Sunday, July 31, 2016

T.M.Krishna's Magsaysay Award: A Rebuttal to Jeyamohan and the Hindutva Brigade

T.M. Krishna, for the sin of speaking a simple truth about the crusty exclusiveness of a major art form and for accepting a prize that recognized his effort in that regard, is being pilloried by Jeyamohan and the howling brigade, as writer P.A.Krishnan colorfully calls the Hindutva group, has accused Krishna of being an anti-national. While sporadic defenses of Krishna have sprouted I feel a coherent rebuttal needs to be voiced against the calumny that's being unleashed unremittingly.

In 2013 after reading Stravinsky's lectures on poetics in Harvard I had written, as usual, a stinging rebuke of Krishna, Sanjay Subrahmanyan and others of the Carnatic establishment who do not make forays into intellectual discussions. I had also lamented the tunnel vision of Carnatic musicians who unlike their Western counterparts like a Leonard Bernstein or Gustave Dudamel are not erudite and rarely show signs of any worthwhile reading. I had particularly pointed out how Krishna glides over the persisting caste divide in the Carnatic music world. Even then I had explicitly said I'm ill qualified, in fact absolutely unqualified, to question their genius in the art they practice. That was a red line I'd not breach.

In the recent past Krishna is known more for what he speaks and writes than what he sings. I'm happy to say that Krishna has pledged his justifiably achieved fame in furthering the cause of egalitarianism and for saying that the emperor has no clothes. I've learned from a dear friend that Krishna also makes serious effort in knowing about issues and reads quite a bit these days. Krishna recently attended the Tamil Sangam fete in USA and gave a succinct speech and I felt that I owed a blog on him turning a new leaf. The occasion has been hastened by the ugly mudslinging that followed the Magsaysay award.

Much is being made of Krishna's columns in 'The Hindu', a newspaper that is notoriously leftist and therefore, according to the howling brigade and Jeyamohan, an anti-national rag sheet. If anyone had bothered to read interviews by Leonard Bernstein they'd know that the supposed leftism of Krishna actually pales in comparison. The arts and artists have habitually had a leftward tilt across cultures and the globe. The only column of Krishna that was overtly political about the left parties was the near total rout of them in the elections. Krishna, much like Jeyamohan himself, only regrets that the total absence of leftist parties in the political space is not a healthy augury and he asks them to introspect.

T.M. Krishna (Picture Courtesy TMK's website)
I, unlike the howling brigade, read several of Krishna's columns before I wrote this blog and to my surprise they were not only well written but were harmless pieces that could be called just jottings of a curious mind that is ill at ease with institutional lack of egalitarianism. Historically such attitudes have more often than not resulted from intellectual stirrings provided by 'progressive politics' and Krishna, like Jeyamohan himself, is no exception.

I've often wondered how did Gandhi's India start using Republic Day parades to showcase the country's military might unabashedly and Krishna too wonders so. A tweet complained that "(T.M.Krishna) would be my favorite singer if he wasn't a commie". In his column titled 'who am I?' Krishna takes head on this basic instinct of trying to categorize and label people, 'boxing', and asks, rather delightfully, "can a theist not also be a commie? Can the liberal not be conservative on gender issues". In a letter to Muslims he painfully pleads, "Raise your voice" against terrorism. It's a column that echoes the sentiments of many across the globe and should have warmed the cockles of the hearts of Jeyamohan and his ilk. I've not found anything objectionable in Krishna's columns. Sure once could pick an argument over some conclusions or contentions but to characterize his columns in a much hated newspaper as having anti-national bent shows the dangerous times Indians live in. The pestilence of militant jingoism that is seeking to silence critical voices is nothing short of fascism. And for a change Krishna is not pointing fingers he cheerfully accepts that he too, as part of the privileged community, bears responsibility and it is out of such self-awareness that he seeks to do whatever he can to address the iniquities in his field.

