My Friend Raghunath “Chiranjeevi”
The passing away of Raghunath was a great
loss not only to his family but to our Community as well. Raghu was a man of
vision and pursued his vision with great energy and motivation. The
beneficiaries of his efforts are children – our second generation.
My association with Raghu started in the
late 1970’s when I ventured to organize a concert by the great Veena Vidwan
Chittibabu in New Jersey. This was the first Carnatic music concert ever
organized in New Jersey.
people discouraged me saying that it will be a failure. At that time, I met
Raghu in Hoboken. At that time, he was a graduate student at Stevens pursuing
his Ph.D. He, his wife Prabha and their family friend Simanthini helped
immensely in making the concert a great success.
Later, we organized concerts by Bala
Muralikrishna, Nedunuri, Dorai Swamy, Mandalin Srinivas, Dwaram Mangathayaru,
etc. As we were pursuing these endeavors, we started discussing about our
children and how to pass our culture, music, dance, drama and other traditions
Raghu and I met in Dr. Bhavaraju’s
house to crystallize a plan. The result was the creation of the Telugu Fine
Common characteristics of the
functions organized by the association was the participation by a large number
of children of all ages. We started publishing
Telugu Jyothi as the association’s monthly
magazine. TFAS and Telugu Jyothi became integral parts of our daily lives. It
was Raghu’s vision that made this all possible.
How do we carry Raghu’s legacy
forward? That responsibility falls on our second generation. The professional,
economic, political and social environment of 1980’s when we (the first
generation) ventured to create these institutions, programs, etc. is quite
different from to-day. The second generation should get involved and shape
these associations to meet their needs and of their children (third
generation). This is how we should remember Raghu.
Raghu is Chiranjeevi