The Destruction and Christianization of Carnatic Music Might Occur Sooner than Anticipated

As expected, it has happened. There’s a proverb in Kannada which roughly means, “light up your beedi from the fire that is burning down your neighbour’s house.”

The thoroughly agenda-driven #Metoo charade has hit the Carnatic music circles as well ably guided, the charge led by the Radical Left’s latest useful idiot, T M Krishna. The first salvo was fired by the playback singer Chinmayi Sripada in the form of this tweet. That basically is a list of prominent male Carnatic classical musicians alleging them of sexual harassment. She has invited other victims of sexual harassment at the hands of said classical musicians to share their stories. Soon enough, that Twitter thread was flooded with replies and accusations and allegations and personal stories. Going by that thread, no musician seems to have been spared: people accusing the recently departed Dr. M Balamuralikrishna in such terms.

Chinmayi had earlier shot to fame by accusing the third-rated Tamil cinema lyricist, Vairamuthu of sexually harassing her. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to her. However, as we shall see, the #MeToo charade being dragged into the world of Carnatic music has deeper and far sinister motivations to it.

This time around, the selfsame T M Krishna has thrown his weight behind her.

The culmination is a “public letter demanding civil society investigations of the allegations set forth and begin a process that holds music sabhas and organisers accountable for the safety of the artists as well as the appreciators of their art.” Prominent signatories include the likes of TM Krishna, Bombay Jayashree, Ranjani and Gayatri, Abhishek Raghuram, and Sikkil C Gurucharan.

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Perpetrators of sexual harassment should be deservedly punished and victims should have no fear of either reporting it nor should they fear reprisal. However, when we trace the trajectory of the #Metoo charade it is clear that this is a case of hunting in packs, settling past scores, and in some cases, incidents have been plucked from thin air.

But in the specific case of Carnatic music, what is worrying is the sheer global dimension that this has assumed. It appears that T M Krishna and gang acting in concert with several groups in the United States have moved swiftly and in a move that reeks of the standard Leftist tactics, have sought to poison the well. Read.

This idea of open letter was a result of the congregation of like-minded young musicians and overlapping of their belief to stand in solidarity and a desire to create impactful change. “This group is truly unique because, for the first time, youth musicians from North America and India have come together to hold the community responsible for being complicit in their actions of these offenders and put forth an action plan to hold all involved parties accountable.”

The collective aims to create an ecosystem where organisations/sabhas create an action plan to guarantee that there isn’t any abuse of power and privilege… our goal is a create a safe environment for musicians, rasikas and organisers, and thoroughly investigate previous and any future reported cases of sexual harassment…

In other words, set up Kangaroo courts. Their next targets of wrecking are Bharatanatyam and other traditional performing arts.

Let’s get something straight: the sexual harassment element is really peripheral to a deeper issue. As Michael Crichton puts it brilliantly in his Disclosure, sexual harassment is less about sex than it is about power. In the novel it sexual harasser is a woman played brilliantly in the movie by Demi Moore. Given this, sex is not the only way in which power can and is exercised: career ruination, blocking concerts, badmouthing, character assassination…the list is endless.

The Left operates precisely using this fundamental, nay, primal human impulse. As I mentioned elsewhere, you simply cannot win this battle with this species if you fight them head-on. The reason is really simple: they don’t follow any rules, not even the ones they make for themselves. They swindle in order to win and they enjoy the process. Your value system is a weakness that they exploit and use as a weapon against you. Your virtue is their strength. Your nobleness, loyalty, fairness, and good conduct are contemptible qualities. They know you cannot, you will not abandon these qualities. They win their fights using mob-power. It really doesn’t matter to them if their so-called victory produces an inferior, valueless and enfeebled society where there’s no cost attached to criminal and depraved behaviour.

That is exactly what is playing out in this case as well. The signature campaign, the threat to set up the aforementioned kangaroo courts, etc is the outward facet of precisely this mob tactic. Chinmayi Sripada is really a minor pawn currently being used in a larger toxic game discarded after she will outlive her utility. And with due respect, she’s dumb. Else, she wouldn’t have allow herself to be coopted by a musical Urban Naxal like T M Krishna, whose charlatanism has been documented in a fair bit of detail on The Dharma Dispatch. This is a guy who wept for a Jihadi like Ajmal Kasab. Good luck to Chinmayi.

Given the brazen manner in which T M Krishna defended the Christianisation of Carnatic classical music in the wake of the recent controversy around Nithyashree et al singing Christian songs aimed at converting Hindus, and the haste with which he has jumped into light his ideological beedi by siding with Chinmayi Sripada, the foul noxiousness behind his self-righteous posturing stinks to the high heavens. T M Krishna is the same pervert who had written about M S Subbulakshmi’s deeply personal matters in the manner that a third-rate pornographic writer writes in say, the Penthouse. Like I said, they cheat and swindle to win and enjoy the process.

Given the documented history of these mobsters, the one place where they invariably fail is the courts: which is why they whip up such frenzy giving an illusion of “mass support,” while in reality, their numbers will be less than 500—and that’s being generous. The intent is to bully and more often than not, it works. In light of this, it remains to be seen whether Chinmayi’s allegations on Twitter and elsewhere online will stand the test of the courts.

But perhaps the real damage may have already been done. The timeless Guru-Shishya tradition, the foundation of Sanatana performing arts, has been severely shaken. What’s your wager that from now on, male Carnatic music teachers will refuse to (or not) admit any female disciples?

And if you think this kangaroo court proposal will end here, take it from me: it has not even begun.

And as with so many things, genuine Carnatic classical music artists, rasikas, and the larger Hindu community is still clueless about how to counter this latest assault.

Postscript

Oh, and speaking of sexual harassment, here’s a real-life story that exposes its other, darker side. A renowned Bharatanatyam danseuse of the yesteryears whose stature has since vastly been reduced to that of a crumb-eater in the Delhi “cultural scene” once gave an interview to a gossip magazine during her years of glory derived from her proximity to a powerful male politician than for her talent whose existence has to be known by its absence. In the interview, she falsely accused her dance Guru of making sexual advances to her. That poor man’s reputation was tarnished and he spent the rest of his life deeply hurt.

#Metoo?

Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. Author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." He has translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.