Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Music and stress-management

Introduction:

In this era of rapid growth and nail-biting competition, life is getting full of tension. This tension leads to different diseases like the hypertension, heart problems, and insomnia and so on. In psychological terms this tension is called ‘stress’. Many ailments occur due to the lack of physical exercises. Our life-styles have become so comfortable and relaxing, thanks to the science and technology, that most of our day-to-day activities are performed automatically by different machines. For example, we have remote control devices for TV, air conditioners, fans etc and therefore need not trouble our legs in order to use them. Outdoor games have been replaced by very meticulously designed video games. Hence, most of us need not go out and play. Mobile phones have made it possible to sit at home and replace important meetings with the video conferencing. There is just no scope for physical activities. This physical inaction leads to hypertention, and other psychological disorders which generate stress. In this article, we’d see as to how we can manage stress through the use of music.

What is stress?

There are many definitions given to the mental stress. Some are as under:
1 Stress is the body's reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. It can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.
2 Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or "stressor."
3 Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.
Considering these definitions, we can conclude that the stress is the result of our mental fatigue which may occur due to a variety of reasons. Your co-workers do not behave your way and you get tensed; you are waiting for someone but he/she gets late and you get frustrated; you do not succeed in the mission undertaken by you and your blood pressure shoots. There are numerous excuses for stress but in fact it is in your mind. In the same unfavourable situation, some get stress and some other do not. This shows that stress is not something that comes from outside; it is within our own mind.
The stress begins with frustration. We do not like someone’s actions or something and we get frustrated. This frustration, if suppressed, generates anxiety which, in turn, gets transformed in anger. We try to suppress this anger as most of the time we cannot express it. That leads to more mental imbalances and finally we fall prey to the stress. If the situation prevails for a long time, this state of mind can lead to mental depression which can cause more psychological problems.

The solution:

There are many simple actions which can curtail our stress and we can get rid of it. Psychologists have devised means and methods whereby one can cope up with these kinds of situations. However, fine arts in general and music specifically can be of great help in controlling the mental stress.

Stress-management through music:

The basic cause of the mental stress is that our mind sometimes does not accept, or does not wish to accept the reality of circumstances. For example, you are watching your favourite show on TV and suddenly the the electric supply is off. If you accept the situation and keep cool, it is well. However, many of us take it very sentimentally and think that the power fails only when they are watching TV and they are not very lucky and so on. These types of feelings generate stress. If our attitude towards life is negative, we are stressed. If the attitude is positive, the situation changes rapidly to our favour.
Music makes positive. We feel relaxed and comfortable. As we listen soothing and sweet music, all our frustrations, tentions and other mental imbalances keep on evaporating and we feel very light and free of all stress. If one happens to be a musician, he/she can cure the ailment of mental stress very easily. The Swara Sadhana, which is essential to Indian music, is very helpful in controlling the stress. As we listen to the rich drone sound of Tanpura, we feel a kind of peace in our mind. When we mingle our voice in tune with Tanpura, our mind gets concentrated on Shadja, the key note of Indian music. As we tune the instrument, we need too much of concentration of mind towards the basic note. All these activities lead us to the state of meditation. In terms of Yoga, this meditation is the basic prerequisite for attaining the state of Samadhi. But the musicians have the privilege to get this state of mind without Yogic practices. Music in itself is a kind of Yoga. It can cure many mental illnesses including the mental stress.
In the fourth Chapter of Sangeet Ratnakar, the author has elaborated upon the characteristics of a good Vaggeyakara, i.e. the good musical composer. One of the characteristics mentioned herein is ‘Avadhana’ which means the concentration of mind. Thus, we see that the composers of Indian music need the concentration of mind in order to create music. It applies to any kind of music. If we can practice to concentration of mind, we can strengthen our will power. If our will power is strong, we can easily can overpower the mental stress.
Not only musicians, but the listeners of music can also benefit from the positive qualities of Indian music. Here, let us make a distinction between the quality music and the popular music. It is not that the popular or the mainstream music cannot fall in the category of the quality music. But more often than not, the popular music is different from the quality music. Music which is meant for generating excitement and action, fails to give relaxation. Those who wish to use music to suppress the original mental feelings, have to face the consequences. This is the reason, that disco jockeys are able to make us dance but their kind of music is far from the peace of mind. It can generate excitement but cannot create pleasing effects. Therefore, one should choose soothing and relaxing music if he/she wants to get rid of the mental stress.
Indian classical music has the capacity to shun the negative feelings and create the positive attitude. Therefore, it is recommended that one should develop the habit of listening to the Indian classical music if the mental stress is to be curtailed.

Conclusion:

There is a very famous saying: “caution is always better than cure.” Therefore, it is advisable that before it is too late, before we fall prey to the mental stress, let us develop the liking towards the Indian classical music. All of us try to learn a bit of Indian music. If it is not possible, at least we can listen to the good music. We should try to keep away from the loud amplified kind of music which is amply available on the electronic media. We should rather be inclined to the real classical music. This will surely make our lives more fruitful and productive in all respects.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Past meets the Present Leading to a Better Future

Taken from Newsbharati.com
Ancient Indian Mythological Scripts are Actual History Scripts : APJ 09 Aug 2011

