Sunday 17 April 2022 was a sad day for Sruti as N. Sankar, Chairman of The Sruti Foundation, passed away in Chennai, after a brief illness. He was 76. As Chairman of The Sanmar Group, he was an icon of Indian industry presiding over a US dollar one billion diversified multinational group. Spearheading Chemplast, its flagship company, he was at the forefront of the PVC manufacturing segment in India for over five decades. An exemplary captain of industry, he was well known as an upright and innovative visionary successfully combining business acumen with ethics. He was the recipient of several prestigious honours including lifetime achievement awards from state and national level apex bodies of the chemical industry. A keen sportsman, passionate about cricket and tennis, he was one of the finest patrons of cricket in India, seeking out cricketing talent and nurturing it in Tamil Nadu. He was highly respected for his sage counsel as head of Assocham, the Madras Chamber of Commerce and the Madras Management Association, besides sports bodies like the Tamil Nadu and the All India Tennis Association, the Madras Cricket Club and Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
N. Sankar, along with his family members, had a deep appreciation for Indian art, culture and heritage. It was under his initiative that Chennai Heritage was started in 1999 for the preservation of art and culture in metropolitan Chennai, and for the protection of the natural environment. It was Sankar who stepped in at a crucial point in the life of Madras Musings to place it on a sound financial footing with support from multiple corporate houses. He was a strong believer in CSR -- ‘corporate social responsibility’. A few years after the demise of Sruti’s Founder & Editor-in-Chief N. Pattabhi Raman, when Sruti was in need of a stabilising hand, N. Sankar came forward to take The Sruti Foundation under his wing in 2006. Under his leadership, Sruti received a fresh impetus with the recasting of the Sruti Foundation, infusion of new professional expertise, and the Sruti office moving into the Sanmar premises, with contemporary facilities in technology and connectivity. V. Ramnarayan, who worked for Sanmar for several years and was Editor-in-Chief of Sruti for about a decade, recalls that as chairman of The Sruti Foundation, N. Sankar gave full freedom and never interfered in the running of the magazine. N. Sankar took pride in Sruti’s stature in the arts field, and would preside over our functions with quiet joy, his dignified and genial presence adding to the aura of the proceedings. Integrity and excellence have been our motto, and Sruti will continue to uphold these values which were top priority for N. Sankar. Sruti will miss his eminent presence. The Sruti team offers its heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family.
_^_ _^_ _^_ _^_
In this May issue of Sruti, we bring to you interesting articles on four personalities. One is a centenary tribute to the versatile percussionist of Kerala, the late Thrippekulam Achutha Marar who went on to become a famous melam artist. The spotlight is on the veteran practitioner of a rarely played instrument – jalatarangam artist Anayampatti S. Ganesan who celebrates his 90th birthday in May this year. The cover stories are on two artists in their prime – Carnatic musician Bharat Sundar and Bharatanatyam exponent and teacher Praveen Kumar. Early in life, both decided to take the plunge to pursue their passion for the arts. Both have a solid classical base, fine repertoire, strong focus, an enviable imagination, eye for detail and aesthetics. Their hard work and the desire to excel have helped them to quickly rise to fame in their chosen fields.
We also have our popular segments of Sruti Box, News & Notes and Record Rack this time. So read on.