Palani Subramania Pillai Biography In English Life Story 1908-1962

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  • Palani Subramania Pillai  was a noted Carnatic music percussionist. He was one of his contemporaries Palghat Mani Iyer and Ramanathapuram C.S. Along with Murugabhupathi, are revered as the “Holy Trinity of Mridangams”. He was proficient in playing Mridangam and Kanjira. He was a shishya (disciple) of the famous Palani Muthiah Pillai (his father).

Palani Subramania Pillai Biography In English

Birth Details –

Place– India

Date of Birth – 20 April 1908

Marital Status- Married

Nationality -Indian

Family –

Mother- Unnamulai Ammal

Father- Muthiah Pillai

Wife- Rajammal, Srinivasan

Daughter- Vimla, Banu, Malti, Meera, Geeta and Vasanti

Early Life

  • Subramania Pillai was born on 20 April 1908. His mother was Unnamulai Ammal, and his father, Muthiah Pillai, who was also a mridangam player.
  • He learned Mridangam under his father’s tutelage and also befriended ‘Thavil Panchami’ Malikkottai Panchapakesa Pillai. He was also influenced by Dakshinamurthy Pillai, a famous mridangam player of that time.
  • Pillai in turn showered great love and affection on young Palani, whom he looked upon as his own son.
  • Before the age of twenty, Palani had the privilege of accompanying stalwarts such as Kanchipuram Nayana Pillai, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhavathar and Mudikondan Venkatarama Iyer.
  • Others who liked his association in the next decade were Chittoor Subramania Pillai and significantly the Alathur Brothers whose guru (Alathur Subbiyar’s father), Alathur Venkatesh Iyer was a big fan of Palani.


As Palani’s playing in the early part of his career was strong and rhythm-oriented with elaborate calculations, many singers of the time did not feel comfortable with him, except for the few singers mentioned earlier.

There were several concerts in which he gave Palani the opportunity to play three out of four “thanis” or solos in one concert.

It is said that in a concert at the Shanmukhananda Sabha in Bombay, he asked Palani to play in each of the five nadis namely Chatushram, Tisram, Misram, Kandam and Sankaram.

Palani, perhaps not only because of pragmatism, but also because of his great respect for Chembai, who was his elder by many years, was quite sorry to give up his expertise and scholarship. Bhavgathar’s advice came in handy for Palani.

Renowned popular scholar G. N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer sought to accompany him in his concerts.

Of course senior scholars of that era like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer, Chembai and Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu (violin solo) had him as accompanist in many concerts.

His lifestyle was the envy of other musicians in the 1940s and 1950s. Always dressed in a white muslin shirt and a snow-white khadi dhoti – carefully and painstakingly groomed – he was the most handsome of musicians.

Unlike many other musicians, he lived in a huge bungalow and owned the latest models in cars. He himself used to drive the car and did not let anyone else drive his car.

Palani’s life partner was Rajammal. The couple had a daughter named Vimala. She married Srinivasan and had five daughters named Banu, Malathi, Meera, Geetha and Vasanthi. After Srinivasan’s death, he was brought up by Rajammal.

Other Information –

Date of Death – 27 May 1962

What is the birth place and date of birth of Palani Subramania Pillai?

Palani Subramania Pillai was born on 20 April 1908, in India.

What was the name of the father and mother of Palani Subramania Pillai?

Palani Subramania Pillai’s father’s name was Muthiah Pillai and mother’s name was Unnamulai Ammal.

What is the name of the teacher of Palani Subramania Pillai?

Palani Subramania Pillai’s teacher was his father Muttiah Pillai.

What was the name of Palani Subramania Pillai’s wife?

Palani Subramania Pillai’s wife’s name was Rajammal, Srinivasan.

What was the name of the daughter of Palani Subramania Pillai?

The names of the daughters of Palani Subramania Pillai were Vimala, Banu, Malathi, Meera, Geetha and Vasanthi.

When and where did Palani Subramania Pillai die?

Palani Subramania Pillai died on 27 May 1962.

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