(This inaugural speech by our former President, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, though concentrates upon discovering Indian mythologies in the light of science and technology, yet it conveys a message to all of us; Ancient Indian Civilization has not migrated from somewhere else, it has indigenously evolved.)
Past meets the Present Leading to a Better Future
"The DNA of a human being is his history book ever written"
I am indeed delighted to participate in the inauguration of Seminar on Scientific Dating of Ancient Events Before 2000 BC at New Delhi. My greetings to all of you.
Friends, I am happy that all of you are engaged in the mission of establishing synergy between the scientific wisdom of ancient India and modern scientific inventions in various areas such as agriculture, energy, medicine, weapon systems and metallurgy. I am sure this type of study will enable us to utilize the scientific techniques used by our ancestors and lead towards an eco-friendly planet earth for the present and future. When I am here with all of you I would like to share my thoughts on the topic "Past meets the Present leading to a Better Future".Friends, when you are all working on scientific dating of epics particularly Ramayana I would like to share with you my personal experience. I was born in British India in Rameshwaram grown there for 16 years when India's India emerged. My life is completely inter connected in lovely way because during various phases my life sea waves were giving me beautiful songs, songs of freedom and songs of development. The entire Rameshwaram Island is known to me with great detail every part of it, because as a young boy I used to travel all parts of the Island to deliver the news paper daily to various houses. In my eyes Gandhamanaparvatham appears from where Rama is supposed to have seen Srilanka. In front of me appears the famous Kothanda Ramar Temple of Rameshwaram. Also I see the Ramatheertham, Lakshmanatheertham and Jatayutheertham and Agnitheertham in different areas of Rameshwaram. The central point is the Ramanathaswamy Temple where we find the Siva linga which Lord Rama had worshiped. Today being the new moon day of Adi month, minimum 3 Lakh pilgrims from different parts of the country will be converging at Rameshwaram for sea bath. This the day Lord Rama is supposed to have taken the bath in the Rameshwaram Sea after returning from the war to remove the Doshas of killing Ravanan. Thousands of pilgrims visit the Island every day and enjoy its beauty and spirituality.
I will be the happiest fellow, if through scientific dimensions establish the places from where there Lord Ram, Lashmana, Hanuman, Sugreeva and the Vanara sena created a base before launching the war on Srilanka. Really I have a profound interest in scientific dating of Ramayana. Dating of events leads to transforming mythology into historyVedic and post-Vedic literature has a tremendous amount of scientific knowledge which will be extremely beneficial to humanity. For creating a faith in these documents, there is a need to establish the date of occurrence of Vedas and Upanishads which are contained in our mythology, so that they are transformed into historical events and not imaginary mythological events. I am happy that this is what the researchers in astronomy, ecology, theology, archeology, anthropology and space science assembled here have carried out and are in the process of demonstrating it to the modern scientific world.If we look at the study on Scientific dating of Ramayana, the important aspect about the Ramayana is that when Valmiki wrote the epic, he made it with many proofs. He packed so much information about the various planetary positions of those days, the geography of the areas mentioned in the epic, the seasonal events, and about the genealogy of various kings that it is virtually a no-brainer to establish the dates on which those events occurred. Genealogical links and archaeological findings provide clues to the dating of the Ramayana era. According to writer B.R. Haran, In no other nation and no other religion in the world, true history is so meticulously documented, supported by many evidences. Any ancient history is supported with evidences of architecture and literature. The Sangam literature is the documented evidence for the existence and ruling of Tamil kings, and similarly, Ramayana and Mahabharata are the documented evidence for Rama and Krishna.Archaeological and literary methods can only provide approximate datelines. For determining the precise time of the Ramayana events, scientists use astronomical calculations. Several of India's leading astronomers and nuclear scientists have come together to establish the dates of India's ancient history.So how is astronomical dating done? Says eminent historian Dr P.V. Vartak: "Sage Valmiki has recorded the dates of events in detail, albeit by describing the positions of stars and planets. To decipher the astronomical encodings has not been a trivial task, and not many have attempted to do so. It should be noted that the ancient Indians had a perfect method of time measurement. They recorded the 'tithis', days according to the nakshatra on which the moon prevailed, the months, the seasons and even the different solstices. By noting a particular arrangement of the astronomical bodies, which occurs once in many thousand years, the dates of the events can be calculated."Dr Vartak has taken hundreds of illustrated passages from the epic to establish dates. Valmiki records the birth of Rama as Chaitra Shuddha Navami (9th), on Punarvasu Nakshatra and five planets were exalted then; Sun in Mesha up to 10 deg., Mars in Capricorn at 28 deg., Jupiter in Cancer at 5 deg., Venus in Pisces at 27 deg. and Saturn in Libra at 20 deg. (Bala Kanda.18/Shloka 8,9). December 4, 7323 B.C. therefore is the date of birth of Rama, when the four planets exalted. Ramayana occurred over 9300 years ago.For example, Rigveda talks about an advanced civilized predominantly urban and maritime society which has used variety of ships, boats and 75 different types of houses which includes hutments and palaces. Vedic literature reveals that Indians are very advanced knowledge of mathematics and were possessing extraordinary knowledge of astronomy. Takshila University was established in 700 BC where more than 10,000 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. Similarly, Nalanda university was in existence in 3rd century BC which had housed more than 90 lakhs books. Maharishi Atreya was the first Guru of internal medicine, Shri Dhanvantri of Surgery and Kashyapa was the first Guru of Gynecology and pediatrics. Shushruta Samhita describes more than 40 types of surgical instruments and Ayurveda talks about holistic treatments. Astronomical calculation making use of planetarium software have proved that events narrated in Balamiki Ramayana actually occurred around 7000 years back and they can be sequentially dated. Ramasetu is found submerged and the same location as is described in Balamiki Ramayana and the city of Dwarka has been explored by marine archeology wing of Govt of India. As per the estimate made by the Inter-Governmental panel on Climate Change (NASA, Global Change Master Directory) the rise in the sea level during the last 7000 years has been about 2.8 meters which roughly corresponds to 9.3 feet. The remains of Rama Sethu are found submerged nearly at a depth of 9-10 feet. Thus, obviously this bridge was capable of being used as a land route 7000 years back. This is the only existing evidence on manmade bridge few thousand years back. It is essential that our researchers launch a mission oriented programme in an integrated way by earth science, geological science, remote sensing, space scientists, oceanography, climate change teams and the people who build construction under the sea.Here I request the researchers to launch research on India's epics with atleast 100 Ph.Ds with the highly talented historical, geological, astronomical and space scientists to ascertain the veracity of history and date of events in our epics. Science always has multiple source of research information to verify the conclusion. It should be true to all our research on epics and its dating. Let me now discuss the work of Prof Tobias on human evolution.Human EvolutionI was studying the work of Prof. Tobias on Paleo-anthropology and discovery of archeological sites, I thought of recalling the advances made in the research on human evolution. Traditionally, there have been two distinct and different approaches in understanding human evolution. First is the archeological evidence. The lessons that we have learnt in India from Mohan-ja-Daro and Harappa and many similar excavations the worlds over have been seminal and many a civilizations' way of living, its culture and its origins have become evident. Prof. Tobias has made a significant impact in this area, particularly emanating from land, which is