Shanmukha Ratna V.S. Amarnath Sury
- Vijay Shanker
April 10, 2021
V.S. Amarnath Sury, hon Secretary of Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, left for his heavenly abode on 2nd April 2021, after a long battle of ill health; he was regularly going through dialysis. He was 79 and leaves behind his wife, daughter and son.
Amarnath Sury was born on November 3,1941 and is the grandson of Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagawathar, the direct disciple of saint Tygaraja. In a career spanning four decades in Gem and Jewelry trade, he was associated with the Gem and Jewelry Council of India (1979 -2003) as its executive director; after retirement he continued as the advisor. From 2006-2017 he was General manager of Diamond India Ltd.
Shanmukhananda Sabha, Fine Arts Society and Sangeetha Sabha, were three different organizations but merged together and hence became Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha in 1952. The initial pioneer members were Prof T. V. Ramanujam, Dr V. Subrahmanyam, S. Seshadiri and S.R. Kasthuri who was known for his Tamil plays and donned the role of Tyagaraja. For more than six decades, the Sabha has been playing a key role in the promotion of classical arts, particularly classical music and dance. In fact it has been a dream for every performing artist to perform for the Sabha in the beautiful Shanmukhananda auditorium with a seating capacity of 3000 with excellent acoustic and lighting facility. Considered the pride of Mumbai and one of the best in Asia. Several top performers have performed for the Sabha but on 28th February 1990, fire broke out while a school function was taking place in the afternoon, there were no casualties but it took 8 years for the auditorium to come back into action, thanks to immense support received from well-wishers and lovers of art.
Amarnath joined as an ordinary member in 1975 and in the span of more than three decades, he rose to become the hon secretary and the vice president too. He was responsible for the complete functioning of the Sabha that included the Sangeetha Vidyalaya that offered classes for students in classical music and dance. He was particularly credited for introducing Tyagaraja Aradhana program on Pushya Bagula Panchami day, similar to Thiruvaiyyar, wherein several singers and musicians sing the compositions of Tyagaraja as a tribute to the great saint composer. As a recognition of his outstanding contribution, he was felicitated with the Shanmukha Ratna award on 26th January 2021 by the President of the Sabha Dr. V. Shankar and managing committee members and a citation that stated, "While several awards have been instituted by the Sabha to acknowledge and recognise the contribution of performing artists of all genres at various stages of their evolution, the contribution of the members was never brought to the fore. Sri Shanmukha Ratna award is a step in that direction. It acknowledges the significant service of the members and well-wishers in furthering the cause of fine arts and community health care activities."
Raghunath, a musician, popularly known as Raghu Sir, associated with the Sabha for more than two decades said, "Sury Sir was particularly interested in Carnatic music and functioned very well, taking care of all the activities that included major music and dance festivals. He attended all the programs and encouraged artists a great deal. His daughter Anupama was the disciple of Guru Rajee Narayan and is a Bharatanatyam dancer now settled in US and son Arvind is in Chicago."
Vijay Shanker is a Kuchipudi and Kathakali exponent, teacher, bilingual journalist, arts critic and actor.
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