Oct 29, 2018

Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival - Alleged Sexual Harassment

Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival 

A member of Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Indian music festival acknowledged this month that sexual misconduct allegations had been levied against invited performers in the past.

Veeravanallur V. Sundaram is a member of the the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Committee, a nonprofit group that organizes the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival, a international gathering featuring the Carnatic, or South Asian Indian, classical music community. The festival is held at a Cleveland State University facility in downtown Cleveland

Veeravanalluar Sundaram made three public Facebook posts on Oct. 17 – one detailing a petition the committee received about the allegations, one with the committee’s response to the  petition and one expressing his feelings after reading the petition.

The petition was signed by

Abhay Anil Kumar
Abhinav Seetharaman
Abhishek Balakrishnan
Aisvarya Chandrasekar
Akshay Anantapadmanabhan
Akshay Prabhakaran
Akshay Ravi
Ananth Rao
Ananya Ashok
Anirudh Prabhu
Anirudh Venkatesh
Anisha Gururaj
Aparna Thyagarajan
Arthi Nadhan
Arthi Suresh
Ashvin Ravi
Ashwath Narayanan
Ashwin Srikant
Athrey Nadhan
Bhargavi Ganesh
Brinda Manickavasakan
Gopal Ravindhran
Gowri Raghunandan
Guhan Venkataraman
Hariharan Ravi
Harsha Kanumalla
Hrishikesh Chary
Janani Lakshminarayan
Jannagan Jeyakumar
Joshua George
Keerthi Venkataramani
Kishoree Vijayaanand
Krishna Thiyagarajan
Krithika Balakrishnan
Krithika Rajkumar
Lalit Subramanian
Madhav Iyengar
Manasa Suresh
Mathangi Sridharan
Naveen Basavanhally
Neha Krishnamachary
Parameswaran(Amit)
Ranganathan
Prasanna Rajan
Rishikesh Tirumala
Rohith Jayaraman
Rupa Ramanathan
Sashwat Mahalingam
Sharada Krishnan
Shashank Subramaniam
Shilpa Sadagopan
Shreyas Ramaswami
Shrikanth Shivakumar
Shrikrishna Shivakumar
Shriya Srinivas
Shriya Srinivasan
Shruthi Subramaniam
Shruthi Venkataraman
Shyamala Ramakrishna
Siddharth Ashokkumar
Sindhu Majeti
Skanda Rao
Sravya Rallapalli
Srinidhi Ramakrishna
Srinidhi Sridharan
Sudarshan Mohan
Suraj Srinivasan
Sutikshna Veeravalli
Tarun Nagarajan
Thanmayee Krishnamurthy
Varun Ganesan
Vibha Sharma
Vidhya Raghavan
Vidya Kanthan
Vignesh Gopal
Vignesh Ishwar
Vignesh Thyagarajan
Vignesh Venkataraman
Vijay Narayan
Vikram Raghavan

Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival, Cleveland State University
Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana

In the petition sent to the committee, past and present Cleveland Thyagaraja participants wrote:

“The past few days have seen an alarming number of allegations of sexual harassment and assault levied against several senior musicians in the Carnatic community. A number of these musicians have an active role in the planning and execution of the [Cleveland Thyagaraja] festival. Several have numerous allegations against them.”

The petition goes on to ask the organizing Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana committee to publicly endorse a zero-tolerance policy on any/all forms of harassment or assault, as well as “promptly remove those with credible allegations against them from official and unofficial positions of power in the organization and/or ban them from [the festival].”

Sundaram posted the committee’s response on Facebook as well, thanking the petitioners for their concerns and outlining the steps the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival organization has taken in recent years to “strengthen these protections against harassment and abuse, and created formal processes to receive and handle these complaints.”

Sundaram wrote in a separate, public Facebook post that two years ago, four Indian musicians were disinvited from the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana festival after the organizing committee received “credible evidence of sexual molestation through first hand testimony.”

In an email to cleveland.com late Sunday, Sundaram emphasized that none of the incidents of sexual misconduct mentioned in his Facebook post took place in Cleveland.


