I have often worried about the way Bollywood music is going. Very often, when I listen to the music of today, I feel a strong sense of disconnect. Why does it all sound so Western? I am not a stick-in-the-mud, but to discard what is a beautiful tradition of music to ape music of some other culture, is that really what we should be doing? I don’t think I am alone in feeling like this. I have many people tell me how they still love the music of the 60’s and 70’s and how they don’t really listen to today’s music. Is it not possible to have development, progress and innovation without losing one’s culture and heritage? I remember suddenly the time I saw a scribble on the wall of a national monument in Rajashthan, a priceless slice of history defaced by the unthinking, the callous. Are we Indians being equally callous about our precious tradition of music?
My sense of disconnect is not limited to music. Yesterday we watched a film called Dil To Baccha Hai Ji. Quite a few of the characters acted in a manner which I found decidedly alien. Is this cinema really reflecting society, and if so, has the Indian urban culture discarded all our value systems? And if it is not reflecting Indian society as it stands, then would not the unthinking young be influenced to follow what are the worst aspects of alien cultures? Where are we all heading to?
I fear for the music I love. I fear for the traditions I uphold.
And then sometimes, I hear some young artist sing traditional music in the way it has been sung for hundreds of years and I find solace in that. I want to reach out and hug these precious children, I want to shower blessings on them and hope that they have a wide audience. Not an audience of just us older people clinging on to the past, but an audience of young people, finding joy in the old music.
Today I present you children who holds our musical traditions in their tender hands. Listen below from 09:06
May they live long! May they guard our music and spread it ! May there be many others like them! May our old music be heard for ever!