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Maharajapuram Santhanam (மஹாராஜபுரம் ஸன்டானம்)

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Sangeetha Kalanidhi Maharajapuram Santhanam (Tamil: மஹாராஜபுரம் ஸன்டானம்) was one of the great Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century. A recent renowned vocalist with a beautiful voice, he was born in 1928 to Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer and Visalakshi at Sirunagar village. He trained under his father and Melattur Sama Dikshithar. He followed the footsteps of his father Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer who was also a Carnatic singer.He had two sons, Ramachandran and Srinivasan. He received the Sangita Kalanidhi award in 1989. His favorite raga was sivaranjani and composed many kirtanas. He passed away on 24 June, 1992, in a car accident near Tindivanam.

Besides studying with his father, he was also a disciple of Melattur Sama Dikshitar. Maharajapuram Santhanam was also a distinguished composer. He wrote many songs on Lord Murugan and Kanchi Shankaracharya, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal (Maha Periyavar). He was the Principal of Ramanathan College in Sri Lanka. Later he came and settled in Chennai. The songs which were popularised by Maharajapuram Santhanam are,”Bho Shambo” (Revati), “Madhura Madhura” (Bagheshri), both composed by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, “Unnai Allal” (Kalyani Raga), “Sadha Nin Padhame gathi, Varam onnru” (Shanmukhapriya), “Srichakra Raja” (Ragamalika), “Nalinakaanthimathim” (Ragamalika),”Ksheerabdi kannike” (Ragamalika) among others. The Maharajapuram Santhanam Day is celebrated on the 3rd of December every year.

He died in a car accident on June 24, 1992. His sons Maharajapuram S. Srinivasan, Maharajapuram S. Ramachandran, and his primary disciple Dr. R. Ganesh are now carrying on his musical tradition.

His other most popular songs are Purandaradasa kritis: “Narayana ninna” (Shuddha Dhanyasi) and “Govinda ninna”. His rendition of “Vilayada ithu nerama muruga” cannot be replicated by any other artiste. His renditions were full of Bhakthi.

In Chennai, Griffith Road in T.Nagar was renamed as ‘Maharajapuram Santhanam Salai’ in honor of Maharajapuram Santhanam, by Karunanidhi and Stalin. The street has the famous Krishna Gana Sabha and Muppathamman Temple.

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