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POI KAAL KUDHIRAI PILLAI
||Yogalingam’s father TC Sundara Murthy
Art helps build bridges and transcend borders. That's the noble thought that must have stayed with Bangalore-based S Yogalingam for the 50 years that he has been performing ‘keelu kudure’ (a pantomime with a wooden horse) on stage. Starting at the tender age of 14, he has showcased this folk dance far and wide, and has the distinction of performing for VIPs like Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.
Born in Bangalore in 1946, Yogalingam followed in his distinguished father’s footsteps at the age of 14. He gave his first ‘keelu kudure’ performance in 1960 and continued on stage for 50 years. Coming from a family that boasts of having had eight ‘keelu kudure’ dances, Yogalingam has an eye-popping 12,000 performances to his credit.“Apart from India, I have performed in Mauritius, the former USSR, South Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and France. I have been awarded in all these places,” he says.
Yogalingam has had his share of trouble too. When he was working with ITI, he was accused of performing in public while being a government employee. At one point, he was even assaulted. But his commitment to his art remained unshaken.
Commenting on the issue, B Basavaraju, secretary of the Kannada and culture department, said, “It is unfortunate that instead of the department recognising and awarding talent, people have to apply for the award. He (Yogalingam) need not to ask the TN government, let him apply again. We get more than 35,000 applications every year and select around 50 people. It is possible his application may have been left out. Just because it is a Tamil Nadu art form, we do not tell people we cannot give the award.”
Yogalingam’s father TC Sundara Murthy Pillai, a pioneer of the dance form, was conferred with the Rajyotsava award when Ramakrishna Hegde was chief minister. All of 96, Murthy started performing in 1936. “Though I was born in Bangalore, I went to Thanjavur to learn ‘poikkal kudirai atam’ and when I came to Bangalore I named it ‘keelu kudure’. I am a freedom-fighter and participated in satyagraha movements launched by the Congress. But so far the government has not considered me a freedom-fighter though the then Mysore Pradesh Congress Committee and the Freedom-Fighters Association gave me certificates and many former ministers declared me a freedom-fighter. I don’t want money from the government, but recognition as a freedom-fighter and official invitations to Independence Day and Republic Day functions,” says the nonagenarian.
Sivangyanam kanda Meykandar....Meykanda
பிள்ளையின் வாழ்வு - Avvai
Durai Samy Pillai
ஆட்சியில் ஔவை நடராசன்
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