Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa becomes saint Teresa

Indians are happy that one of us has been recognized as a saint for the third time.

It is of course, a proud moment for us. Mother Teresa, the symbol of passion for the poor and the down-trodden and the statue of love and compassion, has become the Saint. Mother Teresa is transformed into saint Terresa.

However, this transformation required two miracles to happen within five years of her departure from life. As soon as these two miracles were reported, the process of canonization started.

However, the question arises as to whether we should believe in miracles or should we develop a scientific approach. If we believe that through the faith of Mother Teresa, an ulcer can be cured, don’t we strengthen superstitions and illogical rituals?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Issues and Challenges in Music Pedagogy

In last one-and a-half century, we have seen many forms of teaching and learning music right from traditional guru-shishya tradition to music being taught in schools and then in universities as an independent subject. The performing art becoming a curricular discipline brought many transformative changes including a heavy input of theoretical content, number of ragas or genres to be learnt in a given time and practical knowledge to be imparted to a large group in a classroom situation. Research and specialization also became very important in the university set up. Many deemed universities sprang up in order to confer degrees to learners in music also. Although CBSE and other state education boards have their respective syllabi for both vocal and instrumental music yet in schools, it is generally taken as a hobby kind of a subject and the situation has not changed even after the introduction of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation System. In schools, music also becomes the vehicle of promoting certain values patriotism, small and nuclear family, environmentalism etc. Traditional one-to-one way of learning music still has its own hold off-course, with its new incarnation as Ee-guru. Now, it is not only classical music which is learnt and taught; it is light music with Casio which is equally popular. Moreover, in this Global scenario, when genres are blurring music pedagogy is undoubtedly changing. Therefore, the music education is to be looked at with a wider perspective including both formal and informal set ups with all the stakeholders involvedlearners, teachers, ustads/pundits, parents, institutions, curriculum planners, policy makers, entertainment industry etc. It needs to be researched from historical, sociological, psychological, monetary, policy and many other angles as well.

Naadnartan intends to take cognizance of these and other issues of music education in the form of a seminar, to be held on December 9th-10th, 2016. It would not only bring out a proceeding of the papers presented but we are also thinking of what policy interventions we can plan for. Kindly send your abstract, not exceeding five hundred words in English or Hindi by August 15th, 2016. Abstracts received after that will not be entertained. The approval of abstracts would be intimated around August 31st, 2016.

The paper may be related to any of the themes given below and even beyond:

1.      Music in schools:


1.2.Inculcation of values/quest for self expression and liberation

2.      Music in Universities:

2.1.Creative choice/dying subject

2.2.Classroom challenges and administrative hassles

2.3.Curriculum and content: Theory-Practical balance

2.4.Issues in music research

2.5.Education of dance forms in Universities

2.6.Music beyond formal pedagogy/ECA (Extra Curricular Activity), Inter-college, Inter-universities competitions/youth festivals

3.      Music catering to specific demands:

3.1.Genres other then classical music-Gurmat sangeet, Sufi sangeet, Rock music, Fusion, Fol etck in terms of pedagogy

3.2.Music accompaniment and other skill based curricula

4.      Looking at instrumental music from school to universities

5.      E-guru from e-pathshala to re-incarnation of gurukul through internet

6.      Issues related to deemed universities

7.      Private tutoring and commercialization: from classical to casio 


Kindly send your abstracts through E-mail:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Politics over Nationalism

Recent discourse on nationalism in the light of JNU controversies needs a thorough review.

In the parliamentary debates and elsewhere, our elected representatives barring the N D a and allies, tried to insist upon the point that “nationalism was a dangerous idea because it was fascism in disguise,” as the noted journalist Tavleen Singh puts it.

During TV shows the same argument was put forward by numerous communist leaders and their sympathisers. Some of them quoted Tagore as the staunch opponent of the term nationalism. They forgot that the same Tagore had returned his Nobel Prize as he loved India and could not tolerate the colonial forces oppressing Indian aspirations. Had he not been a nationalist he would not have considered himself as an Indian and returned the highest honour.

At a critical time, when the world is facing the grave threats from the extremists and the terrorists all over, when the U S, supported by the European Union, is trying to control the world by the international agencies like the united nations organization, the world Bank, the international Monitory Fund etc., when Islamic fundamentalism, strengthened with the Arab support, is ready to use its devastating forces on innocent men and women world over, we cannot run away from our responsibility which calls upon all lovers of India to join hands for sacrificing our self-interests for the greater cause of assuring the safety and security of our motherland.

What is nationalism?

Nationalism is nothing but one’s love for his country and his motherland. When the British established their oppressive rule in India, this very feeling of nationalism inspired common men and women of the nation sacrifice their lives in the struggle for the liberty of the motherland from the blood sucking clutches of the colonial regime. Martyrs like Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh Bismil etc. made the supreme sacrifice for the independence of India. Netaji moved many steps forward and established the Indian National Army for the same cause wherein, thousands of the Indian soldiers, who had been previously fighting under the British flag, joined Netaji in his noble mission. It was through these greatest of efforts of our common masses enlightened with the sentiment of nationalism that we attained our freedom after millions of our youth dedicated all that they could, including their lives, in honour of the motherland that they loved passionately and could not tolerate that someone see mother India with evil eyes.

