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B Lalitharatnam

October 14, 2007

B Lalitha was the grand-daughter of Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao, industrialist and philanthropist of repute. Daughter of Kowtha Mohanram Sastry, she married BVSS Mani, eminent industrialist and patron of arts.

Keenly interested in the arts, she was trained in Carnatic vocal during childhood. Incidentally, she inherited a mellifluous voice from her mother Tripurasundari. She was also adept at doll-making and handicrafts and many of her collections were eagerly lapped up by friends and even foreign tourists.

She inculcated a taste for fine arts in her children and grand-children and always motivated them to achieve great heights. Her eldest daughter, Lakshmi Mani is a well-known Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer. Her second daughter Padma is also a student of Bharatanatyam. Her 3rd and 4th daughters Madhavi and Sundari are students of Carnatic music, while the latter also does nattuvangam.

Sons Krishna and Ramu are also ardent rasikas of fine arts, both being gifted with good voices themselves. Lalitha's grand-daughter Naveena is a student of Carnatic music and renders vocal support for her mother Lakshmi Mani's dance recitals. Yet another grand-daughter Sumana is an upcoming Bharatanatyam dancer. Her grandsons are also interested in the arts.

BVSS Mani and Lalitharatnam founded a self-financing cultural organization, Lalitha Kala Vedika. Their children Krishna Kishore and Madhavi are the President and Secretary respectively, of the organization.

Along with her husband, Lalitha supported several charitable and philanthropic activities in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh. Even after the demise of Mani, she was the sponsor of the prestigious Natya Kala Conference of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (of which Mani served as President for nearly 2 decades and later as Managing Trustee).

Lalitharatnam was the Director of Swadharma Swaarajya Sangha, a charitable institution devoted to the propagation of the ideals of Bharateeya culture and dharma, founded by her grandfather Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao. She was Donor Member of the Madras Music Academy and Patron Member of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.

Lalitharatnam, popularly referred to as Mrs. BVSS Mani, passed away on August 27, 2007.

Her daughter Lakshmi Mani can be contacted on lakshmi_dancer@yahoo.co.in