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Pioneer of dance and music passes away

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Rev. Father S.M. George
Rev. Father S.M. George

Staff Reporter

Fr. S.M. George facilitated studies of the poor

TIRUCHI: Rev. Fr. S.M. George (68), who dedicatedly took Bharathanatyam and Carnatic Music to the marginalised in the society, passed away on Monday.

Fr. George was undergoing treatment for a heart ailment at Christian Medical College in Vellore.

He was instrumental in the birth of Kalai Kaviri in 1977 only a year after his higher education in The Phillippines, and the Kalai Kaviri School of Fine Arts in 1983, translating into reality the dreams of those denied opportunities.

He founded the Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts as the first and only institution of its kind in South India for Bharathanatyam and Carnatic Music, affiliating it to Bharathidasan University.

Facilitating studies of the poor and backward class students by offering scholarships, Fr. George elevated the learning of Bharathanatyam to the status of Doctoral Research for the first time in Tamil Nadu.

After ordained as a priest in Tiruchi in 1967, Fr. George completed his higher education in The Phillippines between 1973 and 1976.

As a service to fine arts, Fr. George formed the Dance Troupe in 1978, establishing fine arts more for enlightenment than for entertainment, and in the process drawing the attention of people, irrespective of religion, region, caste or creed.

He caused a silent revolution by transforming the marginalised in the society into professionals and promoters of performing arts. A Senate member of Bharathidasan University, Fr. George was also the founder and director of the world’s first off-campus degree programme in Bharathanatyam since 2004.

Fr. George inculcated in the minds of the Christians the need to know, love and promote the art forms of the soil.

He achieved the twin objective of enriching both folk music and the Gospel values by narrating bringing out the entire life of Christ in 116 folk songs.

Prominent among the titles conferred on Fr. George were ‘Kalaimamunivar’ by the people of Tiruchi at the World Tirukkural Conference in 2003 and ‘Monsignor’ status, conferred by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II for his meritorious service to the World Church through his cultural mission in India.

Fr. George’s body will be kept at the Bishop’s House till noon and at the Kalai Kaviri College till Wednesday morning.

Cremation

Followed by a mass at 10 a.m., the cremation will take place at 11. a.m.

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