Tiruchirapalli, Oct 21: Founder of Kalai Kaviri, a fine arts institution here, Rev Fr S M George died at the Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore, after a brief illness on Monday, Oct 20. He was 68.
Fr George founded the Kalai Kaviri College of Fine Arts as the first and only institution of its kind in south India for Bharathanatyam and Carnatic music, affiliated to the Bharathidasan University, a release from the institution said.
Facilitating studies to the poor and backward class students by offering scholarships, Fr George elevated the learning of Bharathanatyam to the status of Doctoral Research for the first time in Tamil Nadu.
After ordaining as priest in Tiruchirapalli in 1967, Fr George completed his higher education in Phillippines between 1973 and 1976.
As a service to fine arts, Fr George formed the Dance Troupe in 1978, establishing fine arts more for enlightenment than for entertainment. He was also founder and director of the world's first off-campus degree programme in Bharathanatyam since 2004.
Prominent among the titles conferred on Fr George were 'Kalaimamunivar' by the people of Tiruchirapalli at the World Tirukkural Conference in 2003 and 'Monsignor' status, conferred by Pope John Paul II for his meritorious service to the World Church through his cultural mission in India.
Fr George's body would be kept at the Bishop's House till noon and thereafter at the Kalai Kaviri College, followed by a mass. The cremation would take place on Wednesday, Oct 22.