Special Features



- By Mohan Parasaran


The legal fraternity and Music Academy:

Several members of the legal fraternity were closely associated with the Music Academy, Chennai. They include: 

  • K S Chandrasekharan: The son of V Krishnasamy Iyer, he was well acquainted with classical Carnatic music. He was a member of the management of the Music Academy and the Kalakshetra for a long time and has contributed many articles in the journal of the Music Academy. He also served as the Vice-President of the Music Academy.

  • C K Venkatanarasimhan: A leading criminal lawyer, he was the Secretary of the Music Academy for a number of years and was also a close associate and classmate of the brilliant musician, G N Balasubramanian.

  • T S Rangarajan: He was the Secretary of the Music Academy and also on the committee for a number of years and was considered an authority on the history of Carnatic music. He was also closely associated with Dr. V Raghavan and actively participated in the activities of Natya Ranga, an association for performing Arts that staged Sanskrit plays loaded with dance and music.

  •  Maitreyi Ramadurai: Yet another distinguished personality deeply involved in Carnatic music, she is an enthusiastic participant in the activities of the Music Academy. She enrolled as a lawyer and worked as a junior under her distinguished grandfather V V Srinivasa Iyengar. She is now one of the Secretaries of the Music Academy.

Other prominent figures include Senior Advocate M R Narayanaswamy, P S Ramachandran and R Vaidyanatha Iyer, who were all active members of the Music Academy. K Vaitheeswaran, Vice-President of the Music Academy is the distinguished son of its founder-member, K V Krishnasamy Iyer. V Gopinathan, a criminal lawyer by profession is also a committee member of the Music Academy.

The legal fraternity and other Sabhas:

V P Raman, another former Advocate General of Tamilnadu, evinced keen interest in Carnatic music and was an excellent violinist, who had his training under the great master Papa Venkataramaiah. His wife Kalpagam Raman is also a fairly well known vocalist.

Among the lawyers of today, there are very many organisers, who have been instrumental in starting several Sabhas. In this connection the names that immediately come to the mind are R Krishnaswamy and R Yagnaraman.  

R Krishnaswamy was single-handedly responsible for establishing Narada Gana Sabha, of course with the support of several of his clients and well wishers. Hailing from a family of musicians, R Krishnaswamy has rendered a yeoman service for the cause of Carnatic music.

R Yagnaraman is the founder of the reputed Krishna Gana Sabha and has encouraged, identified and discovered several talented musicians and has carved out a niche for Krishna Gana Sabha in the field of Carnatic music.


K Raja, one of the oldest surviving members of the Madras Bar was closely associated with T M Krishnasamy Iyer and is considered an authority not only on Tiruppugazh, but also on the compositions of Pamban Swamigal. He demonstrated the beauty of those compositions and their rhythmic patterns in several places, including the Music Academy and the Tamil Isai Sangam.

Justice K S Bhaktavatsalam went on and became a judge of the Madras High Court and is presently the Vice-Chairman of the Central Administrative Tribunal. He learnt Carnatic music from Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar and Sangeeta Kalanidhi T M Tyagarajan. He has not only formed a drama troupe and but is also keenly involved in Bharatanatyam.

Among the present generation of lawyers, N Srivatsamani is a renowned scholar of Carnatic music and has learnt mridangam and Khanjira under no less than a stalwart like Palani Subramania Pillai.

K C Rajappa, a leading tax practitioner is an accomplished player of the mridangam and Khanjira. He learnt mridangam from Madurai Krishna Iyengar and is also a performing artiste. Besides, he also teaches mridangam free to anyone who is interested.

During the Centenary celebrations of the Madras High Court in 1962, a unique public concert was held wherein Justice T L Venkatarama Iyer rendered a vocal performance with V P Raman on the violin, N Srivatsamani on the mridangam and K C Rajappa on the Khanjira.

V C Srikumar, grandson of V C Seshachariar, and one the founder-trustees of the Tyagaraja Sangeeta Vidwat Samajam, learnt Carnatic music from S Rajam and Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavatar.

Another leading lawyer of the present, Vedantam Srinivasan is a great lover of Carnatic music and is well versed with the compositions of the Trinity. He has also guided some of the present day musicians. Advocate V Sairam is a performing percussionist who has learnt mridangam and Khanjira in the traditional way. Vijayaraghavan, also known as Murali plays flute with comfort and ease. He is the grandson of Allepey Parthasarathy, who himself was a great authority on Carnatic music. His family has produced three generations of musicians, who have not only taught music, but also patronised the art by sponsoring concerts. His family also runs an organisation called ‘Raga Tarangini’, which was founded by Parimala Srinivasan, the mother of Vijayaraghavan. Advocate S B S Raman, son of Vina S Balachandar is also adept at playing the Vina. From among the younger generation practicing today, C Seetapathy, who works in the offices of P S Raman, performs regularly as an accompanying violinist.


Now we come to the active practitioners of Carnatic music, who trained to be lawyers. It is interesting to note that the popular vocalist T V Sankaranarayanan did practice law under the late Mohan Kumaramangalam before becoming a full time musician. T V Gopalakrishnan had also acquired legal qualifications but later became a full-time mridangist and is now a renowned vocalist as well.

Umayalpuram Sivaraman, disciple of Kumbakonam Rangasamy Iyer and Palghat Mani Iyer is another shining star in the Carnatic world, who acquired legal qualifications. While his performances on stage display his virtuosity in music, his incisive and impressive speeches outside, demonstrate the skills of a lawyer.

The wives of some of the leading lawyers are also Carnatic musicians and the said lawyers themselves have sufficient knowledge of Carnatic music. In this connection, one cannot but mention the names of N R Chandran, who has married one of the Bombay sisters, C Lalitha. Chandran was formerly the Additional Solicitor General of India. 

Subashini Parthasarathy, another accomplished vocalist, is the wife of Advocate S Parthasarathy. Suresh Krishnamurthy happens to be the son-in-law of veteran vocalist K V Narayanaswamy, married to Anuradha, a popular musician of the younger generation.

I propose to deal with the lives of some of these personalities in a more detailed manner for the benefit of posterity. Whatever has been written so far are merely random thoughts - just an introduction to the important role played by the legal fraternity to the cause of Carnatic music as well as dance in various capacities.


Special features home