‘Ananya’ is familiar to most music lovers of Bangalore, especially North Bangalore. It is located in a very peaceful corner of the city, off 4th Main Road, Malleshwaram between 12th and 13th Cross. An inconspicuous small board that hangs right opposite the Malleshwaram Boys’ High School identifies Ananya. Dr Raghavendra is totally publicity shy. He says he formed the trust not for people who craved for publicity, but “… to tap, encourage and nurture young and upcoming music artists and create a small music community that can entertain the masses”.
Raghavendra’s interest in music started with appreciating film music, like most of us. The interest evolved in stages. He and his music-loving friends were regulars at the Sri Rama Navami music concerts at Fort High School, Chamarajpet and Malleshwaram Sangeetha Sabha, among others. The friends also used to sponsor music programmes at the institute.
He topped the university in B Sc (Geology) from Chitradurga and pursued M Sc (Chemistry) at Mysore, where he graduated to listening to serious classical music. He became a regular at the Dasara music festivals and attended the concerts of great musicians of yesteryears like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Ariyakkudi brothers, Kalinga Rao, Sohan Kumari and Mohan Kumari, Dr D K Pattammal and the like. He thus learnt a lot by continuous exposure to music and became a connoisseur.
After his doctoral degree from IISc Bangalore, Raghavendra and his wife Dr Pramila set up ‘Geological & Metallurgical Laboratories’ and got busy establishing the laboratory for the first ten years. Once they started earning enough to take care of their limited needs, Raghavendra’s thoughts turned towards music once more. With his cousin Prasanna, the famous theatre person, the couple conducted small and informal gatherings of music in the spacious hall that they constructed at the basement of their house, “…much against my father’s thrifty concerns”. “Prasanna once suggested that if I was really serious of doing something for the field of music, I should set up a trust”, says Raghavendra.
Thus was born the Ananya Trust on 27th May, 1995 with the inaugural concert by Raghavendra’s nephew Master Pavan, a disciple of Dr Semmangudi Iyer. The first few concerts were by his friends or family members. Eminent personalities like Dr U R Ananthamurthy and the Late Dr B C Ramachandra Sharma were on the trust. While Raghavendra funds the trust to the extent of 99 per cent, the Department of Kannada and Culture has started pitching in of late, in conducting cultural festivals in different regions like Tumkur, Udupi, Ikkeri, Chitradurga and so on.
Though the Trust was initially started to promote Carnatic music, it gradually evolved into serving all facets of culture to include Hindustani music, various forms of dance and visual arts. The trust also started adding on various kinds of services and did not merely stick to sponsoring concerts. Some of them are:
Ananya Sangraha: A library with a collection of about 10,000 hours of music from live concerts, inclusive of very rare collections such as those dating back to the 1920s (Mysore Vasudevachar, Bidaram Krishappa and the like). It has over 1000 books on classical music – journals, biographies, dictionaries and monographs. Books on allied arts too, not available anywhere else are housed in Ananya Sangraha. It also has a high-tech studio with facilities for digitisation and cataloguing of these recordings. The library is open to the public for a nominal fee.
Ananya Sabhangana: A well-equipped auditorium with excellent acoustics that can seat around 150 people. The Trust holds regular events like the monthly classical music concerts by established musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, music competitions, etc. Ananya also conducts regular music awareness programmes for school children, to inculcate in them a love for music and its myriad forms.
Ananya Awards: Ananya has instituted various awards like the Ananya Puraskara for senior musicians, Ananya Yuva Puraskara for young artists, Ananya Kalavidaru for eminent artists of other districts of Karnataka, Ananya Kalabigna for the artists of light music and Ananya Prathibhe for budding artists.
Ananya Publications: Another pet project of Dr.Raghavendra, who believes that music is not merely an art but a science. Abhivyakthi is its five-year old monthly magazine in Kannada with over 3000 subscribers. It provides in-depth information about music and associated literature and gives scientific interpretations of music and its analysis. It also is a forum for budding artists.
The publishing unit also publishes books on Indian classical music. Some of its popular books are With Masters of Melody by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Mysore Vasudevacharya, translated into English by S. Krishnamurthy, Asesha Padmanabha Samputa by Sangeetha Vidwan Shreekantham Nagendra Shastry and Nadanadi, translated from Marathi to Kannada by Amina Bhavi.
Ananya Arogyadhara: A branch of Ananya born out of concern for neglected geniuses. “When I heard about the unfortunate death of the eminent musician of yesteryears Neelamma Kadambi, as a destitute on the streets of Mysore, I was moved and shocked” says the Doctor. Thus he decided to set up a fund to assist artists in the evening of their lives for medical treatment. 80 doctors are on this panel. Assistance upto Rs.25000/- per artist is extended either by meeting the expenses directly in the listed nursing homes or as reimbursement. So far 68 artists have been assisted under this programme.
Ananya Drishya: A group of professional artistes, art critics and art lovers, whose effort is to find the means to adopt visual language in our education system. It plans to familiarize art activity and define its role in both the public and personal arena. Bi-monthly art exhibitions are held giving a platform to upcoming lesser known artists, the sale proceeds of which are partly used for conducting art camps at Ananya and other schools.
Ananya Sahitya: Promotes literary meets like discussions, poetry reading, seminars etc.
Ananya Nritya: Promotes Indian classical dance through concerts, workshops and group discussions. An exclusive dance archive is being planned to be set up at the Sangraha.
How much can an individual achieve? Limitless, as Dr. Raghavendra has been proving. He wants Ananya to be known to more and more people, so that they can reap the benefits of its various activities. If only each of us would utilize our capacity to contribute to such social causes like Dr. Raghavendra, the world would be immensely benefited.⊕