Wednesday, September 29, 2010

CWG2010: Another Prospective

Monday, September 27, 2010

भारत खेले खेल

आधिक आनंद के लिए निम्नलिखित लिंक को देखें:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Umvp8jXA3Xw

१९वें राष्ट्रमंडल खेलों का आयोजन मीडिया के लिये एक मसाला और गप्पबाजों के लिये एक रोचक व्यायाम बनकर रह गया है। पढें और सोचें
आज कल जिसे देखो दिल्ली में ३ अक्तूबर २०१० से अरंभ होने वाले राष्ट्रमंडल खेलों के विषय में ही सोच रहा है, उन्हीं के चिंता में खोया हुआ है – जैसे बाकी सभी समस्यायें, सभी चिंताएं, सभी विघ्न-बाधाएं मिट गयीं हैं, गौण हो गयी हैं। कुछ और सोचने को है ही नहीं। केवल यही चिंता हमें खाए जा रही है कि हम ये राष्ट्रमंडल खेल सफलतापूर्वक सम्पन्न करवा पाएंगे अथवा नहीं। ये हमारी राष्ट्रीय अस्मिता का प्रश्न बन गया है, अथवा बना दिया गया है। हमारी उन्नति, हमारी सम्पन्ता, हमारा विकास सब कुछ केवल इसी एक बिंदु पर आ कर टिक गये हैं – ये खेल सफलतापूर्वक संपन्न होंगे या नहीं। इसी एक प्रश्न ने सब को जकड़ रखा है, सबको परेशान कर रखा है; कहीं कोई दुर्घटना न घट जाए, कुछ अनिष्ट न हो जाए। इलेक्ट्रानिक एवं प्रिंट – दोनों संचार माध्यमों पर बस यही एक गर्म खबर परोसी जा रही है – खेल मंत्री एम। एस। गिल ने क्या कहा? दिल्ली की मुख्य मंत्री श्रीमती शीला दीक्षित ने खेल-गाँव के दौरे के बाद क्या निर्देश दिये? कौन से स्टेडियम में क्या हो रहा है? हमारी भूख-प्यास सब इन सवालों के आगे कुछ अर्थ नहीं रखतीं।


लगभग सात वर्ष पूर्व यह निर्णय लिया गया था कि १९वें राष्ट्रमंडल खेल भारत की राजधानी दिल्ली में आयोजित होंगे। तब से लगभग साढे़ छः वर्ष तक हम सब सोए रहे। संभवतः हम में से अधिकतर लोगों को तो यह बात मालूम ही नहीं थि, या फिर याद ही नहीं रही। इस व्रष जून-जुलाई में कुछ सिरफिरे खोजी पत्रकारों ने अपनी दूकान चलाने के लिए न जाने कहां से यह समाचार खोज निकाला कि १९वें राष्ट्रमंडल खेलों से संबंधित आयोजन-समिति अपना काम ठीक ढंग से नहीं कर रही है। फिर क्या था! पत्रकारिता के क्षेत्र में जैसे भूचाल सा आ गया। समाचारों से संबंधित सभी टी। वी। चैनलों पर चर्चाएं-गोष्ठियां आयोजित होने लगीं –यह देखने के लिए कि अभी तक कितना काम हो चुका है और कितना भाकी है। आयोजन-समिति के अध्यक्ष श्री सुरेश कलमाडी़ जब सवालों के चक्रव्यूह में फँसे तो बिफर कर कहने लगे कि मीडिया का तो काम ही है उल्टी सीधी खबरें फैला कर पैसे बनाना। लेकिन कहते हैं, “बात निकलेगी तो फिर दूर तलक जाएगी”। सो ये बात पहुंची हमारे संसद सदस्यों तक। वे ठहरे जन-प्रतिनिधि। चुप कैसे बैठ सकते थे! संसद में खेल मंत्री को घेरने के अनेक प्रयत्न किए गये लेकिन हमारे हँसोढ़ खेल मंत्री ने कहा कि ये हमारे काम करने का अनूठा ढंग है, हमारी कार्यशैलि है। भारतीय शादी में जिस प्रकार आकिरी समय तक तैयारियां चलती रहती हैं लेकिन अंत में दूल्हा-दुलहन मिल ही जाते हैं, वैसा ही कुछ इन खेलों में भी होने वाला है। चिंता की कोई आवश्यकता नहीं है।

लेकिन खोजी पत्रकारिता का क्या कीजिये। कुछ पत्रकारों के दिमाग में खोज की खुजली लग गयी थी, सो वे खोजते रहे। “जिन खोजा तिन पाइया, गहरे पानी पैठ।“

खोज की खुजली जब भ्रष्टाचार के दानों को खुजलाया तो वे फूट पडे़। उन दानों में से सत्य की जिस सरिता का उद्गम हुआ, उसके बहाव में आयोजन-समिति के अनेकों कर्णधार बहने लगे। कलमाडी़ ने अपने पाँव जमाने की बहुत कोशिश की। वे बच तो गये किंतु निश्क्रिय से हो कर रह गये।

मौसम ने भी भ्रषटाचार की इस सरिता में कुछ योगदान करने की सोची और झमाझम पानी बरसने लगा। इतना पानी बरसा कि यमुना में उफान आ गया। आयोजन-समिति को जैसे इस विभीषिका में तिनके का सहारा मिल गया। समिति कहने लगी, इसी बरसात की वजह से हमारी तैयारियों में कुछ देरी हो रही है वरना हमारी तैयारियों में कोई नुक्स नहीं। देश के वर्तमान कर्णधार श्री मनमोहन सिंघ ने आनन-फानन में मंत्रियों का एक समूह बना दिया जिसका काम खेल-तैयारियों की निगरानी करना था। लेकिन मंत्री-समूह तो भारतीय शादी में बाराती बनने के विचार से ही रोमांचित होता रहा और वह समय बिल्कुल निकट आ पहुँचा जब विदेशी बारातियों [खिलाडि़यों] को खेल-गाँव पहुंचना था। विदेशी खिलाडी़ पहले से ही सावधान थे। उन्होंने खुद आने से पहले अपने प्रतिनिधियों को इस बात की जाँच करने के लिए भेजा कि खेल-घाँव कैसा है। पता लगा कि जहां किलाडि़यों को ठहरना है वहां फिलहाल कुत्ते बिल्लियां आराम फरमा रहे हैं। क्यों न हो! हम भारतीय इतने पशु-प्रेमी जो हैं। लेकिन विदेशी खिलाडी़ इस अनावश्यक पशु-प्रेम से बिदक गये। उन्होंने सोचा हमारे हिस्से का सारा प्रेम यदि जानवरों को दे दिया गया तो हमारा क्या होगा? खूब बखेडा़ मचा। इसी बीच एक आध और दुर्घटनाएं घट गयीं। हम तो ऐसी दुर्घटनाओं के अभ्यस्त हैं मगर शायद विदेशियों को इस की आदत नहीं। बेचारे विदेशी खिलाडी़! घबरा गये ज़रा सी बात पर। हमारे गृहमंत्री ने बहुत समझाया कि ऐसी गोलियां तो यहां शादियों की शोभा बढा़ती हैं। सब कुछ ठीक-ठाक है। चिंता की कोई बात नहीं है। विदेशमंत्री ने भी यकीन दिलाया कि सुरक्षा से संबंधित यहां कोई समस्या नहीं है। यहां की पुलिस का चोरों से बहुत पुराना रिश्ता है। इस लिए वे दुर्घटना से बहुत पहले ही जान लेते हैं कि कौन कहां कब वारदात करने जा रहा है। उस वारदात को रोकना या न रोकना हमारे ही हाथ में है।

लेकिन खोजी पत्रकारों की खुजली से भ्रषटाचार के दाने फूटते रहे और भ्रष्टाचार की सरिता बहती रही। थोडी़-बहुत चीख-पुकार के उपरांत विदेशी खिलाडी़ भी जान गये कि इन तिलों में तेल नहीं है। उन्होंने भी परिस्थितियों से समझौता कर लिया और दिल्ली के खेल-घाँव में इकट्ठे होने लगे।

किसी तरह ये खेल हो ही जाआएंगे। और फिर हम सब कुछ भूल कर रोज़मर्रा के कामों में लग जाएंगे – जैसे कुछ हुआ ही न हो। खोजी पत्रकारों की खुजली भी किसी न किसी मरहम से रुक ही जाएगी। लेकिन हमारे देश की जो जगहँसाई हो रही है, क्या हम उसका प्रतिकार कभी कर पाएंगे?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Teaching people with dementia

New information by singing might

Enable them to live independently for a bit longer

by Nora Schultz


 

Singing to elderly people with dementia helps them form new memories, one of the first skills they tend to lose. Music is known to aid memory, especially recalling autobiographical information. For example, people with Alzheimer's disease are better at remembering events from their own past when music is playing in the background. It was less clear whether tunes could also help them learn.

Brandon Ally at Boston University and his team were inspired by the report of a man with Alzheimer's who could recall current events if his daughter sang the news to him to the tune of familiar pop songs. They decided to try it out for themselves.

They gave 13 people with Alzheimer's and 14 healthy seniors the lyrics from 40 unfamiliar children's songs to read, half accompanied by the actual song and half by the spoken words. All the participants saw the lyrics again without audio and mixed in with lyrics from a further 40 unknown songs. Those with Alzheimer's were able to recognise 40 per cent of the original lyrics that had been accompanied by song but only 28 per cent of those read to them. The healthy seniors recognised 80 per cent of lyrics, regardless of whether they had been sung or spoken (Neuropsychologia, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.04.033).

Very few things enhance new learning in people with dementia, says Ally. "It's really cool that hearing the lyrics sung did." He suggests that teaching patients new medication regimes via a song in the early stages of dementia might enable them to live independently for a bit longer.

We don't yet know why singing should help, but Ally says that music engages areas of the brain, including subcortical regions, that are typically spared until later on in dementia. Music may also improve attention, he adds.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Teachers

Most of our classrooms are teacher-centred, with one-way communication from

the teacher to pupils. Here is what one needs to do to change it.

Teachers should ensure that their lessons and attitude make students

comfortable

Golden rule: Classes should be interesting

For effective teaching: The great charm of teaching that merges knowledge

and skill is relegated to the background, when examination scores become the

main priority. Some teachers readily recognise this and interact more with

students.

