www.dnaindia.com | February 05, 2017
Indian classical singer Shubha Mudgal was recently at FLAME University to attend a conference on the study of song texts. Excerpts from an interview
Do you think the focus today is increasingly being shifted to music and audio-visuals rather than lyrics? Is it because tunes are prepared in large numbers and lyricists are supposed to match the text with them?
Song texts have changed over the years just as other things in music or other fields. Yet, it is still the most important component of songs, including the most popular ones and film songs. It is important for every student of music to do an in-depth study of lyrics. For instance, the director of the movie Raincoat, the late Rituporno Ghosh, loved the text of Mathura Nagarpati by the poet Vidyapati, who adapted that language to write this beautiful song. The verses of many poets were used to evoke a similar feeling in another song, Piya Tora, from the same film.
You floated the idea of an arts education curriculum in schools while you were part of the Arts Education Committee for NCERT’s National Curriculum Framework in 2005.
Yes. I believe arts must be taught in every single school and to every child in this country. Our committee had recommended that music, dance, fine arts, theatre and visual art forms must be a part of the regular curriculum. The objective is to sensitise students to all art forms rather than train them to become artistes. The students should know India’s art traditions and should be able to appreciate them. Unless art education is part of the curriculum, these subjects will be relegated to the category of a hobby or ‘leisure activity’ between the more ‘important’ maths and science classes. Unfortunately, the NCERT hasn’t yet implemented those suggestions.
Are you happy with the way the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is functioning? Statistics show that many scholarships offered by the Indian government in arts and liberal arts are unused as the council fails in promoting them abroad.
Like other government agencies, ICCR is also marred with bureaucratic processes. It’s time to look at liberal arts with a new approach. It should be offered as an inter-disciplinary course. We have to think of various ways to impart and promote music and the arts among Indian and overseas students.
Do you think Indian classical music will ever be as popular as ‘Kolaveri di’ or ‘Gangnam style’?
The Internet is helping musicians promote their work across the world in a big way. Even Indian classical music is shared on YouTube, making it more accessible to the world. But don’t go by the Internet hits. I can upload a piece of music and request my family and friends to hit the ‘like’ button and ‘share’ it to make it an Internet sensation. I don’t mind if my music doesn’t get that many hits online. I would be happy with a receptive and quality audience. Social media should be utilised in a more constructive way to promote our music.