Bharat Ratna awardee M.S. Subbulakshmi continues to remain the undisputed queen of Carnatic music to date. Born on 16 September 1916 in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, today marks her 104th birthday and we at India Ahead remember her with the utmost respect.
Known for her melodious voice she worked for more than seven decades and sung in half a dozen languages throughout her musical journey. A child prodigy, Subbalakshmi started learning music at the age of five and recorded her first song at the age of ten.
She was the first musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award for public service through music in 1974. The President of India KR Narayanan awarded her India’s highest civilian honor “The Bharat Ratna Award”, which she received in her residence in Chennai in 1998.
Her most famous songs include Suprabhatam, Deva Devam, and Bhaja Govindam. She was revered by singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and many others. In one such incidence, after her mesmerizing performance in Chennai, Sarojini Naidu said that she had surrendered the title “Nitingale of India” to Subbalaxshmi.
Namaskar. Swar Ganga, Bharat Ratna M. S. Subbulakshmi ji ki aaj jayanti hain. Main unko aur unke suron ko koti koti pranam karti hun. pic.twitter.com/0gSRsDwXYt
— Lata Mangeshkar (@mangeshkarlata) September 16, 2020
In her life, she single-handedly revived many lost compositions in Carnatic music. She also set to tune the works of philosopher Adi Shankara, Marathi poet-saints like Tukaram, hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib and so forth. She sang Urdu Ghazals of Mirza Ghalib in her own inimitable style.
For her contribution to Indian Carnatic music, MS was received many awards like Padma Bhushan in 1954, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956, Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968, Ramon Magsaysay award (often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize) in 1974
Padma Vibhushan in 1975, Sangeetha Kalasikhamani in 1975 by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai, Kalidas Samman in 1988,
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990 and Bharat Ratna in 1998.
Her talent was not only in singing, MS acted in movies from which one was ‘Meera’ which became a great box office success. As we celebrate her 104th birthday, there is no better way to remember her other than listening to her soulful voice.