M. Krishnaswami, chairman,
Sri Thyagaraja Trust, writes:
WHEN SRI Lal Bahadur Sastri, as Prime Minister, visited Tirupati, the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams wanted to arrange a concert by M. S. Subbulakshmi in his honour. When approached, Sri. T. Sadasivam was not too enthusiastic. However, Musiri Subramania Iyer and I paid a visit to the Kalki Gardens and persuaded Sadasivam to make it convenient to be at Tirumala during the visit of the Prime Minister.
Needless to say, the concert at Tirumala for about three hours was scintillating and highly devotional.
Next morning the then Executive Officer of TTD, Sri B. Narasinga Rao, wanted to thank M.S. We went to the cottage where she was staying. On the way, the Executive Officer asked me how to reciprocate her kind gesture. We had along with us at that time the representatives of The Hindu and The Indian Express and Sri Kalyanam Iyengar. The consensus was to make her the Asthana Vidwan of TTD. She was to be the first person to be honoured by the TTD with this title.
When we requested her to accept the honour, she politely declined saying that it would not be proper for her to accept it when three eminent stalwarts, much senior to her, were in the field. They were Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Musiri Subramania Iyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, all Sangita Kalanidhis. The Executive Officer immediately agreed to honour these artistes as well. He announced to the Press accordingly, adding the name of Sangita Kalanidhi Chitoor Subramania Pillai to satisfy local sentiments. Can we expect this kind of gesture in the present music scene? I have my own doubts.
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