#MeToo: Federation of City Sabhas sets up committee to investigate allegations against Carnatic music artists
This Internal Complaints Committee will look into allegations made against Carnatic musicians and take appropriate disciplinary action, says the Federation of City Sabhas
In light of the allegations emerging against Carnatic musicians in the second wave of the #MeToo movement, an Internal Complaints Committee is being set up by the Federation of City Sabhas in Chennai, reports The News Minute.
A statement was reportedly released to the press on 29 October by the Federation of City Sabhas, where it termed the acts of harassment that were reported on social media as being "shameful and condemnable". It said that all allegations will be treated seriously and investigated, adding that the Federation will also take "appropriate disciplinary action as necessary", states the same News Minute report.
Advocate Uma Ramanathan, who is the organising secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mediation and Conciliation Centre, High Court, Madras, will be heading this Internal Complaints Committee. Other members include Sudha Raghunathan, a senior Carnatic musician and Dr R Thara, director of the Schizophrenia Research Foundation. Supreme Court advocate Mohan Parasaran will be an advisor to the Federation.
The list of artists named in the recent slew of allegations are N Ravikiran, OS Thyagarajan, Mannargudi A Easwaran, Srimushnam V Raja Rao, Nagai Sriram, R Ramesh and Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan. On 9 October, singer Chinmayi Sripaada posted a tweet addressing musicians who had been accused by their own students and audience members.
Many noted musicians and singers signed a public letter demanding civil society investigations into the allegations and the beginning of a process whereby sabhas and organisers could be held responsible for the safety of artists and the audience. Soon after, a public meeting was held to discuss how the #MeToo movement could be taken from 'the internet to the streets'.
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The Madras Music Academy dropped seven artists who had been accused from its lineup for the upcoming Margazhi (December) season. Speaking to Firstpost about this decision, the Academy's president N Murali said, "We applied the same yardstick to all the seven musicians dropped — even if they were big, eminent, well-known musicians. Chitravina N Ravikiran, for instance, was our Sangeetha Kalanidhi awardee last year. But by the same yardstick, he was dropped this year. We have taken a lead. Now other institutions have to follow. We also hope it will be a deterrent against such acts in future. The Music Academy has a right to feature a musician or not in the festival, so we exercise it. This is not a legal process. These are allegations and we are not judging them guilty."
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