Jeyamohan (Left). I chose this picture from a google search simply because it seemed to be apt. No disrespect intended (from onlykollywood.com)


In a column he criticizes the simplistic equating of Indian culture with Hindu culture in academic and cultural institutions in recent times. Anyone who is familiar with Padma Seshadri and SASTRA will not disagree. Jataayu, an author with a colorful pseudonym, wrote a book recently and Jeyamohan in his review could not help noting that the author completely ignores the contributions of non-Hindus to Indian traditions. Today, ironically, Jataayu and Jeyamohan have joined hands to pour scorn and vitriol on Krishna for writing such columns, which, in their opinion, helped him get an award.

In the wake of the Magsaysay award many of Krishna's critics have run around like headless chicken and cited a few non-Brahmin names as evidence of Carnatic music establishment being egalitarian. A very important interview of Krishna, given to a local Tamil TV (Thanthi TV), actually speaks to every criticism and evidence that is now thrown at him. Here are key excerpts.

On Sheik Chinna Maulana and Chowdiah being accepted and honored in the Carnatic fraternity Krishna disdainfully and justifiably dismisses it as 'exceptions' and asks, with anger tinged voice, "do we even speak of their struggles to get noticed and accepted?" About Mandolin Srinivas being accepted Krishna perceptively points out how Srinivas was lucky in choosing a western instrument other than, say, violin. Referring to a white man awarded a coveted prize Krishna is correct in pointing out that Carnatic musicians like to be aligned with a White man and his art. A sort of trading up. This is completely undeniable. Check out the so called fusion music where Indian musicians collaborate mostly only with Western Classical musicians and almost never with what is called folk music.

Jeyamohan ridiculed Krishna for saying that he felt flummoxed by folk art. The vast majority of Tamils know only crass film music as music and a tiny sliver indulge in Carnatic music but beyond that the rich and hoary traditions of folk music is little understood or appreciated. Krishna, with humility, accepted that he was a stranger to the fact that folk music has its own grammar. When I saw Fijian folk dances in Hawaii I had a similar epiphany. A reader wrote to Jeyamohan that he still could not understand and appreciate Bach or Beethoven. Jeyamohan called the letter 'important'. So, a reader who cannot understand Bach is acceptable but Krishna who professes ignorance is to be ridiculed. The reader, a practical illiterate one could say, then says that Krishna is no 'fundamental researcher' akin to James Clerk Maxwell. Oy Vey. Krishna, makes no such claim and in fact makes no claims of being a trail blazer of any sort.

                                       ABSOLUTE MUST WATCH INTERVIEW OF TMK

The reader even wonders why Krishna had done nothing to set Carnatic music down to notes akin to Western music. The reader apparently has not read Jeyakanthan's 'Parisukku Po', arguably the only Tamil novel that could be called as centered on music as art form.

The Tamil TV interviewer peppers Krishna with confrontational questions, questions that themselves provide an elaborate window into the privileged mindset that plagues Carnatic music. Krishna patiently demolishes each objection and assertion.

The finest part of the interview is where Krishna blows apart the contention that there is no active prohibition against non-Brahmins from practicing or coming to the fore in Carnatic music. This lack of active prohibition is a shameful shibboleth. Krishna replies "we all have servants in our homes but would they ever, though there is no active prohibition, sit on our sofas or our dining table. Lack of explicit prohibition is an excuse. A climate, sub-concosciously, operates and vitiates the atmosphere" (I'm paraphrasing here). Electricians and plumbers who've visited my home in US have felt comfortable enough to sit on sofas and talk as equals and I thought to myself "that's America" (and yes America has its own bag of issues). Krishna repeatedly asserts that as a community that dominates an art it is upon them and him, as part of that community, to change the status quo. He completely rejects the notion that it is up to the hitherto excluded to come forward and join the ranks. The American notion of promoting diversity is in complete consonance with this idea.

I can go to a Symphony performance and be one amongst a handful of Indians amongst a thousand but not feel out of place but I can never feel the same at Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival. I'm not alone in feeling thus. A commenter to another interview by Krishna expressed how, as non-Brahmin, she felt looked down upon in a Carnatic concert. A discussion held during the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival is a classic example, watch it and find for yourself how a community not only dominates an art but completely acts as the decider of its paradigms. The discussion is of pathetic academic quality and is completely suffused with overt religiosity, one which Krishna, to the chagrin of many, is saying the music should unmoor itself from. Krishna is NOT preaching atheism, far from it, he's only asking to set music free of its religiosity in such a way that anyone can be a part of it.

