Song of Surrender

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Remembering Manna Srinivasan

By Gita Sankaran

“A life that touches others oes on forever.” One such life was celebrated by family and friends in the Remembrance Meet for Manna Srinivasan held on 2nd March at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha’s Nalli Gana Vihar hall in Chennai.

N. (Manna) Srinivasan’s elder brother N. Balasubramanian welcomed the gathering and described Manna’s deep interest in Carnatic music, dance and other art forms which had surfaced even at a very early age. He also touched upon his literary skills and recalled the numerous unfinished projects and studies that Manna had on hand and regretted that “unfortunately the heart did not oblige with the demands of the head”.

Bharatanatyam exponent and teacher Sudharani Raghupathy who presided over the meeting, shared fond memories of her first meeting with Manna. She described Manna as “a personification of anonymity”. She spoke of how he was always ready to lend a helping hand to artists, his humility, and his desire to stay behind the scenes rather than in the limelight.

Y. Prabhu, secretary of Sri Krishna Ghana Sabha, the next speaker, referred to Manna as the south’s “ambassador to Delhi” and said that Manna will always be remembered for his role as a “bridge” between the north and the south, for “exporting” south Indian music and dance to the North and for playing a major role in lessening the divide between the two.

S. Janaki, Executive Editor of Sruti, traced Manna’s long association with the magazine. In a speech marked by humour and warmth she spoke of his visits to the office complete with his trademark bag of goodies, and acknowledged his contribution to the magazine in various capacities – Delhi Correspondent & Representative, head of Delhi Bureau, Roving Editor, Contributing Editor and Senior Associate. She narrated how he had been a great friend, adviser and father figure for the Sruti parivaar for almost three decades.

The qualities that endeared him to artists and to friends alike were enumerated by A. Natarajan, former Director of Doordarshan Kendra, Chennai and a close friend of Manna. He said Manna’s selfless desire to promote art for art’s sake, his ability and drive to research any topic in depth and his willingness to help artists in every possible way, will always be remembered.

Carnatic violinist G.J.R. Krishnan took us down memory lane with nostalgic memories of the unique bond between Manna and vidwan Lalgudi Jayaraman who gave him the name ‘Manna’ – “a godsend” for artists visiting Delhi.

Wrapping up the first half of the evening, M.N. Srinivasan, on behalf of the family, thanked the speakers and all the guests who graced the occasion.

The second half of the evening had a dance offering by Aparna Seetharaman, Manna's niece. She dedicated the recital to the memory of her uncle who had played a significant role in her growth as a performing artist. The programme conducted by her gurus Shanta and V.P. Dhananjayan with live music was a fitting tribute to Manna Srinivasan who approached art with so much energy and enthusiasm.

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