Multi-faceted Chennaiite plays rare instrument Bul Bul

Chennai: Being one of the very few bulbulists in the State, K G Jawahar, who is also an economist, journalist and novelist, is happy that he has finally received the recognition he deserves.

The Saligramam resident was honoured with Kalainanmani by the State government recently. A native of Tirunelveli, Jawahar shared a lot about his multi-faceted journey for over 30 years with News Today.

“I was born with a twin brother on 2 October 1952 – Gandhi Jayanthi Day. So, my parents opted for the names of close associates of Gandhi – Jawahar for me and K G Bose for my brother, who is 20 minutes younger,” he said.

Jawahar says he is a player of ‘Bul Bul Tarang’ which is almost extinct in Tamilnadu. “Probably, I am the only person playing the instrument right now. I have given more than 400 performances with my Bul Bul and also received ‘Bul Bul Kunnakudi’, ‘Bul Bul Isaikyuil’ awards for my performances. Seeing my interest and service to the art form, our State government presented me Kalainanmani award.”

Apart from that, Pudukkottai Ilakkiya Vattam conferred him with Ezhuththuch Chudar award and the famous Gandhi Library in Saidapet, Chennai, presented Ezhuththu Chirpi award. When asked which performance with Bul Bul he considers most special, he said, ‘Late mandolin maestro U Srinivas personally invited me to his home to listen to my music for some time. That was really unexpected when such a true legend wanted to listen to my playing Bul Bul.”

Now, after retiring from Canara Bank, Jawahar has not stopped working and is playing Bul Bul music for various occasions like marriage, literary meetings and social awareness events.

Recently, a famous Tamil literary organisation in Chennai, Uratha Sindhanai, conducted a meeting, ‘Bharathi Ula’, where he played Bharathiyar songs with his 50-year-old Bul Bul Tarang.

Jawahar is also basically a writer and novelist. “After completing my studies in St Xavier’s at Palayamkottai and St Joseph’s College in Tiruchi, I went to Delhi for IAS preparation, as my ambition was to become a Collector. But I was not able to achieve the goal and entered the banking sector.”

He finally retired as officer-cadre from Canara Bank. Jawahar says that he took to writing, initially, as a hobby. “But I never thought that hobby would bring laurels, honours and awards. Having written more than 300 stories and interviewing more than a 100 personalities as a freelance journalist, he has met important personalities like Indira Gandhi, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Vajpayee, then prime ministers, and other VVIPs.
In cinema, Jawahar has interviewed almost all the leading stars of his time like MGR, Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. ‘Among all this, the most special moment was when I interviewed Aachi Manorama, the famous actress, with 1,000 questions when she completed 1,000 movies.”


Santhosh Mathevan