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The Devadasi and the Saint: The Life and Times of Bangalore Nagarathnamma

V. Sriram (Author)
Synopsis The term 'Devadasi' evokes a mystical past, replete with devotion and dedication of girls to deities, refrains of soaring music and sensuous dances that attracted the patronage of kings and commoners. The preservation and transmission of the arts largely rested with the Devadasis and they had a strong presence in South India, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Though the intellectual elite, the wealthy and the famous, encouraged and supported the Devadasi system, it fell into disrepute, causing public outcry and government reforms, which led to its gradual decline. Bangalore Nagarathnamma was an icon of that age, highly skilled in the arts and well regarded by connoisseurs of music. She was an exceptional women, much ahead of her times, a champion of the rights of the Devadasis and of women in general. Her devotion to the poet-composer, Tyagaraja, is legendary and she is best known as the architect and benefactor of the shrine over his Samadhi in Tiruvayyaru.  In this book, the rise and fall of the Devadasi tradition if intertwined with the life and times of Bangalore Nagarathnamma. From small beginnings, Nagarathnamma rose to become a stellar figure in the cultural firmament of Madras of the 1920s and 30s. This work is a tribute to her indomitable spirit and her unrelenting efforts to perpetuate the memory of the patron saint, Tyagaraja.
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About the author

V. Sriram

Born in England on June 22, 1966, Sriram had his early schooling in Madras and then in Calcutta.  His bachelors in engineering from the College of Engineering, Delhi, in 1987, was followed by a masters in business administration specializing in marketing and advertising from Delhi University.  Sriram then moved on to a varied career in marketing and advertising before joining his family business in Chennai.  Carnatic music has been a passion for Sriram since the age of six, when his grandmother began to teach him the basics, in the family puja room.  This, combined with a great interest in history, has led him to study the art form to depth with special reference to its great personalities.  In 1999, Sriram, along with Sanjay Subrahmanyan, the eminent Carnatic Vocalist, set up www.sangeetham.com, a website devoted to spreading awareness about Carnatic music and its heritage.  During the December music season in Chennai, Sriram conducts heritage walks in the city covering locations connected to Carnatic music.  Besides being a frequent contributor on the Fine Arts in Madras Musings and the Indian Express, he has co-authored a quiz book on Carnatic music.  Since 2004, he has also been the Contributing Editor of Sruti, the classical music and dance magazine.  Sriram is married to Sarada, an entrepreneur in the field of education.  They have two sons, Avinash, aged 9 and Abhinava, aged 7.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Devadasi and the Saint: The Life and Times of Bangalore Nagarathnamma
Author V. Sriram
Format Softcover
Date published: 04.12.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788188661701
length xxiv+207p., Plates; References; Glossary; Index; 22cm.