Chennai

Heritage series comes to an end after 18 years

240 lectures on topics pertaining to South Indian heritage presented

For many in the city, the last Sunday of the month usually meant an excellent talk and a breakfast at the TAG centre in Alwarpet. They would attend the Magnificent Heritage of South India programme that has been scrupulously curated by TAG Corporation’s managing director R.T. Chari for 18 years now.

A total of 240 lectures on topics pertaining to South Indian heritage and 90 performances have been presented at the venue.

On the appointed day, Mr. Chari would be at the hall receiving all guests.

“I found that in many families, our heritage and culture are not imparted to children. All that they aim for is to study well and get a job. I wanted to invite parents so that they can pass it on to their children. But I got people belonging to an older age group. Nevertheless, I continued with my efforts and I am happy that many have carried back a lot of information about our heritage,” said Mr. Chari, as he prepares to wind down.

During the series, he introduced several speakers including historian V. Sriram, Pradeep Chakravarthi and Chitra Madhavan. The series also had dance and music programmes.

His interest in music, which he developed midway in life, led him to create an archive at The Music Academy.

“Though my father R. Ramabadhran loved Carnatic music, I deliberately had to close my ears for other reasons. However, my wife Ranganayaki’s brothers-in-law challenged me to listen to 500 hours of concerts, which I did. Then I started conducting chamber concerts at my home, during which I became friends with vocalists including Maharajapuram Santhanam, Neyveli Santhanagopalan and Sudha Raghunathan. I would record their songs and that became my archive,” he said. Mr. Chari started archives in about 14 places, including in Liverpool, Singapore and Sri Lanka, of which some seven still function.

The series, however, will come to a close in February. “I am 80 now and am withdrawing from several of my associations. I will, however, continue to meet my extended family of friends at a different time and day. Our TAG Corporation and our family Trust Ramu Endowment will continue to support similar activities initiated by my children,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 1:29:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/heritage-series-comes-to-an-end-after-18-years/article30832772.ece

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