130 surgeries haven’t disheartened this 15-year-old music prodigy and social media star

Published on Jul 08, 2018 10:24 AM IST
Despite being afflicted with a congenital condition, osteogenesis imperfecta, which has given him brittle bones, Sparsh Shah, who was born in Canada’s Edison, has emerged a musical prodigy, one who excels in Hindustani classical vocals and, more recently, Western music, including rap.
Sparsh Shah with Canada-India Foundation convenor Anil Shah in Toronto.(Alaukik Naik)
Sparsh Shah with Canada-India Foundation convenor Anil Shah in Toronto.(Alaukik Naik)
Hindustan Times, Toronto | By

When Hiren Shah’s elder son was born, the infant suffered between 35 and 40 fractures during the delivery process and more bones broke during routine checkups. Doctors told the anxious parents that their child was in critical condition and could only survive a couple of days.

Fifteen years later, that boy, Sparsh Shah, was honoured with the prestigious Global Indian Award by the apex Canada-India Foundation (CIF) on Friday evening, joining a select list of other luminaries to have been given this accolade, such as tech pioneer Sam Pitroda, industrialist Ratan Tata and Infosys founder NR Narayanamurthy.

Despite being afflicted with a congenital condition, osteogenesis imperfecta, which has given him brittle bones, Sparsh, who was born in Edison, New Jersey, and now lives in nearby Iselin, has emerged a musical prodigy, one who excels in Hindustani classical vocals and, more recently, Western music, including rap, and is a social media sensation.

One of his covers of a track by rap star Eminem has amassed nearly 65 million views across platforms. In an interview, Sparsh, who goes by the stage name of Purhythm, said: “God closed the door on my ability to walk, but God also opened another door and gifted me with my voice.”

That voice has attracted plenty of attention.

He has sung the US national anthem at an NBA game at Madison Square Garden, at a major league baseball game at New York’s Citifield and performed at a National Hockey League match.

He has been invited as an inspirational speaker at a TedX talk and, more recently, at Talks at Google. His theme for those talks is, obviously, based on his life experience.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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