said to the cradle of human evolution. The second and more recent approach is propelled by advances in our understanding of the human genome. While the major part of the human genome sequence is common between human beings and even with mice, the small portions that differ; control and contribute to the diversity that we find in the evolution of humans. I am happy that through such genomic studies, it has been found that Harappan civilization were not a mysterious people of unknown biological origins, or migrants from Centers of high culture in western Asia, but were descendents of population identified with pre-Harappan cultures of the North Western sector of the sub continent. Gene flow between Mesopotamia and the Indus domains, perhaps along trade routes, accounts for the higher incidents of some phenotypic features along this east west axis than what is apparent across north south axis penetrating peninsular India. But, migrant theory need not be invoked to explain various patterns. This makes research in genetic engineering, using human genome sequences to understand the evolution of humans, very fascinating for scientists. The scientific dating of our epics has also to be related to Genology with human genome sequences, with the evidences that we found in the form of fossils. Prof. Tobias is one of the pioneers in the area of genetics. From his vast experience in genetics and Paleo-anthropology, Prof. Tobias has been able to present to the world in an understandable capsule form, the whole process of human evolution over 600 million years. The simplicity of the outcome of his complex research has also stimulated many scientists the world over to look at the challenges posed in our understanding of human evolution. Today, the world talks about convergence of many technologies. Prof. Tobias and others have shown us that all our origins converge to a single point both in space and time. The evolution human orgin put forth by Prof Thobias should be related to events of Indian epics. After all every Indian’s epic deals with human history, their conflicts and their civilization. Hence it has to be releated with the evolution of human origin over 600 million years ago, which is scientifically proven.
Origins of Life
Ancient human history has been revealed beautifully by Paleoanthropology. Life originated 600 million years ago and continental drift occurred 200 million years ago creating five continents. Mammals evolved 140 million years ago, Hominids that is the human type, evolved 26 million years ago but modern man only arrived on the scene some 200,000 years ago. He migrated and colonized the world only in the last 50,000 years. The spoken language is some 10,000 years old while writing evolved only a few thousand years ago. All this phenomenal progress has been achieved only within the short span of 200 to 400 generations that is in just 10,000 to 5,000 years. The spoken language period as per Prof. Thobias is around 10000 years old and the birth of Rama based on the 9th thithi of Chaitra month dates to 10th January in 5114 BC, that is 7117 years back. We need to establish the relationship between the birth of spoken language and the evolution of Valmiki Ramayana.
New DNA technologies
Newer DNA technologies have given us better insight in retracing the history of man. The DNA of a human being is his history book ever written. Nowadays intelligence, cognizance, drug response, behavioral problems everything is related to genes: disease gene mapping is progressing at a faster pace with new age DNA technology. It is probably during the 30,000-50,000 years of co-existence that societies have evolved adopting newer innovations and cultures.Thus the 'Nature - Nurture' philosophy holds good even in this Genomic Era: 'Genes' what we inherit from our parents is the basis; a beautiful 'building' is built over it, be it Einstein or certain unique creations, the environment plays a crucial role in shaping the destiny of the individual and leading to excellence. It is just the opportunity that makes Man. All children when they are born are equally poised to become a great scholar. The nervous system, and for that matter any of our systems, should cooperate with an individual in his or her progress. Origin of civilization in Indian subcontinent, I am happy that through the use of modern technology the perception of Indian Archeology has changed and has facilitated by researchers to prove an indigenous origin of civilization in the Indian Sub continent. This is an important factor which should work as an integrator of the entire nation since all of us have come into this land from the same ancestors and roots. While discussing this issue I am reminded of a conversation with one of my cardio thoracic surgeon friend. He said, "When I perform an open heart surgery, on different patients; after opening I find the blood of the patient is same in color, hence I cannot discriminate any patient and provide differing attention and care." This thought process has to get embedded scientifically and culturally amongst all Indians so that we can see nation is bigger than any individual and all of us have to contribute to the accelerated progress and development of the nation. Now let me talk about certain application of knowledge derived from Scientific Dating of Ancient Events.
Agriculture in Ancient India
The dating studies have found that the farmers in the vedic period used natural manures for their agriculture. They have found 12 types of soil and determined the associated organic manure compatible to the soil types. They did not make use of pesticides or any poisonous elements in the agro sector. This has resulted in reduced atmospheric pollution and also provided quality food for the humankind. We have to learn a lot from this experience. Today, we have to ensure that we should use eco friendly fertilizers, pesticides and plant systems in our overall agricultural development taking the cue from ancient civilization that will make a big contribution to green agriculture goal of 21st century. We need to integrate our past civilizational heritage in forms of agriculture or other forms of systems which provides earning capacity with reference to modern technologies. Induction of modern technology definitely add values to our ancestor database of civilizational heritage. The mission for scientific dating of our epics, I have the following suggestion:
Launching research on India's Epics with atleast 100 Ph.Ds with the highly talented historical, geological, astronomical and space scientists to ascertain the veracity of history and date of events in our epics. The scientific dating of our epics has also to be related to Genealogy with human genome sequences, with the evidences that we found in the form of fossils. The evolution human origin put forth by Prof Thobias should be related to events of Indian epics. After all every Indian's epic deals with human history, their conflicts and their civilization. Hence it has to be related with the evolution of human origin over 600 million years ago, which is scientifically proven. The spoken language period as per Prof. Thobias is around 10000 years old and the birth of Rama based on the 9th thithi of Chaitra month dates to 10th January in 5114 BC, that is 7117 years back. We need to establish the relationship between the birth of spoken language and the evolution of Valmiki Ramayana.
Conclusion
I have discussed few areas which can benefit from the dating of our ancient events. I am sure the scientists and technologists assembled here will be presenting several areas in which the dating can be beneficial. To disseminate the findings of these studies to the large population will require intensive documentation and the application potential of each one of the findings. I would suggest that the teams assembled here can work out areas which need to become the part of the learning process of our youth. This will enable the seminar to make specific recommendations on including vital areas of our ancient culture in the primary, middle and secondary school text books. In addition, the seminar should attempt networking of people and ideas belonging to different specialties like agro scientists, doctors, engineers, archeologists, geologists and environment experts so that the benefits of lesions arising from earlier civilization and their lifestyle make a change to our thinking and lead towards the development of an eco friendly human habitat. The research on scientific dating may have partners, who can provide scientific, astronomical, anthropological and geological and genetic data to ascertain the veracity of the historical events.With these words, I inaugurate the Seminar on Scientific Dating of Ancient Events before 2000 BC. My best wishes to all the participating for success in the mission of connecting the past to the present leading to a better future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Unique Experience

