Book: Voice of the Veena – S Balachander by Vikram Sampath

“Voice of the Veena – S. Balachander, A biography”, by Vikram Sampath, Rain Tree (Rupa Publications), 2012


S. Balachander, best known to many of us as a veena maestro, was very different from the musicians one usually comes across. He was much more than just a great vainika. A man with strong convictions, he stood up for what he believed was the truth, even if this meant he was standing alone against the rest of the world. He was often at odds with others and consequently, his was a life mired in controversies.

It is surprising to note that despite his monumental contributions to multiple fields, many of which he was self-taught in, and despite of his work having inspired so many people, not much has been written about him yet. It is as though many conveniently choose to forget/ ignore him and his contributions. Vikram Sampath’s latest book, the biography of this multi-faceted maverick genius, is thus a very welcome one.

It is not an easy task to write the biography of someone like Balachander and Vikram seems to have done a commendable job. He has tried his best to look at things impartially without seeming to get too much emotionally entangled with the subject. Sufficient details have been provided about the different things Balachander tried his hands at (carnatic percussion, sitar, cinema, veena etc) and about his key contributions to these, especially to the art of veena playing. Balachander’s mercurial rise in a field which was, at that time, dominated by very talented vocalists, his contributions towards making carnatic music internationally popular, his open mindedness at absorbing goodness irrespective of where it came from, his contribution to veena playing (including the changes he brought in to both the instrument as well as the  to the style of playing), his tussle with the establishment and his involvement in controversies (including the Swati Tirunal one) are very well documented. The book also provides a beautiful summary of the changes that both Carnatic music and the environment in which it existed underwent over the years.

I would recommend this book as a must read for anyone involved with art music just for the collection of Balachander’s thoughts gleaned from his dairy/ album entries and his speeches, if not for anything else.

Padma Awards for Musicians

Padma Awards for 2012 have been announced and the following are the Indian Classical musicians who have been honored with the same:

Padma Bhushan:

  • Shri M.S. Gopalakrishnan (Carnatic – Violin)
  • Shri T.V. Gopalakrishnan (Carnatic – Vocal & Mrudangam)
  • Pt. Buddhadev Das Gupta (Hindustani – Sarod)

Padma Shri:

  • Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar (Hindustani – Vocal)
  • Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan (Hindustani – Sitar)
  • Gundecha Brothers (Hindustani – Vocal)
  • Shri Anup Jalota (Vocal)


The complete list of awardees is as follows (Source: )


Padma Vibhushan


SlNo. Name Discipline State/ Domicile
1. Shri K GSubramanyan Art-Painting & Sculpture West Bengal
2. Late Shri Mario De Miranda Art-Cartoonist Goa*
3. Late (Dr.)BhupenHazarika Art- Vocal Music Assam*
4. Dr. KantilalHastimal Sancheti Medicine – Orthopedics Maharashtra
5. Shri T VRajeswar Civil Service Delhi

Padma Bhushan





State/ Domicile

Smt. Shabana Azmi Art – Cinema Maharashtra
Shri KhaledChoudhury Art – Theatre West Bengal
Shri Jatin Das Art – Painting Delhi
Pandit BuddhadevDas Gupta Art – Instrumental Music – Sarod West Bengal
Shri DharmendraSingh Deol aliasDharmendra Art – Cinema Maharashtra
Dr. TrippunithwraViswanathanGopalkrishnan Art – Classical vocal and instrumental music Tamil Nadu
Ms. Mira Nair Art – Cinema Delhi
Shri M.S.Gopalakrishnan Art – Instrumental Music-Violin Tamil Nadu
Shri Anish Kapoor Art – Sculpture UK*
Shri Satya NarayanGoenka Social Work Maharashtra
Dr. (Judge) PatibandlaChandrasekhar Rao Public Affairs Germany*
Shri George Yong-Boon Yeo Public Affairs Singapore*
Prof. ShashikumarChitre Science and Engineering Maharashtra
Dr. M S Raghunathan Science and Engineering Maharashtra
Shri SubbiahMurugappa Vellayan Trade and Industry Tamil Nadu
Shri BalasubramanianMuthuraman Trade and Industry Maharashtra
Dr. Suresh H. Advani Medicine – Oncology Maharashtra
Dr. Noshir H Wadia Medicine-Neurology Maharashtra
Dr. Devi PrasadShetty Medicine-Cardiology Karnataka
Prof. (Dr.) ShantaramBalwant Mujumdar Literature and Education Maharashtra
Prof. Vidya Dehejia Literature and Education USA*
Prof. ArvindPanagariya Literature and Education USA*
Dr. Jose Pereira Literature and Education USA*
Dr. Homi K. Bhabha Literature and Education UK *
Shri N Vittal Civil Service Kerala
Shri Mata Prasad Civil Service Uttar Pradesh
Shri Ronen Sen Civil Service West Bengal

