Palghat Raghu :: A percussionist’s percussionist :: ಶಿಷ್ಯೋತ್ತಮ

palghat raghu (1928-2009) the mridanga maestro
Palghat Raghu (1928-2009) the mridanga maestro
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Try at least one of the following, (whichever is close to your heart).

Imagine doing your PhD under Linus Pauling (Nobel winner) and then imagine collaborating with Francis Crick (Nobel winner) for your postdoctoral research and work on wobble hypothesis!

Imagine doing your debut on a cricket field with Sir Garfield Sobers (the greatest all rounder, cricket will ever see) and to have a 200 run unbeaten partnership with him and then imagine sharing a new ball with Andy Roberts (Many fine opening batsmen including Sunil Gavaskar rate him as the best of his time) and to take 10 wickets in a test match! Incidentally, Sobers’ last test series was Roberts’ first! (vs England 1974).

Imagine sharing a freedom speech dais with Mahatma Gandhi (with 200000 people cheering) and then imagine writing the constitution of India with Dr Ambedkar!

There is a reason why I am asking you to concentrate on mid/late 20th century.

Finally, you just have to imagine being Palghat Raghu. Is it possible? Well… it is not different from the examples given above. Palghat Raghu was a Mridangam student of the legendary Palghat Mani Iyer. After thorough training under Mani Iyer, he could (on his own) follow another stalwart in the field, the southpaw Palani Subramanya Pillai. He could imbibe ‘them’ and more importantly improve on what they could do.

To do a Raghu, one has to be extraordinarily outstandingly brilliant. It is a rare phenomenon to see a great GURU with a greater SHISHYA. He was lucky to have Mani Iyer and Subramanya Pillai and they were equally lucky if not luckier to have him.

Go to the following link and read the article by Manu Chakravarthy of The Hindu.

Beyond time


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