Personal musings. Views are my own.

Indian classical music, post-partition

“Nowadays due to economic and political conditions the Indian people are mostly thinking about their daily lives, how to earn, how to live. Naturally, they are so engaged that they have no time for the sake of art-painting, sculpture or music. In the old days, men were not so busy earning due to a smaller population and the patronage of rajas and maharajas. Now there are no rajas or maharajas, who will patronize the artist? Suppose a painter works 1-2 years on a piece, his price is 4 lakhs of rupees, who will buy it except a raja or maharaja? At that time good musicians were helped by the state, “Please, stay in my state, play on and you teach these students.” The students didn’t need to pay a salary because the state provided for them. The guru just taught them, and the guru didn’t worry about food or anything; the state provided education for their families, everything. Now there are no states, the government ruined all the states. And what is the government doing now? Nothing! The public doesn’t have too much money, so the public can’t support the artist. Most people are engaged in many kinds of jobs. Some go to the office in the morning and after returning they do another job, so how will they get the time to spend with the music or any fine arts? It’s not possible. To become a good artist requires much time, a minimum 10-12 hours a day in your art. For instrumental music, the students need to learn vocal, and nowadays the students don’t learn vocal. They start, ‘sa ri ga ma pa dha ni’ and then learn one or two gats. Within 2-4 years, “Manilal-ji, I want to sit for an audition, please recommend my name.” How is it possible? I can’t say the future position of our real classical music, but it may be ruined. And the influences of Calcutta TV and commercial pop music-the young generation is less interested in classical music. Before there was TV or popular film music, the school students, the college students, boy and girls used to listen to classical music. Now every house has TV blasting and they don’t get the opportunity to listen to good music. This is my opinion, I can’t say about the position in the future…What about my son? My father taught me sitar and I had to learn because he wanted me to become a musician. But who will support my son, who will give him food-only playing sitar, no food? The government will not back him nor give him any money to practice sitar. Naturally, Subhashish may have to do some job.”

Taken from an interview with Manilal Nag