Rajeshwar Jaladi, a 12-year boy from the US performing Harikatha
at Annamacharya Kalamandir in Tirupati on Thursday
Rajeshwar Jaladi, a 12-year boy from the US performing Harikatha at Annamacharya Kalamandir in Tirupati on Thursday

Tirupati: Rajeshwar Jaladi, a 12-year-old boy from the USA left everyone spellbound with his Harikatha performance held in Annamacharya Kalamandir here on Thursday. Though he was born and brought up in the US, the boy attired in traditional dress, did the hour long Harikatha on Srinivasa Kalyanam based on the mythology of the wedding of Lord Balaji with ease and eloquence, leaving the audience wonder struck.

What was surprising was the boy rendering the classical art form adhering to traditional Telugu language without any hitch, though he speaks till a year back mainly English. Since early childhood Rajeshwar loved to hear devotional and spiritual stories from his Ammamma (maternal grandmother) and he is also used to telling those stories to others, said his mother Radhika Jaladi working as a doctor in the US, who came with her son for his performance and visit her home state AP.

Speaking to media persons after the event organised by the TTD to promote spiritualism, she said his penchant for devotional and spiritual stories ultimately led him to learn Harikatha performance from the well-known Bhagavatharini (Harikatha artist) Jayanthi Savitri working in the TTD Annamcharya Project.

Rajeshwar met her Guru during her visit to St Louis, Missouri where Rajeshwar family is living, to stage her performance, two years back and expressed his desire to learn the art of Harikatha from her. He has been learning the art of Harikatha from her, both in person during her visit to the US and online via Skype.  

Savithri, who was present at the performance of her Sishya (discipline) said that he performed like an experienced artist even thought it was his first performance. She further said he may be the youngest Harikatha artist in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

“Harikatha has become a fading art. His performance and story can inspire many others and might bring back some of the lost interest on the art of Harikatha among the people to help rejuvenate our traditional art and heritage,” she stated. Radhika said “we are from Vijayawada but settled in the USA. My son becoming.

Harikatha performer will help strengthen our moorings with our culture, heritage and tradition”. Rajeshwar, who also does tennis and archery, said that he is keen on knowing more about Harikatha as he desires to excel in the classical Indian performing art. TTD Annamacharya Project Director K Danamjayudu felicitated the young Rajehwar with a shawl and a memento and blessed him to have a bright future.

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