(Taken from a long-forgotten online source)

Many years I was a guest at a similar recital that took place in Bethesda, Maryland. The Bharata Natyam is surely one of the most difficult dances that humanity has thought up; as such it's an accurate reflection of the very ancient and complex Indian culture.

Except for a handful in attendance, including Pundita, the audience was Indian or Americans of Indian heritage. The recital was a graduation ceremony for American girls of Indian ancestry who had been studying Bharata Natyam for years -- some practicing since early childhood.

One girl among the dancers riveted the audience's attention. She was beautiful, incredibly graceful, and for one so young she demonstrated impressive dance technique.

I ask you to put yourself for a moment in the girl's place and consider that the Indian culture, even when transposed to Indians living in America, is very conservative, very restrained. Think of practicing for years to master a dance that is far more than dance -- at once living history, a statement of your heritage, and a spiritual meditation. Finally comes the time to demonstrate everything your teacher has taught you and make your parents and community proud.

Now ask yourself what might be the worst thing that could happen to you on that stage, with hundreds of eyes upon you.

Suddenly a murmur went up from the audience. The woman next to me gripped my arm and whispered, "Oh my God her pantaloons have come undone!"

Yes. The button or safety pin had given out. As the hapless child continued her dance the leggings underneath her costume slowly continued their descent. A look of horror fleeted across the girl's face. The other dancers broke their stride a bit to glance in sympathy.

The girl's teacher raced to the stage wing and gestured, calling softly for her to leave the stage for a moment so she could regain her dignity and her pantaloons. Everyone would have understood if she'd left the dance momentarily under those awful circumstances.

A look of determination came over the girl's features; within an instant the look was gone, replaced by the stylized expression of the deity her dance was meant to represent.

Without missing a beat, and as the pantaloons continued their downward journey to twist around her ankles, the girl continued with her dance.

Even before the triumphant stamping of the dancers' feet to signal the end of the dance, the audience was clapping her on.

Yet only after all the dancers made their bow to the audience was the deity replaced by a mortified child. She whisked off the pantaloons, scampered to her teacher's embrace, then disappeared backstage for pantaloon repair.

Then at the insistence of the other dancers, her teacher, her parents, the musicians and the audience, the girl shyly returned to the stage to take a bow to thunderous ovation.

As the audience dispersed I heard a man say to a companion, "It was as if Saraswati [the goddess of wisdom, music and the arts] appeared tonight to teach us a lesson."

Goddess or no goddess, the lesson was abundantly clear. To be human means you can't avoid making a damn fool out of yourself, even if you're the best-looking and most accomplished of the lot. But you show the spark of that which transcends the human condition when you hang in there and finish your dance.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Musical nostalgia

Simon & Garfunkel’s unique compositions, Bob Dylan’s profound lyrics and musical biographies of The Beatles have continued to fascinate generations. Does good music ever grow old?
Pratiksha Thanki

The evergreen ABBA and The Beatles: From LP to ipod their music never lost its charm. Wandering around the streets of a tiny German city L├╝beck, the aural pull drew me to a church choir of teenage boys, singing Ralph Vaughan Williams’ ‘Turtledove’ with a heavy German accent. At their age they probably didn’t understand the British folk song about love and loss, but their voices and Vaughan Williams’ composition nearly moved two Indians in their informal audience to tears. Music does have that power over us.
Plato warned the world of this power centuries ago as he thought music could affect human psyche. He preferred music only for the purpose of education. However, music hasn’t remained within the bounds of platonic point of view for a long time now. Passing through many evolutionary stages, music is often identified by the era, genre, artists, nations and cultures; as a continuum, evolving on the inspiration of the past. The times they are a-changin'…
In his much talked about book ‘Why Classical Music Still Matters', musicologist Lawrence Kramer worries if classical music will eventually fade away or will it be confined inside the museum walls? Such worries seem needless so far, even today when a person begins to learn the piano, the first tune he/she would start with would be invariably Bach’s ‘Musette’ while the guitarists would initiate plucking the chords with Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sounds of Silence'.
Musical nostalgia is not limited to the West, even in India one can witness singers earn more points with old classics across talent hunt programmes.

They say, the music you listen to in the years of growing-up stays with you forever. In later years people start complaining about how the contemporary music doesn’t make sense to them. Keeping such generalisations aside, the classics from the past few decades, especially the music of the 50s and 60s still seems very much around. Even for the new generation, The Beatles and the Doors share the same storage space on an iPod, and are merely divided by a play-list name from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Their relevance may be a subject of debate after 50 years, but the Beatles and the Doors have surely survived the test of time. In fact, one would easily find Jim Morrison’s face printed on t-shirts, hanging right next to Che Guevara even in some urban Indian corners.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

The way music influences people and cultures is an interesting study for musicians themselves, to legendary pianist of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky, "music expresses itself". This leads one to assume that interpretation of that ‘expression’ remains in the hands of the listeners. Projecting personal feelings and perceptions in Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of fire’ or The Rolling Stones’ ‘I can’t get no Satisfaction’ allows every individual to come up with their unique interpretation of the songs in different age, under different
circumstances. In dealing with the western music of the last century, one could be lost in a web of genres - ranging from rock, country, rhythm and blues to jazz, but from John Denver’s ‘Country roads take me home’ to ‘Across the Universe’ from the Beatles, the appeal of music is less based on the genre, and more on the audiences’ personal history with particular songs and bands. Some were introduced to The Beatles by their spouses, others learned about them from their parents and grandparents. Even if they simply bumped on to some of their song on a website, after listening to Lennon-McCartney combo crooning,
‘Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,' they may not need further introduction.

How exactly have these songs remained relevant at the moment? Apart from the fact that after half a century, compositions of Queen, Beatles or ABBA do not sound outdated, their words also appeal to the universal human nature. Paul McCartney had his mother in mind when he wrote the song ‘Let it be'. Co-incidentally she was named Mary, and McCartney’s words "When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be," end up with countless religious or inspirational interpretations even today. His fellow Beatle John Lennon’s lyrics in ‘Imagine’ made a political statement and also sounded like "a communist manifesto" in Lennon’s own words, today it is revered as a kind of peace anthem.

Queen, another rock band from the 70s, too has its songs rooted deep in the pop psyche. Their songs like ‘I want to break free’ still rock the college festivals alongside Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall'. Queen’s best known number ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is high on finding contemporary relevance. According to Freddie Mercury, Queen’s lead singer and lyricist of the Indian origin, that particular song was just ‘random rhyming nonsense'. Around the same time Jim Morrison from the Doors was busy singing about ‘Cancelling his subscription to resurrection'. The incoherence of life conveyed through these songs still finds a resonance in today’s climate of political and financial cacophony.