When the Tamil interviewer smugly suggests that others should cultivate the ability to appreciate Carnatic music and such effort is all that stands between them and being part of the art Krishna repudiates and asks "how does appreciation engender". The interviewer then nonchalantly walks into the trap saying "it's inherited from traditions across generations". An Aha moment ensues and Krishna drives home the point that for those lacking that environment and heritage it behooves those who enjoy the privilege to create it.

Krishna nails it when he exposes the casteism behind how Somu Pillai, a popular non-Brahmin performer, was slighted for awards and how Somu, for reasons beyond craft, was never accorded the respect due to him akin to other performers. The interview is an absolute must watch.

A commenter to another interview by Krishna, assailing the casteism in Carnatic music, listed the usual exceptions and then with no sense that he's contradicting himself said that at a music school started by Chowdiah the students were 99% non-Brahmin. Check out the caste composition of students in Tamil Nadu government run music colleges and the music training programs run by Music Academy.

A couple of personal anecdotes. I was once watching a Christian music team perform Carnatic based songs. A Hindu lady mumbled "what do these guys know of Carnatic music?" The guys she referred to were descendants of Abraham Pandithar, a doyen of Carnatic music. The family is steeped in both Carnatic and Western Classical music. Yet, to the Hindu lady they will never be good as Brahmin performers. Jeyamohan himself has written how Brahmins are dismissive of Abraham Pandithar because of his religion. I've nothing against anyone dismissing Pandithar's research on music based on factual grounds but the near total eclipse of his name has more to do with his caste than anything to do with scholarship or the lack of it. Responding to Jeyamohan's blog on Pandithar a reader wrote, "non-Brahmins may learn and practice Carnatic music but they'll never be equal to a Brahmin practicing it". I assure you readers that this is indeed the 21st century and somebody wrote this happily.

I studied in SASTRA. During my first year in college a bunch of senior students came into our class intending to rag a few of the hapless juniors. One guy asked if there were good singers. In my class there were none. When none turned up the guy asked nonchalantly "are there no Brahmin students?" Half the class was Brahmin I think. Till today I smile remembering that student who thought a Brahmin student, by virtue of his/her birth, would know music. This is reality.

Jeyamohan himself has had a contentious and rocky relationship with Brahmins and quite recently his relationship with the Hindutva crowd also became rocky. When Jeyamohan reviewed T.J.S. George's mediocre book on M.S.Subbulakshmi he stepped on a minefield and received umpteen brickbats from Brahmins who were less than displeased with raking up the revered MS's past. I'd invite readers to read Jeyamohan's own blog to realize that he underscores how MS, thanks to Sadasivam, erased her heritage and ingratiated herself to the Brahminical power that ruled Carnatic music.

Uncomfortable histories should be told wrote Jeyamohan when writer Sujatha's fans were angered for his mentioning Sujatha donning a Iyengar mark on his forehead in his home. Jeyamohan revels in narrating uncomfortable histories except when they run counter to what he wants to present as his version of Hinduism and Indian traditions. Sujatha hated Jeyamohan's much acclaimed 'Vishnupuram' for what he considered its less than reverent portrayal of Hindu tradition. History concerning the breast cloth tax makes Jeyamohan angry as much as Jeyamohan's take on Gita and Sankara angers Brahmins. The root of both anger is simple and same "I'll not tolerate anyone speaking any less of what I hold dear, irrespective how intellectually honest or factual it may be".

Jeyamohan's first real break, at least to my knowledge, with the Hindutva brigade came during the release of his book 'Vellai Yaanai', based upon a 19th century famine that ravaged Tamil Nadu and thousands, especially lower caste, perished like flies. Every calumny that Jeyamohan is flinging at Krishna today was flung at Jeyamohan then. Thankfully the book did not garner any international prize else Jeyamohan's effigies would've been burnt by the howling brigade.

