Fusion of music, politics on display at TM Krishna’s Delhi concert
A fusion of music and politics was on display at Carnatic singer TM Krishna’s concert in south Delhi’s Garden of Five Senses on Saturday evening — the same day he was scheduled to perform on the invitation of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The Delhi government had promptly decided to host Krishna’s concert after the AAI had, on Wednesday, “postponed” the event after being trolled for planning to host an “anti-national” and an “urban naxal”.
Under a moonlit sky on Saturday, the Ramon Magsaysay award-winning vocalist performed in front of a gathering of over a thousand people — many of whom had come to show solidarity to Krishna.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, party lawmakers and senior party leader, Raghav Chadha, were among those who reached the venue before Krishna and his team appeared on the stage.
“Your (gathering) presence today is a statement. We want to emphasise that this is a country of everyone—Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Tamils, Malyalis, Gujaratis... There is no country with such diversity and so many languages and we need to preserve this,” Kejriwal said in an indirect shot at AAI, an aviation regulatory agency of the central government.
Sohail Hashmi, who was compèring the event, pointed out that the chief minister didn’t mention “nastiks (atheists) while listing diverse categories of people, a remark that aroused a round of applause from the packed venue.
“I do not know where I am, but I am happy,” was Krishna’s response to Hashmi’s remark.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, social activist Aruna Roy, former chief justice of Delhi High Court Justice (retd) AP Shah were seated the front row.
The concert was organised as part of the department’s “Awam Ki Awaaz”, a series of monthly musical concerts hosted to provide a platform for artists to express dissent. “Organising art and culture events is part of education. We use Awam ki Awaaz to give voice to issues concerning atrocities,” Sisodia said.
For quite some time now, Krishna has been challenging the traditional notions of Carnatic music through a series of collaborations that cuts across hierarchies of caste, class and gender. He was spotted singing on a local bus in Chennai and had also tried to organise peace concerts in Israel and Palestine. But at the beginning of the concert, Krishna said, “I am here to sing, not to speak.”