The present scenario:

Now let us see the meaning of nationalism in the present context. In J N U campus, people hurled abuses upon our motherland, they shouted slogans vowing for the disintegration of India, showed disrespect to our judiciary by referring to the decisions of the highest judiciary as “judicial killings”, and the students who were present there, remained silent. They maintained calm and composure. They could not think that insulting India was equal to insulting Indians as India consist of Indians. They could not connect themselves with India. Hence, the anti-national elements kept on raising highly objectionable slogans and the JNU students kept on watching the situation. No objections raised, no protests were made, no frustration was expressed, and no remorse was seen. After a while, some of the students tried to protest but these voices were suppressed in the name of right to expression. In favour of the antinational elements, many voices were heard stating that it was the right to expression in respect of the sloganeers. Later on, the Print/Electronic media advocated the same and tried to justify the antinational elements in the name of right to expression. Therefore, it is high time that we consider the idea of freedom of expression in terms of our national interests.

I shall not go into legal complications – let the legal fraternity take legal decisions. Neither shall I go into the constitutional provisions regarding the freedom of speech. There had been lovers of India even before we got our constitution. My only concern is the integrity and security of India. The actions which have the tendency to weaken the unity and integrity of our country, the expressions which can give strength of justification to our enemies, the behaviour which is unworthy of being an Indian and above all, the freedom which may lead to strengthening of terror networks has been and is the reason to worry to me.

When we consider the recent occurrences of JNU, we find that anti-national sentiments have been systematically working there for long. These happenings cannot take place in just some days or weeks. In the name of freedom of expression, antinational sentiments are being encouraged in the University campus. Maoist insurgents have joined hands with Kashmiri separatists. Communists are giving political support to this. Congress is supporting the same in the hope that it may weaken BJP and hence it may prove to be to their benefit. Presently, other political parties also think in terms on joining hands with congress and communists in order to weaken the BJP. Thus, the political support which is seen in the JNU row, is more in terms of dislodging BJP than the support to the freedom of expression. The political class thinks, most of the time, in terms of its political interest. Divided opposition cannot withstand the majoritarian BJP approach. To make a dent in the ruling regime, opposition needs one or the other issue. JNU anti-national brigade has given them a big one. Communists are comparing the arrest of their student leader with the emergency rule of the congress. And the irony is that the congress has no objection to this comparison. Questions are raised over the sedition charges clamped upon some of the students. Police action against the anti-national elements is considered as an attack on the autonomy of the Universities. The opposition is trying to make it an issue of atrocities on Dalits connecting the JNU issue with the suicide of a student in Telangana University. The government of the day is charged with political interference in the autonomy of universities and institutes. And the last but not the least, nationalism is being compared with fascism.

However, no government can tolerate anti-national approach; be it by some students of JNU or Kashmiri terror brigade. In the name of freedom of expression, if we condone the antinational slogan raising, if we do not curb antinational sentiments, if we let the antinational forces work unnoticed, no surprise then, that the insurgent views would evolve and revolve unregulated. Terror outfits would be easily able to brainwash innocent men and women and very soon an army of nexels, a brigade of home grown terrorists, and an antinational force of India’s own citizens would be challenging our forces. We will have to face a civil war. We have seen the same in Punjab. The political class used Sikhs as a tool to weaken the then Government of Morarji Desai. In this process, Sikh devotee Sant Bhindranwale became a terrorist. Our forces have to flush out the terror forces in his leadership from the Golden Temple through an Operation called the Blue Star, wherein, hundreds of our soldiers were martyred. In that home grown insurgency, Pakistan played a crucial role. The same is being repeated in JNU, where our intelligence agencies are clearly observing nexus between the Kashmiri terror outfits like the Lashkar and the Maoist insurgents. I request the political class to review the situation and stop encouraging these anti-national elements. In my view, one or the other political party will win the battle of democracy and gain power. Elections would come and go. Political parties shall keep on changing hands. But if India is not strong, if our national forces are dented, if we do not feel any pride in considering ourselves as Indians, if we permit nationalism being insulted in the name of freedom of expression, if we do not curb the anti-national forces, if we keep on indulging in the petty political selfishness, if we keep on using religious minorities as vote banks, if we let the society divide in the lines of caste and languages, all democratic institutions are bound to collapse. In the event of democratic institutions being collapsed, no freedom can survive, let alone the freedom of expression.

Let us not support those who raise or support anti-national slogans. Let us deal with them with firm hands. Had we taken action against Arundhati Rai right at the time when she supported Kashmiri separatists, the present situation would hav3e been avoided. And as JNU row found support in political class as well as the Media, the same antinational feelings are spreading in other universities too.

Therefore, let us stop encouraging antinational elements.