Renowned violinist N. Rajam was in for a surprise on her 75th birthday, when one of her disciples gifted her a rare musical instrument named after her.

At a felicitation programme in Thane on Friday night, the Padmabhushan awardee was presented with the instrument — Rajam Bela — by V. Balaji, HOD Department of Instrumental Music, Faculty of Performing Arts at the Banaras Hindu University.

The instrument invented by Mr. Balaji is a mix of Violin, Viola, Chello, Sarangi, Sarod, Santoor, dilruba and flute.

Mr. Balaji said he was thrilled to have dedicated an instrument for his “guru”.

Ms. Rajam, who was touched by the gesture, said, “I have won many awards, prizes and titles, but more than anything what I am satisfied is I could move around performing along with artists of repute.”

The function saw several performances by her disciples from all over the world and advised young artists to explore new areas of music and be more enterprising, innovative and dedicated to flourish in this field.

“We had no friends, relatives, festivals, outings, games, it was practice, practice, practice of the violin for us, which brought us to this level,” she said.

The veteran musician, who is referred to as the “Singing Violin”, said that she derived inspiration from the great M.S. Subbulakshmi.

Recounting a childhood memory, Ms. Rajam said she was thrilled when she was asked to accompany the great Carnatic artist when she was just 8.

“I was performing with her for about ten days. The experience that I gained in her company and the things I learnt from her were superb and I still cherish them. She is simplicity personified,” the violinist said.

On demand, she played two songs on the violin in Darbari Kanada and Bhairavi, to a packed audience.

The various awards to her credit include Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, 1990, Padma Shri, 1984, Padma Bhushan, 2004, Puttaraja Sanmaana, 2004, Pune Pandit Award, 2010 by Art & Music Foundation, and Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship Akademi Ratna), 2012.