Trio Performs to Raise Funds for Shakti

As a fundraising event for Shakti Foundation, Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa performed to a full house in the city. It has been an arduous 25-year journey for the foundation with endless appeals for rights and accessibility in the city for PWDs.

Published: 15th February 2016 01:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2016 01:17 PM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: A guitar solo, so enchanting it got us to the edge of our seats, the serene piano composition almost bringing time and the breathless, powerful voice reaching out to everyone at the Music Academy on Saturday night. No guesses, we are of course, talking about Shankar Ehsaan Loy, the trio that have never failed to give awe-inspiring performances.

This particular concert, sponsored by Jaguar, was held as a fundraiser for the Shakti Foundation, a trust for the well-being of persons with disabilities (PWD). Accompanying the trio were singers Rasika Sekar, Srinidhi Ghatate and Raman Mahadevan. From hit tunes of Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Kal Ho Na Ho (2003), Rock On (2008) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara (2011), the night was also remembered for the immediate rights and medicare needed for the disabled.

Hours prior to their concert, City Express caught up with the trio about the need for awareness through entertainment from celebrities and their association with Shakti Foundation. As musicians and entertainers, they considered themselves privileged but had a bigger responsibility.

“People in the audience know they have come for a cause and we are all here for the bigger picture. We plan to sing our popular numbers so that more people can relate to it and spread the awareness that’s needed in society. The focus is the cause and our music will do the talking,” smiles Shankar, who adds they may have a 100 other things to do, but the founder, Vasanth Raghuveer’s 24x7 service and determination is amazing.

“Just because a person is physically incapable, doesn’t mean he is incapable” adds Loy. Associated with Shakti since 2010, the trio returned to Chennai, as they were inspired by the children of the foundation. “When we visited the foundation building we see the joy in the children’s eyes and the inspiration begins there,” says Shankar before bidding adieu.

The night may have ended in a high note but the questions on equality, rights and privileges for PWD remain unanswered and it’s a subject that requires immediate attention by the thinkers and planners.

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Ultimate Goals of Shakti

Separate parking lots, toilets Suitable modifications in trains, aircraft and public transport for wheelchair users To devise a way for ambulances to  reach a hospital quickly when it  has a patient critically ill To provide access  to all PWD at  zebra crossings To sensitise people on the acute need to empathise with the cause of disabilities and provide an environment that is barrier-free

‘It’s Velan’s foundation’

Though Vasanth Raghuveer runs the Shakti Foundation now, she says, it was actually started by her son, Velan who had a rare muscular condition — Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She narrated the journey of her son and his foundation. “At the age of 10, he stopped walking. He was a very happy child and completed his schooling and graduation on a wheelchair. He asked me, what about the less fortunate, amma? There is not enough medical and educational support for them. It was through him that this foundation was established.” Though he is no more, Vasanth continues to work towards the goal of preserving the rights of children with disabilities.


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