Carnatic music & secular fan

By K.T. Jagannathan
Chennai: 28-02-2020 10:15PM
Last Updated: 28-02-2020 10:15PM

The city of Chennai is gearing up for yet one more season of music. As November nears its end and December waits just on the edge to arrive, the atmosphere is clouded by controversies of unusual kind. If the `Me Too' fall-out has shut a few artistes out of the coming season, the allegation against some others for allegedly compromising on `Carnatic tradition' while carrying out professional singing assignments has cast a long shadow on the ensuing season with attendant long-term implications for the art and artistes. There is what is called a `public good and public bad'. There is no excuse for what is generally perceived as `public bad'. It must be a strict `no-no' anywhere. As for allegation vis-a-vis compromise on tradition, it depends on which side of the bench are you in. One can keep debating this until the cows come home. And, a clear answer will still remain elusive. Artistes, sportspersons and the like, more often than not, have a secular appeal. Their fans cut across gender, age, religion, political affiliations and the like. A fan may be an aligned person politically, religiously or otherwise. Yet, he or she showers unalloyed adoration on an artist or a sportsperson. For a fan, the affiliations of his/her icon don't matter at all. This is indeed an ideal situation for an icon. For, this sort of mindset in a common fan fetches these iconic personalities a larger-audience constituency. This is a happy win-win position to be in for anybody. Why should one squander away this positive gain by indulging in actions that upset the assiduously nurtured fan community over the years? Art is not just an expression of creative talent. It is also a well-evolved time-tested traditional tool to unify and foster a sense of tranquility, peace and friendship. Artistes have a role and a responsibility too. Art is subtle, indeed. And, there are very many subtle ways for an artiste to communicate. The music world will be well-served without the ongoing ugly free-for-all open-mouth operation. Surely, what is on stage now is not music to the ear.