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Gopalakrishna Gandhi flays `locusts of philistinism' for gnawing at classical traditions
CHENNAI, September 19: The former Governor of West Bengal, Mr. Gopalakrishna Gandhi, has asked the fans and admirers alike of violin maestro Lalgudi Shri G Jayaraman to take a pause and reflect a while on why they go to concerts.

Presiding over a function got up to felicitate the violin legend on his 80th birthday, Mr. Gandhi wanted the audience and admirers to reflect on a few questions as they converged at the Music Academy to witness the felicitation to Shri Jayaraman on his turning 80. Should they come to concerts, like a jury, to judge and pronounce verdicts on the artiste? Should they come to concerts to relish the music or dance first and then, perchance, to comment on? Raising these questions, Mr. Gandhi told Shri Jayaraman that "you are beyond all that, Lalgudi.’’ In this context, Mr. Gandhi said late Semmangudi once told him that "Gopu, it is enough if you pass IAS (Indian Administrative Service) once. For me, every concert is like an IAS examination.’’

Mr.Gandhi was hurt that "our classical traditions’’ had been gnawed at by the locusts of philistinism. He was, however quick to point out that "do not get me wrong. I adore certain styles of screen music.’’ So clarifying he said, "I would go anywhere to hear Guru Dutt, Sachin Dev Burman, Manna Dey, Mukesh in certain phase, T.M. Soundararajan and Illiayaraja. I am an unabashed admirer of the lyrics of Vairamuthu.’’ Asserting that "you know and I know what I mean by the locust of philistinism,’’ Mr. Gandhi pleaded with Shri Jayaraman "may you return to us, Lalgudi, the years that the locust has eaten.’’

Ever witty, Mr. Gandhi reminded Shri Jayaraman that the time had come for him to laugh "as you recall the small sum, the almost paltry sums – which seemed so princely then – that you earned when you were young. What joy counting those thin notes gave! What distance they went! Unlike what music fetches, expects, demands and gets with TDS (tax deducted at source) or not, today.’’ He said money had no value now. Regretting that people only chased the so-called valueless thing, Mr. Gandhi said, "value has no money.’’ He went on to add, "everyone chases its digitized equivalent.’’

Mr. Gandhi told Shri Jayaraman that "time has now come for you and your violin to duet, in silence may be, or in song, and conjure the music that you aspire to, not for applause, no, not for tomorrow’s rave review, not for yet another ponnadai of acclaim or a memento of tribute but for that wisp of a moment’s inner joy which claps not, nor does it shout shabaash.’’

Mr. Gandhi said Shri Jayaraman, a great soloist and accompanist, had shown the world how to be at ease while at the centre or on the margins. Mr. Gandhi also launched `Four most’, a four-volume CD compilation of Shri Jayarama’s concerts by handing over the first copy to Mr. S. Ramadorai, Vice-Chairman of TCS.

Mr. R. Seshasayee, Managing Director of Ashok Leyland, described Shri Jayaraman as "sampoorna vidwan (perfect artiste)’. Haling from an illustrious lineage, Shri Jayaraman had had the advantage unlike many others, Mr. Seshasayee said. "If one has to decode the DNA of Lalgudi sir … its musical symphony,’ the Managing Director said. He said that Shri Jayaraman embellished every note in its minute detail at the micro level and recreated the grandness and majesty of Carnatic music at the macro level. Mr. Seshasayee said Shri Jayaraman "has only arohanam and no avarohanam.’’ A keen music buff and a musicologist himself, Mr. Seshasayee summed up the greatness of Shri Jayaraman the artiste, person and guru by comparing it to the seven musical notes. Mr. R. Thyagarajan, founder of the Shriram Group, paid rich tribute to Shri Jayaraman the guru. Describing him as `one-man musical university,’ Mr. Thyagarajan urged his disciples to take time off their busy concert circuit to help capture Shri Jayaraman’s musical creativity in electronic format for the benefit of future generations. In this context, he assured the disciples that necessary funds for the project could be found somehow.

Classical dancer Shri V.P. Dhananjayan said " an ocean can be compared only with an ocean and Jayaraman could be compared only with Jayaraman.’’ Describing Shri Jayaraman "as a complete artiste’, he said Shri Jayaraman’s inspiring music could transport listeners to a higher plane.

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