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Swati Tirunal Sketch By S. Rajam
Issue : 142
Published on : July, 1996


Special Feature On Swati Tirunal Compositions

News & Notes

Konark Festival

These days many dance festivals are being conducted in open air venues but what sets apart one of these, the Konark Dance and Music Festival, is its setting. The Natya Mandap, a stage of stone, admeasuring 16.75m by 16.75m (55 feet x 55 feet), is situated on the sand dunes, two kilometres from the famous Konark Sun temple. Surrounded by stands of casuarina, it has an azure sky for its vast canopy. Here it is that performers representing the different danceforms of the country, and its musical variety, present an artistic panorama each year. Neither grammar nor technique is important; what casts a spell on the audience are the visuals traversing the vast stage in rhythmic movements.

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Main Feature

Main Feature - Swathi Thirunal

The controversy over Swati Tirunal's position as a vaggeyakara started with S. Balachander claiming to be provoked by some assertions in Semmangudi's biography of the composer published by the National Book Trust. It was soon taken to extremes by Balachander who, in the period before his unfortunate passing away, an irreparable loss to the world of Carnatic music, was asserting that none of the compositions attributed to Swati Tirunal was created by him, that an elaborate conspiracy extending over several years had created what he called the Swati myth, and that, in fact, there never was such a person as Swati Tirunal. In the process, he had harsh things to say not only about those connected with the publication and propagation of Swati Tirunal's compositions in the last 50 or 60 years, but also about such personalities as Subbarama Dikshitar, Chidambara Vadhyar, and Prof. P. Sambamoorthy. The points made by Balachander at different times have been dealt with comprehensively and authoritatively  by Brigadier R.B. Nayar (Retired) in his article captioned Balachander's Case Against Swati Tirunal: A Point-By-Point Retort in Sruti (63/64 - December 1989/ January 1990).

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