The funeral rites of Ms Satsorupuvathy Nathan, an ace broadcaster in Tamil, were carried out last week. One of the few bilingual broadcasters, she passed away at 80. Acclaimed as the best newsreader after Chenthilmani Mylvaganam, the first woman news reader in the 1950s and 60s, Ms Nathan was popularly known for her work at Radio Ceylon spanning nearly six decades both in the capacity of a permanent staff member and as a freelancer. She did continuity announcing, acted in radio plays, produced many feature programmes, wrote scripts, conducted several radio seminars, interviews, edited Tamil news bulletins and read the news with clarity and with correct pronunciation.
Educated in the English medium in Chennai for her BA degree, from the prestigious Madras University she excelled as a public speaker and debater with her vast knowledge in Tamil language and literature. But she was very fluent in English too and held the position of an organizer in the English Service of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.
Soon after returning from Chennai, she taught science at the Buddhist Ladies College for a short period. She could converse in Sinhala and was very popular everywhere she went. She received several awards and was amply felicitated when alive.
When the UNGA asked me to appoint two outstanding broadcasters, I mentioned the names of late Jimmy Bharucha and Satsorupavathy Nathan. When they received the awards I was very happy for having made the choice. Satsorupavathy Nathan remained single throughout her life. She was a path setter in broadcasting.
She appeared on Rupavahini too and in one of her TV interview programmes I had the honour of being interviewed by this distinguished personality. She also anchored educational programmes catering for university students on air.
At the Colombo Thamil Sangam he was a well-known figure, as patron and participant. When the Asian Brodcasting Training Institute of Kuala Lampur held an in-country seminar in Colombo for News Writing and Broadcasting, I was fortunate enough to join her as a participant. People like distinguished editor and columnist Pran Chopra and the veteran newsreader Melville de Mello of All India Radio came down from New Delhi to conduct the training and seminar.
Such memories linger in my mind as I pay a tribute to a talented friend who contributed immensely to broadcasting in the country. Om Shanthi.