Classical music in democratic times!

From the Tanjore Court  to Madras Music Academy

A social history of music in South India By Lakshmi Subramanian, OUP, 2006, pp 196

The rise and fall of classical music? Not necessarily!

It is always great to be a connoisseur of classical music, arts. Only a high society that appreciates the great classical arts, music, dance and much else, can sustain  a high culture.

Seen in this perspective, the Indian music and dance, more so the  Carnatic music and Bharata Natyam, had got revived thanks to many promotional interventions, but somehow, the arts got stuck in a middle class mindset.

First, the book. A curious  title  I thought when I ordered the book from my usual bookshop supplier. Why curious? What is special about the South Indian music, called as Carnatic music, and the link between the Tanjore Court and the Madras Music Academy?

So, I read through the pages and found the book is making some new contributions to our understanding of how Carnatic music evolved. For long there was no objective writing on the Carnatic music by those based in Chennai, being mostly Brahmins, these musical experts, they have a way of  eulogising music as if it was a divine gift from Tyagaraja and as if it is the beginning and end of music!

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Farmer’s debt write-off while the state ranks second in farm debt trap!

The DMK had formed the government and in a show-off, the CM wrote off the farm debts, Rs 2 a kg of rice ..This is just a show-off, a cynical act to mislead everybody.

The state is second in rank in percentage growth in farm debt, next to AP. This is from a survey by the Union agri ministry itself. What about farm debts from PSU banks and other sources? Who cares? The free colour TVs and free 2 acres of land is held up. Why? The cunning politicians know this cant be done so easily. TN may be an advanced state in some  growth parameters. But in others, in political wakening or in much-professed rational thought or enlightenment, the state is a most superstitious and backward state.   How long this govt. would last? Till the next General Elections, just 3 years away?

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Why not?

Rich needn’t be on the defensive anymore!

The “eviction” rate, another name for those leaving their traditional petty living with so much to lose with the new opportunities opening up, in the nearby towns and cities, the eviction rate is on average 15%.In tribal and Rajbonshi-dominated districts of south and north Bengal respectively, such eviction rates are as high as 25% to 32%.

The new Left and the new DMK represent a new conservatism of seeking a new status quo. This conservatism is imposed on the winners of power because of several factors. Old loyalties, loyal workers of the parties are left out. Many separatist movements in W.Bengal have forced the Left to seek for more respectable upper class and upper caste approval which has now been given. The same conservatism we can see in the DMK which in the past identified with so many separatist outfits, now all given up and wants to sound as more respectable and more responsible.

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In schools/colleges/wherever possible!

A very inspiring article and an editorial in the world’s famous science journal, Nature! On what? On the role of botanical gardens in restoring the biodiversity in a world of declining biodiversity! How wonderful!

So, science teachers, botanists, professionals and amateurs! Take heart and go ahead in taking an interest in our botanical gardens, reserved forests and visit the famous gardens, near and far!

Bangalore has its famous botanical gardens; the Lalbagh is a veritable store house for rare trees and plants. So too elsewhere.

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Bharti Mittal and Reliance entry in agri trade: blessing or a curse?

The wheat import seems to have gone unnoticed! But for the wisdom of the Rajya Sabha Chairman, Bhairon Singh Shekhavat (who only converted a Rajya Sabha question into a debate) India would have simply surrendered to foreign traps. Yes, Cargill and Wal Mart are also into the wheat procurement business, along with our own biggues, ITC and others have only played havoc with India’s time-honoured faith in food self-sufficiency as our only food security and national honour. There is every reason to suspect the villain in the piece is the recent Indo-American agriculture agreement for research strategy. Like the wheat import this highly secretive India-American partnership is suspect.

The point is that there is no public debate and the public is not taken into confidence.

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