I am not sure whether this happens everywhere in the world but in India it has been a common mode of mocking artisans by calling them ‘Nachane gaane wale.’
Traditionally the Indian society has been very conservative and it takes music, dance etc in a very derogatory sense. Probably this thought has crept into our consciousness because music has never been a career choice in India.
Our education system, based on the legacy of the British has given us a mindset that sets all values on formal education because only a formally educated person can get a job. In such a situation music,dance or writing can only be a hobby never ever a full time career option, hence the derogatory reference to nachane gaane wale.
Under the circumstances, the exhortation by music maestro Ilayaraja that music should be made compulsory in schools and colleges comes as a pleasant surprise.
Addressing a gathering at the 46 th International Film Festival of India in Goa, the master who has such illustrious students like AR Rehman said that if music is made a compulsory subject for students it will curb the prevalent violence in society.
Those sceptics who feel that this is an over simplistic view of the cult of violence in society should be well reminded that Shakespeare had written centuries ago “If music be the food of love play on.”
Music has since time immemorial, been regarded as having the power to affect not much only humans but also animals.There have been scientific reports that if music is played before we milch cows, they yield more milk.
Not only this,plants are known to grow faster when music is played regularly near them. And in India, we have grown up with legends of the famous competition between Tansen and Baiju Bawra in the Durbar of emperor Ashok. Both the music maestros are believed to have proved that music could move nature- it could invoke the rain Gods and cause fire.
In the present context the suggestion of Iliyaraja needs to be taken seriously by the authorities in India for various reasons.
One, music is now one of the respected career options available in the county.In fact, despite muted voices against the growing trend of reality shows the programmes involving even children participating in song and dance competitions are not only becoming popular but also boosting the confidence of children from an early age.
Secondly, if taken to the next level the suggestion of Iliyaraja could prove a positive option before youths at an impressionable age who are full of energy which needs to be channelized in a proper direction.
This is probably the ideal time to take this issue to its ultimate when people like AR Rehman, Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam and numerous others have become icons for the nation setting an example for the youths as a positive alternative in an age where frustrated youths are taking short cuts to become rich.
By Amitabh Srivastava