Discordant note

Discordant note

Famous, upcoming and promising relatively young (36 years old) male South Indian Carnatic Classical Music vocalist Shri. T.M. Krishna had penned an Op. Ed in THE HINDU on the suitability (or, otherwise) of Shri. Narendra Modi and Shri. Rahul Gandhi for the role of the Prime Minister of India. You can find the article here.

This was an email response I had sent him:

Dear Shri. Krishna,

Greetings!
I read your article in THE HINDU published in the last couple of days, with great interest. I wanted to offer you a different perspective.
At the outset, let me congratulate you for revealing another dimension to an already multi-faceted personality. You think of issues that go beyond music. No doubt, it is evident in some of the social causes that you already support. You had the courage to articulate it.
Further, you are a relatively young musician. I will be completing 50 years in October. As a musician, your talent is immense and your future is bright.
You have constantly been in search of innovation and creativity in musical expressions. Further, you have striven to popularise Carnatic music by taking music back into the temples, by visiting places like Jaffna, by writing books on music and musicians, etc.
Clearly, here is a well rounded human being, let alone a musician of prodigious talent.
Therefore, we have all come to expect nothing but the highest standards of rigour and honesty from you. Perhaps, the article that you wrote in and for THE HINDU falls well short of these benchmarks.
While you had made an attempt to appear to offer a balanced critique of both Shri. NM and Shri RG, you had reserved your venom and belligerence for the former while you generously label Shri. RG as the philosopher.
Most of us write arm-chair Op.-Eds. I should know. I have been writing them since 1996. But, that is a lot easier than ascertaining facts on the ground. You have  just added one more proof to this well-known empirical fact.
Here are some facts for you to consider:
(1) Gujarat has had a riot-free ten + years. This is one of the longest, if not the longest, spell of communal peace in the State. It has not happened before, under Congress Governments. You take little note of that in your Op.-Ed.
(2) Many learned judges and investigators  – the SIT in particular, have not come across solid evidence that Shri. NM had a hand in the riots.
(3) However, if you have to accuse him of incompetence in that  case, his track record of 11 years of communal peace since then, lends very poor support to such a charge.
(4) More importantly, the terrorist attack on Akshardam temple was a grave provocation to communal peace in Gujarat. Not a single incident happened or was allowed to happen in the aftermath of that attack. That was the highest state of preparedness which blunts the criticism of incompetence
(5) In a democracy, voters decide on competence. Not Op. – Ed. writers. They have made their judgement clear on more than one occasion and, as intelligent human beings, it behoves us to take that into consideration. Arm-chair experts have this habit of talking down to real people and you have, unintentionally, done that.
Substantial number of Muslims have voted for him. Many Muslims stand behind Shri. NM and a leading female activist and Muslim quit the Congress Party and joined BJP. Pl. read the reports I refer to in point (10) below. Are they all blind?
(6) Figures of number of Muslim casualties and stories of disembowelment have been shown to be lies by courts. You should check them up.
(7) Many Congress workers and leaders participated in the riots and in the killing of Muslims. Have you unleashed your wrath on them? Why not?
(8) Communal riots were not new to Gujarat. It is not a NM production. Pl. check out this post for a better understanding of history:
(9) If you wanted to hold Shri. NM responsible for the death of Muslims, then perhaps you should hold him responsible for the death of Hindus too. Hundreds of Hindus too died in the riots. Why do you give them short shrift?
(10) Unlike many of us who play plaintiffs, prosecutors and jury comfortably in the case of Shri. NM, some one like Madhu Kishwar, who has no axe to grind, had camped in Gujarat and written up a five-part report. If you are interested, I can send that to you. You may not agree with her. IF so, then you must do what she does. Go and see for yourself, ask for yourself and rebut her.
(11) In the last nine years, India’s economic growth has been brought down to the levels that prevailed for the most part, up to the 1980s. Cost of living is spiralling. There are power cuts. We are now called a rape nation and Delhi is the capital of this nation. Tourism declines. Jobs are lost. Incomes vanish. Mines are shut. Miners lose jobs. People go back below poverty line. Public money has been looted by the thousands of crores. These human costs are equally colossal, if not more.  How have you come to the conclusion that these human costs are far lighter than the ones for which you unleash a scathing criticism of Modi.
All of these have happened under the Congress government. Shri. RG had nothing to say on any of these. A philosopher offers guidance and does not ramble.
Social conscience is one thing. Political and governance intelligence are another thing. You need to know clearly where your competence lies and what your calling is.
Best wishes to you as a musician.
Sincerely,
V. Anantha Nageswaran (from Singapore)

