The love and concern showed by the veteran Hindustani musician Sarathchandra Marathe to his disciples and admirers were palpable from the way they paid tribute to their beloved maestro on his departure. They thronged the Town Hall premises where his body was kept for the public to pay homage and later at the Mavoor Road crematorium, where the last rites were performed on Thursday.
The body was cremated with State honours and in the presence of people from various walks of life. The State honours were accorded to him with a special permission from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs after the intervention of A. Pradeepkumar, MLA. The cremation was also postponed for an hour for receiving confirmation of the same.
Mayor A.K. Premajam, former minister Benoy Viswom, Mr. Pradeepkumar and Purushan Kadalundi, MLA, were present among other socio-cultural activists who paid their last respects to the musician. A condolence meeting was organised at Alakapuri auditorium in the evening.
Marathe, who stole the hearts of music buffs in the late 1960s and 70s, had ruled the roost in Hindustani music for almost five decades in Kerala. He had composed music for Vivahitharude Swargam,, Mayuravarnangal, Chanjattam, and Uppu. Some of his talented students were director Aravindan, musician A.T. Ummer, singer Usha Ravi, and Ghazal singer Anil Das.
It was during the stint of Mr. Viswom as the Minister for Housing that the veteran composer got a permanent residence in Kozhikode and overcame the hard days. Though the Maharashtra native had been a resident of Kerala since the 1950s, he had been leading a life of utter poverty. A pension of Rs.550 from the Kerala government was the only permanent income for the family comprising the ailing musician and wife Maneesha.
As per a latest intimation from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the pension benefit would be extended further to Maneesha as a token of love towards the family. She would continue to stay in the same flat built by the Kerala State Housing Board.
On Thursday, T.P. Meharoof Raj, one of the disciples of Marathe and a former physician at the Government General Hospital in Kozhikode, also came in support of his guru’s spouse, promising her the financial support to meet the regular household expenses. Mr. Pradeepkumar promised to extend all help possible for Marathe’s family.
Minister for Culture K. C. Joseph said here on Thursday that the pension allotted to Sarathchandra Marathe would be given to his wife Maneesha. In his condolence message, Mr. Joseph recalled Marathe as a great musician who had enthralled Malayalis for over six decades.