Riders on the storm…

While The Beatles, the Doors and Queen tapped into personal and cultural history and political ideas, artists like Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel were busy dealing with identity crisis. Dylan’s ‘Like a rolling stone’ strikes a chord with anyone who has dealt with feelings of disconnection with the world and loneliness. On a similar line, Paul Simon’s words ‘A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries’ have become the epitome of lonely souls across the globe. Simon simply regarded that song as an ‘adolescent’ effort but his songs speak to a whole new generation with identity crisis of their own.

These are still instances of the ‘Popular’ music, as musicologist like Theodor W. Adorno would have us mark clear distinction between serious classical music and music that is created to please the masses. However, the lines between classical and popular are definitely blurring as music of Mozart is often used as background music for advertisements while Bob Dylan keeps getting nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature for his lyrics written in the past four decades.

The popularity scale for music is changing because of the blurring of language and cultural barriers. Nena’s German protest song ‘99 Luftballoon (99 red balloons) ‘ still finds young international fans while A R Rahman and Gulzar’s ‘Jai Ho’ makes Scandinavian ladies tap to its beats in their Bollywood dance class. Fresh interest is generated in the Bollywood song-and-dance in the rest of the world, but the musical past hasn’t lost its relevance in India either.

Har fikr ko dhuen mein udata chala gaya…

There are far more interesting and complicated musical genres and traditions in India, yet, popular music is still associated with movie songs. The process and purpose of composing music for movies in India is very complicated. Majority of songs are written or selected to suit the premise of a movie script. Despite these limitations the music of the 60s and 70s contained some gems penned by Sahir Ludhianvi, Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Kaifi Azmi and Gulzar, that capture complicated human emotions and seem relevant even today.
On the one hand, Sahir found some outlet for personal feelings in songs like ‘chalo ek bar phir se ajnabi ban jaayein’ based on his
failed relationship with Sudha Malhotra, his communist thought process emerges in ‘Saathi haat badhana’ from the film Naya Daur. The closest he comes to the tone of Bob Dylan-esuqe thought process is in ‘Mein zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya’ which comes from his personal experience of getting uprooted, overcoming many obstacles and moving on like a rolling stone. Shailendra, on the other hand was obsessed with the concept of death that he dealt with in the song ‘Jeena isi ka naam hai’. Apart from lyricists, music compositions of Shankar Jaikishan, S D Burman, Madan Mohan and other masters of the 60s and 70s earned the music of this era the distinction of ‘Golden Era of Music.' HMV still earns maximum revenue by selling music of this era.
The author is a free-lance writer, researcher and a blogger. She divides her time between India and Germany.
source:
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111109/edit.htm

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Tribute to Ustad Asad Ali Khan


Yesterday, on the 13th of June, 2011, as the sun set, a shining star of Hindustani classical music was lost in the unknown horizon. The sudden demise of Ustad Asad Ali Khan, the illustrious Rudra Veena maestro left all of us in shock. This is the tragedy not only for all his near and dear but it is a great loss to the Indian music. He was amongst the very few exponents of Rudra Veena, an instrument that is on the brink of collapse. Presently, when the great tradition of Rudra Veena is on the verge of extinction, I think I should attract the attention of the readers to this wondrous instrument and one of its very rare exponents, who tried his level best and in every possible manner to preserve, protect and spread the tradition.

Ustad Asad Ali Khan belonged to the 12th generation of Beenkaar Jaipur gharana (family or school) of the Indian classical music. His great grandfather Ustad Rajab Ali Khan Beenkaar, grandfather Ustad Musharraf Ali Khan Beenkaar and father -- also his tutor -- Ustad Sadiq Ali Khan Beenkaar were court musicians in the princely state of Alwar, where Ustad Asad Ali Khan was born. His father later moved to the princely court of Rampur where his father undertook to teach him music and for the next 15 years he learnt to play the Rudra Veena, practicing 14 hours a day.



For continuation of gharana, he successfully guided and trained his son and successor Ali Zaki Haider, who is going to carry Guru-Shishya Parampara further.

Although he is physically no more with us, his diligence and devotion have now placed him among tile top galaxy of Indian classical musicians. In India Ustad Asad Ali Khan was venerated for his superb musical skill and knowledge and received recognition and awards galore:

• Indian Civilian honor, Padma Bhushan in 2008 from President of India.

• Senior fellowship from ministry of cultural affairs, India in 2007-08.

• ITC Award from Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta in 2007.

• Tansen Award from Madhya Pradesh Government in 1994

• Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy, Lucknow(U.P.) in 1985

• Award of the Sangeet Natak Academy, Delhi in 1977

• Veena Visharad, the highest music degree, from the Banaras Hindu University.

He is a top-grade artiste of the All India Radio and participates in Radio sangeet sammelans (i.e. music conferences), national programs and musical performances all over India. He has also been a professor of music in Delhi University.

He has given concerts in Afghanistan, Australia, Holland, Italy, New Zealand the United Kingdom, the United States of America and other countries.

May his soul rest in peace and may God give his family the power to bear with the tragedy.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Corruption in Public life

These days, in electronic as well as the print Media, corruption is the 'hotspot' and perhaps the shortcut most recklessly used to increasing 'circulation' or 'TRP ratings'. Let us concentrate over it and find out as to why corruption has taken the central idea in our lives although everybody is in agreement with everybody else over the ill-effects of this social menace.

What is corruption?

There are different meanings of the word found in different dictionaries. I am presenting only those ones which are relevant to the article.

Corruption Noun:

1.  Lack of integrity or honesty (especially susceptibility to bribery); use of a position of trust for dishonest gain

2. Moral perversion; impairment of virtue and moral principles

3. Destroying someone's (or some group's) honesty or loyalty; undermining moral integrity

4. Inducement (as of a public official) by improper means (as bribery) to violate duty (as by committing a felony)

Through the above description of the word 'Corruption', we can conclude the following:

1 It relates to human behavior,

2 It is regulated by one's moral values.

3 Generally, money is involved in the act of corruption.

It is the human behavior which is mainly responsible for the act of corruption. It is, in fact, the expression of degeneration and defects in our society. Corrupt practices are more visible in the communities which have lesser regards for the moral values. Therefore, it is the signal which tells that we are gradually developing a kind of disregard towards the principles and the ideals based upon the ethical norms. It also shows the hypocrisy and dichotomy of one's actions.

