Kanakuyil Amali from Estate to State of Honour

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By DCD Reporter             

Tuticorin: Amala Pushpam, a woman of strong will and hope is honoured with Kalaimamani Award, the most prestigious civilian award by the State of Tamil Nadu.

Hailing from a poor family Amali was born to Maria Susai and Michealammal in Tuticorin. Due to poverty, her parents moved to Mancholai estate in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu.

Amali who is the 12th child of the family learned music motivated by her father who composed situational folk songs. Though she learned Carnatic music, it was her inborn talent that pushed her to become an expert in music.

She lost her husband 15 years ago but she never lost hope to try. She has been an inspiration to many poor and Dalit and Tribal women who work hard to achieve their dreams.

At the beginning of her career, she used to sing in the Church choir and the teachers encouraged her to sing in schools and later she was identified by Somasundaeam, the music teacher. After completing her schooling, she was asked to marry at a young age.

Though she could not continue her higher studies, she was sent to music training school.

Her songs are based on social awareness and human rights issues which led her to sing at the state and the national level. Fr. Gnana Prakasam gave her many opportunities to sing through a cultural trope called Semmani.

And it was Father John Britto, a Jesuit who gave her the chance to sing in a music album called Asai Irukuthaiyaa.

In 1990, she got a chance to sing on All India Radio and today she is grateful to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe Commission of Palayamkottai diocese. She has composed and sang more than 1000 songs and many are social awareness songs like women, environment and politics.

She not only developed her talents but also trained more than 100 poor and Dalit students and create opportunities to sing at the state and national levels.

Folk culture is the culture of the country and the State and it needs to be fostered and encouraged.

She has sung in few movies and received many awards for her powerful voice. In 2012 she received Kalai Sudar Award. In 2016, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India – Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes honored her with Dr. Ambedkar National Award.

Other awards include like Sadhanai Penmani Award, Periyar Award, Bharathiyar Award and Dr. Abdul Kalam award.

She is now working as a music teacher in the Government Higher Secondary School in Kovil Patti in Tuticorin District. Her dream is to start a music college after her retirement, so that music may available to all.

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