Obituary: CTU loses a founding member

Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam mourns the loss of Mrs. Sakuntala Rajan (alias Chakku Rajan).  She was seriously ill for months and she passed away in the afternoon on Wed, Feb 24, 2010.  

Dr. K.S. Rajan and Mrs Sakuntala Rajan were one of the foremost members of the Indian community dedicated to the preservation of our traditions and values. They initiated several organizations and have several accomplishments to their credit in the field of Carnatic music  — notably the following:

  • The first ever to organize a  Lalgudi-Ramani concert in Chicago in 1970
  • They were instrumental to the formation of Satkala Mandir which continues to function with its main goals
  • Chakku was an active participant in the list of volunteers to nurture Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam from the early days of its inception
  • MS Subbulakshmi/ Sadasivam and all when they gave the first concert in Chicago, it was Chakku and Rajan who meticulously took care of all the concert arrangements and the artists
  • When HTGC was a dream, this family would actively participate in the prayer meetings, and even do Poojas  with temporary icons
  • Chakku was one of the ardent supporters of the annadhata scheme of CTU  for many years
  • Being conservative and traditional, they brought their  two daughters Malini and Neena in the most traditional fashion possible, and both are doing very well
  • There were 6 or 7 families: Rajan Chakku, Savitri-Mani, TES-Usha , Chellam Balakrishnan, Lakshmi Natarajan, Usha-Bala, Rajani-Ranji who used to meet in each other’s house virtually every weekend. Later it extended to many others who came to Chicago around mid seventies. Every one moved around two pivotal families- Savitri-Mani and Rajan-Chakku.
  • Chakku and Rajan made special efforts to organize concerts of Balamurali Krishna in late 70’s.

I am just recalling those times and events with fond memories as I ruminate over the days gone by.  I am yet to find another person like Chakku for the incredible memory on the major as well as details of any social gatherings, experiences dates, visits, timing, dresses, colors and what not.

Needless to say we feel sad missing such a person.

TES Raghavan

Chicago Tyagaraja Utsavam