Rajan Mishra, Classical Indian Vocalist, Dies at 69


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

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

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

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

The brothers, known worldwide, founded a school in the state of Uttarakhand at the foot of the Himalayas, where they welcomed students from all over the world to immerse themselves in Indian classical music. The more extroverted the two, the more Rajan was the public face of the school.

The brothers also traveled around India promoting the arts 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 town as a member of the women’s national cricket team. As soon as her match was over, she took an auto rickshaw in her cricket uniform to attend her concert.

“I was so excited about their divine music that life was never the same afterwards,” said Ms. Mahindroo.



Robert Dunfee