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Another Indian music maestro at the UN

Sankara Nethralaya (SN) plans to commemorate the birth centenary of music maestro M S Subbulakshmi (MS) and the golden jubilee of her memorable concert in the UN in October 1966. Chairman S S Badrinath has persuaded A R Rahman to give a concert on 15 August at the UN in the presence of Secretary General, Ban-ki-Moon and diplomats from dozens of member countries.  There are also plans to present Sudha Raghunathan for a series of six concerts culminating at the UN on 02 October and the third one by Zubin Mehta, Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in New York on 05 November.

The concerts are promoted to raise funds for Sankara Nethralaya to conduct eye surgeries on hundreds of patients at heavily subsidised charges and also to perpetuate the memory of M S Subbulakshmi 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. Significant efforts are made in making these events getting full support, especially from the Indian diaspora. Dr Badrinath has enlisted the services of journalist Prakash Swamy.

This is a worthy attempt that deserves support from not just the Indian diaspora but leading corporates as well through sponsorships.

While the 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 their large retinues.

I spent time with Raj Rajaram and Prakash Swamy in my recent visit to the US. Along with Vasan, they are putting in a lot of efforts to make the event a grand success. I remember the valuable work put by Rajaram for raising funds for Pratham. He has set a larger target of raising resources for Sankara Nethralaya. Swamy provides vital links through his contacts with the Indian Embassy, media and the UN.  

But there is one crucial difference. The 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 specially for that concert. Sadly, today we do not have a C V Narasimhan at the UN or such a carnatic music buff at the Indian Embassy in Washington.

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