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Ganakaladhara Madurai Mani Iyer
His Contemporaries
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This section elucidates about Mani Iyer's contemporaries with some illustrations.

His  contemporaries
 
Mani Iyer was hailed as a gentleman among the musicians by his fellow contemporaries and senior musicians. He never spoke ill about anyone. He used appreciate the great qualites that were possesed by others though they might posses some undesirable qualites as well.  He used to regularly listen to the Radio concerts of all the musicians-seniors, contemporaries and juniors. He used to only highlight the strengths of the musicians amongst his friends and never exposed the weaknesses of other's music though he might be well aware of them. After listening to each concert he used to analyse all the aspects of the musician and stress about what make the musician's music appealing.
 
He had good friendships with fellow musicians like Sarvashri.G.N.Balasubramaniyam, Nagaswara Chakravarthi T.N.Rajaratnam Pillai, Palani Subramaniya Pillai and Musiri Subrmaniya Iyer were amongst his celebrity friends.  Mani Iyer used to meet Shri GNB and Shri TNR and the three of them would spend lots of time together at Nageswara Park (Mylapore) discussing about music.
 
He had great respect for his very senior contemporaries like : Sarvashri
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai  and T.L.Venkatarama Iyer.
 
Maharajapuram used to encourage Mani Iyer to follow his unique style.He used to constantly remind Mani Iyer about the importance of learning more compositions.
 
Ariyakudi had great respect on Mani Iyer's music. Once at the Music Academy conference in 1959, Ariyakudi appreciated Mani Iyer for his knowledge and humility and said that Mani Iyer is a great "gnanasthar" and he should have been awarded the "Sangeetha Kalanidhi" much earlier.
 
Shri Musiri Subramaniya Iyer was also a good friend of Mani Iyer. Once at the end of a Mani Iyer concert, Shri Musiri fecilitated whole-heartedly "frankly speaking we all sing for others but Mani sings for himself. I can say that nobody else has got such a sruthi gnanam as Mani. His music conveys his greatness in personal character!" said the great Vidwan.
 
Shri T.R.Mahalingam, the renowned flutist in an interview to the Hindu soon after the demise of Mani Iyer, said "Shri Mani Iyer was one great soul among the musicians, his music never failed to impress both Pamarars (less learned) and Pandithars (the learned)".
 
Vocalist Shri Madurai Somasundaram paid great tributes in an article on Mani Iyer that appeared in "Dinamani" (1968). "It was way back in early 40s that I first heard Mani Iyer's music. It was sunaadham all the way. I was surprised upon seeing Britishers listening to his kutcheri. One of them was playing soft beats with his cigaratte box while listening to the English notes of Mani Iyer. He was a very humble man and a gentleman to the core. Once when I was very young, it was actually my initial years in the musical career. I performed at the Vinayagar temple at Mayavaram Station. Shri Mani Iyer came to station to catch the boatmail. Upon listening to the speakers he asked Vembu Iyer who is singing, and Shri Vembu Iyer told that its Madurai Somu, a budding musician. Immediately Mani Iyer came along with Vembu Iyer and encouraged me by listening to the concert till the end. He missed the boatmail just to encourage me!!. Such was his kind heart. He used to say "One should always enjoy the beauty of Sangeetham (Sangeethathai sadhaa anubhavikkanum Somu Pillai!!) Shri Mani Iyer was a great fan of Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer. He would even become angry if someone critises Viswanatha Iyer's music.  He used to wear only simple kadhar dresses and always had a smile in his face. I listened to one of his concerts a couple of years back at the Tamil Isai Sangam, where he sang an eloborate "Shankarabharanam" which still lingers in my ears ("avar shankarabharanathai mei marakkumbadiyaaga paadinaar!!"). The music world has lost a great Vidwan and a great Human Being!!".
 
Shri P.Sambamoorthy, the great musicologist hailed Mani Iyer as the musician par excellence. "He could satisfy both the learned and the not learned alike. He had great reportaire of krithis and could enthrall the audience with a rare krithi which would become popular instantly (example: sarasamadhana, nijamarmulanu etc.). Mani Iyer was singularly responsible for the popularity of Navagraha krithis of Muthuswami Dikshithar."
 
Shri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer paid rich tributes to Mani Iyer at a rememberance function held at Krishna Gana Sabha during 1996. He said "Mani Iyer pushpavanathoda annaa pillai.. avar kuralum pushpam maadhiriye irukkum. Avarum pushpam maadhiriye iruppaar".
 
to be continued................