Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Entertainment Explosion 2

24x7 Entertainment Explosion - 2

by Remigius de Souza 

MOSTPEOPLE* would say, ‘music is their hobby’, which may not mean they play musical instrument or sing. Invariably they hear music on some or other electronic gadget. Forty years ago, there took place a ‘great’ event, but it was not reported in the media, didn’t pull a crowd.

A young music lover Mr. Khadpekar, a student of architecture, invited Pundit Kumar Gandharva to perform solo concert at Ahmadabad. Punditji’s immediate reaction was, ‘No Ahmadabad. The crowd there appreciates music by thunderous clapping during the recital.’ However, after the explanation he readily agreed.

A small group, perhaps less than fifty, some of them from Baroda (now Vadodara), came to attend the concert. The event took place on an open platform at the premises of the Ahmedabad School of Architecture.

Punditji requested to shut the mike and the (loud) speakers. Seeing the uneasiness among his listeners he assured it was perfectly alright for him, and that they would enjoy it better. They were worried because they knew that one of his lungs was removed, and it would be strenuous for him without the ‘sound’ system.

Now it was direct contact between the singer and the listeners, mouth to ears. It was a unique experience, mostly available to private “baithak” – gatherings.

During his recuperating years he was forbidden even to sing. During that period he moved across Malava, Madhya Pradesh, listening and collecting folk songs. He was touched by the simple folks and their traditional music of Malava. He had turned the disadvantage into an opportunity. And a new Indian classical music emerged.

Punditji was generous, open and accessible, a teacher in true sense who could learn even from the humble folks. Indian classical music too was touched by the inimitable maestro. I personally was touched by him and the event that left a deep lasting impression on me.

FEW DECADES LATER, I was at a party hosted by a friend while in Bangalore. Typically there was music on an electronic gadget. At some point I said it is not music but only its replica that dissipates energy. Shankar Kanade protested. I said, ‘This is only a reproduction, which has lost its original quality, howsoever advance a gadget or technology may be.’

Though I did not remember the above event, I perhaps was prompted to say this by my subconscious. Such reproduction or representation is a virtual reality. It is just as a word ‘tree’ or a picture of a tree is not a reality. It may perhaps help someone to recall, depending on one’s perception of the ‘real’ sound, the ‘real’ event, the ‘real’ environment where it takes place; otherwise it is an object without soul – a mere technology.

In his later years Punditji had taken to teaching ‘Bhajan’ when he was acutely aware that his pupils were not getting to the meaning of the words they sang and thus singing remain as technology – a skill.

Punditji is no more. The cassette tapes of his music attached with copyright as well as the cassette players that played his music have gone to dumping yards. However Punditji’s monumental tribute to Malava’s folk songs continues to reverberate in the ears; it’s universal beyond global.

In the name of music we patronise ‘leisure industry’ (the term is an oxymoron) at a price. For that matter work – any work – comes at a price. If there are no singers, why not listen to the air, water, plants, birds… children, if there is little ‘nature’ still left in our environment? Why not dance to its tunes?

Leisure, opposite to work, is absolutely free, anywhere, to anyone irrespective of one’s status.

The millions of folks – the tribal and peasants – enjoy leisure actively, not by passive activity of watching Virtual Reality on electronic gadgets, all over India. They practice it not only during festivities but also during their daily chores.

On account of leisure the Industrial Civilisation is bankrupt and pauper.

Leisure conserves /restores energy: Leisure arrests entropy.

See previous post:
24x7 Entertainment Explosions

Note: The word, 'mostpeople', was used by poet E E Comings in Introduction to his collection of poems.
Remigius de Souza | 25-05-2007
© Remigius de Souza, 2007


  1. Hey Remi
    I've tagged you in a post: http://rujutax.blogspot.in/2012/07/ive-been-tagged.html

    Do check it out

  2. Hey Remi, just go to the link that I posted and read and follow the instructions