For the last 30+ years, Indian music has no more than these 10-20 faces to showcase globally to represent Indian Classical Music. Everywhere they are the role-models, they are the speakers besides being performers or players and they are the ones making most of the money. I am not denying their respect, their credibility or hardwork but focusing on the number of musicians we have in India, which are actually infinite but no way ambassador of Indian Classical Music anywhere. Let’s reflect on some points –
What it shows –
(1) That in a country of 100 + crores people we don’t have 10,000 faces yet as ambassador of Indian Classical Music in 5+ decades. Leave 10k, not even 1000 as Indian Classical stars.
(2) Should we believe that our India don’t have more talented musicians? Will it be true? It’s not true. Fact is we have lakhs of talented musicians, who are not only a great talent but a great resource, heritage, education, value to our country.
(3) If you see top record labels of our country say T-Series, HMV, Venus etc. You can verify their biased and zero role in promoting them but other music due to verified reasons. Besides that they won’t focus on other Tabla Players if they have already focused on one say Zakir Hussain. They won’t highlight other artist books or their albums because it’s a sort of repetition or annoyance to them. But we have to admit the fact that our nation has thousands and thousands of marvelous Tabla Players and Sitarists with their personal creations and variety. If you don’t believe the fact then you need a reality check.
(4) Why there been a bias for long for only preferred musicians and faces in our system? Why no place for all those unknown musicians and faces despite anything they didn’t do? Wouldn’t it be right if they could have been focused upon by Government and their respective organizations and also given the platform to position themselves, earn, achieve stability etc? It is also equally true that if they would have been made part of platforms, their content would be unique and they would have added variety to world music platform.
(5) It also proves the absence of a good model or neglecting of good model to benefit few. While the few music fraternities are blessed with abundant land, mileage, respect and few are starved to death without a residence of their own.
(6) Thousands of crores is spent by government on Indian Music Promotion and yet no student or youth today is a bit interested in Indian classical music except these government aided show. We have no private events of Indian Classical Music. Nobody wants to listen to a Raga in a marriage but ‘DJ wale babu mera gana chala do’ and that’s the reality. It proves that we have lost a lot value in the last 50 years of doing justice to our huge funding and our musicians and Classical Music. In-fact we have failed considerably, with a wrong model, to help our Indian Classical music but waste time despite huge funding (if we are honest enough to accept).
(7) Lastly nobody pays you if you are not a big enough name or face, is also a reflection of failed value of Indian Classical music and awareness among society. We have reduced classical music to its lowest point of acceptance on basis of stardom, glamour, money or face-value and not on its aesthetic and cultural value or other values.
My objective of writing this article is to give a reality check and point of view to the authority. I have plethora of experiences and mails of artists from different parts of India, who couldn’t make their video, who couldn’t have enough funds to expand their music or promote themselves. They are worth big talents but neglected by those for some few. It is our duty to first pay them, reward them and honor them a suitable place in society and not just keep rewarding few of them again and again.
Kapil Srivastava (c)