It once showcased the instrument played by TNR

In remembrance: Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was keen on converting the house into a memorial  

It once showcased the instrument played by TNR

The house of late nagaswaram wizard Thiruvavaduthurai N. Rajarathinam Pillai has been demolished. The demolition of the house in Thiruvavaduthurai, which once showcased the nagaswaram played by TNR, as he was fondly called by the music world, has cut off his links with his native town.

“When I visited the place, the empty land brought tears to my eyes. I nurtured the hope that one day it would become a memorial,” said nagaswaram player K. Dineshkumar, who posted photos of the demolished house on Facebook.

TNR’s greatness is explained by the fact that he was invited by the Indian government to play nagaswaram at midnight, when India gained independence on August 15, 1947. He had already established himself as a non-pareil nagaswaram player, whose rendition of the thodi raga had set the benchmark for both instrumentalists and vocalists.

The land belonged to the Thiruvavaduthurai mutt, and TNR constructed the house. “The house was sold after his death to repay loans taken by him to conduct the wedding of his adopted son, Sivaji. After his death, his relative Vanaja redeemed it and now she has sold it,” said V. Subash, grandson of TNR, who lived in the house as a child. TNR, who came to Chennai, died in 1956. “It was veteran actor M.R. Radha, who sent his car to collect the family members from the railway station,” recalled Mr. Subash.

Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was keen on converting the house into a memorial, when his centenary was celebrated, and the job was left to then Tamil Maanila Congress leader G.K. Moopanar. But the task could not be completed.

When the DMK was in power between 2006 and 2011, there was an attempt to construct a memorial in Thirumaurgal, the birth place of TNR. But the proposal never saw the light of the day.

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