After devoting an entire chapter to caste and related conundrums in the Carnatic music circuit in his book, noted singer T M Krishna declared that he dreamt of seeing a day when a Dalit performed in the sabhas.
“Dalits should not be identified by their caste but by their music. I want to see a Dalit perform in the sabhas and win a Sangeetha Kalanidhi title someday,” he said, at the formal launch of his book ‘A Southern Music - The Carnatic Story’ at Kalakshetra.
Though it aroused curiosity amongst many present that he had chosen to invite noted economist Amartya Sen to launch his book, all that was settled when Sen declared that he was “impressed” with Krishna’s prose on bridging caste divides in the arts.
“I read the chapter on caste and gender with great interest and it was truly impressive,” said Sen, who spent some time listening to Krishna’s experiences with music over the years.
The noted vocalist spoke passionately about how Carnatic music had originally been crafted by Devadasis and later nurtured by Brahmins.
In response, delving into his experiences, the Nobel winner economist said, “The transition of culture from one part of society to the other is not addressed in India.”
“It is often said that higher education is not for the public, and yet that is only because they have no access to it. The same can be said about music and people who are removed from it,” he added.