Friday, October 29, 2021

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020: Dr. Rama Rao, OAM

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020: Dr. Rama Rao, OAM

Dr. Rama Rao arrived in Australia in February 1983, and sang at a family event two days later: she has not stopped singing since.

Besides being a trained classical musician, she also had a PhD in polymer chemistry from the University of Madras. She remembers to this day her visit to the Australian High Commission in Delhi in 1982, when the consular official, granting her and her husband a permanent resident visa to Australia, exclaimed, “Australia welcomes a musical scientist!”

Rama Rao’s scientific, industrial, philanthropic and musical career developed in tandem in Australia.

- Advertisement -

She enrolled for a post doctorate program at Monash University, and shortly thereafter established the Krishna Ravali School of Carnatic Music in 1984. She began working for Dulux Paints (where she worked for 25 years), started a family, and began performing, being one of the first to provide live music for Bharatanatyam performances in Australia.

“My love for both music and science has made it possible for me to give back to the community in many ways,” Rama told Indian Link.

Not only has her Krishna Ravali music school grown exponentially – it now boasts 120 students – Rama has also been president of the Festival of Indian Music and Dance Victoria FIMDV for 3 years between 2014 and 2017.

“In my opinion, Melbourne has become increasingly the centre of Indian classical music and dance in Australia,” she mused, adding, “I have enjoyed this incredibly joyful journey with my fellow artistes and students.” 

As a scientist, Rama is the Chairperson of the Victorian division of Surface Coatings Association of Australia; is involved in CSIRO’s STEM Program which promotes science in schools, and volunteers with the Government’s ‘Scientists in Schools’ program.

Being a Saibaba devotee, she lives by the motto ‘the hands that serve are better than lips that pray’ and has been involved in various philanthropic endeavours, such as organising music concerts to raise funds for humanitarian causes such as AMAZE, an organisation shaping the future of autism. “While working with AMAZE, I realised how music can help to improve immensely the lives of those in the autism spectrum,” she revealed.  

Rama also manages to put time aside for monthly bhajan sessions and community service with the Monash Lion’s Club.

While reading of Rama Rao’s contributions, one can’t help but think that she has had such a full life: indeed, one wonders how 24 hours in a day have sufficed for all the things she has managed to do.

“The OAM honour has come as a total surprise for me, and I feel both humbled and honoured by it,” she revealed. “I would like to dedicate it to the people who have been a part of this wonderful musical journey with me – my parents, especially my mum mother who introduced me to music (and after whom I have named my  music school); my gurus Dwaram Doraiswamy of Nellore, and the late Dr S Swaminathan of Chennai; my siblings, my husband and my children who have been supportive of me always; my fellow artistes, and my students and their families.”

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020: Dr. Rama Rao, OAM

READ ALSO: Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020: Prof. Ranjeny Thomas, AM

- Advertisement -
Chitra Sudarshan
Chitra Sudarshan is an academic and a public servant.

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Julie Owens to quit politics

  Parramatta MP Julie Owens, much loved in the Indian community all across Sydney, announced today that she will not be recontesting the next election. She...
Source: Youtube

WATCH: Indian Link’s ‘Celebration Song’

  As part of Indian Link's #MissionJab initiative, our aim was to raise awareness about getting vaccinated in Australia's Indian community. Our latest public service...

Tamil literary association Kamban Kazhagam marks 15th anniversary

  The Sydney-based organisation Kamban Kazhagam, dedicated to the study and proliferation of the Tamil language in this country, recently marked the 15th anniversary of...
Active Super. Source: Supplied

Active Super partners with MultiConnexions to tap into Australian diversity

  Active Super is partnering with MultiConnexions Group, a multicultural marketing and advertising agency, to broaden its appeal and increase engagement with Australians from different...
Paneer Jalebi. Source: Canva

Jalebi three ways

  Woh tyohaar hi kya, jismey jalebi na ho?  What’s the fun in festivities without jalebis? And a Diwali without jalebis, now that’s unheard of. Of course,...