Singer MS Subbulakshmi who was the first Indian to perform at the United Nations in 1966, will be honoured by the world body with a stamp to commemorate her birth centenary that will be released on Independence Day.
Hailed by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as the ‘Queen of music’, the legendary Subbulakshmi was the first musician to be awarded India’s highest civil honour, the Bharat Ratna, according to ‘The Hindu’.
The stamp in her honour will be issued by the UN Postal Administration.
In tribute to Subbulakshmi and to commemorate India’s 70th anniversary of Independence, AR Rahman will perform at the UN General Assembly on August 15. The Indian mission to the UN has also organised an exhibition of Subbulakshmi’s life and music in New York.
“As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, the event will emphasize that the wisdom of Indian traditions remains relevant to current global thinking,” the mission said in a statement. “The musical evening will provide a glimpse of gaiety and dynamism of India on the occasion of India@70.”
Rahman’s performance will mark the half-centenary of Subbulakshmi’s performance at the UN General Assembly on the invitation of then Secretary General U Thant on October 23, 1966, according to the ‘Hindustan Times’. It will also be the second time that an Indian has performed at the UN.
Subbulakshmi also gave a concert at Carnegie Hall, New York, when she was there in 1966, where, most unusually, she sang a hymn in English that had been written by C Rajagopalachari, the first governor general of Independent India and set to music by Handel Manuel of All India Radio.
The hymn gave thanks for gathering all nations “under this uniting roof”.
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