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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Where are the girls ?

In India, it is nothing unusual to read news stories about female foeticide  or abduction of girls. But what is extremely disconcerting is that one crime feeds on the other and the entire outcome is condoned by the society at large.

In a typical village in Haryana, the sex-ratio is so skewed that there are few prospective brides available. So they conveniently buy 'girls' abducted from impoverished regions and the demand-supply chain is well established . But, why have the villagers become silent spectators to this heinous practice ? The uncomfortable truth is that every third house in the village is party to such a crime, in one way or the other.

Ironically, the relentless pursuit for male offspring has all but emasculated the society.

Men and women alike have lost the courage to stand up for justice and compassion to stand by the oppressed.

Where are the Khap Panchayats , the custodians of clan honour ? What kind of honour does, abduction or purchase of girls bring ?

More than enacting of stringent laws, the need of the hour is social reformers !

I wish, Anna hazare and his gang of four (Kejriwal, Bedi, Sisodia and Bhushan) , who have considerable influence in the region, channelize their energy to weed out this malaise . After all, what good can an anti-corruption to law do to a society where every home is morally corrupt ?

some links

times of india
indian express

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Religion and Music

Can a religion exist without music ? No religion can be totally cerebral and there are always some rituals which are invariably associated with some kind of music. Even in Islam, where the attitude towards music is at best ambivalent, the 'Adhan' , Islamic call to prayer is recited in a melodious voice rather than as a terse announcement.

Can music exist without religion ? Apparently, the answer is  yes, as 'kolaveri' is also music , having nothing at all  to do with any religion. But then,if  you ask a carnatic musician, you cannot even think of music without thinking of God. There is simply no room for atheists there.  Certain kind of music gives rise to certain kind of emotions as joy, peace or compassion in a listener. To a practitioner of carnatic music, music is an intellectual and emotional exercise and also an expression of Bhakti and it also creates a similar feeling in a listener's mind.

Then, we have the lyrics or sahityam . With the current generation, lyrics have taken a back seat and it is all drums and beats. Drums and beats are not great and  such music is so enlivening and exhilarating.  I remember , when we were in the academy, we used to have what we called 'jam sessions'. We could hit the ceiling energized by orange squash, some eats like jalebi and doughnuts and........ the Drums. It was all expression of raw energy and 'OSI BISA' (particularly, 'ojah awake'  and 'dance the body music') was a great favourite.

While the effects of rhythm and beats are physical, it is only the words that can really get to your mind.  Words are powerful and music is even more powerful, and when these powerful words are set to great music and rendered with the right bhava or emotion, it definitely does something to your innermost self. What's amazing is that every time you here such a piece of music, the feeling gets more intense rather than follow the law of diminishing utility. To me, Bharathiyaar songs, sung by MS, or DK Pattammal / Nithyashree or Bombay Jayashree can be listened to any number of times.

Tailpiece . Recently I read AR Rahman's biography. AR Rahman is said to  avoid composing for non-sufi, religious songs. Just wondering what made Rafi sing such wonderful bhajans. Some of these works, Baiju Bawra, Kohinoor  have been the combined effort of a great team, Mohammad Rafi, Shakeel Badayuni, and Naushad, with star cast including Dileep Kumar. They are professionals alright, but how does Rafi put in so much emotions into his devotional songs ?