"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." This quote is a jibe from George

Bernard Shaw, given by him under the title Maxims for Revolutionists in his

renowned play Man and Superman (1903). At best, it is a censure on

ineffective teachers. It is not a universal truth. Teaching is a noble

profession that moulds the emerging generations.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher

demonstrates. The great teacher inspires", said William Arthur Ward,

scholar, author, and teacher.

Often conventional teaching in schools and colleges degenerates into

drudgery for the teacher, which in turn becomes drudgery and dull drill for

the pupil. The great charm of teaching that merges knowledge and skill is

relegated to the background, when examination scores become not only the

first priority, but the sole objective.

This is not a new phenomenon. Perhaps when Mark Twain said that he had never

let his schooling to interfere with his education, he had the boredom of

school routine in mind.

A good teacher can make the teaching-learning process an enjoyable

experience, provided he has commitment to the profession. Dedication,

perseverance, and empathy with children are some of the essential traits.

There is a view, "teaching is not a profession; it is a passion".

Even gifted sculptors express their creativity by shaping lifeless blocks of

stone, wood, or metal. But a teacher moulds growing human beings with a

mind, a heart, and a soul. The sacred nature of a teacher's work is obvious.

The central aspect of education is learning. We know that teaching and

learning are two sides of the same coin. There is an enormous volume of

scientific literature bringing out the diverse features of institutionalised

teaching-learning processes. Let us extract from this treasury of knowledge,

principles that are of relevance and immediate application in classroom

teaching. Awareness of the possibilities of fine teaching will enrich

pupils' classroom experience as well.

The ultimate objective of any teaching is effective learning by the pupil.

Strategies for teaching have, therefore, to be designed on the basis of

relevant phases of the internal processes of learning. The phases are:

Getting motivated

Apprehending (the pupil coming face to face with the key points)

Acquisition

Retention (transfer from short-term to long-term memory)

Recall

Generalisation (applying the knowledge gained to new situations)

Performance (the pupil demonstrates through performance)

Feedback

The mental processes are influenced by factors such as the pupil's

questioning ability, and the availability of learning resources including

teacher's guidance. A teacher is an instrument that facilitates, promotes,

hastens, and influences the activities in the internal processes in the

pupil during learning.

When we find that a pupil experiences difficulty in learning a lesson, we

should analyse the reasons behind the difficulty. This can be done

effectively, if we keep in mind the different factors that influence

assimilation.

We should not forget that learning is a complex mental process. Many parents

often accuse their children for their poor scores in the examination,

without caring to appreciate the children's difficulty in assimilating new

ideas. If the parent can show some patience to imagine what feeling he would

have if he is asked to learn quickly a strange language like Korean or

Chinese, he may realise the child's predicament.

Some of the important factors that influence assimilation are the following:

Meaning (Unless the lesson makes sense to the pupil, he may not be able to

learn it easily)

Interest (Pupils should be properly motivated. Suppose a chemistry teacher

intends to teach 'conservation of matter'. Instead of defining the

principle, the teacher may ignite some spirit in a watch glass kept on the

classroom table, show the empty watch glass after the spirit has burnt, and

then ask the pupils how the spirit has disappeared. Slowly, the principle of

'conservation of matter' can be developed by graded questions, and answers

from the pupils. Once curiosity is aroused, pupils will get interested in

the concept. Deeper the pupil's interest in the lesson, better the

retention.)

Depth of impression (This can be improved by vividness in teaching; describe

to generate clear pictures in the mind.)

Association of ideas (Link new knowledge to an old piece of knowledge. Use

good sequence and logical development of the lesson)

Repetition (Not dull repetition, but repetition that offers pleasure or

satisfaction)

Frequency of recall (Use tests or assignments)

Prioritising (forget the unimportant and retain the essentials)

The classroom situation

Most of our classrooms are teacher-centred, with one-way communication from

the teacher to pupils, as in a radio broadcast. One may label it as

authoritarian and directive. Though it may be effective in preparing for a

formal examination, it is desirable that the classroom is made

pupil-centred, at least occasionally.

In a lecture-discussion, the classroom is not totally dominated by the

teacher. Instead, the pupils get opportunities for participation; there is

co-operative striving for a common goal. This situation boosts the

self-confidence of the pupils in facing life's challenges.

The overall style of classroom management should neither be totally

authoritarian or totally permissive. The teacher should strive to strike a

happy balance for ensuring effective learning with pupils' participation.

After all, the larger picture of the college classroom aims at development

of the personality of the pupils.

Some guidelines for effective classroom management are indicated below.

Follow the same rules for all students

Enforce your declared rules consistently

Know the names of students

Be tough in the beginning; may loosen later if all goes well

See that the pupils come prepared (mind and materials)

See that they listen

Use occasional humour. It makes children comfortable

Never insult a pupil in the classroom or elsewhere, whether it is for poor

performance or for other reasons

Do not ignore good performance; do tell them they did well

Submission of assignments on time. Also, return them after correction on

time

Develop good habits like punctuality through your style (be a role model)

Don't allow the tail to wag the dog. But be pragmatic.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

B.S. WARRIER

______

Please feel free to pass your comments, feedbacks & new ideas to the below

menntioned contact details.

Email:

saravanan.ramadoss1@gmail.com

saravanan_2008@hotmail.com

*******

"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."

William Shakespeare

------

Character can not be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of

trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and

success achieved.

Helen Keller

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Commonwealth Games Theme Song

19th Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi, India from 3rd October, 2010 onwards, have been in the news more for the wrong reasons than for the real objectives of sportsmanship. Investigative journalists dug out so much dirt and mud on one hand and on the other hand, Monsoon is making a mockery of highly exaggerated preparations as claimed by the Organizing Committee under the chairmanship of Suresh Kalmadi, who has now been popular for controversies and scandals rather than for appropriate execution of plans and projects in order to smoothly conducting the games. However, here we would focus upon the 'theme song' of these games composed by the only Oscar winner composer of Bollywood – A. R. Rahman, who, claimed that the song composed by him would be more appealing and beautiful than the one 'waka waka' sung by Shakira for the FIFA World cup 2010 even before he composed it.

This theme song was released by A. R. Rahman on 28 August, 2010 in Gurgaon, Haryana in the presence of eminent personalities from different walks of life and the esteemed members of the Organizing Committee. The initial lines of the song are like this:

Oh yaaron, yeh India bulaa liya / Diwaano yeh India bulaa liya… bulaa liya / Yeh toh khel hai / Bada mail hai / Milaa diya… milaa diya...

Please listen to the song

Most of Rahman's fans are not very pleased with the song. The comments on different social networking sites about the song are not encouraging. Some of viewers have commented that Rahman has got a bit overconfident. It is his callous approach which brought him down on the popularity charts especially, for this theme song of commonwealth games.

Firstly, Rahman composes music chiefly for Bollywood and Pop Albums. This segment of songs is different from that of composing songs for special occasions. Therefore, it is not Rahman's fault that he could not live up to the expectations of the music-lovers of the Indian Subcontinent. The organizing committee made a mistake in awarding him the contract to compose the song. Composing pop music is totally different from composing a song to suit a specific occasion. The song of Asiad 1982 was composed by Pt. Ravishankar, the well-known classical music maestro of the international repute. His composition Ath Swagatam, Shubha Swagatam echoed the letter and spirit of Indian cultural heritage. On the contrary, Rahman's training of music is based upon Western tradition of music and hence he should not be expected to represent the Indian tradition of melodic beauty. In essence, the fault lies with the organizing committee. Rahman did whatever he could and the song is before us. In the song, there is every element of the popular music. But the Indian ethos is missing. It would have been better had the organizing committee assigned the responsibility to somebody from the field of Indian classical music. Pt. Ravishankar, Pt. Shivakumar Sharma, Pt. Jasraj, many names can be counted. Let us hope that Indian Government would not be so indifferent to the classical musicians of Indian traditions in the future.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Music for the masses

Music has always been an integral part of the human civilization. Has it been the East or the West, music looks to have a universal appeal. Many archaeologists and anthropologists recognize it as a dimension for the cultural upgradation. Historians consider musical skills as one of the most important conditions for the intellectual growth. That is the reason as to why the developed societies, more often than not, evolve more delicacies and complexities in their musical genre than those of the less developed ones. In fact, music is the most powerful tool for the hypnotism. It not only spells its charm upon the human beings but the animals too fall prey to it. The scientists concluded after different experiments that cows are milked easily while the suitable music is played during the process of milking. Likewise, elephants respond to music too. Not only have the animals, the plants also responded to music. In the paddy fields the specified instrumental music was played as the crop was growing. There was a visible increase in the per acre produce. Thus, it looks that music has a very soothing effect on living bodies.

During the festive times, on joyous as well as the depressing occasions, in religious/cultural functions, in every sphere of life we see the use of music. Therefore, it is not without reason that one should try to look into the meaning of music. We have to be clear in our minds as to what really is the actual meaning of music. This article tries to find out as to what the masses think of the concept of music and also what the classical definition of the same is.

What is music?

Generally, singing a song, or playing its tune on some instrument, is considered as creating music. There is a saying, "singing and sobbing is known to all." Most of the common masses think that singing is music. They associate it with singing songs or playing the same on an instrument. In "WordWeb Dictionary", the word 'Music' is explained as under:

  1. An artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner

2. Any agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) sounds

3. (Singing) musical activity (singing or whistling etc.)

4. (Music) the sounds produced by singers or musical instruments (or reproductions of such sounds)

However, when it comes to the musicians, music is a well defined concept. The artists consider it as a fine art. In the list of the five fine arts, music and literature come on the top. The Indian philosopher and thinker Bhartrihari reveals the same as follows,

"साहित्य संगीत कला-विहीनः, साक्षात् पशुः पुच्छ-विषाण-हीनः।"

Meaning, those who live without music and literature, are like the animals without the horns and tails.

For more on the concept of music, please visit, http://www.musicalexpressions.myehome.in/thesis/ch1.mht/

As in this essay, our main focus is upon the understanding of the views of common people about the concept of music. Therefore, we would not go into the details of the definitions etc of the same. We would Endeavour to think of music in terms of the masses rather.

