CHICAGO: Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India in Chicago, released Dr. Sarada Purna Susarla Sonty’s book titled ‘Nadanandam: Genesis and Evolution of Sanskrit Music Treatises and Significance of a Few Basic Music Concepts’ here last week.
She presented the first three copies of the book to Raja Krishnamoorthi, Former Deputy Treasurer of Illinois and Democratic nominee for the 8th Congressional District, to Padmasri Dr. SV Rama Rao, an accomplished world renowned artist, and to Mrs. Farha Sayeed, an acclaimed artist.
Dr. Sayeed also inaugurated “Sunaada Sudha”- an exhibition of 20 oil portraits of legendary music makers of India through the ages, and released the book compiled by Dr. Sonty and published by Sonty Publications.
The high-profile event hosted by the Consulate General of India on April 15 in collaboration with Sri Annamacharya Project of North America, was attended by a large number of art lovers from different walks of life.
“Music, which is an expression of the highest order, is an offering of the soul, from the soul, and by the soul. Music knows no boundaries; musicians know no barriers. Music takes life and flourishes in the hands of inspired and visionary masters belonging to different regions and religions. They shape it into a form which is so powerfully mesmerizing and enthralling that their creations are remembered and celebrated for centuries”, said Dr. Ausaf Sayeed.
“Indian music has a long, unbroken, and accumulated heritage spanning over hundreds of centuries and its origin is traced to the Vedic times. It is a great legacy and all Indians are proud of it”, he added.
“Dr. Sonty’s book, therefore, is a spirited attempt aimed at paying homage to the creative genius of illustrious music composers of India”, stated Dr. Sayeed and added that this event represents an opportunity to share the rich Indian cultural heritage with the diverse polity of the US.
He advised Indian-Americans in general and the younger generation in particular to go through the book, without fail, in order to understand and appreciate the rich heritage and culture of India.
Dr. Sonty, who has been a resident of Chicago for over 40 years, said that Indian music has its roots in Vedic literature and is the precious treasure of Indian culture. She said that her book throws light on the history, genesis, and evolution of music traditions of India.
Dr. Sonty stated that she extensively used a number of Sanskrit Treatises, including those written by Sage Bharata in the 2nd century BC, Saint Matanga from the 9th century AD, Saint Saaranga Deva of the 12th century AD, and finally Saint Venkata Makhin of the 16th century for the systematic and scientific study of the four concepts of music, namely, Raga, Tala, Vadya, Prabandha, which are regarded as constituting the foundation of Indian musicology.
“Relevance of the ancient musical treatises to the present-day world and their applications for bringing in peace and harmony have also been discussed, in detail, in the book”, she observed and called for the need for enhanced cultural exchanges, across the globe, in order to understand the dynamics of music in their true and total frame of reference.
Dr. Sonty called upon Indian-Americans to preserve their cultural, linguistics, personal, and national identities and added that for doing so understanding and learning Indian classical music and its different art forms is a sine qua non.
Dr. Shelly Kumar, Professor of Organic Chemistry and Biological Sciences, Governor State University and President, India Classical Music Society presented a scholarly review of Dr. Sonty’s book and said that it is an original contribution in understanding the contribution of India to the world of music.
“Considering the fact that ancient literature on Indian music is available in Sanskrit, Dr. Sonty’s book, written in simple English, will be greatly instrumental in enabling the present-day readers, especially their younger counterparts, to understand the nuances of Indian classical music”, he added.
Sita Sonty, US Diplomat from State Department, Washington DC was the event’s emcee
Saraswathi Ranganathan, a Chicago-based Veena Exponent, played a few compositions of the Indian Music Composers, Ensemble of Ragas, during the exhibition inauguration.
Tim Bradford, Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Lauren Gash Illinois Human Rights Commissioner, Former State Representative Gregg Garmisa, Principal, Studio Gang Corky, Siegel Chamber Blues, David Barr, President, Matteson Rotary Club, and representatives from the Consulate of Lithuania also graced the event.
Dr. Sarada Purna Sonty is the co-founder of two major non-profit organizations – SRI Foundation and SAPNA Foundation to preserve, promote, and propagate Indian Classical art, language, and literature. Dr Sonty is also the Director for Center for Telugu Studies. She is a poet, a scholar, a published author of 10 books, the editor of the literary journal ‘Brahmi’, and has received scores of titles from various academic and non-profit institutions in India and the U.S. Most recently, she was honored as one of the Top Ten Telugu Living Legends in USA.
Dr. Sriram Sonty, Founder Chairman, SAPNA proposed a vote of thanks.
Delicious refreshments were served towards the end of the event
Asian Media USA