By K. Chitra
On February 24th, 2016 Lalitha Kala Mandhir, the fine arts wing of the Sri Muthukrishna Swami Mission Trust conducted its Founder’s day Programme at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore.
The evening started with a Puja and singing of bhajans after which Mr. Ramakrishnan and Ms. Chitra Visweswaran took the stage and shared their experiences individually. Mr. Ramakrishnan elaborated about Sri Muthukrishna swamy and the founder Sri Manickavasagam Pillai. Sri Manickavasagam Pillai was a pious soul and a benevolent person who lived around the Pothai hill near Tirunelveli. He started doing a lot of charitable activities and was blessed with Navaratnas – Nine gems in the form of nine daughters. One of them is Pujyashree Mathaji Vithama . She runs the Sri Muthukrishna Swami Mission Trust in Pothai which offers free food (Annadaanam) every day and runs a school which imparts quality education to children (especially girls) in and around Pothai. The Lalitha Kala Mandhir offers free classes in Dance, Music, Mridangam and more than 100 students are benefited by this school. On Full Moon day more than 400 people go around the Pothai hill which has been developed into a walkable area. Forestation which is the current buzz word on everybody’s lips has been in force in Pothai for a long time now.
Ms. Chitra Visweswaran talked about her association with the trust. She came to the trust as a performer but due to the blessings of Pujya Mataji she is now part of the trust helping deserving children learn dance. She also went on to say that the children who learn dance at Pothai are economically deprived children who lack even the basic facilities. She learnt this truth the hard way by narrating an incident. After a class, she told the students to go home and practice by looking at the full length mirror at home so that they can correct their posture. At the end of the day, Pujyashree Mathaji Vithamma gifted everybody with a small face mirror. This made her realize that the children do not have a full length mirror at home to practice. Such is the economical situation of the children who study in that school. She also expressed that if the sincerity of the teachers are to be applauded, the sincerity of the children in learning the art is phenomenal. All thanks to Pujyashree Mathaji that such economically deprived children are given an opportunity to learn such fine arts.
In appreciation of their contribution to arts, Pujyashree Mathaji Vithamma conferred the title of Lalithakala Vithagar upon Kalaimamani T.R. Kamala Murthy, Kalaimamani Dr. Navaneethakrishnan, and Kalaimamani Dr. Vijayalakshmi Navaneethakrishnan. Ms.Kamala Murthy is a Harikatha exponent who has been doing Harikatha from the age of 9. She is fluent in Marathi, Kannada, Sanskrit and Tamil.
Mr. & Mrs. Navneethakrishnan are well known for popularizing folk songs among today’s youth and had come to the function in the traditional folk dress to receive the award. All the artistes were garlanded and presented with a shawl, medal and a gift.
Dance performance was given by the students of Lalitha Kala Mandir from Pothai and Chennai. The performance started with a Pushpanjali followed by a Kavuthuvam on Lord Ganesha and then a Thirupuggazh. Papanasam Sivam’s composition on Mahalakshmi was rendered and the finale was the Thillana – Madurashtakam which delineated the friendship between Sudama and Lord Krishna. It was an enriching sight to see children from a village take centre stage and perform.
It was an evening of piety, performance and appreciation.