Dr Radhakrishnan, the great philosopher/teacher and the former President of India stated in his famous book that a poem expressed perfectly and charged with the sentiment, becomes a musical genre. ("Jeewan Ki Adhyatmik Drishti" published by rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.)

There are many identical definitions of the term 'music', well-versed amongst the music community; hence, it hardly serves any purpose to make of the repetition of the same here. The conclusion of almost all of them is as under:

Music is a fine art which relates to singing, playing of a musical instrument and dancing. It is expressed through the medium of sound. The pleasing sounds or 'naada' is expressed through a variety of musical notes which have been evolved over the ages. These musical notes create music. We can use the vocal chords, which is gifted by the Nature or the man-made musical instruments available in different shapes and sizes to create music. Sometimes, the musical notes are created just by whistling; here one can adjust one's lips to create different musical notes. At present, the western world considers the art of dance unique and separate from music. However, here in India, the trinity of vocal music, instrumental music and dance is treated in the same art of music.

Now, let us reflect on what the masses think of music. Generally, the common men and women do not need a definition to appreciate, understand, adjudge any concepts, ideologies, arts, philosophies etc. the common people use the 'common sense' to understand even the most complicated situations. It is the job of the scholarly and the intelligent to play with language and more often than not, to prove nothing but their capacity of analyzing the concepts. One needs to be a connoisseur and not necessarily a scholar, to enjoy or appreciate music or any art for that matter. One needs commitment, rigorous practice [Swara Sadhana] and the love and appreciation to be a musician. Of course, after a certain level, a reverend teacher is also required. But in any case, we need no reasoning or logic for us to excel in the art. In fact logic is helpful in the branches of science and mathematics etc and the stream of arts has nothing to do with the logic. We can elaborate it by adding the following fact:

The artists try to communicate with his/her audience with ever new expressions. [Different arts have different media]. But the main condition of creating beauty through art remains the same. This condition is the newness of the expression presented to the audience. Bhasa the great classical poet of Sanskrita stated this very romantically. That image, which attains newness every second and hence remains ever new, is the real beauty. (क्षणे क्षणे यन्नवतामुपैति तदेव रूपम् रमणीयतायाः।)

Any new composition, expression, invention, discovery, poem, play etc cannot be created just through the logic. Dr Radhakrishnan supported the same in his book. ('Jeewan ki adhyatmik drishti' P34) He explained, "We can elaborate upon any given idea through the power of logic but logic does not help in leading our ideas to new inventions." He presented an example from the world of science. Many persons before Newton had seen the apple falling on the earth. However, it struck in nobody's mind [before Newton], that the fall was due to the reason of the earth's gravity. Sometimes, we try our level best to find the solution to a problem and get none. As we accept the defeat, sometimes it occurs that suddenly the solution strikes in our mind like a lightening. We get a smile and think that answer to the said problem was so simple and still so far away from us. It is through the genius and ignited minds that such newness takes place incessantly. The orthodox God-fearing persons believe that it is through the grace of the God.

It is for this reason that the masses consider music as one of many gifts of the Almighty. We, the logical men and woman, often ridicule the faith of the common people and condemn such thinking on the basis of not being logical. For instance, many rationalists question the thinking that the Swaras [the musical notes] originated through the 'Damru' of lord Shiva or through imitating the voices of different birds and animals. Some of such scholarly persons also question the association of gods and goddesses with music and other fine arts. They suggest that the gods have nothing to do with the evolution of arts. But the common men and women beyond cultural barriers and geographical boundaries are united and firm in the view that it is the grace of God which showers the hypnotizing drizzle of arts upon us. That is why; they say that the artists are born naturally. They cannot be evolved. Many artists too submit that one can polish an artist to the perfection but the artists cannot be created; they are born through the grace of the God.

Conclusion

For the masses, arts in general and music in particular, make the artists glamorous. Everybody is infected by a genuine and pleasant music. Subsequently, everybody wants to learn it have a mastery over the art. But in the opinion of Shri L. K. Pandit, (former lecturer in the Department of music, Delhi University and Programme Executive, All India Radio), in the music Institutes we do not create 'Tansens' but 'Kaansens'. Every learner of music cannot necessarily become an artist but he/she surely can become 'Kaansen' [the appreciator of music].

On the basis of above description, the art of music can be associated with two basic components: 1. the creater of music [the artist] and 2. The listener or the audience. The linking medium which connects these two is the art-form. There are numerous forms of music which have been categorized by musicologists in different classes. Some of them, for instance, are: popular music, folk music, film music, light music, devotional music and last but not the least, classical music. Classical music is further divided into classical and semiclassical music. There are different classes and types of musical forms. However, it is beyond the limits of this article to address the issue of the classification of musical forms. Our focus would be to understand as to what is the scope of music as for as a layman is concerned.

In music, the medium of expression is the sound. All sounds are not musical ones. Musical sounds are said to have certain characteristics like softness, pleasantness, clarity etc. the sounds used in music are thus called 'Naada'. Naada is expressed through the musical notes. These musical notes do not have any substantial relevance for the laymen. The masses do not ponder over the minute ideas like the accuracy of musical notes, the pitch, the composition etc. they just like or dislike the musical composition they listen to. Therefore, the concepts like the composition, 'Swara Sadhana', purity of Raga, perfection of certain techniques etc which are very important to a music critique, do not have much significance to the masses.

The musician and the audience are linked [as stated above], through the musical sound which is expressed by the musical notes. These notes do not have any substance for the common audience. Therefore, we stop talking of them. The main objective of the artist of music has to be to focus upon the melody. Melody is composed through the musical notes. However, those folk people, who are not aware of musical notes, also compose folk songs. Therefore, we should rather say that the melody is based upon the musical sounds. All the features of the musical sounds [pleasantness, softness, soothing effect etc] are hence transferred to the melody. Melody may or may not have poetry or words. In the purest form of music, only musical sounds are used to convey the feeling of the artist. But in the oral tradition and the folk traditions, the melody is composed of both the two: words as well as the musical notes. In Indian tradition, the former is called as 'dhatu' and the latter one is 'matu'. This fascinating mingling of two great fine arts [music and literature], leads to the composition of songs. These songs vary from region to region and from culture to culture. We can submit that "the song is poetry composed in musical notes and balanced with rhythmic patterns." Any literary work, when decorated with musical notes and the rhythm, transformed into a song. Such songs are also played upon various musical instruments. In that case, the listeners enjoy the same song as with words. In Indian tradition, it is believed that the musical instruments should follow the vocal music and the dance should follow the instruments. (SangeetRatnakar: Chapter 1, Pindotpatti Prakaran).

To conclude, music is the melody (or melodies played together - harmony), composed of musical notes and balanced with rhythmic patterns. The main property of any musical composition is that it is pleasant, fascinating, interest-provoking and above all full of freshness or newness. Such compositions are appreciated by the audience and hence easily gain popularity. The acceptance of the listeners is also very importand for a musical genre for making an imprint. Marketability, presentibility etc come afterwards.

For Further Reading

Music of the Indian Subcontinent

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Watch this short documentary on Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam prepared in connection with a school competition. This movie was adjudged 2nd amongst around 40 entries. To watch the movie, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTNtsiwt1nc

Friday, August 6, 2010

Music, as an alternative therapy

I found this article on Hindu, the Online Edition. As I keep on finding new research on music therapy, I thought this article might prove to be one of many examples of the same. Maybe, the medical fraternity would pursue music therapy more vigorously. Hence, I thought to produce the article which is as under:


 

Music putting her back on feet

Dennis Marcus Mathew

6-year-old coming back to life from somatic brain injury

Radhika, who is recovering from coma with the help of music, with her mother Manju at hospital.

Music has much more than rhythm, beats and series of notes. Any doubt? Ask six-year-old Radhika, who is collecting and piecing together the missing notes of her life with music after being in coma for two months.

Radhika, born to Ambalapuzha fisherman Raju and Manju, was admitted in an unconscious state to the intensive care unit of the T.D. Medical College Hospital in Vandanam, 9 km south of the Alappuzha in Kerala, on May 30 after suffering from a somatic brain injury. The injury was caused by an accidental tightening of her neck by a shawl she was playing with.

Head of the hospital's pediatric department Girija Mohan says Radhika lost sensation and memory, suffered from respiratory problems and was in need of ventilator support.

"We had absolutely no hope of her recovery. Medicines and intravenous fluids kept her alive, but she was in coma. She also suffered from seizures. We tried every mode of treatment. When I began searching the Internet, I came upon music therapy for such cases," Dr. Mohan told The Hindu.

Coupled with inputs from Raju and Manju that Radhika enjoyed songs, especially those on Lord Krishna, Dr. Mohan got busier on Google, Yahoo and all other search engines. Low and soft music, instrumental music and Carnatic music, without rap or loud music, was the feedback she got. Listening to music over an earphone, Radhika began responding slowly - first by opening her eyes, then being attentive to music, smiling in between, and then responding to her name. Dr. Mohan added environmental simulation to the neuro-rehabilitation therapy. Radhika's parents took her out on the verandah and started talking to her and showing the people around. Physiotherapy became a daily routine.

After Radhika took her first steps on Saturday after two months, Dr. Mohan is happy.

For Further Reading:

Sensation of tones

Changing society through Music

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Common Wealth Games and the prospects of India

Since the very commencement of our independence, our country has progressed in all spheres of life; be it science and technology, agricultural and the industrial development, arts and entertainment, or the games and sports – our advancement has been phenomenal. It is in this context of our all round achievements that we have got the pride moment of conducting the commonwealth games to be held in October, 2010. Not only that we have the challenge to accomplish the mission with perfect precision, but the much more important thing is that we emerge victorious in as many events as possible in the grand ceremony of the sportsmanship. The latter is the greater challenge. Therefore, it is mandatory to us that we look into the prospects of India, our country, in these games.

In the present scenario, most of our countrymen are obsessed with cricket when it comes to discourse about the games of any kind. But in the last Olympic Games, our shooters and boxers made us proud through their commendable performances. Very recently, Saina Nehwal electrified the Badminton Court by winning Singapore Open Badminton Championship. Our wrestlers have not only been able to sustain their consistency in skills and agility, but many of them have improved their performances. The weight lifters are also doing pretty well. All these achievements present a hopeful environment for us to think that in the upcoming commonwealth games too, our heads will be held high.

