The following writeup was released in the Information Folder issued by Indian Posts & Telegraph Department, Government of India
Sri Swati Tirunal is the most outstanding composer of Carnatic music in Kerala. The richness and contents, the poetic beauty and devotional fervour and the wide range of aesthetic patterns they present entitle him to an exalted place among the composers of India.
He was born on 26.4.1813 in the royal family of
Travancore, the son of Rani Lakshmi Bai and Raja Raja Varma Koli Thampuran. A liberal education was imparted to him by a team of able scholars led by the versatile Subba Rao of Tanjavur. Subba Rao was also proficient in music in its different styles and this led to the efflorescence of the latent musical talent of his royal disciple in due course.
Sri Swati Tirunal assumed charge of direct administration on 21.4.1829 and ruled the State for 17 years, putting down corruption with an iron hand and introducing far-reaching reforms in various fields for the advancement of the people at large.
While he was a great ruler and administrator, he was perhaps greatest as a composer of music. And it is as a composer of classical music that posterity has cherished the memory of Sri Swati Tirunal most. His known compositions number about four hundred and comprise practically all the forms of Carnatic and Hindustani music. He has composed in five languages – Sanskrit, Malayalam, Hindustani, Telugu and Kannada and almost all of them have his mudra “Padmanabha”, his tutelary deity.
He passed away at a very early age on 25.12 1846 leaving a rich and valuable legacy which no “rasika” can afford to neglect for “raga”, “bhava” and grandeur of the “sahitya”. He is easily one of the most illustrious and versatile men our country has produced.