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Shining light in the diaspora

ISP Delhi Bureau

She is settled in California but is hailed as someone who manifests Indianness in each of her works. She is a music teacher to her beloved children and a Yoga mentor to the elders. Meet Heera Koranne Kulkarni, an MSW from Delhi University, who is holding the Indian flag high in US soil with her altruistic endeavours and Yoga skills. 

Born in a Freedom Fighter’s family, young Heera had an early interest in music and performing art and her mother was her first teacher who taught her classical music. Playing Sitar was her childhood hobby. Learnings of Kabir, Rahim, Panchatantra stories, Bhagavad Gita were part of her early friends and it moulded her to become an all pervasive person. Her most important encouragement came when she was awarded by Vice-President Dr. Zakir Hussain at Nehru Bal Mela. She shifted to the USA in 1982.  

Once in foreign soil, Heera did not give up on her social welfare instincts. She reached out to communities in need and started working for destitute women voluntarily. Her first job was with a counselling centre which helped children in stress and need. Her interaction with young minds won many hearts and she became a sought after counsellor. Her fillip in social endeavours in the US came with her shifting to California, where she was invited by her son’s school for a musical workshop. A Sangeet Visharad degree holder from India, Heera gave her best with the children by combining music and therapy and touching the lives of many. She did not stop learning. She completed her second masters in the year 2000 and also came down to Shivanand Yoga Kendra in Kerala for her expert learning in teaching good health through Yoga. 

Heera today is the harbinger of the rich Indian culture on American soil. On the occasion of India Day in 2012, she became a viral hit by her trained kids performing Gujarati, Punjabi, Marathi and Telugu folk songs simultaneously. In the year 2013, she arranged a hit show called Panorama India winning countrywide attention for Indian culture. 

It was now time for Heera and her team to institutionalize their work and hence was formed the Raag Academy. The centre is engaged now in rendering Indian art studies to thousands of people. The place has students of all backgrounds and ages. The profile ranges from 4 year old enthusiasts to 80 year old people seeking training in Indian music forms. She has also penned down a book on Indian classical music in 2017 to preserve her knowledge and experience for the coming generations. To crystallise and expand her altruistic work, Heera has also founded the VI-SH Koranne Foundation which has now become a source for her to return back to India her token of gratitude to Indian communities in need. Koranne Foundation’s work during the difficult time of the pandemic won many accolades.