Only some additional points I had made in our private correspondence are presented here. His responses are removed.

(1) The State of Gujarat brought riots under control in three days. That is a faster response than was the case in other States. Modi’s government was barely four months old, at that time.
(2) As for UPA being people’s choice too, let us not operate in a fact-free world. The UPA was a post-poll alliance. It did not have a majority. It was cobbled up after the election results and that too with the so-called outside support of Marxists. People did not vote for Marxists in 2009 in the Parliamentary elections and later in the State of West Bengal.
(3) In 2009 too, it was an alliance of convenience and that is what shows up in the ease with which allies are picked and dropped and allies pick and drop the Congress. UPA is a political contrivance and not a democratic representation.
(4) The point about examining other governments’ performance is that democracy is about choosing between the available options. Second, if you compared the record of other governments in their response to such situations, the pre-conceived judgement over Modi’s handling of the riots can be placed in a better perspective.
(5) In any case, it is HE who has determined or will determine the fate of this nation (as HE does, for all of us).

8 thoughts on “Discordant note

  1. I HAVE BEEN VISITING KUTCH DISTRICT GUJARAT FOR PAST 15 YEARS YEARLY THREE TIMES IN CONNECTION WITH MY BUSINESS AND HAVE TRAVELED TO ALL PLACES IN THAT DISTRICT. I HAVE SEEN THE TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN AREAS OF POWER, AGRICULTURE,WATER ,ROADS, EDUCATION , MEDICAL ECT IN THIS REGION. THIS BROUGHT EVEN MY MUSLIM FRIENDS TO SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR MODI. I AM SORRY TO NOTE THAT T M KRISHNA RELAYED TOO MUCH ON THE FALSE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY RAM, OF FILTER COFFEE, FILTERED NEWS DAILY ISSUE PUBLISHED FROM CHENNAI AND HIS FRIENDS LIKE BHARTHA NATIYAM EXPONENT MALLIKA SARABHAI ( WHO WROTE AN ARTICLE TODAY IN THE HINDU AFTER T M KRISHNA WHICH SHOWS THAT ANTI HINDU MISSIONARIES PERSON IS USING MUSICIAN AND DANCERS TO ABUSE MODI. THIS SHOWS THAT THEY WANT CORRUPT CONGRESS AND WHITE LADY FROM EUROPE TO RULE OUR COUNTRY PERMENANTLY SUPPORTED BY VATICAN MISSIONARIES. T M KRISHNAS CONNECTION TO MUSIC ACADEMY EARLIER CONTROLLED BY RAM IS WELL KNOWN AND HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH BOMBAY JAYASHREE ( WHO RENDERED SONGS IN KARNATIC TUNE FOR ”JESUS” AND GOT THE C D RELEASED BY PREVIOUS ARCHBISHOP OF CHENNAI. THESE SORT OF PSEUDO SECULARISTS FROM OUR CULTURE AND TRADITION AFTER FEW VISITS ABROAD AND MADE MONEY OUT OF OUR DEEP ROOTED AGE OLD CULTURED DIVINE MUSIC AND DANCES WOULD NOT MIND SELLING OUR DIVINE MUSIC FOR FEW LACS RUPEES AND ALSO SUPPORT THOSE MISSIONARIES PEOPLE AT THE COST OF NATIONAL INTEREST.. PLEASE VISIT Christianizing Bharatanatyam christianizingbharatanatyam.blogspot.com/ WHICH GIVES MORE DETAILS ABOUT THEM.

