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TM Krishna hits back at attempts to communalise Carnatic music; promises to release songs about Allah, Jesus

Against the backdrop of attempts to communalise Carnatic music, especially the sentiment that it must only pertain to Hinduism, musician and social commentator TM Krishna has announced that he will be regularly releasing compositions on Allah and Jesus, every month.

TM Krishna. Facebook/@tmkrishna

TM Krishna. Facebook/@tmkrishna

This announcement comes days after singer OS Arun was the target of social media backlash over his intended participation at an event titled 'Yesuvin Sangama Sangeetham', which was conceived of by T Samuel Joseph (Shyaam). Shyaam, a student of Lalgudi G Jayaraman, has long been an exponent of Christian Carnatic music and is well known in the film and music circles. Arun was criticised by many social media users — mainly Hindus — for collaborating with a "stooge of the Vatican". Consequently, Arun cancelled the event, citing personal reasons.

Comments such as "Being a guardian of Carnatic music and a descendant of a very illustrious Bhagavatha family, you should never have agreed for this event at all" were posted after Arun made the announcement. The Wire quotes one social media user accusing the singer of converting and singing Christian songs, and demanding that he should quit Carnatic music. Many who have targeted Arun are upper caste Hindus and Brahmins, states the same report.

Another report by The Wire says that Arun received a phone call from a man who demanded to know why the singer was singing Christian songs "despite being a Hindu". This man, who calls himself Ramanathan, claimed to be the leader of the Rasthriya Sanathan Seva Sangh (RSSS), a Hindu organisation. When Arun asked why Ramanathan had not objected to TM Krishna performing in a church, the latter said that he was not aware that such a performance had taken place and asked for Krishna's number. He used a Tamil slur to refer to Krishna and threatened that his organisation would beat Krishna up.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, Ramanathan has expressed that he thinks Christian missionaries are using Carnatic artistes to sing about Jesus. This echoes what many social media users are saying, along with the view that Carnatic music must be confined to Hindu artistes and themes.

What seems to have remained unnoticed by those who have targeted OS Arun and other singers is that Christian Carnatic music is an established genre in itself, practised for several decades. Muslims too, have been active participants in Carnatic music, and many are known to have taken up the nadaswaram, a wind instrument used in performances.


Updated Date: Aug 10, 2018 15:51 PM

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