When I first watched Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts" I was blown away and then ruefully wondered if someone would do the same for Carnatic music. Seeing American kids not enjoying Western Classical music Bernstein conducted a series of concerts peppered with engaging narratives and explanations solely for school kids in New York City. T.M. Krishna has done a similar exercise with his 'Swanubhava'. He has taken Carnatic music to local schools were kids would've heard nothing but crappy Tamil film music. Not only that, famous performers happily engaged in a Q&A with school children. The man is not of empty words but he strives to make a difference. The institutional support that Bernstein had is not available to Krishna's efforts and now see glum naysayers ask "did he make a dent?" He's trying.

Sometimes awards embarrass their recipients like Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Sure, anyone can question if T.M.Krishna's efforts in taking Carnatic music to slums is a flash in the pan and if the award is a tad too premature. Seeing the furious reactions against Krishna I'm now fully convinced that the award did not come a day sooner and the reactions show the insurmountable institutionalized obstacles that Krishna has to scale in order to make a dent.

If some local Rotary Club had honored Krishna this would be a non-episode. That Magsaysay, an international award of repute, had recognized Krishna and in its citation had said that the award was for his efforts to promote an inclusive approach in Carnatic music is what angered a wide section of his naysayers starting with Jeyamohan. This is purely politics and should be called out as such. They're irritated that in an international forum a hallowed Indian art has been labeled as 'hierarchy' based. If the award had been given to Sanjay Subramanian I'm very certain that Jeyamohan would've written the same article and suggested that Subramanian is not worthy of sitting in a chair that Krishna had farted on. The issue is NOT Krishna. The issue is Magsaysay and the citation. Let us not ignore that.

Jeyamohan's confidence in the immortality of his works is laudable and understandable but it is laughable to suggest that only through literature would somebody like Krishna be known a century from now. Whether it is the musical trinity or the hallowed names like MS, Semmangudi, Ariyakudi etc not a single one of them owes their longevity to any Tamil writer. Bach and Beethoven and Zubin Mehta do not live on in people's memories because any writer wrote about them. I'm sure Jeyamohan's masterpieces will live on despite the fact no musician would've sung about them.

Speaking of literature and music I'm surprised that Jeyamohan completely forgot Thi. Janakaraman's short story "இசைப் பயிற்சி". The story narrates in a telling manner how a Brahmin music teacher's attempt to teach Carnatic music, to a poor Christian boy of lower caste, invites the ridicule of everyone in his community living in the village including an aged crone. I guess when one is enraged all that matters is swinging for the fence and obliterating everything in the path.

Jeyamohan's diatribe against Krishna abandoned any semblance of balance and devolved into unabated mudslinging including a sweeping declaration that Krishna's abilities as a performer are less than mediocre. Coming from someone who time and again says he knows little in music that was rich with irony. Yes, as Jeyamohan says one can talk of music on a plane without technicalities and mathematics of ragas. That is the plane at which we can talk of music as an art form. But Jeyamohan is ridiculing Krishna's ability which needs subject matter expertise. Yes, more often than not the ability to talk technicalities alone is thought of as a qualification to talk about music but that does not mean that one with just a 'listening ear' can nonchalantly make statements like "oh, Beethoven is nowhere near Mozart", "MS was purely bhava but MLV was better on technique". These are empty statements that many toss to appear knowledgeable. I'm sure Jeyamohan would treat Krishna's opinion on literature with far more contempt than Krishna would treat Jeyamohan's judgment on music.

Jataayu's article in Swarajya ascribing conspiratorial angles to why Krishna got the award is unsurprising and this fetish for conspiracy involving transnational Abrahamic faiths is something that Jeyamohan himself has very regrettably fueled in the past. At the rate in which invective is heaped on Krishna, who has never uttered anything remotely anti-national, only makes me shudder to think that these same people would've decried even Gandhi if Gandhi had received a Nobel prize with a citation that said he promoted reforms in Hinduism and worked to rid itself of centuries old evils. Actually the Hindutva group does disavow Gandhi and accept him only in the limited context of him being a resolutely devout Hindu.