Games have been the integral part of our education system. The policy-makers have always tried to incorporate the sports in the curriculum. At the school as well as the college levels, the faculty of sports have been established. However, there is a lot which needs our attention.

A lack of proper infrastructure has been the matter of concern over the years. The players express their apprehensions in this matter at various levels. Questions have also been raised over the functioning of various sports Federations. Recently, a dispute between the Hockey Federation of India and the National Hockey team has been in the Electronic as well as the Print Media. The appointment of the foreign Coaches has also been the point of contention between the players and the administrative bodies of many sports. In short, there are a variety of problems which demand a timely and the satisfactory solution, not only from the government but from the players' side also.

In the nation of such great diversity as ours, we cannot expect that everything will come our way without any hassles. Sure, we have problems but we have the capacity to solve them too. Such obstacles have never deterred us; on the contrary, they have inspired us to work more vigorously to achieve the targets. Therefore, we need not afraid of these petty problems. Let us work together for the execution of the event with the perfect precision. We have the capacity to win numerous Golds if our players are given the proper environment and the infrastructure. Our players are second to nobody. They have proved this time and again. India has dominated the game of hockey from the Fifty's to Seventy's of the gone by Century. The magical Hockey-stick of the legendary Major Dhyan Singh is still in the memories of the hockey lovers all over the world. Sprinters like the great Milkha Singh, the shooting sensation Captain Rajvardhan Singh Rathore, the flying fairy P. T. Usha and many more exemplary personalities inspire millions of us. We have the courage and the commitment, capacity and the will power; we just need the ignition to blast our energetic performance. Therefore, it is the duty and the sacred responsibility of the Government and all concerned to create a barrier-free atmosphere in which our contingent for the occasion can perform to its level best. Let us give our players the required weaponry and the moral support. Let us encourage them. This is not the time of finding the faults but the occasion to show our talents under whatever circumstances our destiny has brought us in. There is no time left for the criticism or the leg-pulling. Let us forget everything else and concentrate upon the targets. We have the potentials to overcome any kind of odd situations that may arise. We have been victorious in the past and we can again overpower the sophisticated and technologically more advanced training of any sports-troop. I have the full faith in our players and I am sure that they would earn more medals than ever before. Let us join our hands to support and encourage them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Here a chirp, there a chirp

Slow down, take a deep breath. Listen to the birds and let the melody relax you.

Just listen: Sweet sound of music.

Who wouldn't love to listen to bird song? Stop and listen to the liquid notes that come floating through the trees. A composition with bird songs or bird calls is nothing short of a beautiful creation.

A. J. Mithra, the music teacher, at the M.C.C. Campus Matriculation School, Tambaram has put together songs of birds to make a composition that would be the envy of any composer.

While downloading music, he says he came across bird calls that got him interested in the beauty of the sound. "It was like walking in a jungle," he smiles. Later while travelling on his bike, he heard a bird song and thought it was the ringtone of his mobile phone. From then, he took to bird watching and "bird hearing".

Sing a song

The MCC campus is a bird watchers' paradise and the school is situated inside the campus. Mithra got the school kids involved — they listened to the birds and this eventually led to bird watching. The kids often go on many bird walks and now are able to identify the bird by the call.

"When we go on a bird walk, we have to be very, very quiet. We can hear them but we can't see them most of the times. We first heard the sound "cu, cu cu" and then we saw the cuckoo," says R. Steffi Jones Evangeline of Std. V.

The students are also on the lookout for wounded birds and have tended a hurt crow back to "health". Bird feeders and water spots are soon to be installed.

The birds they see: Beulah Praise Kathryn, V; Alex, V; Sarah Jacob, IV - MCC Campus School Oriental magpies are a melodious species, says Mithra. They literally "sing" and are believed to sing around 15 to 20 tunes improvising on it all along.

The Black Drongo is aggressive, they fight and suddenly seem to make up — their call sounds like a hiss, with something of a mocking tone.

The common Iora carries on a kind of trilling conversation, which is also a territorial call. Mithra has composed a piece of music with 15 different bird songs titled "Walk through the woods".

There are more than 90 species on campus he said and when the lake is full, migratory birds and waders are frequent visitors.

Constant listening to the song of birds and watching them, learning about their habits and their "lifestyle" will help us understand our feathered friends.

Bird box:

The dawn chorus is important as it shows that they are alive. So they sing lustily.

Females imitate the males, to scare predators or to inform the male about the predator.

Birds are important as they are sowers, pollinators, scavengers and pest controllers.

Take care to keep water to drink not overfeed them. They get too heavy to fly and the next generation might have smaller wings.

Gift a bird friendly tree to your school.

Do not prune trees as birds do not come to pruned ones.

Links to listen:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/celebration/community/aj-mithra

http://www.youtube.com/user/ajmithra

http://www.bnhsenvis.nic.in/Kids%20corner%20-%20AJ%20Mithra%20videos.htm

http://www.welovebirds.org/profile/ajmithra

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Kamashastra or Art of Love - Sex and Hinduism

By: Nithin Sridhar

Mar-27-2008

Ivarta


 

"Her lap is a sacrificial altar; her hairs, the sacrificial grass; her skin, the soma-press.

The two labia*(lips) of the vulva are the fire in the middle." [Brihad-Âranyaka Upanisad, 6.4.3]

"This man (ama) am I; that woman (sâ), thou!

That woman, thou; this man am I!

I am the Sâman; thou, the Rig!

I am the heaven; thou, the earth!

Come, let us two together clasp!

Together let us semen mix,

A male, a son for to procure!" [Brihad-Âranyaka Upanisad, 6.4.20]1

Whenever the issue of Love, Nudity, Sex and Hinduism comes into picture, we usually get any one of the following reactions-

1] The Westerners in general and Western scholars doing South Asian studies [for example RISA 2] in particular, and their Indian counterparts who consider Hinduism to be mix of voodoo and pornography.

2] The Hindu orthodox which thinks sex is a taboo.


 

Now I will examine, how valid is both of these perspective.

Hindu Purusharthas:

Purusharthas means objectives of a human being. They are the canonical four ends or aims of human life. They serve as pointers in the life. The four Purusharthas from lowest to highest-

Kama - pleasure or desire

Artha - wealth

Dharma - righteousness or morality

Moksha - liberation from the cycle of reincarnation

According to Kama Sutra, "IN the beginning, the Lord of Beings created men and women, and in the form of commandments in one hundred thousand chapters laid down rules for regulating their existence with regard to Dharma, Artha, and Kama." 4 Further it says- "MAN, the period of whose life is one hundred years, should practise Dharma, Artha and Kama at different times and in such a manner that they may harmonize together and not clash in any way. He should acquire learning in his childhood, in his youth and middle age he should attend to Artha and Kama, and in his old age he should perform Dharma, and thus seek to gain Moksha, i.e. release from further transmigration.."

So, according to Hindu scheme of thing, even though Enlightment is the ultimate goal of life, it encourages people to enjoy everything and fulfill all material desires. Moksha is a long process. It can be achieved only when all material desires are quenched. And hence, Hindu religion prescribes 2 methods, the path of renounciates, the path of householder. There is one more less popular but more maligned path of within "Tantras" which accept everything material, everything condemned as taboo and hence aims to rise above the animalistic desires.

Sex as Yajna:

Yajna or sacrifice is derived from root word "Yaj". It means Worship or offering an oblation.

Max Muller defines Yajna is an act by which we surrender something for the sake of gods".

Sex is worship. It is an act by which the couples surrender their ego, in order to gain pleasure, progeny, eventually even enlightment.

"Her lap is a sacrificial altar; her hairs, the sacrificial grass; her skin, the soma-press. The two labia of the vulva are the fire in the middle. Verily, indeed, as great as is the world of him who sacrifices with the Vâjapeya ("Strength-libation") sacrifice, so great is the world of him who practises sexual intercourse" (Brhad-Âranyaka Upanisad)

These verses clearly shows that, sex was treated as a form of worship, an act to not only fulfill one"s desires and gain pleasures, but also as an act of sacredness.

Sex as Meditation: In Vigyana Bhairava Tantra8, during a conversation between Shiva and Shakti, Devi Asks:

O Shiva, what is your reality?

What is this wonder-filled universe?

What consttutes seed?

Who centers the universal wheel?

What is this life beyond form pervading forms?

How may we enter it fully, above space and time, names and descriptions?

Let my doubts be cleared!

So, Shiva explains her 112 methods of meditation to attain enlightment. He says-

At the start of sexual union

Keep attentive on the fire in the beginning,

And so continuing, Avoid the embers in the end.

When in such embrace your senses are shaken as leaves, Enter this shaking.

Even remembering union, Without the embrace.

These verses clearly indicate how sexual act can be utilized for achieving enlightment.

Enlightment is a state, when all egos vanish. As in a sexual act, the couple leaves behind their ego and unites with each other and achieves sexual ecstasy. This very thing can be utilized to achieve spiritual ecstasy.

Kamashastra:

It is the study of "Sixty Four" arts like- Singing, Playing on musical instruments, Dancing, Union of dancing, singing, and playing instrumental music, Writing and drawing, Tattooing, etc. "Kamasutra" or the "art of lovemaking" only a part of this Shastra.

Is Hinduism pornography and Tantra a sex manual? The straight answer is a simple No. It is Victorian mentality which condemns any depiction of sex. Hinduism recognizes the role of sexual desires in human lives. The sexual depictions in some of the temples were mean to not only educate the people, but also to help those who were involved in sexual sadhanas for enlightment. There is a difference between Nudity and expression of beauty and pornography. What appears in Hindu puranas and Itihasas are the expressions of genuine beauty and not pornography.

"Tantra" is a much maligned word. "Tantra" actually refers to vast body of literatures called "Agamas" which are practical manuals for meditation. There are many Shaiva, Shaktha, Pancharatra Agamas. Using sex for meditation is prescribed in only few of the so many different paths described in Agamas. So, it is very wrong in equating Tantra with Sex.

Some Social Issues:

Sex Education: Sex education had always been present in Hindu history. Vatsayana says, both men and women should learn Kamashastra10.