Padma Shri




State/ Domicile

Shri Vanraj Bhatia Art – Music Maharashtra
Shri Zia FariduddinDagar Art – Music – vocal Maharashtra
Smt. NameirakpamIbemni Devi Art – Music-Khongjom Parba Manipur
Shri RamachandraSubraya Hegde Chittani Art – Yakshaganadance drama Karnataka
Shri Moti Lal Kemmu Art – Playwright Jammu and Kashmir
Shri Shahid ParvezKhan Art – Instrumental Music-Sitar Maharashtra
Shri Mohan LalKumhar Art – Terracotta Rajasthan
Shri Sakar KhanManganiar Art – Rajasthani Folk Music Rajasthan
Smt. Joy Michael Art – Theatre Delhi
Dr. Minati Mishra Art – Indian Classical Dance-Odissi. Orissa
Shri NatesanMuthuswamy Art – Theatre. Tamil Nadu
Smt. R.Nagarathnamma Art – Theatre Karnataka
Shri KalamandalmSivan Nambootiri Art – Indian Classical Dance-Kutiyattam Kerala
Smt. YamunabaiWaikar Art – Indian Folk Music-Lavani. Maharashtra
Shri Satish Alekar Art – Playwright Maharashtra
Pandit Gopal PrasadDubey Art – Chhau dance and choreography Jharkhand
Shri RamakantGundecha # Art – Indian Classical Music- Vocal Madhya Pradesh
Shri UmakantGundecha # Art – Indian Classical Music- Vocal Madhya Pradesh
Shri Anup Jalota Art-Indian Classical Music- Vocal Maharashtra
Shri Soman NairPriyadarsan Art – Cinema- Direction Kerala
Shri Sunil Janah Art-Photography Assam


Ms. Laila Tyebji Art-Handicrafts Delhi
Shri Vijay Sharma Art-Painting Himachal Pradesh
Smt. ShamshadBegum Social Work Chattisgarh
Smt. Reeta Devi Social Work Delhi
Dr. P.K. Gopal Social Work Tamil Nadu
Smt. Phoolbasan BaiYadav Social Work Chattisgarh
Dr. G. Muniratnam Social Work Andhra Pradesh
Shri NiranjanPranshankar Pandya Social Work Maharashtra
Dr. Uma Tuli Social Work Delhi
Shri Sat Paul Varma Social Work Jammu and Kashmir
Smt.Binny Yanga Social Work Arunachal Pradesh
Shri Yezdi HirjiMalegam Public Affairs Maharashtra

Shri Pravin H. Parekh Pubic Affairs Delhi
Dr. V. Adimurthy Science and Engineering Kerala
Dr. Krishna LalChadha Science and Engineering – Agriculture Delhi
Prof. Virander SinghChauhan Science and Engineering Delhi
Prof. RameshwarNath Koul Bamezai Science and Engineering Jammu and Kashmir
Dr. Vijaypal Singh Science and Engineering – Agricultural Research Uttar Pradesh
Dr. Lokesh KumarSinghal Science and Engineering Punjab
Dr. YagnaswamiSundara Rajan Science and Engineering Karnataka
Prof. Jagadish Shukla Science and Engineering USA*
Ms. Priya Paul Trade and Industry Delhi
Shri Shoji Shiba Trade and Industry Japan*
Shri Gopinath Pillai Trade and Industry Singapore*
Shri Arun HastimalFirodia Trade and Industry Maharashtra
Dr. Swati A. Piramal Trade and Industry Maharashtra
Prof. Mahdi Hasan Medicine-Anatomy Uttar Pradesh
Dr. ViswanathanMohan Medicine – Diabetology Tamil Nadu
Dr. J. HareendranNair Medicine – Ayurveda Kerala
Dr. VallalarpuramSennimalai Natarajan Medicine – Geriatrics Tamil Nadu
Dr. Jitendra Kumar Singh Medicine – Oncology Bihar
Dr. Shrinivas S.Vaishya Medicine-Healthcare Daman and Diu
Dr. Nitya Anand Medicine – Drugs Research Uttar Pradesh
Late Dr. JugalKishore Medicine – Homoeopathy Delhi *
Dr. Mukesh Batra Medicine-Homeopathy Maharashtra
Dr. Eberhard Fischer Literature and Education Switzerland*
Shri Kedar Gurung Literature and Education Sikkim
Shri Surjit Singh Patar Literature and Education – Poetry Punjab
Shri Vijay DuttShridhar Literature and Education – Journalism Madhya Pradesh
Shri Irwin Allan Sealy Literature and Education Uttarakhand
Ms. GeetaDharmarajan Literature and Education Delhi
Prof. SachchidanandSahai Literature and Education Haryana
Smt. Pepita Seth Literature and Education Kerala
Dr. Ralte L.Thanmawia Literature and Education Mizoram
Shri Ajeet Bajaj Sports – Skiing Delhi
Smt. Jhulan Goswami Sports – Women’s Cricket West Bengal
Shri Zafar Iqbal Sports-Hockey Uttar Pradesh
Shri Devendra Jhajrija Sports – Athletics- Paralympics Rajasthan
Shri Limba Ram Sports – Archery Rajasthan
Shri Syed MohammedArif Sports – Badminton Andhra Pradesh
Prof. Ravi Chaturvedi Sports- Commentary Delhi
Shri PrabhakarVaidya Sports-Physical Education Maharashtra
Shri T. VenkatapathiReddiar Others-Horticulture Puducherry
Dr. K. (Kota) UllasKaranth Others-Wildlife Conservation and Environment Protection Karnataka
Shri K Paddayya Others-Archaeology Maharashtra
Shri Swapan Guha Others-Ceramics Rajasthan
Dr. Kartikeya V. Sarabhai Others – Environmental Education Gujarat