  2. Very nice to see this post here. I too have been quite disappointed after Krishna’s article. I have always admired TMK’s music – not just for his creativity but for his honesty, in a certain sense that will take an unwarranted digression on my part to explain. He also genuinely cares for the art form, unlike certain others who are happy just tweeting about cricket in spare time. His attempt to recreate the music of the Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini and various such projects speaks volumes about his devotion to music. For these reasons, I am especially disappointed.

    He has missed a very key point – namely, he just assumes that a chief minister can magically control riots. No one has such a magic wand, and it is well known that our police force is underpaid, understaffed and entrenched in corruption. So how can one possibly objectively measure the quality of a chief minister’s control of riots? One possible metric is to compare with the performance of other chief ministers during big riots. When one compares with the 1969 Gujarat riots, 1984 Delhi riots, 1989 Bhagalpur riots, 1993 Mumbai riots, it looks like Modi succeeded more than the rest in controlling them (note : this is different from saying that 1984 justifies 2002, hardly anyone claims that). People of a “liberal” persuasion often seem to make this mistake – that governance happens by magic if the government is peopled with idealogues for the “correct” point of view. I don’t know how one can impress upon Mr. Krishna that one has to be more realistic in evaluation. “Realpolitik” considerations also explain why Mr. Modi has not answered the “troublesome” question – there is no doubt that his answer will be misused against him.

    Unfortunately, I get the feeling that carnatic music is already quite pseudo-secularized. Here is some more purely circumstantial partial evidence in support of this conjecture :

    1. The leftist PUCL of Binayak Sen fame seems to have conducted a program on “Music and art for communal harmony” :

    http://www.pucl.org/Topics/PUCL/2004/harmony.htm

    According to this article, “Ms. Sudha Ranganathan, Ms. Ranjani Gayathri, Sri Sirgashi Siva Chidambaram, T.M. Krishna Ganesh kumaresh, rendered south Indian classical but only after declaring their commitment to secular values.” (notice the use of the language “but only after”, though of course it was not the artistes who wrote this). My problem here in this present context is not with secular values, but often that is used as a code word of sorts for a certain political persuasion.

    2. Once in a while Sanjay Subramanian does drop in a “secular” (in the sense just referred to) tweet too, albeit quite mild (his friend Sriram has maintained his blog as rather apolitical and I love reading it).

    3. Sikkil Gurucharan wrote a – not quite pseudo-secular but pseudo-secular-smelling – article in rediff where he talks of India’s “the other dark side with subjects we condemn when people make movies of.” Namely, it is a “pseudo-secularish” trait to just blame Indians for uncouthness and insensitivity without having any context of the historical reasons that gave rise to this. This to me is insensitive just as blaming people from backward castes without caring for the historical reasons.

    That aside, I have seen similar tweets/write ups from lesser known musicians,

    Why might carnatic musicians get “secularized”? Here are some wild guesses, which need not be true at all :

    1. May be “The Hindu” is one of the main culprits. More generally, they might be friends with many journalists, and the general left-leaning tendencies of journalists might have made an impact.

    2. May be some of these folks come from a humanities background wherein “analysis” is dominated by rhetoric rather than realpolitik.

    3. May be they have met too many orthodox brahmins, and feel guilty about belonging to tradition having weak spots they are all too familiar with. May be they feel themselves as beneficiaries of caste system, and hence try to “compensate” in whichever ways possible.

    4. This might sound cynical; may be the Congress government has given them a lot of recognition and they feel loyal to them; after all many celebrated carnatic musicians once competed with each other to create a song celebrating the coronation of King George.

    5. May be pursuing art makes people too gentle to face harsh truths in politics 😛

    6. May be those among artistes who are leftist, such as Mallika Sarabhai, exert influence on others.

    Sorry for the long comment; this is an issue which bothered me a lot, and yours seems to be the only blog which I could find by google that discussed this article of Sri T M Krishna.

