram hospital on June 2 last. He was 73.
A Padma Shri recipient who was also often referred to as ‘the saint of santoor,’ Sopori was diagnosed with colon cancer in June, last year. “We admitted him to Fortis, Gurugram three weeks back for immunotherapy treatment. It didn’t work for him and his health deteriorated,” his son Abhay, also a santoor player, told PTI.
Last month another virtuoso of the same instrument Shiv Kumar Sharma passed away following a heart attack in Mumbai. Suddenly, within a space of four weeks, santoor has lost two of its finest exponents.
Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Very sorry to hear about the tragic demise of Padma Shri Pandit Bhajan Sopori sahib. A great son of the soil, he was a colossus in the world of classical Indian music who made the santoor his own. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to @abhaysopori.”
Born in Srinagar, the immensely talented musician-composer had his roots in north Kashmir’s Sopore district. His family is associated with the santoor for seven generations. Sopori gave his first public performance at the age of 10 after being trained by his grandfather SC Sopori and father Shambhoonath Sopori.
“His style is marked by virtuosity, combining the gayaki and tantrakari aspects of music. He has also made a mark as a composer and has to his credit a number of songs and orchestral works for telefilms, documentaries, choirs and instrumental ensembles,” wrote
A recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1993, Sopori contributed significantly to the evolution of the instrument and composed music for ‘ghazals’ written by Ghalib, Faiz and Firakh Gorakhpuri and the poetry of Kabir and Meera Bai. He performed in several countries such as England, USA, Egypt and Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2 011, Sopori was honoured with a Rs 5 stamp for his extraordinary work in the field of art and culture.
Bhajan Sopori is survived by his wife and two sons: Sorabh and Abhay. n