Police stop a fusion performance at Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Joshi festival citing Supreme Court order

The three-day Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Joshi festival, one of the most popular music festivals of Indian classical music in the country, ended rather on a sour note on Sunday night, when police abruptly forced closure of the programme.

Citing a Supreme Court order that use of public address system must be stopped by 10 p.m., policemen forced the organisers to stop a fusion performance, much to the chagrin of music aficionados, who gathered at Chowmahalla Palace.

Renowned artistes Bickram Ghosh (tabla), Pandit Ronu Majumdar (flute), Arun Kumar (drums) were participating in highly appreciated fusion performance, when police intervened to order closure of the programme. The pleas of the organisers that the programme would end within 15 minutes fell on deaf ears.

The final day of the festival began with a Bharatanatyam performance by film actress Shobhana followed by a tabla jugalbandi between Pandit Shankar Ghosh and Bickram Ghosh. Incidentally, the Chief Post Master General Karuna Pillai released a ‘First Day Special Cover' in memory of Bharat Ratna late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

Police action decried

That the policemen routinely turn a deaf ear to ear-splitting music played in marriage function halls till late in the nights all over the city was not lost on the music lovers, who spared no words in criticising the overzealousness of the policemen. Many recalled that the police allowed music at night clubs and pubs till midnight. They even allow DJs to play music after midnight during marriage receptions at function halls in twin cities. “This is the best example of high-handed behaviour. Police should be more sensitive to the Indian classical music,” many feel.

The abrupt ending of the programme echoed in the blogosphere, with many irate music lovers giving vent to their feelings on social networking sites.

“I don't think any of these artists would want to come back to Hyderabad once again...all because of the cops ego was not massaged!” wrote a person on Facebook.