Bhakti Natya Niketan -
A Public Charitable Trust
As an institution which believes in dissolving divisiveness, we run a Charitable Trust since 2014. The Trust engages in:
Providing scholarships to deserving students of Bharatanatyam in the city centre as well as rural areas
Creating infrastructure that enables people to come together under the unifying spirit of art
Producing and presenting dance Productions which have ability to touch people irrespective of their cultural backgrounds
Spotting true talent and nurturing them to take to art as a vocation or a profession
Creating genuine interest in literature and heritage among young people
Provided scholarships to over 15% of the total number students of the institute with part or full scholarships for their dance education
Provided students of Vidyavanam, Vocational training in Bharatanatyam at a subsidised rate for a period of two years
Produced, choreographed and presented a 75 min dance production on the river Noyyal which reached over 7500 students in and out of Coimbatore
Presented the first ever Crowd funded Arangetram of Rithika, a prodigal talent in the august presence of Malavika Sarukkai (Padma Shri) and the award of a fixed deposit of Rs. 1,00,000 to Rithika to continue her journey into the art form
Partnered with Shanti Ashram over the last 10 years in their Poverty alleviation program
Produced professionally recorded music for new choreographies which bring out the rich culture of the Tamil Land through the medium of Bharatanatyam
Dr. Neela Venkatachalam
Dr. Neela Venkatachalam is a qualified medical practitioner and an author who has found passion in divine arts and study of philosophy. She was trained in Bharatanatyam under the tutelage of the late Kalaimamani. Chidambaram P.S. Kunjithapadam Pillai has to her credit, over 100 performances in many temples and festivals in her college years. She has authored a book on Saiva Siddhanta philosophy published by Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore.
Dr. Neela, an avid reader of literature and philosophy has been a perennial source of inspiration and knowledge for BNN’s choreographic endeavours. As a connoisseur of the arts, she has helped BNN fund the creation of Ananda Veli as a performance and a teaching space. She confers an award of excellence every year to a deserving student of BNN in the memory of her aunt, Late. Salem. S Jayalakshmi, a renowned musicologist and Carnatic musician. She contributes every year to collect books, CD’s and learning material for the BNN library.
Shri. Arvind Venkatachalam
Arvind Venkatachalam, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is an innovator, entrepreneur and passionate designer. As an ardent patron of fine arts and culture he has a breathtaking collection of bronzes and paintings. The combined library of Neela & Arvind consisting of over 6,000 books is a reference point for many scholars and youth in fields like Music, Religion, Philosophy of East & West, Art, Paintings, Archaeology, English Literature and varied subjects like Management, Self Development, Information Technology, Electronics, Product Designing and Entrepreneurship.
As an interpreter of Meikandar’s philosophy, he holds ‘compassion’ as the centre of his world view and his writing has followers from countries of the East and West. He was the artist behind most of BNN’s brochure designs in its formative years. He has been part of every single milestone that BNN has ever crossed. He has designed BNN’s Ananda Veli, an aesthetic performance and teaching space which can accommodate around 75 people in RS Puram.
Smt. Swarna Somasundaram
GURU & ENLIVENING SPIRIT
Late Smt. Swarna Somasundaram, the paternal grandmother and Guru of Karuna, was the founder of Tiruneriya Tamil Mandram, a non-profit religious cultural organisation that has been instrumental in the propagation of Bhakti literature namely Tevaram, Tiruvasagam, Tirupugazh, Divyaprabandham etc.. She taught philosophy and divine Tamil music to anyone who came to her, irrespective of their backgrounds for 58 years until she attained the feet of the Lord. The organization conducts music & philosophy classes in many areas of Coimbatore. The Mandram has published books on Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy in Tamil and many publications which contain selected collections of hymns are distributed for free. It has released more than 20 cassettes which have been distributed at many temples & organisations. The special achievement was the recording of the whole of Tiruvasagam which comprises of 653 songs set in nearly 75 ragams sung for 10 ½ hours with accompaniments.
Classes and Guru Pujais are being conducted continuing her tradition of spreading Divine Tamil Literature through music and prayer.
Dr. S Balakrishnan &
Dr. AR Saraswathy
Late. Dr. S Balakrishnan (BE. Phd, London) and Late. Dr. AR Saraswathy (DRCOG, London) are the maternal grandparents of Karuna. Two visionaries who are remembered for the establishment of Neelambal Subrahmaniam Matriculation and Higher Secondary School in Sooramangalam, Salem for the education and empowerment of children from rural and under privileged backgrounds. BNN is indebted to their contribution to BNN’s initial infrastructure and several outreach activities. Their son, BVS. Mani, a Civil Engineer and philanthropist, continues to provide scholarships for deserving students at BNN.
We are eternally indebted to
Smt. Karunambal Vanavarayar
W/o B. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar, Chairman, BVB Coimbatore
Smt. Karunambal Vanavarayar is the wife of B. Krishnaraj Vanavarayar – Chairman of BVB Coimbatore – and one of our cherished well wishers who we thank for providing classroom space at Purandaradasar Kalaiarangam. Her late father Arutselvar Thiru. N. Mahalingam Ayya, Pollachi did yeoman service for the spread of South Indian heritage of Tamil music, literature archaeology, traditional medicine and upheld Gandhian values. She has been in charge of the Bhavan Cultural Centre at Purandaradasar Kalaiarangam facilitating many classes run there for over 20 years. Along with family members and other inspired people, she has founded a trust which educates around 30,000 children in 27+ schools wherein they are given a firm rooting about our rich cultural, pious and character building with emphasis on learning through mother tongue since 2010. Karunambal Akka’s role in the formation of BNN is invaluable. BNN trust was given space at Purandaradasar Kalaiarangam for its aim of taking classical dance to the underprivileged right from the beginning in 2008.