Pre-Marital Sex and Love Marriages: In Hindu society sex was always considered to be individual choices. There are many instances in our history and scriptures depicting pre-marital sex and love marriages. So, crying out against them as being anti-Hindu is not quite proper. Manusmrithi recognizes 8 kinds of marriages of which "Gandharva Marriage11" is one of them. It is the voluntary union of a maiden and her lover, which arises from desire and sexual intercourse for its purpose.

The same can be said about extra marital affairs. As they are personal affairs, we should let individuals to decide about it. Hindu society has always given this much freedom to its people.

Conclusion: In Hindu society sex is neither a taboo nor pornography. Sex is sacred. Sex is recognized as human desire which should be satisfied and which can be used to attain the ultimate goal of enlightment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Witness the Opening of Commonwealth Games

Dear Music Lovers,

If you play on Sitar as a hobby and wish to be a part of the Cultural Bonanza on the occasion of the upcoming Commonwealth Games, to be held in New Delhi, India, please contact the following persons:

Dr. Ravi Sharma

Mob: 09873107335

Dr. Vedprakash Sharma

Mob: 9013000251

Or send your queries to:

Vedprakash.sharma@gmail.com

Twenty-five Sitarists with other artists from different sections will be presenting a musical feast at the inauguration ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 3rd Oct, 2010.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sensation of Tones

Have you ever wondered how it comes that the soldiers march on the rhythm of the the Army Band and forget the featigue as they harmonize their limbs with the music of the Band. Music diverts our attention to its beauty and hence we forget about all other things as we listen to the music of our choice. It is this capability of music which led the medical fraternity to think over using the power of music as an alternate therapy for different ailments. We are aware of the after-effects of the drugs and hence it is advisable to avoid them as much as possible. There are many institutes which are involved in the research and administration of this therapy. However, in Indian context, not much have been done. From time to time, newspapers and magazines publish articles without ascertaining the authenticity of the information. There is an urgent need to properly look into every aspect of it before proceeding further.

I am saying it because I recently read an article in "The Hindu" which I am pasting below for your reference. This article claims that certain Ragas of Hindustani music can cure certain illnesses. Please go through the article and let me know your views. Here goes the article:

The sound of healing

Different sounds have a corresponding effect on different parts of the body. Music therapy has been tried and tested in many forms. An important form is 'naad yoga'. 'Naad' means sound and 'yoga' means union. The union with inner Brahma (god) through shabda Brahma (divine sound) and awakening its might is the basic principle behind this. The concept has been in existence since Vedic times but has been forgotten ever since. Sitar player Biswajit Panda is now delving into how sound vibrations of different frequencies affect our body in various ways.

Biswajit explains, "Naad yoga is a source of inspiration that increases motivation and activates the Kundalini chakras. Nature has given naad in the bodies of all beings; some are aware while others are not. To awaken this, one can do naad yoga." Naad yoga is useful for modern society, specially students. Everything is polluted today, even sound. Naad yoga uses the purest form of divine sound to boost efficiency of mind, thus curing many problems.

"I have treated many children with an attention deficit through naad yoga. Playing a musical instrument deviates their negative energies to the positive energy of sound, well-tuned with self-realisation," says Biswajit.

The therapy

"Ragas like Sohini, Marva, Puriya and Shivranjani can cure feelings of frustration, distress and nostalgia. Raga Bairagi inculcates the emotion of 'enjoying with renouncement' or to take care of everything with an attitude of 'nothing is mine' into a person, which provides self-satisfaction and 'ananda'. Raga Darbari helps in enhancing bravery. Raga Bageshri and Ragesari help cure insomnia, Todi helps remove headaches and Jog enhances memory. The list of ragas and their respective uses is long," explains Biswajit.

He further adds, "All these ragas are more effective in case of people with a basic knowledge of music. The benefit of these ragas can be gained by listening to pre-recorded music, though it is more beneficial if one tries to play them on some instrument."

The sitarist recommends some ragas for a particular time of the day for utmost benefit:

Ragas for morning: Ahir Bhairav, Todi, Bhairav, Bhairavi and Vibhas

Ragas for afternoon: Ragas of Vilaval, Shuddha Sarang, Brindavani Sarang

Late afternoon: Bhim Palasi

Ragas for evening: Yaman, Shuddha Kalyan, Bhopali

Ragas for night: Ragesai, Bageshri, Nayaki Kanhada

Ragas for midnight: Jog, Malkos, Chandrakauns

Particularly, raga Jog has a unique effect of integrating the 'atman' (soul) with 'parmatman' (god), as it unifies the previous day to the coming day and a person can take in the divine cosmic power before morning to remain full of life throughout the day.

"Bhramari pranayam is an aspect of naad yoga that is very good for students and other intellectualists. The sound of a bhramar has good effect on the mind, nerves and throat, and inner self-consciousness increases. All the other forms of ashtaang yoga are incomplete without integration of naad in them. For example, in the surya namaskar, if asanas are done along with naad of particular mantras, their effects amplify manifold," explains Biswajit.

He concludes saying, "Music can make a person laugh or cry. It is said that Lord Shiva and goddess are the pioneers of naad, followed by Krishna, who made the universe dance to the tune of his flute. The naad of the damru, veena and flute really generate self-realisation. This is naad yoga."

For More Information

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Are you the next Singing Star?

Sangam Kala Group

Presents


 

Spice Surtarang

33rd All India Finale and Musical Evening


 

Age Groups:

Sub Junior- 5 to 12 years

Junior- Above 12 to 18 years

Senior- Above 18 to 28 years


 

Categories:

Film Songs

Non-Film Songs


 

Date and Venue of Live Audition:

Date: 20th June, 2010

Venue: Hindi Bhawan, 11 Vishnu Digambar Marg,

    Near ITO, Delhi


 

For further details, contact:

G.I. Sikri: 9811883025

Sunil Rajoria: 9810073470

Veena Sharma: 9811018222


 

To participate through your mobile, dial 54321333 (toll free*).


 

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Valmiki Ramayana

Valmiki Ramayana has always been an inspiration for all other descriptions about lord Rama. For further information about the topic, Please read on:

http://www.valmikiramayan.net/


Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is an epic poem of India which narrates the journey of Virtue to annihilate vice. Sri Rama is the Hero and aayana His journey. We in India believe that Sri Rama lived in Treta Yug, millennia BC and we are presently concerned with what Srimad Valmiki Ramayana tells us, rather than when it was told.
This epic poem Ramayana is a smriti which is translated as "from memory". Given the antiquity of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana, there have been some interjected verses. Sometimes these verses can be contradicting. However, scholars, grammarians, historians have put lot of effort to standardize the original text, by verifying various manuscripts available from various parts of India, thus trying to stabilize and save the text from further contradictions. An example of this effort is the critical edition of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana. This site aims to study various versions of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana and arrive at a version of Ramayana that is most relevant to modern times.
Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is composed of verses called Sloka, in Sanskrit language, which is an ancient language from India and a complex meter called Anustup. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called Sargas, wherein a specific event or intent is told. These chapters or sargas are grouped into books called Kaandas where Kaanda means the inter-node stem of sugar cane, or also a particular phase of the story or an event in the course of story telling.
Thus the structure of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is arranged into six Kaandas or Books, and they are:
Bala Kanda ( Book of Youth) [77 chapters]
Ayodhya Kanda (Book of Ayodhya) [119 chapters]
Aranya Kanda (Book of Forest ) [75 chapters]
Kishkindha Kanda (The Empire of Holy Monkeys) [67 chapters]
Sundara Kanda ( Book of Beauty ) [68 chapters]
Yuddha Kanda ( Book of War ) [128 chapters]
While stabilizing the original text of Ramayana, historians surmised that portions of two Books [Kaandas], namely Book I, Bala Kaanda and Book VII, Uttara Ramayana (not listed above) are later additions - "The first and the last Books of the Ramayana are later additions. The bulk, consisting of Books II--VI, represents Rama as an ideal hero. In Books I and VII, however Rama is made an avatara or incarnation of Vishnu, and the epic poem is transformed into a Vaishnava text. The reference to the Greeks, Parthians, and Sakas show that these Books cannot be earlier than the second century B.C......"[ The cultural Heritage of India, Vol. IV, The Religions, The Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture ].

However Book I, Balakanda is considered to be an original version except for some injected stories. Story starts from the fifth chapter of Book I, and tradition demands it to be read with the others. This stipulation is not obligatory to Uttara Kaanda, a later kaanda, wherein Sita's expulsion to forest takes place. Theologists worship Sri Rama as a God incarnate, philosophers make him the philosophical Absolute, while at the same time, materialists, condemning the above, appreciate the lyrical values of Ramayana, but as a great devotee-singer said "Whoever calls you in whatever way, you are that One".
http://www.valmikiramayan.net/

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cartoons

At present, a very relevant topic has been put to debate. "Children should be allowed to watch cartoon shows on TV". Parents incessantly keep on telling the children about the after-effects of cartoon-watching. A lot of debate is going on in the society as to what impact the TV Cartoons make upon the minds of the viewers, especially, the young ones. I rise to firmly and logically oppose it.

At the very outset, let me clarify that initially, the purpose of depicting a cartoon was to attract attention to some burning social issues through the witty or satirical sketches. These cartoons still appear in the newspapers and catch our attention to various problems. But as far as the TV cartoon shows are concerned, these are in fact the mockery of the entertainment. Entertainment without any values is meaningless. Hence it should be discouraged.

The facts which I am mentioning here are not something which I just have memorized. It is my personal experience. That is why; I can say for sure that cartoons make harmful effects on the minds of children.

The lovers of the Cartoons will say that cartoons are innocent entertainers. Initially, I was too the victim of this misconception. But now I have learnt that cartoons take us in a world which is far from reality. We begin to live in the world of imagination and fantasy. Our focus shifts from the real world to a world which does not even exist. Gradually, we fall prey to day dreaming. We dream with open eyes like the Sheik Chillis and ultimately, when these dreams shatter, which is bound to be, we make so much fuss of it. Thus, cartoons take us far away from realities and hence affect our decision making. Therefore, we should keep away from such dangerous pass time.

