Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Memorial for Mandolin Shrinivas

By Charukesi

It was a solemn and simple ceremony on the third floor of the residence of Mandolin Shrinivas in Kodambakkam, a busy suburb in Chennai, on Saturday, the 28th of March.   The atmosphere was charged with emotion and the ghatam maestro Vikku Vinayakram cut the ribbon to declare open the Shrinivas Institute of World Music.

“Truly, he was a world musician, representing India at the global level. I have played for him right from the beginning till almost the end!” said Vinayakram, after declaring the renovated hall open. “I have played similarly for M.S. and I cannot but recall it at this moment!” added the maestro. 

“It took nearly three months for us to organize this memorial. We had started planning from December last year and we wanted to dedicate this for his students the world over” said his brother Rajesh. Mandolin Shrinivas, the young wizard had about one hundred and fifty disciples from India and abroad and fifty are from Chennai. Many of them are very young and enthusiastic.

Shivram, one of his students, had helped put together the show containing various photos and certificates and honours. The State of Maryland’s Certificate, the honorary citizenship given by Sharan Pratt Kelly, Mayor of the District of Columbia, USA, the Birudhu patra of Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, and the National Citizen’s Award given by President Shankar Dayal Sharma are some of the few frames that decorated the walls.

A large number of photos showing Shrinivas in the company of dignitaries and national leaders could be seen. One picture in particular drew the attention of the invitees. It had Rajiv Gandhi, Chandrasekhar, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Sonia Gandhi and R. Venkataraman along with the entire troupe of Mandolin Shrinivas. Shrinivas was a pious man with close connections to Sathya Sai Baba, the Kanchi Acharya, Mother Teresa and former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam and therefore, a few frames of these have been displayed in the hall.  He played the mandolin along with stalwarts such as Pandit Jasraj, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Bhimsen Joshi, Amjad Ali Khan and Zakir Hussain and no wonder pictures of these eminent artistes have found a place. Photos of his western instrumentalist-friends could also be seen.

R. Rajamani Rajkumar released a Shrinivas CD, which Vinayakram received. “I had accompanied my father to a concert at the age of five. I saw an artiste playing mandolin and I was attracted towards the vadyam and its sound. I began learning from then on!” said Shrinivas in the CD.

It was a poignant moment for Shrinivas’s father who was seen talking to the guests with moist eyes.

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