Ramnad Sri V. Raghavan (1927–2009)
Our guru, our family member
Ramnad Sri V. Raghavan, known in Cleveland and elsewhere in North America as "Raghavan sir", will forever be remembered as a mridangam vidvan, a music teacher, and a simple human being.
As a mridangam vidvan, he played for all senior artists in India, before coming to the US to teach at Wesleyan University in 1970. In 1975, he moved to Cleveland where his long relationship with our community began, especially as a teacher to the Cleveland Bhajan group.
In 1978, he suggested celebrating a Thyagaraja festival in Cleveland, which led to the founding of our festival and the first Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival that year. He taught everyone the Pancharathna krithis, led practice sessions, and made sure that everyone was ready for the group singing on the day of the Festival.
For all Clevelanders interested in Carnatic music he was a well-wisher, and a guru to anyone who wanted to learn from him. For years, he could be seen sitting on stage during the individual participation offering encouragement and support to his students.
Raghavan sir went through highs and lows in his career, and through it all, he retained his good humor and total faith in the Kanchi Acharya. He was ever the family man, and having immigrated to the US with his entire family, worked hard for their well-being and to ensure that they were well-educated and self-sufficient, no small achievement for someone with little formal education.
The Aradhana Committee would not exist were it not for Raghavan sir's initiative and subsequent efforts. We will always be grateful to him for his help, and join Carnatic music fans everywhere in thanking him for planting the seed that has taken such strong root in Cleveland for these past years, and years to come.