The 8th Carnatic Postage Stamp in our lineup is that of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. It was issued on 28 August 1996, to commemorate his Birth Centenarary.
The following is from the Information Folder issued by Indian Posts & Telegraph Department, Government of India
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar was born on 28.08.1896 at Chembai, a village in Palghat in Kerala. This small district is the birthplace of veritable doyens of Karnatic music, the most significant being Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, who was popularly known as ‘Chembai’.
At a very early age, ‘Chembai’ literally stormed the music world with his performances in South India. During those performances he was accompanied regularly by the masters, Puthukotta Dakshinamoorthi Pillai (Ganjira), Malaikottai Govindaswami Pillai (Violin) and Kumbakonam Azhakanambi Pillai (Mridamgam). He went on to give perfor mances all over the country and his fame spread far and wide.
His illustrious contemporaries were Sri Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Palghat Rama Bhagavathar and others.
Recognition came to him in the form of titles from several music organisations. “Gayana Gandharva” “Sangeetha Kalanidhi” and “Sangeetha Samrat” are a few of such famous titles. The title of “Sangeetha Kalanidhi” was received by him when he presided over the “Vidwat Sadas” of the Music Academy at Madras in 1951.
His 78th birthday was celebrated at Guruvayoor in 1973 where the devotees and musicians conferred him the title ”Abhinava Thyagabrahmam”.
The Government of India conferred on him the President’s National Award in 1958, and honoured him with the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 1973. But titles and national honours touched him little. His eternal service was dedicated to the Lord of Guruvayoor to whom he gave his earning from concerts from his 60th year. He used to say that the title he liked most was as a “devotee of Guruvayoorappan”.
He passed away at the age of 79 and the loss was indeed irreparable to the lovers of Karnatic music.
The Department of Post is happy to issue a stamp to pay homage to this great musician on the occasion of his birth centenary.