The case of Sheikh Mahboob Subhani and his wife illustrate the pious nonsense of how Carnatic music lovers and the establishment are caste or religion blind. The Tamil TV interviewer tells  Krishna about how the Subhani couple, Muslims, are enjoyed my the audience when they play during the Thyagaraja festival. Krishna stingingly rebuts that as Hindus being smugly appreciative of a Muslim couple who learn and play Hindu music, including songs that extol Hindu gods. Abdul Kalam is a similar example. When Kalam died many in the Hindutva crowd lamented the loss of a 'patriotic Indian-Muslim' and shared pictures of Kalam sitting at the feet of Hindu sages. Not one of them shared any picture of Kalam performing a Muslim prayer. This attitude of Hindus slyly appreciating Muslims has a long history since the days when Jinnah and the British jeered at Abul Kalam Azad as the "show boy of Congress". Krishna was spot on regarding the Subhani couple.

Seeing the Muslim couple perform at Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival a blogger interviewed them for the online magazine "Carnaticography" and it's a telling blog. "I was struck by the incongruity. Here was a Muslim couple playing Hindu religious music. I also noticed that the box that held the nadaswaram had pictures of Hindu Gods". Then the writer piles on, "Did they know the words of the songs they pay soulfully? Do Hindu rituals also enter their lives at home?" Would this arrogant and preening smug idiot have ever wondered whether a Tamil Brahmin "know the words of the songs"? No. Not at all. Yet this patently idiotic writer is happy to not only wonder if the Subhani couple understood what they sung but he cheerfully even writes it publicly. Then he takes it several notches further by wondering if they observe Hindu rituals at home. Not satisfied with wondering the insolent oaf even asks the couple 'what religious traditions they observe at home'. Of course to his stunted mind it never occurs that a Brahmin who soulfully sings a Thyagaraja Kriti could be a womanizer or a drunkard. Actually several famous names in Carnatic music had scandalous private lives. Egalitarianism in Carnatic music is a figment of imagination. Note, the interviewer probably lives in America and has learned nothing, absolutely nothing, from the reams of newsprint devoted to discussing diversity in walks of life in America.

Given the fertile opportunity to play mischief Kalavai Venkat, an esteemed member of the howling brigade, wrote a Facebook post that is a plethora of lies, bigotry and plain historical revisionism. Venkat charges that Devadasi system was undermined by "British-Christian prudes and their Dravidianist minions". Arrant nonsense. First, the Devadasi system had completely degenerated into rampant prostitution and many devadasis lived in abject poverty and were socially stigmatized for their profession. The reform movement in banning Devadasi system was a landmark achievement. He  asserts baselessly that Brahmins took over the upkeep of arts once the Devadasi system was dismantled. This is sheer historical revisionism. Rukmini Devi famously took the native "Sathir" and bowdlerized it of its native eroticism to create what is now accepted as Bharatanatyam. Balasaraswathi retorted to Rukmini Devi "these upper caste women have taken up our profession and they have left us only our art" Kalavai Venkat being who he is then rounds off his vitriol with the vulgar charge that T.M. Krishna has "prostituted himself to serve a Christian agenda". This kind of bigotry is what Jeyamohan has encouraged by opening the floodgates of innuendo. All this  invective for what? A simple act of a simple man stating that he and others like him should strive to break down barriers in an important art form.

The virulence and poisonous rhetoric against a simple man is illustrative of how dangerous it has become in India to even try to do good. Jeyamohan is slowly contextualizing his diatribe saying that the news of the award came close on the heels of little noticed Tamil poet Gnanakoothan passing away and that it upset him to see how true meritorious achievers go unsung and unlamented while charlatans, in his opinion, garner international attention. Maybe award recipients should request that awards be bestowed when no is dying. The award is merely for 'emergent leadership' so it is not for some one who has accomplished a body of work but is showing promise. That the topic is so raw and emotional underscores how important it is and I'd say the award has achieved a great purpose by serving as agent provocateur for this discussion.

It is exceedingly sad and unfortunate that Jeyamohan has done unto T.M. Krishna what many of his detractors do to him, viz: rejecting his admirable corpus of work for what they deem as unacceptable political views espoused by Jeyamohan. As for me I'll continue to read and enjoy Jeyamohan whenever there's opportunity to agree and enjoy and on occasions where I differ I'll continue to do so one does not diminish the other. I've carefully differentiated between Jeyamohan and the Hindutva brigade in the title and throughout this blog for I'd still like to see him as not one with that crowd.

