Tuesday, March 01, 2016

When the conversation begins...

The word ''conversation" suddenly strikes me when I watch this video. The meaning of the word.
It is such a casual word, which we usually use, even we do the same in our day to day life, with individuals or with groups etc...

But have we ever thought of a conversation that takes place between different art forms? The conversation between the different art forms in the sense, different cultural arts being performed on one stage. Whether it be a classical art, or folk art or let it be any art form, let it be classified under any such labels. But then, the conversation naturally takes place between the people from diverse social backgrounds too.The beautiful part of Uroor Olcott Kuppam vizha, that was held in Chennai couple of days ago, in Besanth nagar beach, is this I believe.

Using arts as a tool to create the idea of ''oneness'' is something great. It helps to unleash the social conditions and tensions between communities in the name of culture and tradition especially, or because of the social hierarchy. Because arts do speak. Arts itself do not have caste barriers or class barriers or even any classifications. But they just exist! They are beuatiful when it performed out of a human expression, or brain whatever. Arts simply exist as they are. We humans have made all these barriers, have created all these chaos, have made all these classifications among us and even in the arts. Art itself is a powerful tool to heal these societal wounds, most of us agree with this also. But the question is had we ever taken such an initiative towards this direction? At least had we ever given a thought to this? Did we really want to act on this? Do we realize there is a real problem in this? Have we ever addressed the '' common problems" of  those arts which have been caged and getting flourished in the closed rooms? Had we ever thought of it? Had they ever come out to an open space like a beach environment and faced such an audience? Have the artists also have ever gone out of their comfort zones?
Now the question arises who is going to address this as a problem? A problem as a whole system involved in it. who is going to pin point this? Who is going to raise voice against the social interferences in art? Who is going to bring various art forms to one plat form addressing its social barriers? bring it to one stage? Who is going to bell the cat? This is the puzzle.

And I believe the idea of cultural art conversations can definitely do a lot to the present political situations in India, especially when the urgent need arises, for a solid, well planned and well thought execution of an effective action. To act something creatively, with a socio political outlook, as social engagements, addressing the social realities. I personally don't want to go for a tit for tat solutions, or arguments to prove the stands and to prove the rights and wrongs. But of course I am not against to the idea of political debates and discussions and also do not agree with the ''balanced talks'' about it from one's own comfort zone either. But I wish to act! Wish to be a part of such acts! This event, Uroor Olcott Vizha is more of political and social in nature, other than just being a meeting or a celebration of just ''give and take'' conditions between art forms. It is beyond that when it triggers a conversation between people who come from different social backgrounds, also between social conditions and when it addresses the ugly social realities from the grass root level.

It reinforces that humans have to be free from caste barriers, social conditionings and to think about the ''insecurities'' (which are not real) that creeps in among ''privileged" people in the society even, that I say including me. If I say no to reservation, when I declare Pakistan is the enemy of India, when nationalism becomes a greater aspect than humans and human rights for me, and the concept of equality seem to be remaining as of no value to me, then I need to think, Its time for me to do a serious introspection. If I feel a particular art, or a particular tradition is superior to other tradition or arts, then I need to come out of my comfort shell. If I feel to justify injustices continuously in defence of my own community or tradition, then I have to broaden my views.

This simply means I have to take responsibilities of the equal social status and justice ensuring equally to my fellow citizens in the same society which I live in. I need to support all the govt. systems which are designed for that purpose. I have the responsibility to look at it beyond my own ''precious'' community and its people, or my own ''precious'' tradition which I think is superior to all others. I need to realise that this system is not running alone for me or for my comforts to get fulfilled, but there are also people other than me and ''mine'' in this same society,who have been suppressed and been exploited by the superior powers of the hierarchic system.  

I think this vizha (festival) is also to hug, dance, touch and talk to each other out of the empathy generated from inside of each and every person, unleashing the social barriers. Those who have gathered there in Oroor Olcutt  Kuppam festival, where the beautiful sea set a background for couple of evenings, where people gathered for a common cause along with the ''native'' people have definitely started a conversation now with each other. I am sure Chennaites would have had a different experience when a Carnatic classical music concert or a Bharathanatyam classical dance being performed on a temporary stage built near the open sea, to an open audience. Let it be a mental conversation, artistic conversation or even physical.  But it works! It has just begun! And the arts provide a beautiful platform for this idea. Its really great! I am super excited!!

Hats off to the master brain behind this idea ( Carnatic Musician T.M.Krishna) and to the whole team worked behind this.



3) An Equal Music - Carnatic Music festival. 

4) How an arts festival in a fishing village in Chennai opened up a conversation on inclusion