Dr. M.S. Subbulakshi brought a huge transformation on the cultural canvas of this country with her divine and enchanting voice: Vice President

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  • September 28, 2018
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The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that Dr. M.S. Subbulakshi with her divine and enchanting voice brought a huge transformation on the cultural canvas of this country. He was addressing the gathering after conferring Sri Shanmukhananda Bharat Ratna Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi Fellowship in Music, in Mumbai today, organized by the Sri Shanmuukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeeth Sabha. The Governor of Maharashtra, Shri Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, the Minister for Housing, Maharashtra, Shri Prakash Mehta and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President presented degrees to 50 Young and promising musicians on the occasion of 102nd birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi and he told them to draw inspiration from Dr. M.S Subbulakshmi’s life and strive hard to reach supreme levels of acclaim during their musical career.

The Vice President said that young musicians of today should not merely continue the musical legacy left behind by Dr. Subbulakshmi but also imbibe qualities of her head and heart, her compassion for the Rasikas, her philanthropy and the abiding interest she had in her fellow artistes.

The Vice President stressed on the need to preserve the fascinating diversity, culture, art and the extraordinary breadth and incredible depth of Indian music. He further said that the electronic era has brought new dimensions to music concerts. Technology has transformed the way in which music is produced and consumed, he added.

The Vice President said that art unites hearts and Music transcends the conventional boundaries of geography and history and has a unique timeless relevance like many of our ancient scriptures. He further said that it enriches the quality of our lives and it has no religion. Constant process of synthesis is required to make sure that music remains alive and is constantly enriched, he added.

Saying that the vast universe of music should reinvent itself making use of the opportunities of the day, the Vice President highlighted the need to take tangible action by the governments, private bodies, Sabhas and gurus. He further said that we are already using technology to spread this knowledge and more students in India and abroad are learning Indian classical music through online resources and tutors. These efforts need to be further expanded, he added.

Saying that Indian classical music, especially Carnatic music, has blended melody with message, rhythm with reason, sound with spirituality, the Vice President said that Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi epitomized the best in Carnatic music and shines as one of the brightest stars in the vast firmament of Indian Classical Music. Her music opened a vibrant dialogue between the north and the south and the west and the east and she continues to live in the homes, and hearts of all music lovers, he added.

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“It gives me great pleasure to be with you this evening as the Sabha celebrates the 102nd birth anniversary of Bharat Ratna Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi and also confers the Sri. Shanmukhananda Bharat Ratna Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi Fellowship in Music to 50 young and promising artistes.

The classical music and dances of India, like India’s philosophical and religious thoughts, have flourished over two millennia. Believed to have roots in the ancient Vedas, they evolved with time to enrich India’s religion, rituals, folklore and art forms.

India is indeed blessed with two distinct systems of classical music, Carnatic and Hindustani which have always enjoyed the status of being highly cultivated art forms. Thanks to the pioneers like the late Bharat Ratnas Dr. M.SSubbulakshmi, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Indian music has become popular throughout the world.

More and more scholars from both India and the west have studied and mastered these arts. Many universities and institutions like your Sabha have kept alive and added further richness to the grand tradition.

Like every facet of India, there is a fascinating diversity, extraordinary breadth and incredible depth in Indian music.

Carnatic music which traces its origin to the Gandharvaveda also displays significant aspects of ancient Tamil music. Hindustani music has drawn much from the musical traditions of Persian and Arabian cultures. Ustad Ali Akbar Khan once said “It is not the question of Indian music, or American music, like that.  Any type of music, in tune and in rhythm, gives you food for your mind, heart and soul.”

Indian music has a vast repository of songs that has been providing continuous nourishment to the mind, heart and soul. In many ways, the Indian musicians have given the world a rare menu of soul stirring musical masterpieces.

I am glad that this ancient tradition is being continued without a break. However, I am aware of the innovations being tried out within this tradition.

The electronic era has brought new dimensions to music concerts. In many ways, technological innovation has transformed the way in which music is produced and consumed. There should be a constant process of synthesis to make sure that music remains alive and is constantly enriched.

