Suvra Mukherjee, First Lady of India, passes away

Suvra Mukherjee, wife of President Pranab Mukherjee, passed away at 10.51 am today. The First Lady had been ailing for some time and had complained of respiratory problems recently.

The body of Suvra Mukherjee will be kept at Rashtrapati Bhavan for family and friends to pay last respects from 3.00 to 5.00 pm today and thereafter, at 13, Talkatora Road, the residence of her son, Abhijit Mukherjee, MP.

The cremation ceremony will be held at the Lodhi Road Crematorium at 10 am tomorrow, an official release said.

Suvra Mukherjee was born on 17 September 1940 in Jessore, (now in Bangladesh) and married Pranab Mukherjee on 13 July 1957.

A graduate, Suvra Mukherjee was an ardent fan of India's national poet, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

She was a Rabindra Sangeet vocalist and performed in the poet's dance-dramas for years not only in different parts of India, but also in Europe, Asia and Africa.

She founded the 'Geetanjali Troupe', to propagate Rabindranath Tagore's philosophy as expressed through his songs and dance-dramas. She was the guiding force behind all productions of the troupe.

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 late prime minister Indira Gandhi and Chena Achenai Chin - a travelogue recounting her visit to China.

Suvra Mukherjee is survived by President Pranab Mukherjee and their three children - Abhijit Mukherjee, Indrajit Mukherjee and Sharmistha Mukherjee.

Vice president Hamid Ansari joined the nation in offering deepest condolence to the President and the bereaved family members.

''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,'' he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the passing away of First Lady Suvra Mukherjee.

''Pained to know about the passing away of Mrs Suvra Mukherjee. My condolences to Rashtrapati ji and his family in this hour of grief. Suvra Mukherjee will be remembered as a lover of art, culture and music. Her warm nature endeared her to everyone she met,'' the prime minister said.