Ms Suvra Mukherjee, wife of President Pranab Mukherjee is no more. The 74 year old, who was ailing for some time, breathed her last at 10:51 AM Tuesday at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi. The first lady was hospitalised for the last eleven days.
“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 1051 AM,” Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman Venu Rajamony said in a statement.
Suvra was admitted to the Army Hospital on August 7 after she complained of breathlessness and discomfort. Since then she was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Besides her husband President Pranab Mukherjee, Suvra is survived by two sons Abhijit, a Congress MP and Indrajit and one daughter Sharmistha, who unsuccessfully contested the Delhi Assembly elections on a Congress ticket.
Vice President Sh M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Leaders of across the political spectrum too joined in to condole Ms Suvra Mukherjee’s demise, saying her warm nature endeared her to everyone.
Extending condolences to the bereaved family, Vice President M. Hamid Ansari expressed “I am deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Smt. Suvra Mukherjee w/o Hon’ble President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee. In this hour of grief I join the nation in offering deepest condolence to the President and the bereaved family members. May the Almighty grant peace to departed soul”.
The Prime Minister tweeted: “Pained to know about the passing away of Mrs. Suvra Mukherjee. My condolences to Rashtrapati ji & his family in this hour of grief.”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi expressed deep grief over the passing away of the First Lady.
Extending her condolences to the President and members of his family, Sonia said that she, Congress and the entire country stood with them in this moment of bereavement.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed deep sorrow and grief, saying the First lady was grace and dignity personified and “a silent source” of support for Mukherjee during his long political career.
“I stand in solidarity with Rashtrapati ji and his family in this hour of grief,” said Azad, who is also Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
“Saddened to hear the news of Smt. Suvra Mukherjee’s demise. My heartfelt condolences to Shri Pranab Mukherjee and his bereaved family,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote on a micro-blogging site Twitter.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi too extended his sympathy to President Pranab Mukherjee and his family.
“My deepest condolences to @RashtrapatiBhvn President Pranab Mukherjee &his family on the passing away of Smt Suvra Mukherje” Gandhi tweeted.
Expressing grief over the death of President’s wife, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she knew her for more than three decades as a simple and loveable person.
“I have known Suvra boudi for more than three decades. She was simple, lovable and a caring housewife. May God give Rashtrapati ji and his family the strength to bear the loss,” the West Bengal CM said in a series of tweets.
Born in Jessore (now in Bangladesh) on September 17, 1940, Surva was an ardent follower of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. She was a vocalist of Rabindra Sangeet and performed in the poet’s dance-dramas for long years not only in different parts of India, but also in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Ms Mukherjee also founded the Geetanjali Troupe, with a mission to propagate Rabindranath Tagore’s philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas.
Besides her love for music, Ms Surva Mukherjee 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 has 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.