‘I do not subscribe to the superstition’, said Mahatma Gandhi, ‘that everything is good because it is ancient and I do not believe either that anything is good because it is Indian’.

The vast universe of music should reinvent itself making use of the opportunities of the day. We need more tangible action by the governments, private bodies, sabhas and gurus. We are already using technology to spread this knowledge and more students in India and abroad are learning Indian classical music through online resources and tutors. These efforts need to be further expanded.

It is here that Sabhas like yours have a noteworthy role to play. You have over the last 66 years done that with distinction. I am confident that in the years ahead, you will take large strides to further the cause of the culture of our land. I am hopeful that many young people will be inspired to join the fascinating world of Indian musical tradition.

Today is an occasion to remember a great musical legend, Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi who epitomized the best in Carnatic music and shines as one of the brightest stars in the vast firmament of Indian Classical Music.

She received all possible honours of the nation, from SangitaKalanidhi to Bharat Ratna. Yet she retained her rare innate qualities of humility, grace, simplicity and spiritual grandeur. Her voice was divine and enchanting. She used it to bring about a huge transformation on the cultural canvas of this country.

When she sang, there was a confluence of her heart and soul. Her rendition captivated all with enduring charm that is sweet, memorable, absorbing and magical. Whether it be alapana, kriti or swara, be they songs of the eminent composers or of the lighter variety, whether the theme be one of absolute patriotism or pure devotion, she was truly a maestro.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru most beautifully confessed, “Who am I, a mere Prime Minister, to comment on the music of the Queen of Music?” What better tribute to her involvement to devotion and music could there ever be?

Sarojini Naidu surrendered her title ‘Nightingale of India’ after hearing her sing.

‘Her music is a gift of the Gods which she plays at the service of the nation’ said Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

MS Subbulakshmi’s music was about balance and proportion. The clarity of her pronunciation, the precision in the placement of her sruthi, her ability to sustain notes, and the superb control she had over her breath, combined with her unique vocalization made her renditions inimitable.

Her music opened a vibrant dialogue between the north and the south and the west and the east. She travelled all over the world enthralling audiences with her music. She was invited to render a concert before the UN General Assembly, where she performed masterfully before a spellbound audience. The bhava and rasa which her music inspired, overwhelmed the Rasikas and often left them in tears. A ‘Bhajagovindam’ or a ‘Bhavayami’ elevated the listener to a higher plane of emotion or bhakti. Her ‘Suprabhatam’ woke us up to a deeply spiritual reality. She continues to live in the homes, and hearts of all music lovers.

As I went around the Auditorium, I was happy to see several new additions. You have, infact, converted the entire auditorium into a virtual museum for the Nightingale of Music. The exhibition on Subbulakshmi showcasing all facets of her personality, particularly those details of her life that are not easily available in the public domain, create an engaging narrative of her extraordinary life.

I am pleased that you have instituted the Sri. Shanmukhananda Bharat Ratna Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi Fellowship in Music carrying an annual grant of Rs. 1,00,000/- per fellow for 3 years.

50 Young and promising musicians who are decorated with this fellowship will certainly draw inspiration from Smt. M.S Subbulakshmi’s life and would strive hard to reach supreme levels of acclaim during their musical career.

The young musicians of today should not merely continue the musical legacy left behind by Smt. Subbulakshmi but also draw inspiration from the qualities of her head and heart, her compassion for the Rasikas, her philanthropy and the abiding interest she had in her fellow artistes.

I congratulate all the fellowship awardees and I am confident that they shall, through their riyaaz or saadhana perfect the art and emerge as great musicians of our times.

Art unites hearts. Music transcends the conventional boundaries of geography and history and has a unique timeless relevance like many of our ancient scriptures. It enriches the quality of our lives.

Indian classical music, especially Carnatic music, has blended melody with message, rhythm with reason, sound with spirituality.

Organizations like your Sabha are doing their best to preserve this invaluable heritage. But, certainly, much more needs to be done.

This is a collective heritage and it requires a collective effort to preserve and enrich it further.

Jai Hind!”

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AKT/BK/RK

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