  3. ref comment made by froginthewell, sounds feeble from the well and not directly point out the finger for the reasons as to why the karnatic musicians have been tainted with ‘sickularism” in their minds. It is due to the major role by the chennai published anti hindu news paper known for its long tradition of injecting the pseudo secularism poison to the younger generation particularly in the minds of artistes of music and dance, the backbone of our traditional culture and heritage.missionaries succeeded in establishing news papers, medias, t v channels to slowly kill our traditional values. All magazines of local times e g mylapore times or annanagar times ect with the names of respective areas were started by missionaries persons as editors and publishers to circulate free of cost giving many news about the arts like music and dances but same time they spill slowly the beans of church news, missionaries charities ect ( at the cost of conversion – soul harvesting ) ect to make hindus mentality is changed towards to western culture and make the readers as secularists . In chennai there are many ashrams ( there are many missionaries now run as ashrams) dance schools – one such kaveri dance and music school in tiruchi is run by a missionaries to make bharatanatiyam totally mixed and blended with the mudras, and lyrics of christ in dance form. This school gets T N government aid also. so unless artistes open their eyes and keep vigil, they will fall prey to the vultures engaged in dirty covert operations and tricks who work for missionaries to make our country go back to the pre-independence days again as slave nation to white skins.
    let wisdom prevail on T M krishna before he is brainwashed by the secret operatives of oppusdei – the intelligence wing of vatigan, italy. reg bombay jayshree has good connections with kanimozhi who jointly produced some thematic dance event in music academy last year. her connection with chennai sangamam and father REV gasperraj is well known in blogs.All the readers of this blog are requested to discuss openly so that everyone must know the facts.

  4. Here are the reasons, in my opinion, why the Hindus Arts are being secularized

    a) Concerts now a days happen in ‘secular’ halls not Hindu temples. It has become a profession, a money making machine.

    b) In the name of equality, Hindus are allowing every one, including non-Hindus, to learn our divine arts. Arts that have ties to Hindu Gods and Hindu temples. So when non-Hindus learn it, they try to impose their own Gods rather than pay homage to the Hindu Gods AKA “inculturation”. http://christianizingbharatanatyam.blogspot.com/

    christianbrahmins.org is one such inculturation attempt.

    c) If ordinary Hindus are going to be serious about preserving their cultural domain, they have to stop spending their money on these ungrateful artists.

  5. The points you had raised are important but, this blog is not intended to be the forum for those issues. Rajiv Malhotra is doing a yeoman job, almost single-handedly on these issues. Swami Dhayananda Saraswati had done a lot of work to make other religious leaders not just tolerate Hinduism but respect Hinduism. Dharma Acharya Sabha is doing good work.

    As for what artists do, I would be careful painting them all with the same brush. Second, what they do is their personal matter. I doubt if they are role models for youngsters. As far as BJ is concerned, based on what I had observed, her identification of the Hindu culture, ethos, divinity with her music is beyond doubt and dispute.

    In any case, Chennai Sangamam related happenings are more than three years old.

  6. @pp_chn : As Sri Anantha Nageswaran has pointed out, Sri TMK has been working to take concerts back into temples. He probably does not hate Hinduism. In fact he is a very nice individual. He just has fallen into the “secular” trap, that is all.

    Pseudo-secularism is too seductive a philosophy, as you will learn to appreciate if you closely interact with pseudo-seculars, a few of whom are actually very well-intentioned though misguided. Pseudo-secularism very effectively plays with peoples’ sense of guilt, and it threatens to condemn those who do not conform to be branded with some sort of extreme depravity. Liberals have very successfully established a modern day variant of smaarta-vicaaram as a consequence of which the “crime” of giving benefit of doubt to Modi is enough to land you, in liberal eyes, in the same bucket as fans of Babu Bajrangi. So too may sensitive people are sucked into it out of morbid fear that harboring any other opinion might put them in the same group as spiteful bigots.

    On a side note, there are many spheres where we face threats from Christianity (Northeast separatism, Dalit conversion, possible Maoist-missionary nexus) but carnatic music is emphatically not one of them. As Sri Koenraad Elst has identified, one serious historical problem with Hindus has been systemic inability to identify the correct friends and foes.

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