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TMK - Off Key

November 21, 2018

The unstoppable shenanigans of Carnatic musician TM Krishna continues. Grabbing the spotlight at every available opportunity, he has once again used his opponents to turn the spotlight on himself in New Delhi.

A recently cancelled concert in the park alongside dancers Sonal Mansingh and Priyadarsini Govind, resulted in the AAP government and his supporters organizing another show at THE GARDEN OF FIVE SENSES.

Read the media exchange that followed the original show cancellation.

If Krishna can't sing by Ramachandra Guha
It's in an uncivilised world that a great musician can be prevented from performing in the national capital

Singing a political tune by Sonal Mansingh
Controversy over the cancellation of a T M Krishna concert sees meanings and narratives that do not exist. And it is hypocritical to act as a vicious political activist while claiming the privileges of an artist.

Delhi govt offers to host T M Krishna show after Airports Authority backs out
TM Krishna's views on constitutional values like secularism and caste prejudice in music have made him a target of Hindutva supporters.

TM Krishna: Artiste with no respect for seniors? by Usha RK
It's not the first time that a sponsor has backed out from an event organised by the govt grant-dependent SPIC MACAY. And there are artistes higher in seniority and repute than TM Krishna who lost out on the opportunity to perform whom the Carnatic music exponent is not concerned with. Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia must be asked what the brouhaha is all about.

Don't tell me what I should sing: TM Krishna at Delhi Concert
Days after the controversy over Carnatic singer TM Krishna's concert, New Delhi was blessed with a mesmerising musical evening on Saturday, 17 November.

When Delhi said Baro Krishnayya by Amrith Lal
Carnatic musician T M Krishna projected an inclusive politics that celebrated India's diversity during his concert in Delhi

T.M. Krishna chose compositions to present a statement on diversity by Navina Jafa
Through his music and beliefs, T.M. Krishna presents another kind of freedom struggle located within the framework of democracy.

It is with profound grief and some anger that I am watching the way events have unfolded. A two-day event organized by AAI and Spic Macay was "postponed", a term that is probably an euphemism for a cancellation. Along with TM Krishna's concert, there were 3 other artists, including myself, whose performances were "postponed". No reason was provided to us about why the performances were postponed but the loud whispers indicated that they were due to violent reactions to TM Krishna's political views. There were also whispers that some in the government exerted pressure on the organizers to cancel the event.

To say that I am not the least bit surprised by the reasons for the "postponement" and the politicization of an art event, is an understatement. I have seen at close quarters the complete lack of respect and understanding of art among politicians and bureaucrats who are the decision makers.

But what also troubles me is also the biased reporting of events. It was not just TMK who was affected by the postponement/cancellation. If the two- day event had been "postponed" due to politics, there were 4 artists who were affected by the cancellation, that included TMK.
I read with interest a quote from Mr. Sisodia stating 'No artist should ever be denied an opportunity to perform. I have invited TM Krishna to perform on November 17 for the people of Delhi. It's important to maintain the dignity of the art and artists."

Obviously AAP stepped in to "save" and "rectify" the situation created by extreme politics. But once again, it is nothing more than "politics as usual" since the only performance that was resurrected was that of TM Krishna, one of the four artists who had been affected. The cancellation of a 2 day event and the resurrection of just one program demonstrate how strident politics (whether right or left) is corrupting art and society. The world over, only shrill and sensational opinions are being reported, perpetuating extreme points of view. I am glad that TMK is performing in Delhi, as originally planned. But let's be clear- AAP is not providing a platform to art or aggrieved artists, but to politics. If their stated intent was to ensure that the artists who were denied an opportunity to perform were provided a platform, they would have assumed responsibility to conduct the two-day festival that was cancelled and not cherry picked one artist.

I am against politicization of art or artists- whether it is the voices calling for censorship based on religion, whether it is people demanding cancellation of an artist's program due to political views or whether it is, as in this case, a party picking up just one individual's program because of his politics.

I am progressive and liberal. I am also quite religious and am a practicing Hindu. I don't think that these are mutually exclusive. I am also of the firm opinion that progressiveness and liberalism are about inclusiveness, not divisiveness. Let's just say that like most Indians, I am bothered by the loud voices on both the right and left since they are drowning out both rationality and our humanity.
- Priyadarsini Govind (On Facebook, Nov 16, 2018)

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