Vishesha Acharya Sangita Kalanidhi Dr. M Chandrasekaran For several decades before the advent of the Internet and it attendant advantages, it was the medium of radio through which households across the country savoured the wealth c our music. AIR was verily a godsend that let avid listeners enjoy the performances of their favourite musicians in the comfort of their homes.
There was one occasion in the seventies on which this writer was pleasantly surprised to hear a Nagaswararn recital with a Mridangam for accompaniment, in place of the traditional Thavii. It followed therefore that one expected to hear a violin as well, although it sounded as if there was one more Nagaswararn.
It was indeed a violin, and it resonated impeccably with the wind instrument. One could hardly tell one instrument from th other! The concert in context featured the brilliant violinist Sri M.Chandrasekaran accompanyii the great Nogoswaram viciwcin Sri Namagiripettai Krishnan. If one was looking for a definition high fidelity, this had to be it; so faithful was the reproduction of the tone on the violin! The tirw have performed together on numerous occasions.
Theirs was a very popular combination. Chandrasekaran’s fans are quite familiar with the Shehnai-like strains that he often produces, emulating the instrument that has always fascinated him. In fact, one experiences the consonance between the violin and the main instrument whenever he performs. He revels in ; Such is his forte!
‘Inscrutable are the ways of the Lord”, so it is often said.
The adage is well proven in the life of Sri M.Chandrasekaran. Deprived of his eyesight on account of an attack of jaundice at the earl age of two years, he showed the world, as the Times of India beautifully described, that a musician does not need eyes to master his craft. His exceptional insight into music is apt to be the envy of many an accomplished musician.
Born in Calcutta on December 11, 1937, Chandrasekaran lived for some years in Kanpur where his father Sri Mohan was employed in a lucrative position. Chandrasekaran’s life revolved around his mother Smt. Charubala Mohan, as he lost his father when he was just seven. She decided to move the family to Chennai, keeping his future in mind.
She showered her anemic on him for as long as she lived, and in his own words, “She lived only for me and wanted to make me successful!” She learned Braille herself so that she could teach it to him. That enablec him to educate himself about the world. He became proficient in multiple Indian languages as well as in English.
Charubala Mohan was an accomplished violinist herself, having studied mu! under Sangita Kalanidhi Sri TK.Jayarama Iyer. She was Chandrasekaran’s only teacher as far as the violin was concerned. He was a sharp learner and she had to correct him but once, when h found it difficult to place the bow in the right position. Thereafter, the violin was his mission. Charubala gave Chandra, as she fondly addressed him, all the freedom to express his talent absolutely, appreciate all forms of traditional music and develop his own style of playing. The world of Carnatic music owes Smt. Charubala an eternal debt of gratitude for gifting it with sui a rare and precious gem.