Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday released a book on the Carnatic music legend M.S. Subbulakshmi. Produced by the family-run ‘Suswaralakshmi’ Foundation the book, MS & Radha: Saga of Steadfast Devotion is authored by Chennai-based journalist-playwright Gowri Ramnarayan, Subbulakshmi’s grand-niece and concert accompanist for 15 years.
Addressing the audience and the guest of honour, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, the PM said the music of ‘MS’ (Subbulakshmi) was a unifying force for all Indians. “Her music represents the values which India stands for,” he said, having witnessed her charisma during her performance for the United Nations in 1966. “Her performance left everyone spellbound even if they didn’t understand the language,” the PM said, recalling how she was dear to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had said of her, “What am I? A mere Prime Minister before the Queen of Song.”
Ramnarayan said, “26/11 happened while we were working on the book. Its release is my act of resistance, for through ‘MS’ I am asserting the values our nation holds dear.”