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Support The Arts… Our Arts … Traditional Indian Arts!

In the eighties, when we bought our first television, there was very little film content on the air. Doordarshan was the only channel. There was a Hindi movie on Saturdays and a Tamizh movie on Sundays. On Fridays, there used to be a half-hour program of Tamizh film music called ஒலியும் ஒளியும். After much thought, they introduced an "award films" slot for the Sunday afternoon slot when regional films that had won President's award would be broadcast. For kids, there was a half-hour Walt Disney cartoon on Sunday. That was about it. I really thought that government did not want people to have fun. There was an excess of classical stuff, folk material, documentaries, and the oppressive government propaganda. (When Rajiv Gandhi was PM, the "Panchayati Raj" propaganda infiltrated even the news programmes.)

In the nineties, cable channels started appearing and they were showing films 24 hours of the day. Eventually, private TV channels caught up and people started spending all their free time in front of TV. Today, menfolk are glued to sports and the idiotic "post-match" commentary. Women watch unending soap operas where ஜடம்-like daughter-in-laws are harrassed by பிடாரி-like mother-in-laws and made to shed oceans of tears. Just when you thought TV programming could not get any worse, reality-TV programs came and put a spell on everyone - men, women and children. Even Discovery, National Geographic and Animal Planet have become boring, as they now show more humans and less natural world.

James Cameron, in his book Indian Summer, writes that a minister in Nehru's cabinet banned All India Radio from airing film music. In the nineties, (when I read the book) I wondered what a ghastly killjoy he must have been. Now, in hindsight, I wonder he was trying to save us from ruin. In many families, people talk only when there is a power cut. People get fat watching TV and watch more TV as they get fat. (Because this is a bonanza for the medical industry, schools are encouraged to use tablets. Hook'em when they are young!) Cartoons assault kids with fast-moving images and make them less attentive and more easily bored. People, young and old, have no hobbies, no outside interests, no alternate exertions… Earlier, parents (who were introduced to TVs in the middle of their lives) would not let kids watch "bad" TV programs. Now, kids watch all programs because their parents had grown up with televisions from day one. Children lose their innocence and are now entering the world of competitive sexual sports several years early. Kids as young as 13 are running away with their "friends."

Knock, knock... who’s there? Pizza delivery man or a Romeo?

Last year alone, 2,638 teenaged girls, some as young as 13, eloped with their ‘beaus’. That would be shocking enough in the light of their tender age. What boggles the mind, however, is that the boys/men of their choosing come, for the most part, from social segments considerably below their own — sales boys, cable TV boys, garage mechanics, even a couple of rowdies.

Of the 5,484 missing complaints filed in city police stations in 2011, 2,638 were teenaged girls. Of these, 1,356 have been traced so far.

- Bangalore Mirror; 6 Janaury 2012;

When I was in school, many of our teachers were trained in traditional arts. They would transform students into temporary artists for school functions. Today, teachers, parents and students are so talentless that cultural programmes mean dancing to filmy tunes. There are no Bharatanatyam performances or Carnatic music recitals or folk dances.

A civilization either grows or dies. We are dying.