Those who are engaged in corrupt practices think that it is the only solution. Most of us wish to achieve their targets by hook or by crook. They conveniently forget that achieving the goals is surely important but equally important is the means used to reach that goal. In the political circles, the scholars have very rightly established the connection between the power and the fraudulent practices. "Power corrupts power and absolute power corrupts absolutely." It shows that those holding the most powerful positions, may be involved in the highest levels of corruption.

That is why, these days we read in the Media about the crooked behavior of our political class. Our leaders who have the responsibility to show us the correct way of life by setting a model through their examplery actions, have failed to do so. There is a very old saying, "As is the king, so shall be the subjects." The common men and women see their rulers as models. Not only the ruling class, all those who attain a respectable position in the society, are seen as the model and hence they influence the masses directly or indirectly. Their behavior in the public life determines the behavior of the general public. If they show ethical character and human values in their actions, the common people follow it and the opposite is also is followed with the same commitment. Thus, it is the duty of our political class and other prominent personalities that they should demonstrate to us through their actions as to what kind of society they would like to live in. their attitude towards the corruption would decide the level of corruption in the society. If they wish to give a corruption-free society to their discendants, they ought to follow the path of simplicity and and modesty.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Music and Stress Management

Introduction:

In this era of rapid growth and nail-biting competition, life is getting full of tension. This tension leads to different diseases like the hypertension, heart problems, and insomnia and so on. In psychological terms this tension is called 'stress'. Many ailments occur due to the lack of physical exercises. Our life-styles have become so comfortable and relaxing, thanks to the science and technology, that most of our day-to-day activities are performed automatically by different machines. For example, we have remote control devices for TV, air conditioners, fans etc and therefore need not trouble our legs in order to use them. Outdoor games have been replaced by very meticulously designed video games. Hence, most of us need not go out and play. Mobile phones have made it possible to sit at home and replace important meetings with the video conferencing. There is just no scope for physical activities. This physical inaction leads to hypertention, and other psychological disorders which generate stress. In this article, we'd see as to how we can manage stress through the use of music.

What is stress?

There are many definitions given to the mental stress. Some are as under:

1 Stress is the body's reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response. It can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, nervous, or anxious.

2 Stress is caused by an existing stress-causing factor or "stressor."

3 Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

Considering these definitions, we can conclude that the stress is the result of our mental fatigue which may occur due to a variety of reasons. Your co-workers do not behave your way and you get tensed; you are waiting for someone but he/she gets late and you get frustrated; you do not succeed in the mission undertaken by you and your blood pressure shoots. There are numerous excuses for stress but in fact it is in your mind. In the same unfavourable situation, some get stress and some other do not. This shows that stress is not something that comes from outside; it is within our own mind.

The stress begins with frustration. We do not like someone's actions or something and we get frustrated. This frustration, if suppressed, generates anxiety which, in turn, gets transformed in anger. We try to suppress this anger as most of the time we cannot express it. That leads to more mental imbalances and finally we fall prey to the stress. If the situation prevails for a long time, this state of mind can lead to mental depression which can cause more psychological problems.

The solution:

There are many simple actions which can curtail our stress and we can get rid of it. Psychologists have devised means and methods whereby one can cope up with these kinds of situations. However, fine arts in general and music specifically can be of great help in controlling the mental stress.

Stress-management through music:

The basic cause of the mental stress is that our mind sometimes does not accept, or does not wish to accept the reality of circumstances. For example, you are watching your favourite show on TV and suddenly the the electric supply is off. If you accept the situation and keep cool, it is well. However, many of us take it very sentimentally and think that the power fails only when they are watching TV and they are not very lucky and so on. These types of feelings generate stress. If our attitude towards life is negative, we are stressed. If the attitude is positive, the situation changes rapidly to our favour.

Music makes positive. We feel relaxed and comfortable. As we listen soothing and sweet music, all our frustrations, tentions and other mental imbalances keep on evaporating and we feel very light and free of all stress. If one happens to be a musician, he/she can cure the ailment of mental stress very easily. The Swara Sadhana, which is essential to Indian music, is very helpful in controlling the stress. As we listen to the rich drone sound of Tanpura, we feel a kind of peace in our mind. When we mingle our voice in tune with Tanpura, our mind gets concentrated on Shadja, the key note of Indian music. As we tune the instrument, we need too much of concentration of mind towards the basic note. All these activities lead us to the state of meditation. In terms of Yoga, this meditation is the basic prerequisite for attaining the state of Samadhi. But the musicians have the privilege to get this state of mind without Yogic practices. Music in itself is a kind of Yoga. It can cure many mental illnesses including the mental stress.

In the fourth Chapter of Sangeet Ratnakar, the author has elaborated upon the characterstics of a good Vaggeyakara, i.e. the good musical composer. One of the characteristics mentioned herein is 'Avadhana' which means the concentration of mind. Thus, we see that the composers of Indian music need the concentration of mind in order to create music. It applies to any kind of music. If we can practice to concentration of mind, we can strengthen our will power. If our will power is strong, we can easily can overpower the mental stress.

Not only musicians, but the listeners of music can also benefit from the positive qualities of Indian music. Here, let us make a distinction between the quality music and the popular music. It is not that the popular or the mainstream music cannot fall in the category of the quality music. But more often than not, the popular music is different from the quality music. Music which is meant for generating excitement and action, fails to give relaxation. Those who wish to use music to suppress the original mental feelings, have to face the consequences. This is the reason, that disco jockeys are able to make us dance but their kind of music is far from the peace of mind. It can generate excitement but cannot create pleasing effects. Therefore, one should choose soothing and relaxing music if he/she wants to get rid of the mental stress.

Indian classical music has the capacity to shun the negative feelings and create the positive attitude. Therefore, it is recommended that one should develop the habit of listening to the Indian classical music if the mental stress is to be curtailed.

