Sankara Nethralaya (SN) plans to commemorate the birth centenary of music maestro M S Subbulakshmi (MSS) and the golden jubilee of her memorable concert in the UN in October 1966. Chairman Emeritus S S Badrinath has persuaded A R Rahman to give a concert along with his orchestra on the Indian independence day, 15 August, at the UN in the presence of Secretary General, Ban-ki-Moon and diplomats from dozens of member countries. SN also plans to present Sudha Raghunathan for a series of six concerts culminating at the UN on 02 October and a third one by Zubin Mehta, Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Centre in New York on 05 November.
The event is promoted to raise funds for SN to conduct eye surgeries on hundreds of patients at heavily subsidized costs and also to perpetuate the memory of MSS by creating a Chair for Music in her name in one of the American universities.
Led by Dr K S Vasan, Managing Director, Sankara Nethralaya and Dr Raj Rajaram of Chicago, who has been inducted as a Director of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust (SN OM Trust) in the US. There are major efforts in makng these events getting wide support, especially from the Indian diaspora. Badrinath has enlisted the services of journalist Prakash Swamy who had lived and worked in the US for two decades.
This is a worthy attempt that deserves support from not just the Indian diaspora but leading corporates, financial institutions… through sponsorships.
While the renowned music maestros have graciously offered to provide their services free, it is bound to cost a bundle to meet the costs of travel, accommodation, local transport and also fees for the services of the large retinues - A R Rahman’s alone will comprise 80.
I spent time with Raj Rajaram and Prakash Swamy in my recent visit to the US. Along with Vasan, they are putting in lot of efforts to make the event a grand success. I remember the precious work put by Rajaram for raising funds for Pratam. He has set a larger target of raising resources for Sankara Nethralaya. Swamy provides vitsal liniks through his contacts with the Indian Embassy, media and the UN.
But there is one vital difference. Then Chef de Cabinet, late C V Narasimhan, was an ardent fan of MS and was instrumental in presenting her at the UN. Kanchi Sankara Mutt seer Sri Chandrasekara Saraswathi Swami and Rajaji composed soulful lyrics Maitreem Bajatha and Kurai Onrum Illai that gained in popularity so quick! Sadly, today we do not have a C V Narasimhan at the UN or at the Indian Embassy at Washington.