Sreenath K. wrote on Facebook, "So far we might have been tolerating the behaviours of musicians for centuries, but it is now time to end these old ways. Trust has now been destroyed very badly and these revelations are extremely painful for all of us to read. In the middle of your pain, please do not ignore the pain and anguish of so many others.  Keeping this in mind, you must also honor the feelings of the youngsters. Many of them are known to me and every day I hear new shock story after story. I have no idea how all this has been going on for so long. These hopefuls are giving their lives to music and have put their futures on the line.  Whether it was due to inability to do anything else but to put up with it, or lack of awareness, whether the sufferers were at the mercy of the perpetrators, or mutual survival, or a lack of momentum or fear of taking the bullet or plain Stockholm Syndrome or maybe a combination of all of these, this has been happening."

A Change.org petition has also been created, asking the U.S. to ban seven musicians from entering the country. The petition strongly calls out the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival and Sundaram.

“For decades, Carnatic performers from India under the guise of teaching and performing have come to the U.S. and taken advantage of our kindness, generosity and naivete as NRIs [non-resident Indians]. Starting with the biggest problem (Cleveland Aradhana), this ‘non profit’ has profited off Indians in the US who are simply seeking to do the best for their children,” the petition states.

“Now, the MeToo movement has been met with resistance and denial from the chief of the organization, VV Sundaram. Music Academy has the strength and courage to ban these sick musicians and even our own ‘leaders’ in the Carnatic community are not able to show the same strength.”

The Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Festival has been held at Cleveland State University for more than 40 years, according to its website. It is the largest Asian Indian classical music festival held outside of India, with 8,000 attendees over a 12-day period.

Cleveland State spokesman William Dube told cleveland.com Sunday that he could not confirm the university’s exact relationship with the festival.  ☺☺☺

Since 2015, the Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana Committee has received nearly $140,000 in project support grants from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Source: Jane Morice, The Plain Dealer

Oct 20, 2018

Skilled Indian Thieves Hoodwink An Old Businessman



Watch the older thief's eyes light up the moment he sees the money.

Aug 25, 2018

Rahul Jajoo of Accenture Services Killed

Rahul Jajoo hailed from Akola, Maharashtra, India.  He was married to Pratima Kabra and had a 13 month old boy, Rihan.  He was an employee of Accenture Services Private Limited, Mumbai and lived in Strongsville, Ohio.

Rahul Jajoo of Accenture Services Private Limited, Mumbai
Rahul Jajoo of Accenture Services Private Limited, Mumbai
It is reported that on August 19, 2018 Rahul Jajoo passed away in his garage while changing oil in his car.  It is believed that the car jack got dislodged from its place.  A fundraiser has been organized for him at https://www.gofundme.com/support-rahul039s-family

Dec 5, 2017

Meet Vinay Parameswaran Of Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra

Vinay Parameswaran with Paul Schuyler Phillips of Brown University
Vinay Parameswaran
Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
Congratulations  to Vinay Parameswaran for being appointed as the music director of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra (COYO).  He begins his tenure as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra as well.

Mr. Vinay Parameswaran comes to Cleveland following three seasons as Associate Conductor of the Nashville Symphony from 2014-2017, where he led over 150 performances.  

The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra is a group of 100 musicians selected from 45 cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  The orchestra is based in Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio and is managed by Lauren Generette.  
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Parameswaran played as a student for 6 years in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Political Science from Brown University, where he graduated with honors. At Brown, he began his conducting studies with Paul Phillips. 


He received a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller as the Albert M. Greenfield Fellow. 

May 14, 2017

Twinsburg convenience store owned by Sikhs robbed

Twinsburg police are still looking for two men connected with a Jan. 10 armed robbery at Best Stop, a convenience store on Ravenna Road owned by Asian Indian/s.

According to police, around 8:35 p.m. 2 black men reportedly entered Best Stop and stole an undisclosed amount of money and a cell phone. One of the suspects had a black handgun, according to Twinsburg police report. A clerk at Best Stop called police to report the robbery, but the suspects fled before police arrived.