Conclusion:

There is a very famous saying: "caution is always better than cure." Therefore, it is advisable that before it is too late, before we fall prey to the mental stress, let us develop the liking towards the Indian classical music. All of us try to learn a bit of Indian music. If it is not possible, at least we can listen to the good music. We should try to keep away from the loud amplified kind of music which is amply available on the electronic media. We should rather be inclined to the real classical music. This will surely make our lives more fruitful and productive in all respects.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Effect of music on plants

These days, potentials of music, other than its entertaining value, are being tapped vigorously not only in India but the world over. The therapeutic powers of music are very hotly discussed presently. In the West more scientific and logical research has been taken up than here in India. It is during such research that some new facts have emerged which indicating that music can be beneficial to the growth of plants. This article shows how music affects plants in a positive manner and how it helps them grow faster.

Although music is a universal language yet we would restrict our article to the Indian conditions only as we are more adapted to Indian circumstances. Moreover, we cannot forget that it was Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose who initiated an elaborate research on plants. He was probably the first scientist of the modern age who had an inkling that the sound of music does wonders for plant growth. He performed some experiments which show how music affects plant growth. Scientists from all over the world have researched on the question "how does music affect plants". So, does music affect plant growth? Well, yes, it could be said that music does affect plant growth. It is just like what music therapy is for human beings

Living systems show sensitivity to specific radiant energies – be it acoustical, magnetic or electro-magnetic. As the impact of music could be easily gauged on emotions and thereby on mind, it can be used as a tool to control the physiological, psychological and even social activities of the patients. My understanding is that if music can affect our mind, it can also influence the growth of the plants. I begin my assumption with a simple experiment. Indian classical music can be classified into two forms: A. kalpita sangita or composition, which is previously conceived, memorized, practiced and rendered, B. manodharma sangita or the music extemporized and performed. The latter can be equated to the honeymooner’s first night as it conceives both spontaneity and improvisation. It is fresh and natural as it is created almost on the spot and rendered instantly on the spur of the moment. Both kinds can be used to perform an experiment on plants; however, the pre-recorded music would be better as the same experiment may be repeated again and again.



The experiment:



The experiment which I am talking about was originally done by Dave Williams, faculty, Anne Arundel Community College, New York, USA, on Saturday, March 22, 1997.

Does music help or hinder the plants growth?

Many studies have been done and it has become a very interesting subject. This experiment will give us an understanding on whether or not music effects plant growth. In our experiment, we will use rock music and classical music to test the plant growth.

Hypothesis:

We think that the classical music will help the plant growth and that the rock music will hinder its growth since studies have showed that classical music even concentrates the human brain and is good for you.

Material:

1. Three of the same type of plants,

2. 2 small stereos or boom boxes with CD players,

3. A rock CD,

4. A Classical CD,

Procedure:

Take the three plants and label them, one with classical, one with rock, and one with no music. Put all them in separate rooms and put the rock music by the rock plant, put the classical CD by the classical plant and leave the other plant in a quiet room with no exposure to music. Water them daily and after a week, record your results on how each plant is doing.

Record And Analyze Data:

After one week of experimenting, the following were the results. The one that was in the best condition was the plant that was in the room with classical music. The second best plant was the one in the room with no music and the one that didn't do so good was the one in the room with rock music.

This experiment needs more attention. It should be done again and again to ascertain the results obtained and also to make more authentic. Although many more experiments have proved that the musical tones effect the growth of plants in a very positive manner, yet in the world of science there is still uncertainty over the issue. Here I am presenting some more:

Dorothy Retallack published a small book on vegetation with melody, in 1973, which was based on her experiments of the music effects on plants, in a Colorado College, in Denver. She found out that, out of the plants in three different chambers, with different conditions, those exposed to soothing music grew better than the others. In one case, the plants had bent towards the music playing device. These plants were lush green with healthy stems.

However, it is note-worthy that if there is a constant monotone that is being played, then it does not significantly affect plant growth. But if it is mild, classical music, definite change of rate can be observed, in the growth of plants. It is a lengthy process, though. How music affects plant growth, cannot be observed within days of the plant being exposed to music. It takes weeks to identify the effects of music on plants.



Classical Music and Plant Growth



Classical music, for that matter has had a prominent effect on plant growth. The Ragas (a formation with a group of notations) in Indian classical music are believed to have worked wonders for plant growth. In addition to that, the occident has also been a witness to experiments on how does music affect plants. The vibrations of the music created are responsible for plant growth.



Another dimension:



But everything said and done, even if music is believed to affect plant growth, it is somewhat controversial. The naysayers hold that there are no sensory devices in plants, like the ears or the brain. Music is all about vibrations, but then, they may not be so powerful that they can initiate an improved growth in plants.

So, does music affect plant growth? This is still a question mark in the fraternity of scientists. But there is no problem in believing that music does affect plants. Who knows our belief will give such an incredible power to the music we play, that it will compel the plants to flourish. How beautiful it would be! Even when the sun leaves them, melodies will always be there to cheer our green friends up.

Medha Godbole, who has written extensively on the topic, suggests that plants do like noise. Plants exposed to a set frequency of sound tend to germinate more quickly, grow taller and weigh more than those kept in silence. Both 50,000 Hz ultrasound (above the human hearing range) and 5,000 Hz sound seem to work. Therefore, there's a good chance that plants like any sound you might play for them, including music. Plants also like good, attentive care. If you are playing music you like for a plant, it may lead you to take better care of it. You will be more likely to carefully water and feed the plant and make sure it has good light. It might look like the music helps the plant grow, when you are actually taking better care of it. Plants like carbon dioxide. If you are standing by a plant, singing to it, it is going to absorb some carbon dioxide from your breath.



Conclusion:



Although there is no conclusive evidence to show as to how music helps plants to grow, yet there is ample reason to believe that music helps them in their growth. How music is helpful in the growth of plants, is different matter. Our focus of attention is that music surely benefits the plants in their growth. Therefore, the persons who are connected to farming Industry, are advised to experiment with their plants listening to good quality music, preferably the Indian classical music and observe the result. We are sure; in no way it will harm them.




Why does music chill and thrill some people?

Most people feel chills and shivers in response to music that thrills them, but some people hardly feel them at all. People who are particularly open to new experiences are most likely to have chills in response to music, according to a new study. Researchers Emily Nusbaum and Paul Silvia of the University of North Carolina in the US asked students about how often they felt chills down their spine, got goose bumps, or felt like their hair was standing on end while listening to music, reports the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

They also measured their experience with music, and five main dimensions of personality: extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, and openness to experience, according to a North Carolina statement. People high in openness are creative, curious about many things, have active imaginations and like to play with ideas, and they much more frequently feel chills in response to music.
People with a lot of openness to experience were more likely to play a musical instrument themselves and they rated music as more important in their lives than people low in openness. Not surprisingly, people high in openness also spent more time listening to music.
"There are a lot of ways in which people are basically alike, but the experience of chills isn't one of them," said the authors.
"Some people seem to have never experienced chills while listening to music - around eight percent of people in our study - but other people experience chills basically every day."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Valmiki Ramayana

National Bird’s Day

January 5 was National Bird Day. A day to celebrate the beauty and song of

birds that have long been a source of inspiration to all of us. But did you know that today, nearly 12 per cent of the world's 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world's 330 parrot species.

Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as the barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills.

Many of the world's parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.

Public awareness and education about the physical and behavioural needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of birds kept in captivity.

The survival and wellbeing of the world's birds depends upon public education and support for conservation.

Budhaditya receives Sangeetnatak Akademi Awards

Eventually, Sangeet Natak Akademi recognized the talent of one of the illustrious Sitarists of the era Pt. Budhaditya Mukherjee and conferred upon him the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2010. It is also a pleasant coincidence that one of his fans Dr. Ravi Sharma, who has been the disciple of his great father and has also got training from him, got the information of these Awards from the reliable sources and conveyed the same to Pt Mukherjee on 20/01/2011 in the evening. He became the first person to break the news. Pt. Mukherjee has never been hungry of recognitions but it is sad that Sangeet Natak Akademi recognized his skills so late. But better late than never.

Budhaditya Mukherjee (1955–) is a Hindustani classical sitar and surbahar player of the Imdadkhani Gharana (school).

He was taught by his father Bimalendu Mukherjee from the age of 5, and started making a name for himself at a young age. In 1970, he won two national-level music competitions, and soon after was famously endorsed in glowing terms first by film maker Satyajit Ray and then South Indian veena maestro Balachander, who proclaimed him to be the sitar artist of the century. In 1975, Budhaditya became a grade A artist with All India Radio (he was promoted to top grade in 1986). Since then, he has become an established sitarist, known for virtuosity, speed and precision.

He is the first artist ever in the history of the British Parliament to have performed in the House of Commons. It was on June 30, 1990 when the British Parliament was mesmerized by the finest tonal quality and the delicacy of his Sitar.

Mukherjee has toured the world extensively, giving concerts in over 25 countries, and from 1983 and 1995, respectively, taught from time to time at the Istituto Interculturale di Studi Musicali Comparati in Venice and the Rotterdam Conservatory. He has also recorded widely, and at the age of 47, his discography spanned exactly 47 CDs, LPs and cassettes. In 1995, he started recording on the surbahar (bass sitar), first as a two-part series (Brilliance of Sound) for Beethoven Records in Kolkata (ragas Yaman and Marwa), then raga Komal rishabh Asavari for RPG/HMV on Tribute to My Father, My Guru (STCS 850362). In 2003, he was the first Indian classical musician to have an enhanced CD published: Thumriyan (RCD-2224), on Bengali label Rhyme Records in Kansas, containing ragas Piloo and Bhairavi.

His son, Bijoyaditya, was born in 1984, and started training with grand father sri Bimalendu Mukherjee and father Budhaditya Mukherjee at the age of 5.

Budhaditya Mukherjee also holds a degree in metallurgical engineering.

The other recipients of the Award

Date:21/01/2011
URL:
http://www.thehindu.com/2011/01/21/stories/2011012157192200.htm


Girija Devi, Nataraj Ramakrishna, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The general council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi elected two eminent personalities from the field of performing arts — Girija Devi and Nataraj Ramakrishna — Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows (Akademi Ratna) at its meeting held here on Wednesday.

It is a rare honour, and there are only 34 fellows of the Akademi at present.

Thirty-eight people from the fields of music, dance, theatre and puppetry were selected for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for 2010.

In music, nine artists — Channulal Mishra and Shri Yashpal (Hindustani vocal); Budhaditya Mukherjee (sitar) and Nityanand Haldipur (flute, Hindustani instrumental); Suguna Purushothaman and Mysore Nagamani Srinath (Carnatic vocal), Nagai R. Muralidharan (violin) and Srimushnam V. Raja Rao (mridangam) and M.V. Simhachala Sastry (Harikatha) have been selected.

Dance awards

In dance, Malabika Mitra (Kathak), Kalamandalam Kombil Govindan Nair (Kathakali), Phanjoubam Iboton Singh (Manipuri), Ratna Kumar (Kuchipudi), Aruna Mohanty (Odissi), Manik Borbayan (Sattriya), Uttara Asha Coorlawala (creative and experimental dance), Kalamandalam Painkulam Rama Chakyar (other major traditions of dance and dance theatre — Kutiyattam) and S. Rajeshwari (music for dance — Bharatanatyam) have been selected.

In theatre, eight eminent persons have been selected: D. Vizai Bhaskar (Telugu) and Atamjeet (Punjabi) for playwriting; Veenapani Chawla and Urmil Kumar Thapliyal for direction; and Dilip Prabhavalkar, Banwari Taneja, Maya Krishna Rao and Swatilekha Sengupta for acting.

Other forms

For their contribution to other forms of art, 10 artists have been selected. They are Harbhajan Singh Namdhari for Gurbani Kirtan (Punjab); Nazeer Ahmed Khan Warsi and Naseer Ahmed Khan Warsi (joint award) for qawwali (Andhra Pradesh); Dwijen Mukherjee for Rabindra Sangeet (West Bengal); T. Somasundaram for folk dance (Tamil Nadu); Krishna Kumari for folk music — Bhakha (Jammu and Kashmir); Chand Jagdish Tiwadi for folk theatre — Bharud (Maharashtra); K. Chinna Anjannamma for Tolu Bommalata or shadow puppetry (Andhra Pradesh); and K.V. Ramakrishnan and K.C. Ramakrishnan (joint award) for Pava Kathakali or glove puppetry (Kerala).

Ashok D. Ranade will receive the Akademi Award 2010 for a scholarship in performing arts (music). Jaidev Taneja will be presented an award for overall contribution to performing arts (theatre).

According to Akademi secretary Jayant Kastuar, the honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. "They not only symbolise the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis but also recognise sustained individual work and contribution to the practice and appreciation of the arts through performance, teaching and scholarship."

The Akademi Fellow carries a prize money of Rs.3 lakh and the Akademi awards carry Rs.1 lakh, besides a tamrapatra and an angavastram.