Note* indicates awardees in the category of Foreigners / NRIs/ PIOs/ Posthumous.

# indicates duo case.

Concert with Sangeetha Ayyar for Ambalam & Rasayana

Played mrudangam for the vocal concert of Sangeetha Ayyar. The concert was organized by Ambalam & Rasayana. The song list was as follows:

Vocal:  Sangeetha Ayyar

Violin: V.L. Kumar

Mrudangam:  R. Ramkumar

Venue:  Ambalam, Yamuna Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai

Sabha:  Ambalam & Rasayana


List of songs:

1) mAtru dEvO bhava (varNam) – nAgasvarAvaLi – Adi – mOhan ayyar 

2) shrI mahAgaNapatE – AbhOgi – kanDa cApu – n.s. rAmacandran (OS)

3) aTukArAdani – manOranjani – Adi – tyAgarAjA

4) vishAlAkshIm – kAshirAmakriyA – misra chApu – muthusvAmi dIkSitar (ANS)

5) vipancyA gAyanti (viruttam) – sahAnA

shrI kamalAmbikAyAm – sahAnA – tisra tripuTa – muthusvAmi dIkSitar

6) nI pAdamE gati – naLinakAnti – rUpakam – g.n. bAlasubramaNiam

7) rAgam tAnam pallavi – kIravANi – kanDa tripuTa (2 kaLai) (T)

   pallavi wordings: “gOvindA gOpAlA jagannAthA, harE krishnA hari”

   eDuppu: 4 akSaram after samam, arudi: 14 akSaram 

8 )  yA kundEndu (viruttam) – bhImpLAs

    veLLai tAmarai – bhImpLAs – Adi – subramaNya bhArati

9) jAgO bansivAlE – lalit – Adi – mIrAbAi (O)

10) dhIm tadaratAni (tillAnA) – rAkEshrI – Adi – lAlguDi g. jayarAman 

11) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – tyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, t=tAnam, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Concert with R. Raghavendra for Sriranjani

Played mrudangam for the vocal concert of R. Raghavendra. The concert was organized by Sriranjani. The song list was as follows:

VocalR. Raghavendra

Violin: R. Rahul

Mrudangam:  R. Ramkumar

Venue:  Swamy’s Hall, Mandaveli, Chennai

Sabha:  Sriranjani


List of songs:

1) sarasUDa (varNam) – sAvEri – Adi – kothavAsal venkaTrAma iyer (O)

2) dinamaNi vamsha – harikAmbOji – Adi – tyAgarAja (OS)

3) nE pogaDakunTE – varALi – kanDa cApu – tyAgarAja (ANS)

4) gAnarasamuDan nin – bEgaDa – rUpakam – pApanAsam sivan (A)

5) pAlincu kAmAkSi – madhyamAvati – Adi – shyAma sAstri (ANST)

6) ezhiluDai hamsanAdam – hamsanAdam – Adi – tanjAvUr shankara iyer (O)

7) tOm tanana dirana (tillAnA) – hamsAnandi – Adi – srImushnam rAjA rAo



(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, t=tAnam, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)