Monday, December 25, 2006

A challenging crusade - T V K Shastry - Spirit Of Unity Concerts

T.V.K. Shastri, founder-promoter and chief convener, Madras Telugu Academy, addressing a press conference in Tirupati on Friday.

TIRUPATI, MARCH 11. Madras Telugu Academy has drawn up an ambitious programme for its silver jubilee celebrations scheduled for April 3 in Chennai.

He is not the buzz of the city - The world does not know this man. But, the quiet smile that flickers on his face conveys a silent satisfaction. "You need to do it yourself," was the harsh reality that had struck T V K Shastry early in life - Since then, there was no looking back for him -- whose only vision in life is bringing people together.

Feeding this truth to his mind, he went all out to unite the masses and for more than two decades now, he has been trying to bring people from all parts of the country on a single platform - the rallying point being music and dance. He says, "Art is the only medium that has no frontiers, no caste, creed or religion attached to it and is the ultimate expression of humanity. Music is a noble art, necessary to human life. It's almost like the food of the soul."

But, what is the connection between his need for uniting the masses and his love for music? The first action - It all began in a very small way in the late 1970s when he decided to sow the seeds for Madras Telugu Academy (MTA) and Bharath Cultural Integration Committee (BCIC), the two organisations that he had set up. "Identifying unexposed talent in fine arts, offering artistes from all backgrounds a platform to perform and supporting them with the essential publicity back-up" he says, is the mission of the twin organisations.

The organisations have been keeping pace and their distinctiveness since their inception. The Madras Telegu Academy has been presenting the 'Ugadi Purashkar Award' to prominent personalities in the sphere of fine arts and culture for the last 33 years. "This is meant for the common man with its arms open to talented youngsters waiting for an opportunity to take off," says Shastry. The festival is conducted in Chennai every year and draws a cross-section of people waiting to exhibit their talents.

The Bharath Cultural Integration Committee conducts 'The Spirit of Unity Concerts for Universal Integration' every year, in different parts of the country. The concert is spread over a period of five or six days in which over 1,825 artistes, including well-known musicians like M S Subbulakshmi, Zakir Hussain, Pandit Jasraj, dancers, cinema artistes and child prodigies have performed.

The twin organisations also award scholarships to students who secure the first rank in class-10 examinations in each state and Union Territory. It also provides financial help for deserving candidates to pursue their education and to sick people who are in need for money for medical expenses.

A keen lover of music, he listens to it in any form. Now, all these years later, he believes that his love for 'art' got him closer to his dream. After 24 years of conducting concerts and festivals across India, he still feels like it's a quest 'unfinished'. Though age was never a blockade on his journey towards his vision, he says, "After all, what you see is what you get. But, even today, my steps are firm and I still have energy for more."

Anupama Shekar

Published on Sept 17th, 2005

Award winning music composed by AR Rahman.

Spirit of Unity Concerts Theme Instrumental Signature Tune Composer


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