The chief reason for the ire of the naysayers is that T.M.Krishna, in their eyes, has not paid enough obeisance to the flag and Hindu intellectual traditions before asking for reformation. In other words one can ask for reformation after meekly and abjectly prostrating  before jingoism. I'm sick of people complaining that the likes of Krishna are seeking to emphasize differences and are worsening the problem. This is nothing but an undisguised plea for whitewashing. Voices like that of Krishna's are important for nation building. Krishna is providing a yeoman service in making India, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, 'a more prefect union'.

Soldier on T.M.Krishna and may you be blessed with courage to take on these voices of bigotry and be rest assured that there are other good men who cheer your journey.

I'll close with yet again my most favorite quote of Rabindranath Tagore.

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."

PS: I like both TMK and Sanjay Subramanyam's performance. I'm partial to TMK though for, in my opinion and to my untrained ears, he does sound like the better performer. TMK's "Marghazhi Ragam", jointly produced with equally good performing and beautiful Bombay Jayashree, and 'Panchabhutham' remain my favorites.

References:

1. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/who-am-i/article7088917.ece
2. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/tm-krishnas-column-left-behind/article6940932.ece
3. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/as-i-see-it-t-m-krishna-writes-on-celebrating-our-constitution-than-armed-forces-during-republic-day/article6842334.ece
4. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/as-i-see-it-t-m-krishna-writes-on-celebrating-our-constitution-than-armed-forces-during-republic-day/article6842334.ece
5. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/as-i-see-it-tm-krishna-on-muslims-in-india/article6748547.ece
6. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/for-the-greater-good/article7137405.ece
7. http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/t_m_krishna/why-is-the-idea-of-indian-culture-always-connected-with-religious-identity/article6577807.ece
8. http://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/the-big-paradox/article5996032.ece
9. Kalavai Venkat's Facebook Post https://www.facebook.com/KalavaiVenkat/posts/1751764825103886
10. "Sangeetha Jathi Mullai: Interview with T.M. Krishna" -- A MUST WATCH EPISODE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5Gua5FCzu4
11. "A lot of dirt in the world of Carnatic Music" - T.M.Krishna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ofXIm1c7ZA&spfreload=5
12. "Walk the Talk: Interview with Shekhar Gupta" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx0JW13yoic
13. Gita Hariharan in conversation with T.M.Krishna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV7h0jZ712M
14. Carnaticography interview with Sheikh Mahboob Subhani http://www.carnaticography.com/artist-interview/
15. Cleveland Thyagraraja Festival 2016 "Appreciating Vintage music" -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxoX-ZQt7Wo
16. Jeyamohan on T.M. Krishna's Magsaysay http://www.jeyamohan.in/89307#.V542kmXijjU
17. Reader's letter to Jeyamohan on TMK http://www.jeyamohan.in/89408#.V542wWXijjU
18. A good rebuttal to Jeyamohan by a reader but one that glides over "why" Jeyamohan got angry http://www.jeyamohan.in/89435#.V54242XijjU
19. Stravinsky At Harvard, T.M.Krishna At CII And 'Semmangudi Mama'.--- My blog written in 2013 -- http://contrarianworld.blogspot.com/2013/06/stravinsky-at-harvard-tmkrishna-at-cii.html
20. Jataayu article in Swarajya http://swarajyamag.com/culture/magsaysay-for-tm-krishna-citation-an-insult-to-carnatic-music
21. Jeyamohan's blog "Abraham Pandithar and Brahmins" (this contains the reader's letter that claimed only Brahmins can be good in Carnatic music) http://www.jeyamohan.in/36267#.V546qWXijjU
22.  Jeymohan's blog on T.J.S. George's book that kicked a furor http://www.jeyamohan.in/4607#.V547HGXijjU
23. Reactions to Jeyamohan's blog on MS's biography http://www.jeyamohan.in/4691#.V547DWXijjU ; http://www.jeyamohan.in/75728#.V547EmXijjU ;
24. Jeyamohan on speaking uncomfortable histories http://www.jeyamohan.in/36561#.V547qGXijjU
25. Jeyamohan on Sujatha http://www.jeyamohan.in/36852#.V5478GXijjU

