Classical Music: Deteriorating in India

Posted on January 19, 2010 in Culture-Vulture

Praveen Kumar:

It mesmerizes, it rejuvenates and it brings joy. It unites people. Music is the bond that ties people from different backgrounds, languages and regions. Many people say that nature was the first to create music. The winds from the south, they say, tickled tall trees in forests and generated sweet melody which sounded like the soft and soothing melody of a flute.

Music is a vast ocean in which Indian Classical Music holds great reputation. Indian Classical Music is one of the oldest known of its kind and can be found in scriptures like the Vedas. It is also considered to be influenced by the Persian Music. The whole world of Indian Classical Music can be considered as a science which has evolved from the seven basic notes Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Da Ni Sa which are considered to be the most sacrosanct in its form in Indian Classical Music.

Given the majesty that Indian classical music possesses, it has the strength to mesmerize anyone. In Bollywood movies, we often witness scenes where a patient with paralysis gets cured through music. Often, it seems ridiculous to us, to our parents probably such movie scenes are touching. But it is believed that music does have the power to stimulate and things.

The charisma of Indian Classical Music is unmatchable. And mastering its nuances is not very easy. The rhythm (taal) and the sur are the two most important aspects of this science. The two main genres of Indian Classical Music are the Hindustani Music in which instruments like harmonium, table are used and the Carnatic Music which is generally based on the thaalams and ragams.

But as India has passed through an array of changes in all its forms, Indian Classical Music too has changed a lot. In fact at times it feels that the charisma which Indian classical music had earlier is not seen now at all. Bollywood has mixed up everything, the western and Indian. Though most of the old film songs had a lot of classical touch in it, the songs nowadays we hear do not have much of that. Now-a-days, Bollywood songs are often like the cocktails of Indian and Western music which tends to be good at first, but the actual flavor of either of the two is not completely relished.

After Smt M S Subbulaxmi , the finest exponent of Carnatic Music, there is hardly any one whom we can name. A couple of decades ago, people used to tune in to AIR (All India Radio) to listen to the Suprabatham of Smt MS Subbulaxmi. It was so soothing to ears, people used to get charged up with joy and enthusiasm. She was the Carnatic maestro who made people realize with her Abhudaya that a new day had begun.

But today the fascinating form of Indian Classical Music is no more prevalent. People are more interested in Bollywood music or western music. But what people have stopped listening in India, has now been adapted by the West. It is often seen that the Yoga centers in West use a lot of Carnatic music for meditations sessions. Countries like America and UK have seen the impact of Indian Classical Music. These countries also have training centers which help them learn this music. Unfortunately the place where it all started is experimenting a lot with its original form, which is deteriorating the quality it had.

There are a few people who though being dominant in the current music market like A R Rahman, are still recognized with Indian music. We can always hear subtle details of the Indian classical music in his songs and compositions. Singer Kailash Kher, is another gem who has actually helped revive the lost magic of the harmonium. His Sufi songs are famous for being simply ecstatic.

The magic of Indian classical music remains to be re-discovered by our generation.

The writer is a correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz and also an MBA student at IIFT.