About the Creator of the S.R.I Mrudanga and Tabla
The creator of these path breaking instruments is Dr. K. Varadarangan, a physicist by academic qualifications, an engineer by profession, and a highly acclaimed musician and musicologist.
Dr.Varadarangan holds a Master's degree in Physics and a PhD degree in the field of Wireless Communications. After completing his PhD degree at IIT Chennai, he continued to work there as a project associate in DRDO projects. He later moved to Bengaluru where he held senior positions in companies such as Datanet Systems, Harita Networks, Convergent Communications and Melange Systems. He also served as a Professor and Head of the Department of Communication Engineering at M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Advanced Studies between2004 and 2005. He is a specialist in the field of ‘wireless design’with nearly three decades of experience. He has several publications in peer-reviewed journals including the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation.
Dr. Varadarangan is also an accomplished Karnaticvocalist and a musicologist. Born with an innate musical talent, Varadarangan began his music lessons at a very young age andstaged his first performance when he was 12 years old. He continued his advanced lessons in music under the guidance of veterans like T. Puttaswamiah (brother of violin maestro T. Chowdiah), Komanduri Seshadri, Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman, and Prof. R. Vishveshwaran. He is an AIR artiste and has performed in several esteemed ‘Sabhas’ of South India.
Apart from being a performing artiste, Dr.Varadarangan has contributed significantly to the theory of music as well. He has several publications to his credit. These include three books on Musicology containing original research work done by him. He is the recipient of the ShasthraKausthubha award from ANANYA G.M.L.Cultural Academy (2008) and the coveted Karnataka Kalashre Award (2016-17) from the Govt. of Karnataka. He has been honored with many titles and awards for his contribution to Music and Musicology.
During the year 2010,Dr.Varadaranganundertook an unprecedented R&D journey to create an ethical Mrudanga that does not use animal skins and is also environment friendly. The path he took was completely untrodden and at that time, he had absolutely no clue as to where this would eventually lead him. He had no idea of the materials and processes that could be used to create such a radically different instrument. He had, however, a sound knowledge of the physics behind the tonality of the Mrudanga and that was the only arsenal with which he began the development of the synthetic Mrudanga.
The path was full of obstacles, road blocks, and pitfalls. At each stage in the developmental phase, there were many obstacles that had to be overcome. There were many frustrating times, anxious moments, sleepless nights, and setbacks. However, with perseverance, extensive research, study, analysis, and experimentation, his dream slowly began to turn into reality. It took nearly fiveyears before the product could be prototyped and readied for manufacture. Two years after the launch of the Mrudanga the synthetic Tabla was also launched.