zakir hussain: Farewell to a friend: This pic of Zakir Hussain as pallbearer for santoor wizard & jugalbandi partner Shivkumar Sharma is heartbreaking

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The sultan of strings passed away earlier this week leaving an unfillable void in the Indian classical music community and while tribute poured in to mourn the maestro’s death from all quarters, one moment that truly encompassed the sense of loss and void that Sharma’s death had caused is when tabla samrat, Zakir Hussain, turned pallbearer and carried Sharma’s mortal remains to the funeral pyre.

The grief is palpable on Hussain’s face, as he carries Sharma’s body, wrapped in Indian flag to the cremation ground. Hussain, who had collaborated with Sharma for several shows, and had an association and friendship with the musician for almost five decades, was also seen standing alone next to Sharma’s burning pyre in a heartbreaking photo that is currently circulating on social media.

Both Hussain’s and Sharma’s career trajectory ran parallelly as the santoor wizard popularised his favourite instrument in the classical music world, and Hussain gained global fame for his tabla playing skills.

Sharma was 84 at the time of his death and had been on dialysis for the last six months. The classical musician passed away due to a cardiac arrest. The santoor maestro lived a life decorated with many awards. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986, the Padma Shri in 1991, and the Padma Bhushan in 2001.

Sharma was one of the most loved classical musicians and was due to perform in Bhopal next week. Despite his renal issues, he was active and continued his music practice devotedly. His son Rahul Sharma is also a santoor player.

Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan along with his wife Jaya, actress Shabana Azmi, lyricist Javed Akhtar, music composers Jatin-Lalit and singer Ila Arun also paid their last tributes to the maestro before his cremation.

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