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Although the print quality and the scan resolution are not great, I post this as this is one of my favorites.

I love the blank canvas and the multiple images running through the mind of the painter during conceptualization in the background.

Published in late fifties in Kalaimagal.

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This was part of a lecture concert on Dikshitar kritis. An effortless rendition interspersed with crisp insights makes it a valuable recording especially for students. Even in his last days, Rajam sir would talk about Naina Pillai’s rendition of this raga.

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Although Rajam was known for his works based on literature, mythology and classical music, one can find several works based on contemporary themes as well.

Even in such themes, he is true to his style. Here is one such from 1955.

kolam

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Rajam100 – Song 13 of 365

S.Rajam’s most known contribution is his efforts in popularizing the 72 melakartha kritis of Kotiswara Iyer. However, he has sung several other kritis of the composer. Here is a rare one rendered in a AIR concert in Raga Khamboji.

#Rajam100

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Not many know that S.Rajam was commissioned to illustrate for Kalki’s Parthiban Kanavu. The advertisement for the series had illustrations from Rajam. However, he fell apart with the author and did not work for the magazine until the demise of Kalki Krishnamurthi.

Here is one of those illustrations that was published as part of the advertisement. If you had been to Mamallapuram caves, you can relate to this work. I particularly like the way he depicted the fight in a silhouette.parthiban kanavu 2

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Rajam100 – Song 7 of 365

Today I present a Neelakanta Sivan Kriti is Raga Varali. This was part of AIR concert with krithis based on Neelakanta Sivan’s composition.

#Rajam100

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On the third day, I would like to share Rajam’s depiction of Arunachala Kavi.

It is said that Kamban made his Ramayana public in the Srirangam temple. Arunachala Kavi wished that his Rama Nataka Kirthanais were released in Srirangam as well. There were some resistance to it. The famous song “En Palli Kondeer ayya” is actually a plea to Ranganatha from Arunachala Kavi. The “never sung” third charanam explicitly says that.

I particularly like the Pavala malli decoration on the Perumal.

#Rajam100

 

Arunachala Kavi.jpg

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The third song that I present is from a private recording. I received a set of recordings from Rajam sir, where his student Smt. Gomathi had digitised his renditons during the classes. There were over 400 songs, including all 72 melakartha songs of Koteeswara Iyer.

Rajam’s most famous musical contribution was popularizing Kotishwara Iyer’s compositions. Here I present the composition in Todi. ‘Kali Theera’ – in true Ariyakudi style. The cascading sangatis and that deep and ringing mandra panchamam in the chitta swarams makes it a cherished recording for me.

In the Kanda Ganamutham album, that is commercially available, he has sung a crisp alapana and lovely swaras as well.

 

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The second picture I would like to share is the first ever published work of Rajam.

His first work was published in 1938 in Kalaimagal. He was still a student at the college of arts then. His long association with the magazine and ts editor Ki.Va.Jagannathan made a telling impact on his style ad subjects that he would dedicate his rest of his life to.

In the documentary we made on him, when he was 90. Rajam recalled this work and recreated for us to record it. It gives me goosebumps to see the line drawing unfold. Interested folks may buy the DVD from kalakendra.com.

 

first published work

 

The second song I would like to share is a rare kriti in raga Chandrakauns.

Rajam sir was a great admirer of Hindustani music. Bal Gandharva’s recordings were his treasured possessions. During the shooting of “Rukmini Kalyanam” in Pune, Rajam would visit a hotel next to the talkies and would listen to Bal gandharva’s rendition in the movie “Dharmatma” everyday.

In this rendition, he weaves magic with his effortless rendition of the ragam and also adds some lovely kalpana swarams. Kalyani Varadarajan is a rare composer of merit. Rajam chooses to highlight a not so heard song of hers in this concert. #Rajam100

There is a repetition in the recording after the first few minutes. Excuse the glitch.

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ஓவியர், பாடகர், நடிகர், ‘சங்கீத கலா ஆசார்யர்’ எஸ்.ராஜம் அவர்களின் நூற்றாண்டு இந்த வருடம்.

