This festival is a tradition of music and dance set by our ancestors. Even Andal speaks of people getting together and singing and dancing in Margazhi, and she too dressed up as a gopi and danced. This month is called shoonya because there are no weddings and such auspicious events, so our ancestors must have thought if people have nothing to do, they might get sloppy. It is cold too, they might not bathe in time, etc. So they were asked to listen to lectures and have dis courses. In the old days people would sing on the streets, but as ours became a sophisticated city we got centres in every area. Of course the Music Academy was the first to start.We formed Bharat Kalachar to discover new talent and gave them this month of Margazhi to perform.
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer was the chairman of Bharat Kalachar, and he spotted a number of talents, like Sanjay Subramaniam, Unnikrishnan, T.M.Krishna, and I am happy to see that they are all doing well at a national and international level today. It is good to see youngsters coming up with new, contemporary themes in their art. And technology helps them a lot, allowing them to keep up with their learning at a distance, to record compositions and so on.
Also I find youngsters bringing Western instruments into the fold of Indian classical music, like the guitar, the keyboard, and others.
I do find the audiences are getting younger. They also attend the afternoon concerts to see who is new in the field.
Conducting such festivals is a good way to wean people away from drugs and other vices. Cinema too, since it has deteriorated so much. This is the best way to divert our minds. It need not be confined to December.
But Margazhi was the traditional time for it. Also, Bakrid and Christmas come at this time. All religions are celebrated this month. Otherwise it would have been a month of hibernating!
(As told to Anjana Rajan) by Mrs YGP In the Hindu