BANGALORE: Padma Shri awardee, professor of Applied Mathematics at IITDelhi and founder and chairman of Spic Macay, Dr Kiran Seth, is one of the humblest and most endearing men one can come across. One feels enlightened in his presence, listening to his soft-spoken words filled with wisdom and knowledge. Dr Seth was in town on March 2 for an orientation ceremony at the Army Public School, to meet the Karnataka governor, HR Bharadwaj, and to oversee the Bangalore Chapter of Spic Macay. We got an opportunity to meet the eminent personality.
Spic Macay or the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture amongst Youth, was set up by Dr Seth in IIT-Delhi in the late 1970s. From then, Spic Macay has spread to around 300 cities in India and abroad and conducts about 2,000 events a year, said Dr Seth. Spic Macay’s first event in Bangalore was in 1981 at IIMB. Now, the Bangalore Chapter is very active and the recently concluded World Heritage Series is testimony to that. “We are organising the Virasat Festival across Karnataka from March 22 to April end, covering the World Dance Day on April 29,” Dr Seth said.
In this visit, he met the state’s governor to request him to be on Spic Macay’s advisory board.
The professor said, “The presence of a governor, like we have had people like TN Chaturvedi, Pratibha Patil, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, adds respectability. Also since the governor is the chancellor of the university, it gives us access to educational institutions.
We have presence in 25 schools here. We want more young people to give time voluntarily.
Schools and colleges do not take the cultural aspect seriously always. They should realise that it is an important aspect of a child’s development.” The Spic Macay movement is enriching, he believes. “All of us are going towards the West. Major things can be learnt from the West, no doubt. But young people should know that the experiments of their ancestors can benefit them immensely. The West has progressed, but with all that, they are still quite depressed.
To put it in a simplistic manner, we have found wonderful ways of avoiding depression,” Dr Seth said.
He added, “The West is more connected with the outside world, with the outward domain.
Our culture is about the connection within, what we call the yog.
Also, we have developed a big body of knowledge and wisdom.
If we can connect with the West but be connected with our knowledge and culture, then we will be better than anyone.” This is what Spic Macay has always striven towards. In fact, as a young student, Dr Seth himself was heavily drawn towards the West, until his epiphany at a concert by Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York. There has been no looking back since then.