அதன் தொடக்கமாய். வரும் வெள்ளிக்கிழமை, ஃபெப்ரவரி 8-ம் தேதி, சென்னை மியூசிக் அகாடமியில் ஒரு நிகழ்வு நடக்கிறது.

அதன் விவரங்கள்

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PHOTO-2019-02-05-19-13-05 (1)

அவர் நூற்றாண்டை முன்னிட்டு நிகழ்ந்த பாட்டுப் போட்டியில் வென்றவர்களுக்கு பரிசு வழங்கப்படும். அவரைப் பற்றிய ஆவணப்படத்திலிருந்தும் பல சுவாரஸ்ய காட்சிகளைக் காணும் வாய்ப்பும் உள்ளது. அவருடன் பழகிய பலரின் அனுபவப் பகிர்வும் நிகழ்ச்சிக்கு செறிவு சேர்க்கும்.

இவைத் தவிர, அவர் ஓவியத்தை முன் வைத்து ஒரு நாட்டிய நிகழ்ச்சியும் (நவ்யா நடராஜன்), அவருக்கு அஞ்சலி செலுத்தும் வகையில் இசைக் கச்சேரியும் (ரஞ்சனி காயத்ரி) இடம் பெறவுள்ளது.

இந்த அரிய நிகழ்ச்சிக்கு அனுமதி இலவசம். கலை ரசிகர்கள் வந்து ரசிக்கும்படி வேண்டிக் கொள்கிறேன்.

இது தொடங்கி, இன்னும் ஓராண்டுக்கு மாதம் ஒரு கச்சேரி ராஜம் அவர்களைச் சிறப்பிக்கும் வகையில் பரிவாதினியின் மூலம் நடக்கவுள்ளது.

முதல் கச்சேரியாய். ஃபெப் 22-ம் தேதி எஸ்.ராஜத்திடம் கற்ற பாடகர் அக்ஷய் பத்மநாபன் பாடுகிறார்.

இந்த முயற்சிக்கு பொருள் உதவி செய்ய விழைவோர்.

Parivadini Charitable Trust,
Union Bank of India
Account Number: 579902120000916
branch: Kolathur, Chennai,
IFSC Code: UBIN0557994

என்ற வங்கிக் கணக்கில் தங்கள் பங்களிப்பை அளிக்கலாம்.

 

 

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When I interviewed Iravatham Mahadevan for Airavati, we edited out some portions based on his suggestions. I’m publishing them for the benefit of readers.

The published interview can be read here

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Q: Tell us about your school days.

In the intermediate exam, I stood first in Sanskrit. In fact, I was one of the very few students, who wrote the entire Sanskrit paper in Sanskrit, which was usually written either in English or Tamil. I was the topper of the presidency in Sanskrit scoring over 90%, a score that was unheard of in those times. Seeing this, a seat for Sanskrit honors degree was offered to me at the Presidency College.

But my father didn’t approve of me taking up that offer, as he wanted me to become a doctor. That was probably the only time I obeyed him (laughs). Although I had topped Sanskrit, my marks in Math, Physics and Chemistry were not good enough to get me a seat in the Medical College. In those days, one could study a B.Sc. degree and then go on do a degree in medicine (M.B.B.S). So I joined Vivekananda College, totally against my will, to pursue a degree in Chemistry.

Q: Tell us more about your college life.

By this time, I was a member of RSS and was involved in various social and cultural activities. Partly due to such activities and largely due to my lack of interest, I didn’t do too well in my B.Sc. When I was at the Vivekananda College, I was also strongly attracted towards the activities of Ramakrishna Mission. Initially I was a member of both the RSS as well as Ramakrishna Mission. As time progressed, I was drawn more towards the ideology of Vivekananda, which I found to be more liberal than that of the RSS.  After a few years, when I joined Law College, I came out of the RSS as I had lost belief in the ‘Hindu Nation’ theme and started believing in secularism. I was also strongly influenced by the activities of Ramakrishna Mutt at the Vivekananda College.

