Tradition, according to the dictionary, is largely made of beliefs and practices passed down from one generation to another; while innovation is described as a process that renews and refreshes the existing tradition, giving it a new perspective through a different thought process. When we talk about tradition or innovation with respect to a classical art form, it's important to understand that the basis for definition is a certain idiom. A ‘classical idiom' is the foundation, knowledge, values and the core that truly represents an art form. Art forms are not rigid and offer immense freedom and scope for creativity. It is essential to find space within these boundaries and not misuse this freedom. Innovation happens only if there is complete understanding of tradition and what it stands for. Without that, innovation is not worthwhile. Each one's interpretation of art is different and subjective. The general notion that innovation begins where tradition ends is off beam. Innovation and tradition go hand in hand; they are not mutually exclusive. The real challenge is to find that space for something new while maintaining the core values of the art form.
Rithvik Raja is a Carnatic vocalist