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Shruthi Veena Vishwanath’s switch for the best

In this exclusive article, we are featuring someone from the first batch of BITS Hyderabad Campus. She graduated in the 2012 batch and has made it big in the music industry. Who is she? Shruthi Veena Vishwanath. She is, in our lingo, a dualite i.e. having done two degrees: M.Sc. in Economics alongside a Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering.

She was introduced to singing at a young age, and sang through her childhood, learning through her years at BITS too. But a few years later, she “got wounded by the word” (Kabir says “shabad ki chot”) when she heard the exponent of Nirguni folk in Malwa, Prahlad Singh Tipaniya singing at a festival in Mumbai. She changed from classical singing to Kabir poetry because of Prahladji. She believes that Kabir's poetry connects us all to Mother Earth, nature, and our deepest selves. She has performed at world-famous festivals and venues like Jaipur Literature Festival, and has given guest lectures on Kabir and Indian music at UC Berkeley and IIT Bombay. She is a dualite in terms of her fields of study - she studied economics and chemical engineering at BITS-Hyderabad. She was the first Cultural Secretary at the BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus and led many firsts at BITS- founder and secretary of the classical music club, first protest in college, and first woman candidate for Presiden.

Challenging point in her career

The switch from the field of the classical music industry to Kabir’s poetry was the hardest even though she believed it was for the best. She had learned classical music for years but suddenly did not connect to that world anymore. It was hard, but she decided she had to do it because she felt right in her heart. She has no regrets about that decision.

When COVID hit, everyone was affected in some way, but some of the hardest hit were rural artists and musicians. When the lockdown started in 2020, she stayed in a small village in West Bengal. Since she could not travel and sing much she decided to do what she could, and started a music-teaching circle called Music in the Machan. Through the sessions, she raised over 2 lakhs for musicians and villages in the area. The music circle still continues, as do her performances and teaching sessions.

Shruthi believes if you are truly so passionate about it try to become the best at it. Try and have that smolder, that flame that pushes you to learn something new in your career every day. People will criticize you, but stand true to your convictions.

The most treasured and cherished memories of her campus life

A black t-shirt protest in the first week in college! And being the first woman candidate for Student President, which she lost, but she has no regrets about contesting. She liked the no-attendance policy, which allowed her to explore her interests and learn many new things here. Shruthi wished that swimming pool was functional then- it was all just rocks and no water till 2012!