New Delhi | Suvra Mukherjee, wife of President Pranab Mukherjee, died here this morning, 11 days after she was hospitalised in a critical condition. An accomplished Rabindra Sangeet singer, she was 74.
Admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital here on Aug 7 with complaints of breathlessness and discomfort, Suvra breathed her last at 10.51 AM.
It is informed with deep sorrow that First Lady Smt. Suvra Mukherjee passed away this morning (August 18, 2015). She left for her heavenly abode at 10.51 AM, Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman Venu Rajamony said in a statement.
Since her admission, Suvra was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She became the first First Lady to die when her spouse is still in office. Suvra leaves two sons Abhijit, a Congress MP, and Indrajit and daughter Sharmistha, a spokesperson of the Congress.
Her body was kept in the ADC room opposite the President’s study and a large number of people paid their last respects. They also offered their condolences to the President. The cremation will take place at the Lodhi Road crematorium here tomorrow. As soon as the news of her death trickled in, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and cabinet ministers expressed condolences. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted Pained to know about the passing away of Mrs. Suvra Mukherjee. My condolences to Rashtrapati ji & his family in this hour of grief. He said Suvra Mukherjee will be remembered as a lover of art, culture & music. Her warm nature endeared her to everyone she met, Modi added. Besides Ansari and Gandhi, senior cabinet ministers, politicians and diplomats arrived at Rashtrapati Bhawan to offer their condolences.
Mukherjee married Suvra on July 13, 1957. She hailed from Jessore, now in Bangladesh, and had migrated to Kolkata at the age of 10 years.
We are not like today’s couples. It’s not a lovey-dovey relationship and we don’t express our emotions overtly, Suvra was quoted as having said on the eve of the crowning moment of her husband’s political career when he assumed the office of President on July 25, 2012. Born on September 17, 1940, Surva, a graduate, was an ardent fan of Indias national poet Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
She was a vocalist of Rabindra Sangeet and performed in the poets dance-dramas for long years not only in different parts of India, but also in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Suvra founded the Geetanjali Troupe in 1982 with a mission to propagate Rabindranath Tagores philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas. She was the guiding force behind all productions of the Troupe.
Her last stage performance was in 2013 when she rendered two lines from the solo Nomo…Nomo…Nomo song, an invocation to Rabindranath Tagore. Besides her love for music, Surva was also a highly talented painter who had many group and solo exhibitions to her credit. She considered her mother who was herself a painter as the source of her creative inspiration and her works won critical acclaim.
She had written two books – ‘Chokher Aloey’, which is a personal account of her close interaction with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and ‘Chena Achenai Chin’, a travelogue recounting her visit to China.
Suvra had entered the portals of Rashtrapati Bhawan bringing in her harmonium and a tanpura gifted by Bengali music maestro D L Roy.
Her body would be taken for cremation from 13-Talkatora Road, the official home of her son Abhijit. This house was alloted to the Mukherjee when he was a Minister in UPA government and Suvra had spent a lot of time there.
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