Illinois declares Sept. 16 as Subbulakshmi Day

MS Subbulakshmi

MS Subbulakshmi

CHICAGO: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has declared September 16 as MS Subbulakshmi Day to commemorate the music legend’s birth centenary day which is being celebrated by US based nonprofit organization Sankara Nethralaya Om Trust across the US.

The proclamation issued by Gov Rauner praised the contribution of Subbulakshmi to the world of music and said she was a celebrated musician, a philanthropist and a patriot who joined the leaders of the nation to inspire millions of Indians during the country’s struggle for independence. “Born into humble beginnings in Madurai, deep in South India, she rose from regional prominence to national and international recognition through her many awards and accolades,” he said.

He also praised the not-for-profit eye institution Sankara Nethralaya of Chennai for sponsoring and celebrating the legend’s birth centenary for the benefit of her Illinois fans and admirers.

The SN Om Trust is organizing a musical homage to the legend with a Carnatic music concert by Padma Bhushan awardee Sudha Raghunathan and her troupe at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago on September 10. Through this concert, the Chicago chapter of SN OM Trust plans to raise $130,000 for 2000 free surgeries.

US-based Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust (SN OM Trust) is also planning six concerts by Sudha Ragunathan in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Washington DC during September under “Voice for Vision” musical series to raise funds for its charitable activities.

To commemorate the birth centenary of Bharat Ratna Awardee M.S.Subbulakshmi, Sankara Nethralaya and SN OM Trust organized a grand musical tribute by Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman at the United Nations General Assembly hall in New York on August 15, according to Dr Raj Rajaram, trustee of SN OM Trust in Chicago.

The gala musical evening also coincided with the completion of 50 years of M.S.Subbulakshmi’s performance in the very same venue in 1966. Subbulakshmi was the first Indian musician ever to be awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor conferred by the Government of India and also became the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award, often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize.

Subbulakshmi, one of the greatest Carnatic musicians of the century, was invited by the then United Nations Secretary General late U Thant and the then Chef de Cabinet late C.V. Narasimhan to perform in the UN General Assembly Hall, considered a great honor for India and the music world. She thus became the first Indian to perform at the UN General Assembly.

Sankara Nethralaya in its mission of paying international tribute to Subbulakshmi is arranging a grand Carnatic music concert by Padma Bhushan awardee Sudha Raghunathan, a leading Carnatic vocalist and her troupe, also at the United Nations on October 2.

As a finale to the global celebrations, Sankara Nethralaya is organizing a musical concert featuring world renowned Indian-origin composer Zubin Mehta, Anoushka Shankar and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center in New York City on November 5.

Surendra Ullal & Prakash Swamy