The making of Veene Seshanna Bhavan

An excellent veena player, unique composer and above all, a true humanitarian, he was loved and respected by all his contemporary musicians including  the Maharajas of Mysore. “I can give my best. But who can give the best that the veena is capable of !?” were his humble words. He was responsible for starting Krishnotsava just like Ramotsava celebration in Mysore. This is being revived and continued by ‘Ganabharathi’, an organisation that is dedicated to the cause of music since 1978.

‘Ganabharathi,’ the cultural organisation located at Kuvempunagar has an interesting story of its own. It was started (1978) with the purpose of arranging cultural programmes like music, dance and drama. The founders though not wealthy were  true lovers of music. It was their common interest that drove them to venture into this difficult task with no financial back up.

V S Narasimhachar, a retired LIC officer and his friend S Nagarajan, a retired deputy commissioner with their deep love for art decided to start an organisation by including a few birds of the same feather. They coaxed the artistes to perform for a nominal charge and arranged the programmes in different places available. Under the leadership  of Nagaraj , a committee was formed which worked towards enrolment of members and drafting the  memorandum of association and byelaws of the organisation. The name ‘Ganabharathi’ suggested by legal expert C K N Raja was unanimously accepted . Its main aim and objectives have been successfully carried on since then. Apart from promoting  music and dance, Ganabharathi honours senior artistes and holds music festivals and competitions.

 The CITB, Mysore allotted a site to Ganabharathi in 1980. A souvenir was brought out to raise funds and a music festival to celebrate Sri Krishna Janmashtami was held without realising that it was reviving a great tradition that was started by Veene Sheshanna. The dedicated group of members decided to take up the impossible task of constructing a building possible only by raising funds. That is a heart-touching story by itself. G T Narayana Rao, G L N Ayya, J R Lakshman Rao, M S Rajagopal, B N Ramunuja Iyengar, Dr C G Narasimhan, K Srikantiah, A Narayanaswamy, S Anathanarayana are only a few names behind the construction of this Bhavana to commorate the memory of Veene Sheshanna.

The Bhavana was inaugurated on the October 26, 1991 by  Veerendra Heggade, the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala in the presence of Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra. A dream realised! A bust of the great Vainika donated by Prof S K Ramachandra Rao adorns the auditorium. 

Ganabharathi(Reg) has also published books like ‘Kallusakkare’, ‘Kanaka samputa’, ‘Haridasa Vangmaya’and ‘Dasa Sahitya’. Another feather in its cap is the music and Dance school that is run at the Bhavana. This was started in 1992 with a strength of 40 students. Ramakrishna Udupa was the first principal of the school. Today  more than 500 students learn vocal, Veena, mridanga, flute, keyboard and dance.  Devaki Madhavan is heading the school and many senior artistes are teaching here. There are bhavans in memory of Vasudevachar, Chowdiah and Bidaram Krishnappa.

The need to construct a bhavan to cherish the memory of the legendary Veene Sheshanna was fulfilled by Ganabharathi. The ‘Crest jewel’ of Mysore Asthana is thus permanently captured here. Recently an election was held to elect the executive committee members, that was followed by the 31st general body meeting.

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