Sunday Park Kutcheri is much more than a normal CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative. For Sundaram Finance, it is a way to stay connected with its neighbour, and remain rooted to the tradition.

This one has name, as well reputation. A revered institution, it stands tall in an industry, which has, time and again, seen a huge churn. Sundaram Finance Ltd., a well-known non-banking finance company from the TVS Group, has earned respect and admiration from many, especially the middle-class investors, for the honesty of purpose and sincerity in approach while conducting its business. Whenever it does something, it keeps the society interest upfront. Like the morning filter coffee and The Hindu newspaper, this too has been an integral part of people in this part of the world.

Way back in February 2006, Sundaram Finance embarked upon an innovative initiative on the Carnatic music front. It began organising concerts on the morning of every first Sunday of a month. What’s so unique about it? Concerts are dime a dozen in a city like Chennai, which is considered the Mecca of Carnatic music. The difference here is that these concerts are for kids below 15 years, and are held at the popular Nageswara Rao Park in Mylapore. These are held in a natural surrounding. Moreover, no electrical gadgets are used to amplify the music.

Probably it began as a pilot exercise. It has, however, transformed into a laudable noble initiative. The Sunday Kutcheri in the Park has now entered the 9th year. The first Sunday of February 2006 saw 15 students from Vishwa Vidyalaya at Vandalur on the outskirts of Chennai present the maiden Sunday Kutcheri in the Park at 6.30 a.m. Prior to 2006, for two years, kutcheris used to be organised at the Nageswara Rao Park annually during the 4-day Sundaram Finance Mylapore Festival. From February 2006 onwards, this has became a monthly feature - 1st Sunday of every month between 6.30 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. Last year, however, the timing was shifted to 7 a.m.

In 2009, the organisers encountered a happy problem. Due to a significant rise in applicants, there was a huge backlog in terms of providing opportunities to children.

To address this – at least partially, Sundaram Finance launched a three-day Navarathri Special Kutcheri in the Park in September 2009. Since then, the Navarathri Special Kutcheri in the Park has been an annual feature. In addition to monthly and Navarathri kutcheris, Sundaram Finance has also been organising group concerts during the annual 4-day Mylapore Festival every year in January.

Over 850 kids have so far participated at the Sunday Park Kutcheri.

The Sunday Park Kutcheri has seen eight summers. In the eight years, it has not only gained stature but also visibility within and without. That it survived this long and has been growing in strength speaks volume for the visionary management of Sundaram Finance. For them, Sunday Park Kutcheri is much more than a normal CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative. For them, it is a way to stay connected with their neighbour, and remain rooted to the tradition.

T.T. Srinivasaraghavan, Managing Director of Sundaram Finance, said: ``To us, the first Sunday of every month is their (kids) day. The young children are the stars of the show. Hence, we are clearly focussed on developing this as a platform for young unsung children.’’ As he suggested sometime ago to this writer, the Park Kutcheri concept deserves to be replicated all across the city by other corporate houses. It is time India Inc looked at CSR from the prism of Indian tradition as well.