Had he been born a Westerner, he might have been a household name like Beethoven or Mozart, Banerjee believes.
In later years, Shankar said he was happy to have contributed to bringing the music of India to the West, though he regretted his name forever linked to a 1960s culture of drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll. The music he played, he said, was sacred.
Not many ordinary Indians I know would eject their Bollywood CDs to listen to Shankar's sitar. He's not on top-40 lists.
But Ravi Shankar's gift went beyond his skills on the strings. He possessed an uncommon ability to reach across cultures. He introduced the traditions of my homeland to my friends in America.
And he did it by touching their souls.