How To Stop This Degeneration

  1. Don't watch TV: If you think that may not be possible, then take baby steps. Sit in a neighbouring room (where you will be working or relaxing) and listen to the TV. You will get a different perspective when you listen only to the audio and not the video. Slowly, the dialogues will sound stupid. Over time, even the news programmes will sound idiotic. (This happened to me when I got addicted to the computer and had to sit through hours of audio-only TV.)
    • Reality TV: You should enjoy the work of professionals. Don't watch amateurs cry and make fool of themselves in reality TV programmes.
    • Soaps: Make your wife switch the TV off on her own. Tell them that TV soaps exploit women at a subconscious level by making them feel vulnerable and then bombarding them with ads. Depopulation fiends invented the Feminist movement and financed a lot of "feminist" news organizations and journalists. Their aim was to prevent women from giving birth to "useless eaters." Now, you can use Feminism for a good purpose. Make them give up TV. There is no subterfuge in this. The Asianet channel once confessed that this was the reason why they make the tear-jerkers.
    • Cricket: Tell your husband that all professional sports are fixed and run by bookies at various levels. Ajay Jadega and Azharuddin convinced me of this long ago. I am now have plenty of time and don't feel obligated to watch TV. Ask him how many recent T20 matches were decided on the outcome of the last ball.
  2. Get News From Non-TV Sources: Read newspapers, magazines, books, and websites. You can always re-read a paragraph, ponder over it and question over the validity of their claims. On TV, you cannot rewind the news. You become a passive and unquestioning consumer of news. This is what the globalists want. At this rate, we will soon enter a time when will be zero news and 24-hour game shows, as imagined by Robert Rankin in his 1988 book Armageddon: The Musical.
  3. Don't let kids watch TV: This is harmful in more ways than one. It makes them stupid and inattentive. They fail to get exercise and grow up into fat sickly kids. And, don't let kids use computers or video gadgets at a young age. It hurts their eyes. In many developed countries, kids have forgotten to count as they rely on calculators. There are no writing assignments. They lift articles from the Web and print everything.
  4. Introduce Kids To Books: There is a limit to what parents and teachers can teach a kid. But, there is no limit to what books can give. Take kids to libraries and make them read books there. (Don't give them e-books or tablets. Give them real books. A lot of information is hidden in physical books. eBooks will never acquire that information. One of the objectives of "cloud computing" is to prevent people from gaining full possession over sources of knowledge. Knowledge is power. With a simple click, evil overlords can cut us people from knowledge if they choose to. With physical books, it is a bit more difficult.
  5. Support The Arts: (This was what I originally wanted to write about. I got distracted. I am sorry for this long rant.) Arts are what a civilization creates to distinguish itself. Without arts, we are all just a bunch of eaters and sleepers. In the last year, I have been taking my four-year-old daughter to music and dance events. (I want my daughter to learn arts just for the sake of being artistically talented rather being commercially successful. For this reason, I want her to pick up the veena, instead of the popular choices of dancing or singing.) Anyway, in these events, I observe that most of the audience members are very old. I do not think that Carnatic music or Bharatanatyam will suffer from a lack of practitioners but I do feel that in future artists will be playing only before captive audiences instead of enthusiastic patrons. For this reason, I urge you to support the arts. Make your family members to get away from TV and go to music and dance programmes with you. Check the "events" section of your daily newspaper and choose at least one event every week. Most events are free. Only the biggest of big names charge a fee. There is a world of difference between live events and those on TV. You may find arts boring on TV but your experience will be the opposite at a live performance. Now, here is a list of videos I want you to check out.
    • Marulu Minjera By Rajashree Warrier: I downloaded several dance videos from Youtube so that my daughter can practice the "moves." One of those videos was a classic example of an acquired taste. I ignored it initially but found myself humming the song at work. Then, I noticed the song delivery was not the usual fare you run into every day. This was different. Most Carnatic song expositions are like non-stop express trains. This one was different - like a horse rider passing crossing a forest - climbing, trundling, galloping, holding, stopping and then resuming. On coming home, I found that this Telugu song was written and composed by Balamurali Krishna. I almost knew it. In the early days of his career, BMK was criticised for this style. Now, everyone is copying him. Still, people either hate BMK or like BMK. There is no in between. To set you off on a smooth journey, the vocals in this video is by the dancer, not BMK. Over to the amazing Rajashree Warrier: This video is part of a DVD compilation named Neela Varnam.
    • Pollatha Vishamakara Kannan: I have come across this song many times before but I realize how great the song is only now. The Vishamakara Kannan segment is 10 minutes into the video.)
    • Pearls Of Purandara By Kalavathy Avadhooth: I have written a separate article for this great Purandara Dasa compilation. (You may find a mini-version of this rant there.) The album is great but is no longer in production. You may hear the tracks on Gyanvani radio channel. I believe Ms. Kalavathy gives regular performances at events in Bangalore city.