SPICMACAY made the spirit of volunteerism a highlight at its recent national convention.

Declaring 2012 as the year of volunteerism, SPICMACAY, during its recent 27 national convention at Surathkal near Mangalore, celebrated the spirit of contributing selflessly to the movement.

Socrates enunciated the importance of musical and poetic education for the youth that could penetrate deep into the soul, more than anything else. He would surely have commended the efforts of the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth (SPICMACAY).

At the gathering, a variety of art forms by noted artists were staged and seen at their resplendent best and it included Malavika Sarukkai, Madhavi and Arushi Mudgal, Margi Madhu and Chintale Ramachandra Hegde. In vocal and instrumental music, Hindustani and Carnatic maestros such as Begum Parveen Sultana also performed.

Some disagreed with Socrates as was seen by the sardonic remark of an influential connoisseur of arts, who said, “Please! Do not give me that inanity! Do you for one moment, believe that dance and music actually lead you to experience divinity in today’s world?”

On the other hand, a young participant after a long recital of classical music, exclaimed, “What a piece of divine art!” The boy is quite a subject of concern in his family of doctors who are worried about his artistic inclinations. “To keep my parents happy and prove that I have talent, I participate in and win a couple of film music competitions. But my dream is to learn Hindustani vocals from a maestro,” said the teenager.

Dedicated team

While one juggles with these questions, SPICMACAY diligently continues with its firm belief that aesthetic experiences improve the soul and establish universal harmony in one’s being; and that every child has a right to experience the rare heritage of his arts.

Over the years, the activities of SPICMACAY bear testimony to the efforts of Dr. Kiran Seth and his dedicated team of selfless volunteers. They have continued to provide India’s youth with the very best in classical arts and by the maestros. Kiran Seth, a man with a Socratic vision of utility of arts, leads by example. His infectious zeal is the spark that ignites the fire in the thousands of volunteers across the country. At the convention, his nada yoga sessions at 4 a.m. drew the young participants in droves. Amazingly, their hectic schedules would end quite late each day, after the performances in the evening. A thundering Baba Amte urging the youth to stoke the fire of idealism, in a rare documentary, was an inspiration. The week long convention also had rare film screenings in the afternoons. The meticulous workshops on dance, music and craft introduced the young volunteers to the rich art forms.

The joy of a young girl, who had never danced before, knew no bounds when she discovered her innate talent for it. A restless youngster found spinning on the ‘charkha,’ a meditative experience. The crafts village bustled with activity with workshops on Kalamkari, Phad, Madhubani, Saura, Pattachitra and the tribal Gond paintings, Mooj grass and Bamboo crafts, Leharia dyeing and Lambadi embroidery, to name a few.

Many of the participants might not become enthusiastic converts to classical arts right away, but one cannot take away the high probability that the seeds have been firmly sown in the young minds. The rigorous dance and music classes of the maestros showed how high art is made and the discipline with which the skills are cultivated even as one grows spiritually. Each volunteer is an architect of the unique movement of preserving and propagating their very own heritage. With competition and materialism marking this era, one does marvel at the spirit that made people martyrs for the cause of their country such as during the freedom movement. Indeed that was volunteerism at its best. In the context of high art and elite spectators, Roman aesthete Cicero’s view is significant. He said that even an uneducated crowd can perceive charm and elegance in the arts through an amazing power of nature; one could judge art without any formal training in its artistic principles. Cicero’s words proved true when one saw children enjoying classical art forms at the convention.

SPICMACAY’s ambitious vision to reach out to every student in the country by the year 2020, seems a worthy strategy to nourish young minds and turn them into ideal citizens and rulers that Socrates had envisaged.