TM Krishna's concert cancelled: Opposition compares right-wing trolls with Taliban, Delhi govt offers support to artiste

The Opposition has lashed out at the cancellation of the concert of noted Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna in New Delhi on Saturday, reportedly as a result of the right wing trolls who made derogatory remarks against the artiste, calling him ‘anti-Hindu’, ‘urban Naxal’, etc.

Comparing the right-wingers and Sangh Parivar activists with the Taliban, Opposition parties including Congress, CPM and others have alleged that right-wing extremism has been badly damaging the diverse and composite culture of India due to rise of cultural intolerance.

At the time of writing, the Delhi government had offered to host Krishna in the city. Delhi's culture minister Manish Sisodia's office reached out to Krishna and extended support.

Opposition’s scathing reaction

Leaders from Congress, CPM, AAP and others have come up with sharp reactions against Airports Authority of India (AAI’s) cancellation of the musical event under pressure from the right wing forces, while speaking to Firstpost.

File image of TM Krishna. News18

File image of TM Krishna. News18

Congress MP from Karnataka BK Hariprasad has termed the development as ‘unfortunate and wrong on the part of AAI’ and an attempt of right-wingers to create polarisation.

“Right-wing extremism is increasing by leaps and bounds, which is damaging our country’s social and cultural fabric. This trend has become prominent in north India’s Hindi belt, whereas these elements are finding it difficult to penetrate the southern part, except in Karnataka, where some of their leaders have a base,” Hariprasad told Firstpost.

“TM Krishna is not just another singer of the south, but is internationally acclaimed and a highly respected vocalist. Such trolls against him are highly insulting. It’s an attempt of the right-wingers to polarise at every stage. We’ll extend our support to Krishna in whatever way he needs,” he added.

Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, Sangh Parivar and its affiliates, and comparing them with the ‘Taliban’, CPM Lok Sabha member from West Bengal Mohd Salim said, “RSS is the urban Taliban in India. The Sangh Parivar wants to have total control over government machinery and institutions, and thereby gag each and every voice. Any voice against them or which doesn’t suit them or their line of thinking is ‘anti-national’. Due to their cultural intolerance, they are engaged in damaging our basic principle of ‘unity in diversity’ and our composite culture. This right-wing extremists and Modi-bhakts are aggressively creating fissures in our religious, cultural, social and political fabric.”

Salim added, “AAI is an incorporated body formed under an Act of Parliament. Cowing down to the pressures from trolls is highly condemnable.”

AAP-ruled Delhi government has also come out strongly against the cancellation of the festival due to the alleged pressure from the right-wingers.

“Using such derogatory language on social media against an internationally known Indian vocalist reflects perverted mindset of these right-wingers. These right-wing bodies that include the BJP, RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal, etc want to forcibly impose their extremist thinking and principles on India’s syncretic culture. In fact, if they get a free hand, they would change the basic structure of the Indian Constitution that provides equal rights to all and freedom of expression and following one’s faith and religion. They are no less than Taliban and want to introduce that Talibani culture in our system, which is dangerous for our democracy,” remarked AAP’s Rajya Sabha member from Delhi Sanjay Singh.

What triggered this reaction from Opposition?

AAI, in association with the cultural body SPIC MACAY, organised a two-day ‘Dance and Music’ festival at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri in New Delhi on 17 and 18 November. Besides Krishna, dancers Sonal Mansingh, Priyadarshini Govind and sitarist Shahid Parvez Khan were also to perform at the event.

AAI tweeted about this event on 10 November, which was followed by Krishna’s retweet.

After that, right-wing trolls launched a campaign on the micro-blogging site against Krishna. According to news reports, following pressure from right-wingers, the AAI – a public sector body — cancelled the event. The organiser has said that due to “some exigencies at work, they (AAI) wouldn’t be able to go ahead with the dance and music event."

The trolls also tagged senior government functionaries including Minister of Railways, Coal and Corporate Affairs, Piyush Goyal and Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

Not the first time for TM Krishna

This is not the first time a maestro of Carnatic music and a Magsaysay award winner is facing the wrath of right-wing trolls.

In January, a Hindu right-wing group had threatened to disrupt his concert at Tirupur in Tamil Nadu, and in August, a Maryland temple in the US cancelled his concert allegedly after Hindutva activists accused Krishna of singing Christian hymns.

In doing so, the right-wing extremists are going against the very nature of Indian civilisation, which has thrived and survived on the basic principle of welcoming and assimilating all faiths and their followers. They are attempting to deny the very existence of poets such as Kabir and Raskhan in medieval India, and Bengali poet Qazi Nazrul Islam or renowned Sarod player and multi-instrumentalist Baba Allauddin Khan in later times, who were products and propagators of India’s syncretic culture. Some of the best Hindu bhajans from the Hindi film industry were sung by Mohammed Rafi. Did that make him less of a Muslim, or more of a Hindu, or simply a great Indian vocalist?

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Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 16:52:58 IST

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