Reply to a Tamilian

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Reply to a Tamilian

Post  Guest on Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:34 pm

A Tamilian recently stated that classical music is a lot more popular in Tamil Nadu (and in general in South India) as compared to North India in general and U.P. in particular. His explanation was that the per capita GDP of a state like U.P. is a lot lower than the southern states and hence since people are busy earning their livelihoods they do not have time to enjoy aesthetic pleasures like classical music.

My response: per capita GDP is not a good indicator of poverty. Amartya Sen's Multi-dimensional poverty index (MPI) is a much better indicator of poverty, and it is to be noted that it does not make use of GDP anywhere in its calculation. In the context of India, even MPI is probably not a good measure of poverty because it does not explain why there are hugely disproportionate number of farmers' suicides taking place in the southern states as compared to U.P.

Second, it is a fallacy to assume that Hindustani classical music is not being encouraged or promoted in U.P. The existence of the following disprove any such claim:

Third, although it is true that the common man in TN has more interest in classical music than the common man in U.P., it should be understood also that the common man in U.P. prefers to spend his time in a different aesthetic pursuit. This comprises in attending the poetry sessions (mushairas and kavi sammelans) in which eminent poets congregate and present their works to the general public. As Bhaskar Ghose writes:

True, in some parts of this country, there are mushairas and kavi sammelans where poets recite their works, often to large appreciative audiences. But that happens largely in northern India; one is not aware of similar gatherings of poets in the south. There certainly are no such events in eastern India. But generally, poetry has gone into the closet, as it has, perhaps, the world over.

I will just add to what Ghose said and say that Dakhini urdu poetry sessions are in fact held in Hyderabad and northern karnataka (and perhaps other parts of south india)--though they do not enjoy as much widespread popularity and appeal as they do in North India-- but it should also be understood that these kind of poetry sessions are not held for tamil, telugu, kannada, and malayalam. Dakhini urdu is a variant of Hindi-Urdu ( ).

The fact that the common man in U.P. prefers poetry to classical music should surely not be taken to mean that he is uncultured as compared to the Tamilian who prefers classical music to poetry.

Addendum: It has been pointed out to me that poetry sessions in some of the other south indian languages do take place, although these are no doubt on a miniature scale as compared to the ones taking place in North India (which is why Bhaskar Ghose, the former Director General of Doordarshan, was unaware of their existence).


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