Rajan Mishra, Classical Indian Vocalist, Dies at 69

His father, Hanuman Prasad Mishra, was considered one of India’s greatest players of the sarangi, a bowled, short-necked string instrument that is often featured in Indian classical music. His mother, Gagan Kishori, was a member of Nepal’s royal family and sometimes accompanied her husband and sons as a vocalist and tabla player.

Rajan Mishra studied arts and sociology at Benares Hindu University. He and his wife, Bina, a homemaker, had a daughter, Rithu, and two sons, Ritesh and Rajnish. The sons also are musicians. In addition to them, Mr. Mishra is survived by his wife and daughter as well as a sister, Indumati, and three grandchildren.

Trained to accompany their father’s sarangi, Rajan and Sajan agreed as children always to sing together.

When, in 2007, India’s prestigious Padma Bhushan prize was awarded to Rajan Mishra, he refused to accept it, saying it would have to be given to both him and his younger brother or not at all.

The brothers, who achieved global renown, established a school in Uttarakhand State, in the foothills of the Himalayas, where they welcomed students from around the world to immerse themselves in Indian classical music. The more extroverted of the two, Rajan was the school’s public face.

The brothers also traveled across India to promote the art among young people.

Rupinder Mahindroo, a friend who teaches Indian classical music outside New Delhi, recalled hearing the brothers sing for the first time in 1979 in Lucknow, India. She had traveled to the city as a member of the national women’s cricket team. No sooner had her match finished than, still in her cricket uniform, she took an auto rickshaw to attend their recital.

“I was so transported by their divine music that life was never the same after that,” Ms. Mahindroo said.


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