My Name is Gauhar Jaan! -
The Life and Times of a Musician

Events

Release in Chennai - 5th May 2010

The Madras Book Club in association with the Hotel Taj Connemara organized the Chennai launch of Vikram Sampath's book - My Name is Gauhar Jaan! - The Life and Times of a Musician - on 5th May 2010. In what was announced as one of the largest gatherings of the Book Club’s events, Chennai’s music loving crowds had congregated in large numbers for the event.

The book was released by the Honourable Governor of Andhra Pradesh Shri E. S. L. Narasimhan. “Reading the book left me with a strange mix of sadness and happiness,” said the Governor.

“When Gauhar Jaan excels, you feel happy and when she goes through pangs of separation, pangs of deprivation you feel sad,” he said, adding that the author's in-depth research into various aspects and places is in fact mind boggling, given the constraints of availability of time/material and far flung places. The Governor went on to say “Books like these bring back history to the modern generation and provide you a sense of pride in your rich heritage and culture and does leave an impact on the reader.”

Mr. N. Murali, Senior Managing Director, Kasturi & Sons Ltd and President of the Madras Music Academy, said the book was in line with the current trend of documenting the life of great musicians, while earlier it was considered that art was higher than the artists.

Author Vikram Sampath brought a touch of nostalgia by recalling Madras city's association with Gauhar. Gauhar Jaan had visited the town in 1910 and her concert at Victoria Hall was a great success. Enthralled by her music, Veena Dhanammal had hosted a dinner and even taught her a Thyagaraja Keerthana in the Raaga Suruti. It is believed that Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar learnt a few bhajans from Gauhar Jaan as well.

Mr. V. Ramnarayan, Editor-in-Chief of the Sruti magazine, said it was not a hagiography, but an honest book. Vikram Sampath’s guru in music Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, eminent vainika, had a personal touch in her speech when she recounted how her student had gone to all limits to dig out information about this long forgotten artist.

Historians Shri S. Muthaiah, Dr. Stephen Hughes and Mr. V. Sriram and several artists like Dr. Vyjayanthimala Bali, Dr. R Vedavalli, Smt Vijayalakshmi Subramaniam, Smt Sumitra Nitin, author Lakshmi Vishvanath and several others participated in the event.

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