It was the year 1938 and the freedom struggle was at its peak.
K.M. Munshi, a close disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, felt that
freedom for India would come sooner or later. What was required
was to prepare India for its post independent era by nourishing
and rejuvenating its culture. The ancient wisdom of Bharat had
to reintegrated to modern times. It was with this noble mission
that Kulapati K.M. Munshi founded the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
with the Blessings of Mahatma Gandhi.
Right from its inception, Bhavan has always had the association
of spiritual masters and great national leaders like Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Pujyasri Rajaji,
Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Dr. S. Radhakrishnan. From a small
beginning, Bhavan has steadily expanded and today has a truly
pan India coverage with as many as 112 Kendras. Its
international presence is augmented by its seven overseas
centers including the ones at London and New York.
Bhavan today has over 361 educational institutions from
pre-primary to doctoral level, imparting quality education and
fundamental values of Indian Culture to over 3 lakh students.
Among its other notable activities is the Bhavan Book
University, the only one of its kind. Till date, over 1750
titles have been brought out.
The Coimbatore Kendra of the Bhavan was founded in the year
1964 by Shri G.K. Sundaram, Chairman of the Lakshmi Mills
Dr.B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar has been the Chairman of the
Coimbatore Kendra since 1990. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is the
recipient of many awards. Notable among them are
·Rajiv Gandhi Award for National Integration, 1992
·Govt. of India's Communal Harmony Award, 1999
·Govt. of India's International Gandhi Peace Prize, 2002
·Educational Institution of National Eminence
Dr. B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar
Dr.B.K. Krinhnaraj Vanavarayar is the chairman of the
Coimbatore Kendra, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Under his
stewardship, the Kendra has done much to propagate arts and
culture in Coimbatore. He has shown great interest in getting
this book on D.K.Pattammal published. Be it coordinating with
senior musicians, gathering the required material or providing
infrastructural assistance, his involvement has been
phenomenal. It can be said that his constant encouragement and
support have steered the project in the right direction.
Sri. C.R. Gopinathan
"You are blessed with a good ear for music, Gopi" remarked D.K.
Pattammal. True to her belief, Sri. C.R. Gopinathan has become
an eminent connoisseur of Music and fine arts in Coimbatore. He
is the Director of Kalalaya, USA and Coordinator of many Sabhas
in Coimbatore. He has been instrumental in arranging for the
concerts of musicians in the city for many years and there is
hardly any musician who has not enjoyed his hospitality Having
got introduced to Pattammal as the classmate of her son I.
Sivakumar, Sri. C.R. Gopinathan shares an enduring relationship
with her and her family for the past 40 years. It has been the
ambition of his lifeline to bring out a book an Amma, the
person he reveres the most.
Sri. R. Raveendran
Sri. R. Raveendran is an industrialist and executive member of
several non profit organizations in Coimbatore. He also serves
as an Advisor to Rasanai, a monthly magazine an aesthetics. His
boundless enthusiasm for music, the close relationship he
shares with Sri. C.R. Gopinathan and the reverence he has for
D.K.Pattammal has led him to associate himself with the
publication of this book. Working tirelessly, he has invested
significant amount of his time and energy in overseeing the
book from its start to finish.
Sri. S. Vaidyanatha Krishnan
Sri. S. Vaidyanatha Krishnan is an eminent musicologist. He is
the Director, Faculty of Fine Arts at the Bharatiya Vidya
Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra. He has been instrumental in
conducting the Thyagaraja Brahma Aradhana celebrations in
Coimbatore for the past 55 years. His valuable insights on
music and musicians have added luster to the book.
Ms. Nithya Raj
A postgraduate in Mass Communication, Nithya Raj works as a
freelance copywriter for
leading advertising agencies. Her passion for writing and
endless fascination with language has led her to explore
writing as a carrier. Aesthetics and art appeal to her
sensitive nature. She considers the opportunity of writing this
book and the blessings she obtained from D.K. Pattammal before
the onset of this project as the greatest gift in her life.
Dr. B.K.Krishnaraj Vanavarayar
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, founded by Kulapati Munshi with the
blessings of Mahatma Gandhi in 1938, stands for the
reintegration of the ancient wisdom of Bharat to the modern
times. Some of the noblest sons of India like Pandit Nehru, Dr.
Rajendra Prasad, Pujya Rajaji, Sardar Patel and Dr. S.
Radhakrishnan were the founder members of this organization.
From very humble beginnings, the Bhavan in the last eight
decades has grown to be a mighty organization of national
The Vedic Vision, the pride of India, has manifested itself in
various forms. The Bakthi marga has spread the quintessence of
the Vision through the classical art forms of India. Carnatic
music is one such discipline which is a rare combination of
astounding technical expertise and soulful lyricism in its
Carnatic music has the rare distinction of getting perfected
over the centuries by great saints, scholars and eminent
musicians. In that order, comes the legend Gana Saraswathi
Smt. D.K. Pattammal who is credited to be the first female
artist from a family background to give a public concert as
early as in 1929 at the age of ten.
A colossus who has dominated the Carnatic music scene for over
three score years, Smt. Pattammal has preserved the great
tradition, keeping the sanctity of the Sangeetha Sastra, always
keeping in mind the essential features of Raga, laya, bhava and
gamaka. She has maintained a high standard of acceptability all
through her performances, with emphasis on clarity of diction
without splitting the sahitya by mutilating the works. Her
forte has always been the aesthetic prayoga of brigas,
appropriately making use of the gamakas.
A vigorous and disciplined sadakam has enabled Smt. Pattammal
to maintain voice culture and melody a voice culture which
keeps constant under all conditions. Always an ardent student,
she never gave up learning new songs and consequently her
repertoire has been immense and there is never a dull moment in
her concerts. Without swerving from the path of sampradaya, she
has catered to the needs of audiences and it is no wonder she
has held the field for over sixty years. She is one of those
who has risen to fame and has stayed at the top even at the
evening of her career.
Among the many honours bestowed on Smt. Pattammal, mention may
be made of the highest honour of the music Academy, Madras, '
Sangeetha Kalanidhi'. She is the recipient of the President's
national award for vocal music 'Padmabhushan'. The one honour
which she cherishes most in the one awarded by the grandsire of
Carnatic music, Tiger Varadachariar, 'Gana Saraswathi'.
Smt. D.K. Pattammal has been closely associated with the Bhavan
since its inception. In 1997, the Coimbatore Kendra of Bhavan
had the privilege to confer the title of 'Sangeeth Samrat' on
This book 'Gana Saraswathi D.K.P.'is an endeavour to capture
the essence of her ninety years of unparalleled contributions
to the world of music. Her devotion, discipline and dedication
will be a source of inspiration to the aspirants of Carnatic
This book would not have been possible but for the enthusiastic
participation of D.K.P's friends, admirers, well-wishers and
family members who shared their valuable reminiscences of
D.K.P. I thank them all for their valuable contribution. Many
in our Kendra and outside have also helped us in many ways for
bringing out this book.
A special mention needs to be made of Sri C.R.Gopinathan, an
ardent music lover and a close associate of Smt. Pattammal and
her family, who was instrumental in initiating this venture.
Again, I wish to place on record the contributions made by Sri
S. Vaidyanathakrishnan, Sri R. Raveendran, Ms. Nithya Raj and
Sri. Sudesamithiran who have as a team worked in bringing out
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