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Saeed Jaffrey
For decades Pithukuli Murugads enthralled millions by his golden voice with a rich repertoire of serene devotional music created and improvised by him.

An ardent devotee of Lord Muruga, Pithukuli Murugadas had the mission to sing the praise of Lord Muruga. Born on Thai Poosam, an auspicious day to Lord Muruga, Pithukuli Muruga Das, reached Lord Muruga’s lotus feet on Kanda Sashti, another auspicious day for the Lord.

He was born to the Alamelu -Sundaram Iyer couple at Coimbatore as Balasubramanian. At the tender age of 7 a visit to Palani temple changed his life. An accidental fall of vibuthi(sacred ash) all over him, he took it as the divine message to spread the glory of Lord Muruga.

Learning basic music lessons from Nadhayogi Brahmananda Paradesiyar, his powerful voice helped him reach millions. His guru conferred the title of Pithukuli for his a mad devotion to the Lord. He left his home at the age of 15 and travelled across the country by foot as Murugdas or the servant of Lord Muruga. Swami Ramadoss of Kanjangadu Ashram gave him this title of Murugadas. V S Krishnan an ardent follower and a Thirupugazh expert said: “Sri Murugadas formed a distinct style of his own.  His bhajans were always interspersed with commentaries.  In the midst of a song, he would start explaining the meaning and as the message slowly sinks in, he would start again from where he left, giving the audience a treat.”

Murugadas, a patriot was jailed for joining the Salt Sayagraha and also the nationwide satyagraha to protest against the Jalianwala Bagh Tragedy. Post independence, he joined Thirupugaz Mani in popularizing bhajans praising Lord Muruga.

He is a recipient of the Kalai Mamani Award of the Tamil Nadu Government, Sangeet Natak Academy Award of the Government of India among others. He married Devi Saroja, an accomplished artiste in dance, music, painting at the age of 62. She pre-deceased him.

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