New Delhi: Holding a tanpura and her trademark red and black bindis prominent on her forehead and accompanied by a tabla, mridangam and ghatam, only the melodious voice of MS Subbulakshmi appears is missing from the doodle on the Google home page celebrating the renowned Carnatic vocalist's and Bharat Ratna recipient's 97th birth anniversary.
Unquestionably one of the greatest exponents of Carnatic music, MS Subbulakshmi, or 'MS' to her fans, is an icon even to a younger generation brought up on fusion and rock music. MS is the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
MS was also the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, Asia's highest civilian award, in 1974. Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said of MS "Who am I, a mere Prime Minister before a queen, a queen of music."
Subbulakshmi's first recording was released at the age of 10 and made her first public performance at the age of 16. The singer who trained under her mother was an expert in devotional musical forms in different languages including Tamil, Kannada, Sanskrit and Malayalam.
She held concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York and the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966 and was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 1954, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956, Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968.