Chennai

Discordant note in the world of Carnatic music

O.S. Arun

O.S. Arun   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

The hue and cry over Carnatic vocalist O.S. Arun’s participation in a Christian musical event — Esuvin Sangama Sangeetham — and his decision to cancel the programme subsequently has sparked a heated debate on Hindu singers singing devotional songs of other religions.

Arguing that the growing influence of the BJP and the RSS was being felt in all spheres, singer and Magsaysay award winner T.M. Krishna tweeted: “Considering the vile comments and threats issued by many on social media regarding Karnatik compositions on Jesus, I announce here that I will be releasing one Karnatik song every month on Jesus or Allah.”

“In the present political climate, middle-class Brahminical values are being further emphasised,” Mr. Krishna, who recently performed at the Afghan Church in Colaba, Mumbai, told The Hindu. He has performed at the Loyola College church. He said there were enough compositions by Mayuram Vedhanayagam Pillai, Mayuram Vedanayaga Shastri, Abraham Pandithar and Kunangudi Mastha Sahib on Jesus and Allah.

Mr. Arun was forced to cancel his programme after he came under attack from S. Ramanathan, the founder of Rashtriya Sanathana Seva Sangam (RSSS). During his conversation with Mr. Ramanathan, Mr. Arun could be heard wondering why he alone should be singled out for the act while other singers had rendered other religious devotional songs. This led to attacks on other singers who had sung songs of other religions.

Mr. Krishna added: “Singers have two options: either they should take a philosophical stand that they would sing songs in praise of all religions, or make it clear that as a professional, they would sing any song.”

T.M. Krishna, Carnatic Singer.
Photo : Bijoy Ghosh
To go with Swetha Kannan's report

T.M. Krishna, Carnatic Singer.
Photo : Bijoy Ghosh
To go with Swetha Kannan's report   | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

 

Noted singer Nithyasree Mahadevan also bore the brunt since she sang the Christian devotional song Samaanulevaru prabho sometime ago. “I am extremely pained to read the accusations against me that have gone viral. I sang the song on Jesus only because I was happy to be an instrument to bolster communal peace and harmony. I apologise for inadvertently hurting your sentiments, if any,” she had posted on her Facebook account. She clarified that she did not see any similarity between Thyagaraja’s masterpiece ramanee samaana mevaru in karaharapriya and samaanulevaru prabho composed mostly in shanakarabharanam.

She reiterated that she was steeped in rich Hindu tradition, values and culture, was against religious conversion of any kind, and would never ever engage in any act that would endorse or encourage religious conversion. Noted singer Srinivas on his Facebook page said: “My Christian devotional songs are getting famous now. I am happy that people are listening to me.”

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:09:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/discordant-note-in-the-world-of-carnatic-music/article24648218.ece

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