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