Top SA carnatic singer honoured
SOUTH Africa’s leading carnatic vocalist, Karthiegasen Pillay, has been honoured by the Indian government for his rendition of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn, Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye.
A letter praising Pillay, by India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, was this week handed to the Durban singer by the High Commissioner of India to South Africa, Ruchira Kamboj.
Swaraj wrote: “Your musical contribution for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of our beloved Mahatma’s birth will form part of an abiding tribute to this apostle of peace and non-violence.
“Your performance is greatly appreciated by all Indians and by the international community. It has added to our celebrations of the 150th anniversary of this noble soul. It has also helped to consolidate the friendly ties between India and South Africa.”
On Gandhi’s 150th anniversary last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a medley of the bhajan by artists from around the world at the closing ceremony of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference.
Before the anniversary, Indian missions and embassies in 124 countries got in touch with local artists and got them to sing Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye.
Pillay, who studied Indian classical music for 10 years, said he felt “overwhelmed”by the honour.