Suggested Reading: Here are some books worth reading.
1. Musicophilia -- Oliver Sacks
2. This is your brain on music -- Daniel Levitin
3. Unanswered questions - Leonard Bernstein
4. Dinner with Lenny -- Jonathan Cott
5. An evening in the palace of reason:Bach meets Frederick the Great in the age of Enlightenment -- James R Gaines
6. Schubert's Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession -- Ian Bostridge. Amazing book on Schubert's 'Winterreise'.
7. The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the search for a Baroque masterpiece -- Eric Silbin. Engaging narrative on the discovery of Bach's cello suites.
8. Who needs Classical music?:Cultural Choice and Musical Value -- Julian Johnson. A succinctly written book that is magnificent and captivating.

10 comments:

செங்கதிரோன் said...

Most balancing article about TMK issue, hats off to you sir

Anonymous said...

Having known TMK for very long, he's a commie hiding under music fraternity. If you understand the history of who get's Magsaysay award of late, it's only those tribes formed as part of 'Breaking India'. That proves his worth and won't be surprised if he joins AAP.

VIJI said...

தமிழ், திராவிடம், ஆரியம் என்பதெல்லாம் பாரம்பரியம் கொண்டவை. வேற்றுமைகளை உரமாக்கி ஒற்றுமை விதைத்து வளர்ந்த கலாச்சார அடையாளம் கொண்டவை. அந்த வேற்றுமைகளையே விஷமாக்கி ஒற்றுமையை சிதைத்து நம்மை அடிமையாக்கியவர்கள் நம் மேல் திணித்த சிந்தனைதான் நமக்கு தரப்பட்ட ஹிந்து என்ற அடையாளம். இன்று ஹிந்து என்ற அடையாளத்தை புனிதம் என்று அரசியல் மற்றும் சமூக இயக்கம் நடத்துபவர்களுக்கு தங்களை பாரம்பரிய தமிழ், திராவிட, ஆரிய மற்றும் நம் பாரம்பரியமற்ற கிறிஸ்தவ, இசுலாமிய அமைப்புகளை சாடித்தான் காலத்தை ஓட்ட வேண்டிய கட்டாயம். மறுபக்கம் தமிழ், திராவிட மற்றம் ஆரிய அரசியல் மற்றும் சமூக அமைப்புகளுக்கு ஹிந்துக்கள் பகுத்தறிவற்றவர்கள் என்று சாடுவது பிழைப்புக்கு அவசியமாகிவிட்டது. பகுத்து மனிதம் அறியும் அறிவை மழுக்கி இவர்கள் புகுத்தும் அறிவுதான் பகுத்தறிவு என்று ஒரு புதிய ஜாதிய அமைப்பும் நன்கு பகுத்து சொன்ன பாரம்பரிய மதக் கோட்பாடுகளுக்குள் வில்லங்கங்கள் புகுத்தி மனிதர்களை பகுத்து பிரிக்கும் புதிய ஹிந்து மத அமைப்பும் நம் எல்லோருடைய split personalityதான். இதில் அம்பி யார் அன்னியன் யார் என்பதுதான் நம்மிடையே உள்ள split.

ஹிந்து என்பது நம் பாரம்பரிய அடையாளமில்லை. ஆனால் அதுதான் நம் அடையாளம் என்று திணிப்பவர்களுக்கு பின்னால் யூத, புத்த, சமண, யவன, ரோமானிய, ஆங்கிலேய, அமெரிக்க, மங்கோலிய, சீன, கொரிய, ரஷ்ய சூத்திரதாரிகளாம். பகுத்தறிவதுதான் நம் பாரம்பரிய அடையாளம். ஆனால் பகுத்து நாம் கடவுளை அறிந்தால் நாம் ஆரிய/ திராவிட தமிழரல்ல என்று இடிப்பவர்களுக்கு பின்னாலும் அதே சூத்திரதாரிகள் தானாம். நம் பகுத்தறிவு பற்றாக்குறையால் எடுப்பார் கைப்பிள்ளையாகவும் ஆட்டுபவர் கைப்பாவையாகவும் நாம் ஆடாவிட்டால் இந்தியாவில் பிழைப்பு சரியில்லை என்று நாட்டை விட்டு ஓடாமல் நாட்டை விற்று விட்டு பிழைப்பவர்கள் அவர்கள் மட்டுமா? நாமும்தானே!!!??

