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Jan 25, 2006 02:29 AM IST

This is not ?Assam ka voice? but ?India ka voice,? yelled a young women after three brilliant singers decided to quit Zee?s popular talent show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 last week. So why was she furious?

This is not ‘Assam ka voice’ but ‘India ka voice,’ yelled a young women after three brilliant singers decided to quit Zee’s popular talent show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 last week. So why was she furious?

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The truth tumbled out when a gentleman from the crowd stated vehemently, “Home ground ‘value’ is always there, and even in cricket it happens.” Vineet, a strong claimant for the Challenge 2005 title, feebly responded, “But this is not cricket.” The two others, Himani and Hema, nodded in agreement, their discomfiture writ large over their faces.

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Other voices were lost in the din that followed with the three famous Bollywood ‘mentors’ on the show, Ismail, Adesh and Himesh, also losing their cool. The last that was seen on the channel were parents of the young singers also joining the fracas. As they gesticulated at each other, the programme got mired in a controversy that blatantly redefined the old aphorism, “Music is a language which knows no barriers.”

Music buffs who believed in Lata Mangeshkar’s words about  music being the ‘voice of God’ are incensed. To their utter dismay, music has erected regional boundaries in this country. A contestant, Debu, gets 80 per cent support from the North-east; Vineet and Himani’s support base is Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and other northern states; while Hema banks on an overwhelming support coming from the South. So much for national integration. So is A.R. Rehman now a South Indian musician, and Lata Mangeshkar a Maharashtrian?

The programme’s anchor, Shaan, was proud that 70 lakh people took part in the programme by sending their vote either through sms or through  phone. But people like me who are music buffs, find all this ‘demographic’ break-up of aesthetic taste extremely sad. Whatever happened to music one liked — irrespective of where it comes from?

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