To those of us, who, like me, have been carried forward on the flood tide of Srimathi Subbulakshmi’s mellifluent and expressive voice and who have enjoyed the potentiality of an inherited tonality of which she is a master, no further praise or encomium is necessary than the expression on my behalf and on behalf of all of you, our deep indetedness to Srimathi Subbulakshmi, for the musical treat to which we have listened and which has, in many of us, produced an abiding memory of possibilities of melodiousness of voice and expressiveness of to nation, of the spirit of preponderation in our inner mentality. The one distinguishing feature of Srimathi Subbulakshmi’s performance I have come across is that she is always in a class striving for perfection.
There are some great performers instrumental and vocal, who seem to embody in their performance a full stop. (laughter). In other words, they feel conscious that they have achieved the performer’s perfection of utterance and of musical possibility.
There are others like Srimathi Subbulakshmi, who are never content with what has been achieved in the past and are always in a spirit and form aspiring ever towards higher heights of arts. And that is why she is commended as a master of the art which she expounds and that is why she has secured the recognition which is universal in this country. But, I am not here solely to praise her musical excellence. She, aided and assisted by her husband, has been instrumental in making possible many infinite institutions to survive the pains of infancy and perils of youths and grow to maturity. (Cheers).
She and Sri Sadasivam are public figures who have contributed to many great and beneficial institutions. And I am here on behalf of the public to voice our gratitude to them. And, it is therefore not extraordinary that I interrupted my other work fixed elsewhere and preferred to come here to hear Srimathy M.S. Subbulakshmi’s music and of course, I am full satisfied about what I did.
And now let me say a few works about Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.
You, Sir, have reminded me that I am older than the Sabha. ( Cheers), and none in our dotage are grateful for constant reminders of our senility ( Laughter) . Nevertheless, looking back over those years, some memories crowd upon me, which may perhaps be worth recounting to a gathering, which is mainly composed of young people. There was a time when great exponents of Carnatic music like Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer declined to accept any remuneration for their performances. It is even now in people’s literary memory tha the Great Thyagaraja, invited as he was, to the Durbars of Travancore and Mysore declined the invitation and preferred to stay in his village of Thiruvarur, accomplishing his work of literary and saintly merit and content with the work.
When Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha was founded in 1900, I was a student of Law College. And, practically all my early memories cluster round Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. In one of the Anthologies of Sanskrit, Chittavinodhu, now not so well known, there is a verse :
“Sabarathna Vithunukal a Kalarathna gatham thrivena patharathanam Harikatha” and Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha was an initiator of noteworthy programmes in all these three branches of musical literary and expository activities.
Musicians of immense reputation, of great accomplishments, like Sri Saraba Sastri and Thirukodakaval Krishna Iyer and Alaga Nambi and people of that type who had no comperers gave performance in this Sabha. That was in the musical side.
On Harikatha side you gave encouragement to Sri Krishna Bhaghavathar. I may mention a bity of autobiographical episode just as a matter of contrasty. Sri Krishna Bhagavathar used to come to my house on the invitation of my grand father and father and stay during Navarathri festival delivering discourses every day and at the end he was paid Rs. 100 ( laughter) I am not asking Srimathy Subbulakshmi to follow the example of Krishna Baghavathar. But I am mentioning that men like Krishna Baghavathar, Panchapakesa Sastrigal and later on Harikesanallur Muthiah Baghavathar were patronized by the Sabha.
In later years I had the privilege of helping Sri Muthiah Baghavathar by entrusting him with the work of revision, compilation and publication of Swathithirunal Sahityam. Those were the men who first gave performances in Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. You are therefore rich in tradition, you have rich heritage and rich in everything except perhaps in resources ( laughter).
In your early days I remember your wonderful Secretary P.B. Ramanujachariar used to arrange for all these performance often pay out his own pocket. There was no subscription asked for, but through difficult times and through easy periods, through struggles and many obstacles, Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha continued its laudable efforts in the promotion of music and arts and proved itself a pioneer institution.