சட்டென்று கொஞ்சும்...சடாலென்று முரண்டு பண்ணும் குழந்தைகளின் split personalityதான் கட்சி மாறுவதிலிருந்து மதம் மாறுவது வரை. எங்கெங்கோ திரிபவர்களும் என்றும் ஏங்குவது அம்மாவின் அரவணைப்புக்குத்தானே. அம்மாவுக்கு நல்லோரான நாம் எல்லோரும் குழந்தைகளே. தீய சக்திகள் அண்டாமல் காப்பாய் என் தாயே.

Anonymous said...

Seems that the writer is one Brahmin hating Christian, such types abound in the TN of today. Krishna has MISUSED the love of his fans and stabbed them thru the back just like that other Brahmin hating clown called Kamal Hassan

Anonymous said...

The crux of Jeyamohan's argument as I understood was - ALL Krishna did was talking/writing articles about the issues, but what did he do to fix those issues. Jeyamohan's argument was anyone can do talking, but what matters is the actions that they take.

I expected your article to counter this point and provide examples/results of Krishna's work which would have been a convincing argument.

Thanks
Bala

Anonymous said...

Sir
What a wonderful article on TM krishna. We need people like him to take Indian carnatic art music into people and to make it great.
Let these RSS sympathizers complain. That's what they did at every turn of recent Indian history.
Soldieron Krishna. Whole world of carnatic music lovers behind you.

Rama Subramanian said...

I carry Margazhi ragam and panchabutham all the time with me along with a few other music. thank you for this writing. i don't have to write now and can just share what you have written.

Anonymous said...

A hundred years down the line, you will still find brahmins dominating carnatic music.
The reasons are less to do with brahmins not allowing others to prosper and more to do with lack of interest and exposure in Non-brahmin households..
Any classical art requires effort from the listener and is largely an acquired taste..Carnatic music inherently suffers from a few disadvantages.. Bhakti content, Language barriers etc..As a kid growing up i had a huge disdain for carnatic music because of its religous content.. but still the music was thrust on us by grandparents, aunts and uncles..We were always surrounded by all kinds of music growing up..Today im thankful and iam able to appreciate the beauty of music much better.. Such an environment is unlikely in a Non-brahmin home..One major reason could be the dravidian movement , which ensured tamils stay away from anything they consider as 'Brahminical'..No wonder you find less tamils in cricket, higher education and classical arts , all branded as 'Brahminical' by Dravidian racists'..

The situation is very different in Kerala,where classical arts knows no boundaries..every keralite irrespective of caste, gender , religion have a flair for music..

In TN great stalwarts right from Dikshitar to Semmangudi had a lot of non-brahmin disciples.

The solution is to bring in music as a part of school curriculum.In US, many nursery kids are exposed to beethoven and mozart. Many schools have a dedicated period , where the kids would just lie down with music being played. May be our schools can also expose kids to thyagaraja, dikshitar kritis from nursery school..

S Baskaran said...

The Dravidian movement degenerated the
aesthetic tastes of Tamilians which include many Brahmins too. What is shown, read and seen is only cinema ( that too vulgar & artless movies). Fine arts, classics, discerning movies are beyond Tamil Nadu. Look at Kerala and Karnataka wherein Karanth, classical music, good movies etc are patronised by cine societies, State Govt., literary movements etc.
Forget non Brahmins even so called elite Brahmins will degenerate further if the Dravidian parties with low grade cine movement continue to rule

Srini said...

By the way, I'm that "Reader" you quoted in your article. Of course, I've not read Pareesuku Po, I ain't a voracious reader like you(that shows my humility though). looks like you are reading a lot, listening to a lot of music. May be you should look like a connoisseur by now. but you are NOT. You have not UNDERSTOOD what I wrote in that article to Jeyamohan. reading is different than understanding. Hope you can quote better than me with the help of James Joyce or William Blake. Bottom line is

Read my little piece one more time, will ya? no go ?

give it another shot, still no go, call me, let's talk this through. Let me tell ya what MUSIC is! Thank me later.