If I speak about Sudha, it will be like speaking about myself: Balamuralikrishna

Carnatic vocalist Sudha Ragunathan on Sunday was awarded the ‘Bharat Seva Puraskar’ for “exemplary service to music and humanity’.

Ms. Ragunathan is the first recipient of the award instituted by the Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha and Carnatica. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 and citation.

Carnatic stalwart M. Balamuralikrishna, who presented the singer the award at the launch of the ten-day ‘Bharat Sangeet Utsav’, paid her the best compliment perhaps by stating that he would not say anything because “if I speak anything about Sudha, it will be like speaking about myself”.

Ms. Ragunathan is also the Sangita Kalanidhi-designate with the Music Academy conferring the title on her this year.

In her acceptance speech, Ms. Ragunathan said she placed the award at the feet of her Guru Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari “from whom I learnt to share and give”.

The vocalist also said she had learnt to respect peers growing up watching the great friendship and mutual respect that MLV and Dr. Balamuralikrishna shared.

The honour was as much a recognition for the “unknown faces” behind the Samudhaaya Foundation, which over the past 14 years has worked for various social causes, from financing treatment of cancer patients and raising awareness on organ donation to sensitising jail inmates to the balm of music, said Ms. Ragunathan, who is founder-trustee of the organisation.

The award, she hoped, would reinforce a sense of humility and inspiration to continue her service to humanity and service to music.

Offering felicitations, Mohan Parasaran, Solicitor General of India, said he hoped the Government of India would confer the Bharat Ratna on Dr. Balamuralikrishna, who was most deserving of the honour.

Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetty, industrialist and philanthropist, said the event was sustained by the munificence of a host of patrons.

B.V. Jagadeesh, US-based entrepreneur and sponsor, R. V. Shekar, managing director, LANCOR Holdings, N. Sivaraman, president, L&T Financial Services and M. Krishnamoorthy, secretary, Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha spoke. The award ceremony was preceded by a Carnatic symphony conceptualised by K.N. Shashikiran and presented by students of the TKG Gurukulam and a concert by Dr. Balamuralikrishna to launch the concerts co-hosted by Carnatica, Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha, L&T Financial services, LANCOR and Apollo Hospitals.

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