And the last but not the least, all the harmful effects of TV viewing are connected to watching cartoons. We get habitual to watching TV. The addiction to cartoons very adversely affects our studies. It also changes our attitude towards our life. We begin to accept violence as a fine entertainer. We begin to live in the world of day-dreaming and develop a habit to run away from the realities of our lives. The supporters of the topic are trying to do just the same. They have no courage to accept the reality that it is a harmful show. Let the God have mercy upon them and I can only hope that the good sense will prevail upon them. Ultimately, it has been proved beyond any doubts that children should not be allowed to watch cartoon-shows on TV.

Religion: the cause of casualty to humanity

I am not very sure of God's presence. Nor can I deny His existence. However, I am absolutely convinced that at present the religious fanaticism has taken over and the real sages (If there are left any), have been pushed to the backseat. Religion, which once had been the medium of realization of God and also the tool of emancipation, has now been transformed (Of course, by its followers), into the shortcut to quick and hot money and is being used as a perfect tool of terror and mass killing. In this article, my endeavour would be to assess the damage inflicted by the institution of religion (which once was glorified as the ultimate path to heaven), to the humanity.

Let me tell you this fact; I am very much convinced that the word meaning or the literal sense of "religion" has nothing to do with the "religion" or "faith" which is practised by the learned men and women of the Globe. Hence, wrestling with the definition of the word is in vain; it is the logic which is put forth by the religious leaders to glorify the institution of the religion and also to keep the laymen constantly confused as to what really the religion is all about. It is in the light of the aforesaid facts that I do not wish to quote any definitions in this regard. Nor am I going to flood with "remarkable" facts about the atrocities exploitations in the name of faith or religion, whatever you may call it. There is no absolute fact; facts can be disputed and debated over. New facts can be presented in order to neutralize or nullify the old ones. Therefore, producing facts may serve in a court of justice and other such institutions but when it comes to the faith, facts hardly matter. Let me prove this hypothesis with some example:

I begin with some less offending ones. We are perfectly sure of the fact that moon is a satellite like many other such bodies revolving in the vast Universe, but yet we engage very faithfully in sprinkling water upon these far away bodies as rituals established by different religious faiths. We are aware that in no manner the water is going to reach the target but it is our faith that makes us do it. Likewise, we are in the knowledge of the fact that all days of the week are equally good. These days have been given different names to measure the week. The week has been divided in seven identical intervals for our convenience. However, the religious faiths make some days special and other the ordinary days. It is needless to specify the name of religious faiths and match these faiths with specific days of the week which these faiths think are "holy" or prominent.

Now, look at some of the facts which may offend many religious-minded "God-fearing" persons.

Today, we are intelligent enough to understand that no reproduction in humans is possible without the coming together of male and their female counterparts. However, there are instances in more than one religious faith about Angels coming on earth without the proper process. And the ridiculous thing is that we believe in these stories faithfully. Likewise, the Darwin's theory of "the survival of the fittest" is recognized world over. But the world of religious faiths looks at it differently. Most of the faiths are of the opinion that the life began on earth as the God exiled Adam and Eve from the Heaven and sent them on earth. Hence, the humans came into being. Many more such instances can be produced but that will serve no purpose other than adding more lines to this article. Therefore, let us concentrate upon the objective of this essay.

To understand as to what the psychology and the sociology of religion is, one has to travel in the world of distant past, to the point of time when the man used to be a hunter. He killed other species of animal and satisfied his hunger. There was no difference between the behaviour of a beast and his own, as both had no other objective of life but to survive by hook or by crook. However, as he started to live in communities, his beast-like activities must have created obstacles in the evolution of social attitudes. Therefore, his conduct required an upside-down change. His animal-like nature had to be curtailed. For this, some of the men who would have been comparatively more intelligent than others, found a solution in the institution of the religion.

There is a famous saying that you can cheat others but not your own self. In the light of this saying, it is not difficult to understand that one can defy the legal bindings but not the religious ones. As these bindings related to man's faith, he could not act against it. Thus, the religious Codes were devised and were spread in the community. These codes dealt with the moral behaviour of a person. It was assumed that those who would not follow the said Codes would be punished by the Supreme power. Meanwhile, all those Natural forces which could not be understood or controlled by the humans were considered to be the Godly forces. Basically, the fear psychosis had been in the forefront in evolving the concept of the Supreme power or the God.

However, in this essay, it is not my objective to determine whether or not the God exists. I have already mentioned at the very outset, that I am not sure of His existence. Nor have I the ability to deny Him. However, let me insist upon this fact that if there is a supreme power, it can in no manner be different for different faiths or ideologies. The thoughts, ideas, concepts etc can be interpreted differently by different individuals. Our sensations, sentiments, emotions, feelings etc also can be defined in a variety of perspectives. But the Creator of the Universe and all its inhabitants, (the omnipresent and all-pervading, as told by the theists), must be only one; there should be no doubts whatsoever, about His image. For instance, some say, "the God is imageless," some others paint Him in different images. Many think that He resides in the sky. Still many preach that he dwells in our hearts. Isn't it a bit confusing! The logic which is given to justify God's different interpretations is that He is imageless and still has countless images; He is beyond our senses but still can be felt if we follow the certain way of life; He lives in the sky but He is omnipresent too. Different faiths are the different ways to reach the Supreme power. This argument has many flaws. There may be many routes to reach the destination but if the destination is the same, there must be a point where all the travellers should converge upon. However, in the faiths of the present era, no followers of two different faiths can tolerate each other. Therefore, there is no way these faiths can come together. Hence, let me concentrate upon the negative effects of the institution of the religion.


 

Dangerous Consequences of Faith


 

We have now ample reason to state that the power of our faith can prove to be miraculous at times. For instance, Tulsidas, the Author of the great epic, "Ramacharit Manas", crossed the river with the help of a corpse believing that the corpse was a wooden trunk. He climbed the window of his wife's house with the help of a snake thinking that it was a rope hung by his wife for his help. In both the cases, had he been aware of the reality of the objects, (corpse and snake), he would dare not touch them. Likewise, those who believe in ghosts etc are afraid of walking alone in darkness, lest some ghosts should not attack them. They are frightened by the slightest of sound or light in the darkness. For others, who do not believe in supernatural powers, there is no problem. What I mean to say that our strong faith can make miracles. If it is positive, the effects will also be the same and if we believe in negative things, the results are bound to be harmful. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "if you say, I am, I am; so shall you be. And if you say, I am not, think that you are not and day and night meditate upon the fact that you are nothing, low and miserable, nothing shall you be."

The person with a strong faith and a concentrated mind can hypnotize others who are a bit less confident than the hypnotizer. The magicians use this technique to charm us with their spell. But those who have more concentrated mind and superior faith than the magicians, cannot be spell-bound. This is a simple fact which is not new to the psychologists. It is this power of faith which should be trained to work in a positive manner but I am sorry to say that presently, it is being used in the most negative manner.

Now let us see how the religious leaders (Gurus, Peers, Aacharyas, and self-proclaimed Gods etc) cheat us and make money.

We are aware of the fact that in the very beginning of the origin of the institution of the State, the king was considered as the representative of the God. As we cannot directly in conversation with the Supreme power, the king was established, by the institution of the religion, the representative of the God on earth. It was proposed that the king will collect the taxes in the name of the God. All the orders of the king would be followed as the orders of the God. Those who did not follow the orders of the king, would face the anger of the Almighty. This ideology was convenient to the religious leaders too. The king and the religious leaders joined hand in the exploitation of the innocent and illiterate. In different parts of the world, different mechanisms were designed so as to exploit the common masses. In Europe, the Church took this responsibility. In Indian region, the Brahmins did the same with a scholarly vision. In the Arab world, the followers of Prophet Mohamed fulfilled this sacred duty with zeal and enthusiasm. Many religious faiths emerged to counter these atrocities inflicted by religious institutions. In India, Jainism and Buddhism came into being to restrict the systematic exploitation of the masses by the religious Gurus. Most recently, Sikhism came into existence in order to protect Hindu culture against Islamic agony. As the self-interests of different religious leaders collided with each other, many religions got divided in numerous subsections and subcategories.

The institution of the religion divided the human being in different rival followings. These different faiths have been in incessant clash with one another so as to attain wealth and power. Religious crusaders were prompted by their leaders that the God's wish should be fulfilled at any cost. And what was His wish? It was that their religion was the only one which was the right and all others were to be converted to it. It is the holy duty of the crusader to convert all humans into his religion. And this age-old "crusade" is still going on. Every religious faith declares that their path is correct and all others are wrong. Religious leaders shamelessly live a luxurious life whereas their followers are constantly made fool of. Twentieth century ended with a new concept of religious fanaticism – religious terror. Sant Bhindran wale was one of the originators of the religious terror. (The readers may correct me.) he established his empire in the famous Golden Temple. Innocent Sikhs were brain washed and used as a tool to spread terror in Punjab. Our hostile neighbour Pakistan mad full use of this situation. Basically, Bhindran Wale was the man of Congress but in no time, he was playing in the hands of Pakistanis. He received money and weapons from there. Somehow, the Indian Government curtailed this menace. But the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to sacrifice her life to the bullets of the Sikh fanatics.

After the failure of this tool, Pakistanis began an era of Islamic terror. This terror is still continuing. Sikh terror was limited to India only but this new "Jehad" is felt all over the world. Maybe, more religions can join it soon. In the present circumstances, the Marxist view of religion seems to be correct. He was of the opinion that the religion was like the opium which serves no purpose. Religious persons believe their leaders. They have full faith in them. If the leader wish to misuse their faith, who can stop them? Presently, all the leaders of different religions lead a very comfortable life, full of all the modern conveniences. On the other hand, the legions of the religions vaste their precious money in the temples, churches, mosques, Gurudwaras etc in the belief that all the sins committed by them will be washed away. How silly. How the God can be just if He forgives the sins in the tinkling of some coins. But the so-called faithful persons believe in this theory. And I have mentioned herein, that the faith can make miracles. Thus, this game of religious faith continues.

Unless we stop becoming the puppets in the hands of the so-called religious leaders, we cannot realize the god if He really exists. We need no interlocutors or arbitrators


 

The Creative, energetic presence


 

Society is made of relationships, which are maintained through the application of ethical and moral codes. Often, we hear an outcry for enforcing "moral
order" or for returning to "old-fashioned values''.

