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    This Margazhi, remembering Andal through dance, music and literature


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    This Margazhi, remembering Andal through dance, music and literature

    By Veejay Sai

    Andal’s life epitomized ideas of devotion, feminism and empowerment way back in that century.

    As the holy month of Margazhi in the Tamil calendar begins, it is time for prayer, contemplation and celebration. As we come to the end of this year, it is just another reason to thank god or the powers that be for having given us the opportunity to see through this year and hope the next one would be a better one.

    I don’t have to go into the life story of Andal. It is well known by anyone remotely interested in Vaishnava history and is available all over. In brief, she was found as an infant in a tulasi (holy Basil) garden in the temple town of Srivilliputtur. As a young woman she fell in love with lord Vishnu. In his love, she wrote some of the finest poems ever written in the history of Tamil language. Collected into two famous compilations titled "Thiruppavai" and "Nachiyar Thirumozhi", the writings of Andal have inspired generations of artistes and devotees.

    Towards the end of her life, Andal is supposed to have merged with her lord. Andal’s life epitomized ideas of devotion, feminism and empowerment way back in that century. She continues to be hailed as a heroine and saint. The only easy equivalent to Andal in North India is the Rajasthani princess who turned into a poet Mirabai.

    This season is even more special because it was in Margazhi when Andal is supposed to have composed a poem a day. Keeping with that tradition, across the Shri Vaishnava temples in south India, a poem is recited a day through this month. This way by the end of the month, the entire book is completed.

    In Carnatic music there have been several renderings of the "Thiruppavai". The first one that comes to mind is by the legendary vocalist Aryakudi RamanujaIyengar. It was a staple recording played in several temples this season.

    Later other vocalists like Palghat K V Narayanaswamy also recorded it. But what became a huge hit was the rendering by the Carnatic diva M L Vasantakumari, fondly refered to as MLV by her fans and followers. MLV’s version became a standard and continues to be played in scores of Vaishnava temples across the land. Much like Subbulakshmi’s rendering of Venkateshwara Suprabhatam and Vishnu Sahasranamam, which no other vocalist ever managed to match. Listen to one of the many poems being sung by MLV here :

    Read more at: http://www.thenewsminute.com/article...terature-54149

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