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Indian is Malaysia's first woman mridhangam player

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 3, 2010:

An ethnic Indian teenager in Malaysia has qualified as a mridhangam player, becoming the first woman to specialise in playing the traditional South Indian drum.

Arundhati Sekaran, 17, graduated from the local Indian music academy Sangeetha Swara Laya, affiliated to the Alagappa University in Tamil Nadu, India. The academy's first convocation took place in Shah Alam near here Saturday.

She is a fifth form school student from Sungai Petani, Kedah state, Tamil Nesan newspaper reported.

Academy founder and principal Hariharan Subramaniam said Arundhati's success made Malaysia and the ethnic Indian community proud.

Multi-ethnic Malaysia is home to 1.7 million ethnic Indians, a bulk of whom are Tamils who settled here during the British era.