Such talks of morality are essentially driven from one or the other institutionalised religious teaching. For example, one may come across an impassioned plea to stress on the moral values based on Christian belief. But then, is morality of Christians different from that of the Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists?
If yes, then there can never be peace in the world.

Since time immemorial attempts have been made to reduce God to a set of concrete, conceptualised and ritualistic definition. This may have served the purpose of the priest in asserting non-empirical factors in shaping religion into an almost chaotic, superstition-ridden random belief system; it certainly deprived people of the experience of God as a presence rather than as a person. Today, science carries implicit pressing message that the universe is nothing but an energetic presence. As science continues to go deeper into the matter, it is mystified in observing the fact that matter is essentially a mass of energy, that it is energy, which is manifested, in myriad forms throughout the universe. Undergoing a radical change in its perception and understanding, it is now being realised that science and spirituality are not "separate and mutually exclusive". Science also has come to see that it is an expanding universe. The very word Brahmn, too, means that which is ever expanding. In other words, God is not the Creator, but creativity. God is an uninterrupted process of creativity. As humans, our ultimate fulfilment is in creatively manifesting our energy.
Osho said: "The urge to create is the first stirring of the divine within you. The urge to create is the presence of God. You have the first message; the first ripple has reached you. It is the beginning and the birth of prayer... To be creative is to be spiritual ."

In the ongoing creative process, God is what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: a catalytic agent. God does not do anything, only his energetic presence works. Hydrogen and oxygen become water when electricity is passed through them. It is the missing link. Electricity does not mix or do anything; it is simply there. Krishna says, He does not create, His very being, His very presence makes creativity possible. In the tenth verse of Chapter Nine in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: "With Me as the supervisor, Nature brings forth the whole of Creation, consisting both sentient and insentient beings; it is due to this cause that the wheel of samsara is going round. That is, "My very presence alone creates the universe and in my very presence itself the universe keeps dissolving and recreating again."
To be religious, therefore, is to realise that God is a creative presence; that you are a manifestation of God's creativity and you too can creatively manifest God. Religiousness consists in recognising that we need to create God every moment we are the rock, we are the sculptor and we are the carved image of the Divine as well.


 

Conclusion


 

Thus, to realize the God within oneself, one does not require to be bound by one or the other religion. It is our intellect which leads to creativity hence ultimately the God. God is nothing but the realization of the ultimate truth. The absolute knowledge of the Universe, which still is far away from us, hides the God in the process of its origin. Religion was basically evolved to make humans follow the social norms, customs, traditions etc. it had been a kind of social policing. However, in the modern times, the institution of religion has taken a new turn. It has become a tool to earn handsome amount of wealth and prosperity by engaging onself in religious lectures and by making the masses overwhelmed through showing miracles to them. These days, religious institutions like the temples, churches, mosques etc have composed a lot of wealth. Sometimes this money is used to create extremists. The religious leaders try to mingle with the political leadership and gain favours and influence. Religious States have come into being which pose threat to humanity. In fact, every religion tries to prove that it is the best of all. This creates hate between different religions. Here I would like to quote a story from one of my friends:


 

I was staying in a small village in an aboriginal community in Bastar. The people reported to me;
a few days before, something had happened in the town. A Christian missionary came. Now those are very primitive people, absolutely uneducated, still live in the nude, are utterly unaware of what has happened to man. They are not contaminated by civilization yet.
The people told me that a Christian missionary had come, "And he convinced us, he had almost
convinced us that Christ is the true savior."
I asked them, "What happened? Why do you say 'almost'?"
They said, "Because a Hindu sannyasi came and disturbed the whole thing." I asked them the whole story; the story was beautiful.
A Christian missionary came. Now if you want to convince these poor uneducated people, you
cannot talk philosophy, theology. You have to be very practical, and the Christian missionary was very practical. He brought two statues, one of Krishna, one of Christ. Krishna's statue was made of iron and Christ's statue was made of wood, but they were painted alike. From the outside it was difficult to say which was which - which was wood, which was steel. He talked about both, and then in a bucket of water he dropped both the statues. Naturally, Krishna was drowned, Christ continued to float.
So he said, "Look! Your God cannot even save himself. How can he go to save you?" And the
people were really convinced. They had seen it, the miracle was there. They looked, and it was
true. Simple people....
But next day a Hindu sannyasi entered the village and he heard about it. And he said, "Let us see
it again." So the missionary was called again. He did the show again, and the sannyasi could see
what was the matter with it.
So he said, "Now, light a fire, and let us throw both in it, because fire is more of a criterion
than water." And the primitives agreed: "That's true. Fire is certainly more powerful. That will be decisive."
The missionary was very reluctant, but what could he do now? He had to agree, and both the
statues were thrown into the fire. Christ was burnt immediately - poor Christ - and Krishna came
out perfectly. And they were again convinced that Krishna is the true God.
This goes on happening at the most primitive level and at the most sophisticated level. This is
the whole effort of Christian priests and Hindu monks and Jaina priests and Buddhist philosophers; this is the whole effort: they go on quarreling with each other. Nobody is concerned with opening the door! Everybody is claiming that my key is the right key. In fact, there is no way to decide whose key is the right key, unless you try it and unlock the door. But the argument continues: that the Bible is the REAL book, or the Vedas or the Koran. And they go on finding clever and cunning arguments.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Watch old Doordarshan Serials online

Sunday, March 14, 2010
by abhishek kumar

Doordarshan is the public television broadcaster of India and a division of Prasar Bharati, which is a Government of India enterprise. Still in this world of huge competition among differnet TV, Doordarshan is one of the largest broadcasting organizations in the world in terms of the infrastructure of studios and transmitters. In India, Doordarshan is the number one TV channel. Now a days it is not so popular in urban areas but its old serials are still some of hot search items on internet. Everyday I got mails from my readers that how to watch blah blah blah old doordarshan serial online.

A quick recap of old Doordarshan Serials (via Wikipedia)

The 80s was the era of Doordarshan when it became integral part of living room of middle class in India with popular shows like Hum Log (1984), Buniyaad (1986-87) and comedy shows like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984). The first ever daily soap Hum Log, Buniyaad and Nukkad and mythological dramas like Ramayan (1987-88) and Mahabharat (1989-90), Shaktimaan, India's First Superhero, attracted millions of Indians to Doordarshan. There were some historical serials like Bharat Ek Khoj, The Sword of Tipu Sultan and The Great Maratha, which also appealed a large section of viewers.

Some of the popular Doordarshan shows, serials and programs were ::

Hindi film songs based programs like Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Ek Se Badkar Ek and Superhit Muqabla.
Crime thrillers - Jasoos Karamchand (starring Pankaj Kapoor), Super six, Barrister Roy (starring Kanwaljeet), Byomkesh Bakshi (starring Rajit Kapoor), Reporter (Shekhar Suman's first apperance on TV), Tehkikaat and Suraag (starring Sudesh Berry).
Shows targeted at children include Fairy tale Theatre, Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan, Vikram Betaal, Sigma, Stone Boy, Malgudi Days, Tenali Rama, Potli Baba Ki, Superhuman Samurai Cyber Squad, Knight Rider, Street Hawk and a horror serial Kile ka Rahasya (1989).
Other popular shows include Oshin a Japanese drama series, Trishna, Mr. Yogi, Neem Ka Ped, Circus, Fauji (launching Shahrukh Khan),Rani Laxhmibai,Dastan-E-Hatim Tai, Alif Laila, Gul Gulshan Gulfam, Udaan, Rajani, Talaash, Phir Wohi Talash, Katha Saagar, Nupur, Mirza Ghalib, Wagle ki Duniya, Phulvanti, Sangharsh, Lifeline, Kashish (launching Malvika Tiwari), Srimaan Srimati, Tu tu mein mein, Junoon, Ajnabi (starring Danny Denzongpa), Zabaan Sambhal Ke, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Sansaar, Swabhimaan, Chanakya, Shanti (launching Mandira Bedi), Sea Hawks (starring R. Madhavan), Surabhi, Tana Bana, Mujrim Hazir (launching Navni Parihar), Jaspal Bhatti's Flop Show, Alif Laila, Meri Awaaz Suno, Captain Vyom, and Chandrakanta.
Doordarshan also telecast English cartoons at 12.00 noon during summer vacations in a programme named "Fun Time" which showed cartoons like Spider-Man, Giant Robot (Johnny Soko and his flying robot), Gayab Aaya, Guchhae, He-Man, The Jungle Book, Talespin & Duck Tales also the comic plays of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Didi's Comedy Show.
You can see the complete list of Doordarshan serials here.

Now a big question comes, how to watch these old TV shows and serials online?

Some of serials are available on YouTube like Mahabharat, Shriman Shrimati, Byomkesh Bakshi, Yeh Jo hai Zindagi, Vikram Betaal, Flop Show, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Fauji, Talaash, thanks to rajshri channel and several other anonymous users.

These are some of the Doordarshan TV shows and serials which are available on internet.

For Mahabharat, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwnDC3_fVgM

For Shriman Shrimati, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDld3hDhG7g

For Ramayan, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3mc6liE_9Q

For Jungle Book, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU95tdRuInw

For Byomkesh Bakshi, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yleUyg6m1jU

For Fauji, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBUryt4BpMY

For Vikram aur Betaal, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKStSy1bnjc

For Bharat Ek Khoj, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dd6bc1xPfI

For Flop Show, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBmylILrutE

For Dekh Bhai Dekh, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5k7k_O3ziA

ForTaalash, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8nDBrAdml0

For Paying Guest, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F_LQtbukrg

For Kachchi Dhoop, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vqgWnyJHUU

For Captain House, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDEvr3MBszc

For Uppanyas, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aojo5_SasWY

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Indian Classical Music and the Gharana Tradition

This article looks into various aspects of the Gharana tradition. The tradition of Gharanas has been an integral part of Indian classical music. All learned musicians talk of Gharana and its valuable contribution to the Indian music. Most of the artists of Indian music are convergent upon the point that the Gharana tradition is the best institution when it comes to the teaching of music. In this article, we would go a bit deeper into the various features, characteristics, opinions etc about this very important institution of Indian classical music.


