Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Remembering M. Krishnaswami

A friend of Sruti, a connoisseur and patron of arts

By S. Janaki

M. Krishnaswami, “MK” to his large circle of friends, died on 15 October 2013 in Chennai. He was ailing for some years and was 88 when he passed away. He was a respected patron of Carnatic music and musicians. He was the husband of Sangita Kalanidhi Mani Krishnaswami. He was a close friend of N. Pattabhi Raman, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sruti, and was instrumental in bringing in a few companies to provide financial assistance to Sruti magazine in the 1980s and 90s.

Born in 1926 into a family of lawyers, he had his early education in Tirupati. He graduated in Law from the Madras Law College. He began his career in New Delhi in the Rajya Sabha Legal Secretariat. He had a short stint in Calcutta as Deputy Director in the Office of the Director General of Civil Supplies. Later in 1960, he was deputed by the Govt. of India to serve as Secretary of the Tagore Centenary Celebration Committee, Madras, which was headed by Union Minister C. Subramaniam, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu K. Kamaraj and Rukmini Devi Arundale.

In 1964, MK joined the Indian Express Group and served there until 1972 as General Manager of the Madras and Vijayawada edition-branches. In 1973 MK was handpicked by the late T.S. Krishna of the TVS Group to serve as Senior Personnel Manager of Lucas-TVS. He persuaded Lucas-TVS and Lucas Indian Service to provide financial assistance to Sruti under the Sruti Alliance Plan, which they did for many years, when MK was active in the scene.

MK was quite an active figure for over 30 years in the field of classical arts in his native Tirupati and in Chennai. He was a pillar of support to his wife Mani Krishnaswami and helped shape her career in music.

MK played a pivotal role in the development of The Thyagaraja Temple Trust in Tirupati. He was also deeply involved in the activities of many religious and cultural organisations like the Tirupati-Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), the Music Academy, Madras, the Kalakshetra Foundation, and the Nadopasana music sabha. Like many others, he was a father-figure for the Sruti parivaar in its nascent years.

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