Wednesday, December 09, 2009

'पहले कमिश्नर को तो देखें, वो इतनी बड़ी हस्ती है'

लोक संगीत को बचाने के लिए हाल ही में आयोजित की गई एक कांफ्रेंस से लौटकर आए मेरे अजीज पत्रकार मित्र बृज खंडेलवाल ने यह रिपोर्ट मुझे भेजी है। इस रिपोर्ट की खास बात बोल्ड और इटेलिक कर दी गई है...:)

Is folk music dying? How real is the cultural onslaught from the west? Can the deshi cultural streams become extinct with generation next losing interest in classical traditions?

These issues were debated at the two day national conference on folk music at hotel Grand in Agra. Dr. Lovely Sharma, the conference convener, whose passion for sitar and classical music, indeed all good music, is infectious. The zeal she demonstrated in her passionate appeal to save the musical heritage of the country found sympathetic echo from many quarters. The gathering was distinct, rather elitist, though the folk media is supposed to relate to the commoners. The mindset was reflected when Lovely Sharma was asked to welcome the living legend of Braj Folk-lore Choudhary Badan Singh. Note what she told this writer, and audible enough for people around “Pahle commissioner ko to dekhen, who itni badi hasti hain.”('पहले कमिश्नर को तो देखें, वो इतनी बड़ी हस्ती है')

Anyway, about the conference first. Folk singers and musicians from different parts of India discussing latest trends and threats, today urged music lovers to save this precious heritage from extinction.

The two-day national conference on Indian Folk Music: tradition and trends in the Taj city ends Monday evening with adoption of a charter setting out priorities and outlining action programmes to popularise Indian folk-lore, music, songs handed over by generations of gifted artistes rooted in the ethos of the society. More than a 100 artistes, exponents, researchers and musicians are participating in the conference organised by Kritika Kala at Grand Hotel.

Dr. Lovely Sharma, (the only D Lit holder in Sitar) conference convener said "considering the falling interest in classical and folk music, particularly of the younger generation, in the wake of cultural onslaught from the west, there is great need to reinvent and re-package folk and traditional music to make them compatible with today's tastes and needs. We have therefore called this "meeting of the minds" to look for ways to do this." The ideas would be presented in the form of a perspective paper and circulated among lovers of Folk music and songs so that this stream gains momentum and recognition from the right quarters. Dr. Satya Bhan, the only surviving exponent of Haveli Sangeet, a stream of Bhakti movement, lamented "the younger people do not just want to learn, they do not show interest in even hearing folk or classical music. The fault is ours, the seniors' who make no effort to expose them to good singing." Badan Singh Choudhary, five time legislator from Fatehpur Sikri, and author of Braj Lok Geet (a 300 page treatise and collection of folk songs of Braj Mandal) wanted some concrete steps taken to preserve the rich heritage handed. He wanted CDs of good folk music and songs produced at subsidised costs by the state.

"If we do nothing, it will die its own natural death," he warned.

Dr. Sandhya Rani Shakya, head of the Bareilly Women's College said "folk music was the heart while classical the mind. We have to strive for a balance and satisfaction of both." Udaipur University's Dr. Anjna Gautam said the folk music and songs were deeply rooted in the rural ethos and culture. Folk music reflected the variety, richness and depth of the rural culture in Rajasthan, she added. Madhurima Pachauri, a researcher said there was a tendency to lump together tribal and folk music, but the two genres differ vastly. "Folk music is a mere rustic reflection of the larger Indian society, the rural reality, tribal music often represents a distinct cultural tradition and an identity of a group," she added. The conference delegates were regaled with some folk music and songs presentation from different parts of India including Kerala.
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