THE PRESENT GENERATION OF SASTRIARS:
Vedanayagam Sastriar introduced a new genre of music in the Tamil Christian scene and his successors for seven generations have kept the tradition alive. His descendants become Sastriars and dedicate their lives to God after a divine calling. They perform at various weddings where they are invited to bless the bridal couple in the old traditional way, conduct evangelistic meetings with wonderful music, teaching and literary research. Presently, there are four Sastriars in the family. Each one of them uniquely gifted in their calling and engaged in the Mission of God. Sangai Noah Sastriar is based in Evangelical Hall, Thanjavur, Bhagavathar Vednayagam Sastriar and Clement Sastriar based in Chennai and Sastriar Mrs. Sarah Martin based in Porayor, near Tranquebar. However, many many desendents of Sastriar family are all over the world today.
Noah Sastriar is a sixth generation Sastriar, born to Ven. Simon Sastriar and Jemima Leelavathy on the 27th of August, 1978. He lives along with his family comprising of his mother, elder brother and sister in the ancestral house of Vedanayagam Sastriar in Tanjore. He is now pursuing his Ph.D in Tamil University, Thanjavur, immersed in the research of the literary works of Sangai venerable Vedanayagam Sastriar – his great great grand father. Noah Sastriar’s ministry is unique in itself in addition to the traditional way of continuing legacy. He is one of the few growing scholars the Tamil community presently has in the area of Christian Tamilology. His challenges are to preserve, promote and proclaim the Gospel and to build bridge between the Tamil culture, language and to keep reminding global Tamil Christian community about the indigenous richness of their Faith in the midst of ever growing chaotic western influence among Tamil Christians.
THE SASTRIAR TRUST:
The Sastriar Trust was registered on the 17 th of August, 2006, with a view to pay tribute to the great Poet – Lyricist Vedanayagam Sastriar. The Trust lists as its objectives, the printing of books and poems to promote the works of Vedanayagam Sastriar, the establishment of Educational institutions , the promotion of hostels, the granting of scholarships to meritorious students, the building of libraries and training centers for women.
The Trust also aims to preserve the things used by Vedanayagam Sastriar, his place of birth, to promote his songs and to keep the old Tamil Christian tradition from dying. It aims to keep intact the cultural heritage of the Tamil Christian people and to leave a lasting legacy for the generations to come.
This is especially needed at his point in time when the worship, service, songs and sermons in many churches in South India have started to cater to the modernistic views of its congregation and is losing touch with tradition and reverence. The present day Tamil language is irreverential and so are the lyrics of the songs being sung now in many churches. The promotion of the old lyrics of Vednayagam Sastriar will inform the young generation of the need to keep in touch with ones culture and the need to glorify God with songs containing lyrics worthy of our Almighty God. The Trust will revive the ancient melodies through cassettes and CDs and talks on the subject.
As we celebrate the 230th birth anniversary of Kavirayar this year, let us join in this sincere effort to keep the flag of our rich culture and tradition flying high and make immortal the great personality Vedanayagam Sastriar by singing his evergreen melodies to praise and glorify God.