On this great day of Kalam’s birth day, I recollect the happy occasion of his appreciation of my translation of Thyagayya’s PANCHA RATHNA KIRTHNA into Tamil .
Dr. Abdul Kalam and his love for Karnatic Music
Yes; it was a great day in the life of these music couple of Madurai and their colleague musician! A historical day, an exhilarating day, an inspiring day to remain evergreen in their minds throughout their life time!
It was Friday the 13th February 2015- the day on which former President of India His Excellency Dr. Abdul Kalam visited a humble musician couple living in Madurai to personally hear the great Pancharathna Keerthanas of Thiruvaiyru Thiyagaraja swamigal – Thyagabrammam-in Telugu translated into Tamil from the lips of the karnatic musician accompanied by her husband in violin and a co-musician in Mridhangam.
Dr. Kalam has already heard the renderings in Tamil through the CD which he came across through a common friend. He said that he was so impressed by the translation and the rendition that he used to hear one gem each day. Now utilizing his visit to Madurai he wanted to hear right from the troupe directly! Of course the musicians who with great efforts brought out the CD were making efforts to render the Keerthanas in the presence of the former President who loves Karnatic music, our culture, our traditions, our literature et all with all his heart.
After fulfilling a few engagements in the city of Madurai, he planned to visit the musicians in the night and accordingly he arrived at their humble residence at 9.30 in the night and spent an hour. The musicians were in an ecstatic mood and delighted to have a great and noble personality in their humble residence. As the public saw the former President’s convoy entered the street, there was a big surge to have a glance of Dr. kalam who indeed is “காட்சிக்கு எளியவன், கடுஞ்சொல்லன் அல்லன்” எனவே சிறந்த ஆட்சியாளனாக விளங்கியவர், உலகமே வியந்து பாராட்டப்பட்டவர்.
As Dr. kalam arrived he was received with a shawl and the team that rendered the “five gems” of the Saint composer was duly introduced. As he was eager to hear the melodious rendering of “ENTHARO MAHANUBAVULU”- “எத்தனையோ மகான்கள் அத்தனை பேருக்கும் வந்தனம்” it was rendered by the team-vocal accompanied by violin and mridhangam. The prestigious guest heard the rendering with great attention and his body language expressed it all- he was so enthralled with the translation and the rendering. Then he openly appreciated the artists profusely and said the translation was ideal. For decades he has been hearing this ‘keerthana’ without understanding the full meaning and import of the song. He enquired about the person who translated the ‘keerthanas’ and he was shown the profile of the translator and Dr. kalam read it with great joy. He requested the artists to convey his appreciation and compliments to the translator.
Then was his time for dinner. Knowing his taste ‘hot dosa and kuzippaniyaram’ with ‘coconut chatni and sambar served in hygienically cleaned plates. The guest relished the items and enquired as to who prepared such delicious food. When he was told that it was by the vocal artist, he made a comment: “Your rendering was so sweet and nice as is your dosa and kuzippaniyaram with tasty accompaniments. .You are a great musician and also a great cook. Your kuzippaniyaram and chatni a great combination as ypur melodious rendering perfectly matched with the mridhangam and violin!”
After a few snaps with the artists and others former President – dignitary Guest- left the house by 10.30 in the night.
Naturally the hosts could not sleep ruminating over the dream like visit of the former President His Excellency DR. Abdul Kalam to their abode in Madurai.
Yes: who are the dramatic personae- in this lovely event on that happy night of 13th February 2015? That is the team of three musicians who with great efforts brought out the CD of Tamil Pancharathna Keerthanas at the instance of Dr. Meenakshi Pattabiraman, former English Professor, a poet, writer and scholar of Madurai.
Mrs Dr. RANGANAYAKI SACHIDANANTHAM B.Com, M A, M Phil (Music)- Ph.D Vocal: B High grade AIR artist, TV artist, teaching music to a large number of children, has participated in the NADHA NEERAJANAM” program of TTD Devasthanam; Thirumala, Widely travelled in Singapore and Malaysia for spreading the great carnatic music.
Mr. D Sachidanandam Violinist: AIR ‘A’ Grade artist; Kanchi Mutt Asthana Vidwan. TV artist. Has widely travelled in America, Singapore and Malaysia and rendered Solo violin and accompanied famous vocalists. Has trained a large number of students.
Dr. K Thiyagarajan, B. Com; M A (Music) Ph.D- Mridhangist: Serving as Assistant Professor Mridhangam in the Sri Sadguru Sangeetha Vidhyalaya Music college, Madurai.Awarded the titles “Miruudhanga Vadhyamani”, “Kalaivalarmani” etc. Kanchi aasthana vidhvan. AIR, TV artist. Visited Singapore and Malaysia. A large number of students have been trained by him.
All the three have founded an organization called “THISRADWANI” in Madurai to promote Karnatic music in the Society. It is rendering very effective, efficient and excellent service in the cause of Karnatic music in its third year now.
Dr.N V Subbaraman –Translator of the Telugu Pancharathna Keerthanas intoTamil – a desire that was expressed by the then Prime Minister of India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1963 while inaugurating the annual Thiyagabramma Aradhana Festival in Thiruvaiyaru. Saint Composer’s period is 1767- 1847.
Narayanamurthy – Common friend of former President Dr. Abdul Kalam who gave the copy of the CD to him. Mr. Murthy served with Dr.Kalam as a Director in ISRO. He is the brother of the violinist D.Sachidanandam, husband of the vocalist Smt. Ranganayaki.