|Bharat rathna MS amma (1916 - 2004) greatest Carnatic musician. cinestaan.com|
More often than not we've heard people mention about women's empowerment in our society. In India, where women were well respected in the society centuries ago, in the later period, for various reasons, they were relegated down to the other end. In spite of bottlenecks and roadblocks in our society, since early freedom struggle, daring women have never failed to show their capability and courage to deal with any tight situation. In the past few decades, women empowerment has gained importance and,
in particular, in the last decade, we have seen Indian women donning roles in the fields once dominated by men. Example in the realm of flying aircraft, war planes high altitude dangerous mountaineering, heading corporate conglomerates, decision-making process in politics, commerce, etc. They, in a way, come under the umbrella of empowerment, accepting challenges as part of decision-making process in important fields. Empowerment gives women the ability to gain power, confidence and experience over their own lives, society, and in their communities. Women get a chance to avail themselves of opportunities available to them without any limits and and restrictions such as in education, various professions and social lifestyle. Empowerment is about creating an awareness and preparing them to make life-determining decisions in the midst of many societal problems and taking the country forward along with men.
|Strong woman. quoteambition.com|
Today being woman's day, I dedicate this post to the following great Indian women of by-gone era; Srimathi.M.S. Subbulakshmi, Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, Mrs.Rukmini Devi Arundale: Rani (queen) Velu Nachiyar (a great freedom fighter). What was special about them? They made a mark in their respective fields not because of their innate skill but because of their ability to persevere and hang in there with courage and commitment when facing mounting problems. They emerged victorious after a long struggle.
Born on 16 September 1916 in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India M.S. Subbulakshmi (Kunjamma to her family ) was known as the Queen of Music; here parents were famous Veena player Shanmukavadivu Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Dedicated her life to Carnatic Classical music in which she was a dominant personality for several decades, MS was the recipient of Bharat Ratna - second woman to achieve this feat and the first Indian musician to have received the Ramon Magsaysay award, roughly equal to Asia's Nobel Prize. Her grandmother Akkammal was a violinist.
Beginning her training in Carnatic music at a very young age under the expert guidance of doyen in Carnatic music late sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, being smart as she was, MS had mastered the nuances of this classical form of music, quite popular in South India (most of the compositions were in the Telugu language native to Andhra) and subsequently she also got trained in Hindustani music under Pandit Narayanrao Vyas. Her mother happened to be a regular stage musical performer and her family's musical background was quite helpful to her. Her mother and well wishers provided a nice ambiance conducive to her further progress and advances in the frontier of various phases of Classical Carnatic music. Yet another advantage she had was her drive and keen interest in the classical music and her innate ability to absorb it and adopt it to her interest/taste. Her musical talent was further shaped by her additional training under the greats teachers like
Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. The latter guru was quite famous in the Karikudi area and was quite popular in those days.
|MS with lata and other women artists. .livemint.com|
Can you imagine that Subbulakshmi got a chance to make her first public performance, at the tender age of eleven, in 1927; the venue was a divine place - 100 pillar hall inside the Rockfort Temple complex, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu (then Madras Presidency). What counted most interesting was her accompanying artists. They were Mysore Chowdiah on the violin and Dakshinamurthy Pillai on the mridangam ( a South Indian classical percussion instrument) and these were artists of great repute in those days. This program was organized by none other than the Tiruchirappalli-based Indian National Congress leader
F. G. Natesa Iyer. After making several public performances she took the right decision and moved over to Madras (Chennai) in 1936. Here, she made film debut in in a Tamil movie Sevasadan in May, 1938 opposite F. G. Natesa Iyer. The movie was based on a Tamil drama directed by late K. Subrahmanyam, (an advocate and father of vintage Tamil Cinema). It is one of the early Tamil films to be set in a contemporary social setting. The film deals with prostitution and women's emancipation. It has a strong political thrust despite being a musical. The plot has strong feminist views. Sitalakshmi, a Brahmin widow, played by MS was the main character in that film. It was a commercially successful film. She also acted in several other Tamil movies and the famous ones being Sakunthala (1940) and Meera (1949), her last film directed by popular American director Ellis R Dunga.,
|Nehru with MS Subbulakshmi in 1947. Courtesy West Virginia State Archives, USA|
She was honored as a resident artist - Asthana Vidhwan of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA), Andhra state installed a bronze statue of M.S. Subbulakshmi at the Poornakumbham circle in the busy part of temple town. It was unveiled by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on 28 May 2006, indeed a great honor for a distinguished musician who gave several ''Free'' musical performances and made countless donations. She was a great devotee of the Kanchi seer Periyavar and others of sri Sankarachariyar Mutt of Kanchipuram, TN. At Tirumala Balaji temple, almost daily in the early morning (at Thirupalli ezhuchchi) the devotees will hear her soulful rendition of Vishnu Subrabatham sung by her and Mrs. Radha Viswanathan (daughter of the famous journalist Sadhasivam's first wife.). Sri Sadashivam who happened to be the closest associate of late C. Rajagopala Chari (Rajaji), the first Gov. Gen. of independent India and former CM of Madras Presidency, married MS on 10 July 1940 in the presence of Rajaji, late Kalki Krishnamurthy and others.
Harewood (the director of the famous Edinburgh festival) invited her to perform at the 1963 Edinburgh festival. Her wonderful music concert received excellent reviews from the London press, contributing to her rising global popularity. Following year
invited by the then UN Secretary General, U Thant, MS' music concert at the General Assembly in New York on United Nations Day- October 23, 1964 was a popular one. It was a seven-week concert tour in the USA by her talented team of accompanists, comprising V.V. Subramaniam (violin), T.K. Murthy (mridangam), T.H. Vinayakaram (ghatam), and her daughters Radha Viswanathan (vocal) and Vijaya Rajendran (tanpura). Subbulakshmi successfully completed the tour with her husband, Kalki Sadasivam