Q: You were born in 1930, at a time of great political and national activity. How did it influence you?

I remember in 1942, we all come out of the class and walked from St. Joseph College, all the way to the Central Prison, shouting slogans like Vande Mataram and the next day I was beaten black and blue by my teacher. By the time I was 17, when I was still a minor, freedom had come. I was clear in my mind that – had the British continued to rule, I would not join any of the government service jobs.

Q: Tell us more about your initial days as an I.A.S officer.

I started my career as the Assistant Collector in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. Then, when I was the Sub-Collector at Pollachi, the Amaravathi dam was opened. I was in-charge of all the arrangements of the function. From what I found out later, T.T.Krishnamachari, the then finance minister, was impressed with me and said to Kamraj, the then Chief minister of Tamilnadu, “I want this young man in my ministry.” Kamraj agreed and my position skyrocketed to that of the Assistant Financial Advisor in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Interestingly, when I went to Delhi, Krishnamachari, the person who wanted me there, had already resigned. Little did I know at that point of time, that there was a helping hand of destiny behind all these events.  It was this move that made me turn towards historical research.

Q: Apart from a historical researcher, you have also served as an Editor for a popular daily. How did that happen?

I had made up my mind to quit government service during the emergency rule. In those times, the voluntary retirement scheme was not prevalent. But, for I.A.S officers, if you had completed 25 years of service and reached the age of 50, you could give three months notice and quit. In 1980, when I was 50, I had resigned from service. I had to find another job to run my family. Within two weeks of my resignation, Ramnath Goenka called me and offered me the job of the chief of the Indian Express publication in South India.

Q: You could have found many jobs. Why, in particular, you went into the field of publications?

When I quit, the first offer came from Ashok Leyland. I refused, as I had already dealt with them during my tenure at the Ministry of Industry. Publication was one business I didn’t deal with, as the printing industry comes under the Ministry of information and broadcasting. Ramnath Goenka heard about me from his advisor S.Gurumurthy. I worked there for a couple of years. But, like any other company, this company too had some ways and means, which didn’t suit me and that made me quit again.

Q: You had quit Goenka’s organization but you did join him back as the editor of ‘Dinamani’. Didn’t you?

Yes, that was because of the untimely death of my son in an accident. I had to earn at least for my grandchildren’s sake. Goenka again offered me to join back. But, I refused to join him back as a manager. Then he offered me to work as a resident editor of Indian Express. I again refused, since my views and the views of the chief editor, Arun Shourie, were not along the same lines. He then offered me the position of Editor of Dinamani, which I accepted.

Q: You also have another dimension as a numismatist. Tell us more on that.

I started collected coins from the age of 10, when I accidentally found a Rajaraja coin. In those days, one could literally buy such coins in Sacks. The Second World War caused a huge loss for numismatists, as there was a huge demand for copper.  Till 1960, I did hunt for coins wherever I went and had collected several thousand coins. I stopped collecting after 1960 as my other interests had taken over. I got more interested in the epigraphy of the coins and legends in the coin, rather than the coin per se. In 1965, when Lal Bahadur Sastri had asked for donation of gold, we decided to donate all the gold we had in our house. My wife donated her entire jewelry and I exchanged all my gold coins with the National Museum for gold bullion and gave it as the part of our donation. Later, I sold my 4000+ coin collection to the museum and used the money for my Indus Research.

Q: What keeps you going even at this age?

After publishing the Early Tamil Epigraphy, I badly needed a break. So, I went to Kasi.  We were supposed to go to the Sankat Mochan temple at dawn. A vehicle had come for pick-up. I don’t why, but I just refused to go. That, day, at 6.00 A.M., when we were supposed to be at the Sankat Mochan temple, a terrible explosion took place, taking away the lives of 60 people. I then realized that I was spared for some purpose. All that I have done has been willed and it is that force that still keeps me going.

 

 

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