 

Meaning and definition of Gharana


 

Gharana is an Urdu word which has been adapted in Hindi language too. It basically means: family, members of a family, several generations of a family etc. in the field of arts as well as the academics, the English synonym for this word seems to be "school". For example, there are many schools which interpret history in different manner. For them we can call different school of historical interpretation. Likewise, there are different styles of painting. For instance, "the Venetian school of painting". Therefore, colloquially, we can connect Gharana with different styles of arts. We are aware of the facts that not one single style can persist when it comes to the performing arts. Different styles are developed according to the tastes of the artists as well as the audiences. Sometimes, these styles represent the regional aspirations too. There is a famous saying in the Northern India, "as many tongues, so the tastes! As many heads, so the interests." This saying can further be stated as "as many musicians, so the styles of performance". Indian music is very flexible. It differs from region to region, from artist to artist and from place to place. The regional influences, the individual influences, the linguistic influences etc are chiefly responsible in developing new style in any form of music. Be it Dhruvapada, Khayal, Thumari or any other form of Indian classical/semiclassical music, there are and can be numerous styles of singing and playing of musical instruments. These different styles, when practiced for more than three generations, become a Gharana. In a Gharana, there are some main contributors, who play the important role in developing and shaping that style. These artists are called the originator of that style or Gharana.


 

Evolution


 

The concept of Gharana is very much related to the Guru Shishya Parampara. In fact, music is an art which can only be taught through the system of Guru Shishya Parampara. It cannot be taught through the formal educational methods. Therefore, it is very important that we should analyse this Parampara. It is this tradition of Guru-Shishya which has played a very vital role in the shaping and development of our classical music. In the ancient works of the Indian literature, the importance of a learned Guru has been felt and admired at numerous places and instances; so much so that the Guru has been given the higher status than even the Almighty God. When it comes to the learning of fine arts and especially the Indian classical music, the importance of guru is said to be much more important. That is why, in the modern days too, when there are a lot of means of learning music, the serious learners still look for a learned and appropriate Guru. But for a skilled guru, one cannot learn music in its proper spirit. But our concern is not to discuss the importance of a guru but to look into the aspects of Gharana. As we have mentioned earlier, the Gharana tradition is based upon the Guru Shishya parampara. Now we would explain how the tradition of Gharana evolved and took shape in the initial stages.


 

For this, we have to peep into the history of Indian music and through its glimpses we would try to find some facts and signs about the tradition of Gharana. The history of Indian music begins from the Sam Veda, the most important one of the four Vedas. During the period of Sam Veda, we find that there were around a thousand styles of Saamgaan, which were practiced by the singers of the Sam. Gradually, as the ancient Indian culture got diluted because of various socio-political reasons, many styles of saamgaana were forgotten on account of overlapping of other cultures over our own ancient civilization. It is believed that presently, there are three basic styles of Saamgana. Namely, Kautubhi, Ranayani and Stobhi. What I mean to say that these styles may represent different schools or Gharanas of singing the Richaas of Sam. This is the initial concept upon which the tradition of Gharana is actually based. Therefore, though the Gharanas are said to be the result of the so-called Durbari Sangeet yet the elementary concept of Gharana existed in Indian heritage even during the period of Vedas.


 

After the extinction of the tradition of Saamgaana, the vacuum which was very much there in the field of the Indian classical music was filled by the new tradition of Prabandha Gaan. This tradition was also based upon the several kinds of Prabandhas which were sung in different manners and styl4es. In Sangeet Ratnakar, a separate chapter has been dedicated to the study of Prabandha. This shows the importance of Prabandhas. This form of Indian music was very rich in content as well as in respect of various styles of its presentation. Thus, the tradition of Gharana still existed in Indian music. Though the name for this tradition was different. There were numerous styles of singing Prabandhas which were known as different schools of Prabandhagan. In Karnatik music too, there are different schools of presentation of music popularly known as the Sampradayas. These sampradayas also represent the concept of Gharana. Thus, it is very clear that the concept of Gharana existed in Indian music. There is no doubt about it. However, the word "Gharana" was not used prior to the period of Durbari Sangeet.


 

After the suppression of Prabandhagaan, came the form of Dhruvapada singing. It is believed that the prabandhas were eliminated from the Indian music because of the unpopularity of Sanskrit language amongst the ruling class. We are aware of the fact that during the period of Sultanate in the Indian history, the foreign invaders captured the mainland of the Indian subcontinent. The new rulers, who had come from the central Asia and the Afghan Territory, did not know Sanskrit. They even were unaware of our native languages and dialects. Neither did they have any idea of our cultural heritage. They tried to impose their cultural practices over the Indian culture. This overlapping of cultures resulted in different cultural changes. During this hustle and bustle Sanskrit lost its glory and the same happened to be with the Prabandhagaana, which were based on Sanskrit language. In its place, a new singing form was originated by the scholars of the Court of great king of Gwaliyar, Raja Mansingh Tomar.


 

In this form of singing too, there were different singing styles. These styles were called as Baanis. There were mainly four baanis in the singing of Dhruvapadas. These baanis were as follows:

  1. Dagurbani, 2. Gobarhari, 3. Nauhari and 4. Khandari.


     

    These baanis of Dhruvapada singing were also in tune with the basic concept of Gharana. They represented different singing styles of Dhruvapada. Hence, it is beyond any reasonable doubt that the concept of Gharana very much existed in the Indian music. The only thing was that its name was not Gharana. In Karnatik music, it is still called Sampradaya. In the Northern India, which was very much influenced by the period of Sultanate, the ancient system gave way to the new system designed and imposed by those who had little knowledge about our culture, let alone music. Therefore, it is claimed that the tradition of Gharana is the creation of those musicians who had been connected with the Durbar and the Sultanate. The Sultans and the Nawabs had little knowledge of ancient Indian music. Neither did they know our language. Therefore, they had nothing to do with our traditional arts and musical forms. They did whatever they liked. Therefore, the music of their liking was specially devised by the court musicians. This specific kind of music was later called as "Durbari Sangeet". From this durbari sangeet, many singing styles were originated in due course of time. These singing styles were later called as Gharanas.


     

    The artists of most of such Gharanas try to relate themselves with Tansen or the members of his family. Some of the musicians seem to relate themselves from some prominent regions, which have once been famous for the art of Durbari Sangeet, like Gwaliyar, Agra, and Banaras etc.


     

    The fact of the matter is that every Nawab in the medieval period of our history had a tendency to award patronage to different arts. Especially, music was liked by the rulers of that time and hence it got more patrons than any other form of the fine arts. Thus, the Court musicians of different Nawabs and emperors developed different styles of singing, dancing and playing of musical instruments. This way, different Gharanas came into being.


     

Fall of Gharana Tradition


 

These gharanas or singing styles were practised by almost all the musicians of that particular region. It is note-worthy at this point that there were no quick means of transport and the communications available at that segment of time. Therefore, the style of one place could not easily be conveyed to another place. This led to further enhancement of those styles. More or less, at that period of time, one region had no frequent contact with other regions. The artists of a particular area would hardly ever visit other places. Especially, when the artists were attached to a specific Durbar, they were not supposed to go to another such Durbar. This tendency gave birth to a kind of competition between these Gharanas. This competition though generally was a healthy one but at times, it would get some kind of rivalries too. Gradually, such rivalries became very often and the artists of one Gharana snapped all contacts whatsoever with other Gharanas. This led to many illogical practices like each artist of a gharana tried to let down the artists of other such Gharanas. This leg-pulling developed ill will and hostilities between different gharanas. Followers of one Gharana were told not to listen to the music of any other Gharana. The Guru strictly prohibited his pupils from establishing any contact of any nature with the followers of other Gharanas. Not only this, the Gurus were not impartial to every pupil. They fragmented their knowledge in three broad compartments. First fragmentation of the knowledge group was for the common pupils. These were considered the average kind of pupils. The second knowledge-group was meant for those pupils who were brilliant but were not related to the family of the Guru himself. Other relations like cousins were given training in this group. The most important and the real knowledge were given to the direct relations of the Guru, like his sons, grandsons etc. This division of knowledge was very common in the tradition of Gharanas during the period of Durbar and Sultanate. These and many more sharp practices started in this tradition of Gharana which once had been one of the best traditions. This attitude of the artists related to different gharanas began corrosion in the system itself. Gradually, the popularity of Gharanas started to come down. Presently, the Gharana system is on the verge of collapse.

It is not only the aforesaid factors which can be held responsible for the unpopularity of the tradition of Gharana. There are other reasons too which need to be discussed here.


 

The first and the foremost of such factors is that the present era is the age of information and the technology. In the medieval period, it was difficult for a person related to a specific Gharana to communicate with the artists of other gharana. However, in the modern times, one can listen to any kind of music at just a click of a mouse. Today, it is not just possible for the Guru to seclude his pupils from the music of other artists. The electronic media has made it very easy to listen to music of our liking. Moreover, we can record different kind of music on digital recorders and play it back at our convenience. Therefore, in this era it is not possible for the guru to keep his pupils away from other kind of music.


 

In addition to this, these days, there are several music concerts and shows where one can go as per his/her liking and enjoy the music. The development in the transport and the communication has made it possible for us to travel at ease and communicate with anybody in the world by just dialling a specific code. Therefore, these days, there are numerous options of music-listening as well as music-following. This boon of science and technology has contributed in more than one ways to dismantle the system of Gharana.


 

The new system of institutional education has also played a great role in ending the Gharana tradition. These days, music is taught in the schools and the colleges. There the students learn music from more than one teacher. In this environment, they cannot follow the tradition of just one teacher. They come in contact with the styles of many teachers. Moreover, they get exposure to many famous artists. Thus, it is not possible for them to follow the style of just one teacher. This is the reason that these days, the glimpse of any particular Gharana is very rear even in the traditional artists.


 

Conclusion


 

Thus, we can conclude that in the modern times, the Gharana tradition has lost its relevance. It is true that in the medieval period, it contributed a lot in the preservation and conservation of the tradition of music. It helped prepare high quality artists. In the era when the recording of compositions was not possible and there was not a suitable notation-system for writing those compositions either, this system of Gharanas preserved those musical compositions and it is thanks to that same system that we can be able to listen to those great compositions. But for the present era, it looks that this system has been a bit old-fashioned. The students just do not listen to their teachers. They do not believe anything without verification. In this age, the learners ask for the logical explanations of whatever they are said or preached. Therefore the system of Gharana needs many changes for its own survival.