Staff Reporter

CHENNAI : The Aradhana Committee of the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival on Saturday presented financial assistance to legendary music composer Shyama Sastri’s descendants, who are living in penury.

The committee raised a sum of Rs. 2 lakh for the family through donations from several rasikas of Shyama Sastri’s music. N. Murali, Managing Director of The Hindu and Music Academy president presented the cheque to V. Kumar, who is a descendent of Shyama Sastri. Kalki Editor Seetha Ravi presented Rs. 36,000 towards the educational needs of a child in the family. The family’s financial condition was so bad that Mr. Kumar could not even afford the expenses for the funeral rites for his mother Devaki. Shree Gayathri Trust, a voluntary organisation, provided help. Both Kalki magazine and The Hindu had reported on the family’s plight and the Aradhana Committee took up the task of raising funds.

V.V. Sundaram, one of the heads of the committee, said some descendants of Shyama Sastri were fairly well-off but Mr. Kumar and a few other families were poor. “We intend to help the other families too. This is only the first step,” Mr. Sundaram said. Musicians T.K. Govinda Rao and P.S. Narayanaswamy paid rich tributes to Shyama Sastri for his poetic excellence.