Famous, upcoming and promising relatively young (36 years old) male South Indian Carnatic Classical Music vocalist Shri. T.M. Krishna had penned an Op. Ed in THE HINDU on the suitability (or, otherwise) of Shri. Narendra Modi and Shri. Rahul Gandhi for the role of the Prime Minister of India. You can find the article here.
Dear Shri. Krishna,
I read your article in THE HINDU published in the last couple of days, with great interest. I wanted to offer you a different perspective.
At the outset, let me congratulate you for revealing another dimension to an already multi-faceted personality. You think of issues that go beyond music. No doubt, it is evident in some of the social causes that you already support. You had the courage to articulate it.
Further, you are a relatively young musician. I will be completing 50 years in October. As a musician, your talent is immense and your future is bright.
You have constantly been in search of innovation and creativity in musical expressions. Further, you have striven to popularise Carnatic music by taking music back into the temples, by visiting places like Jaffna, by writing books on music and musicians, etc.
Clearly, here is a well rounded human being, let alone a musician of prodigious talent.
Therefore, we have all come to expect nothing but the highest standards of rigour and honesty from you. Perhaps, the article that you wrote in and for THE HINDU falls well short of these benchmarks.
While you had made an attempt to appear to offer a balanced critique of both Shri. NM and Shri RG, you had reserved your venom and belligerence for the former while you generously label Shri. RG as the philosopher.
Most of us write arm-chair Op.-Eds. I should know. I have been writing them since 1996. But, that is a lot easier than ascertaining facts on the ground. You have just added one more proof to this well-known empirical fact.
Here are some facts for you to consider:
(1) Gujarat has had a riot-free ten + years. This is one of the longest, if not the longest, spell of communal peace in the State. It has not happened before, under Congress Governments. You take little note of that in your Op.-Ed.
(2) Many learned judges and investigators – the SIT in particular, have not come across solid evidence that Shri. NM had a hand in the riots.
(3) However, if you have to accuse him of incompetence in that case, his track record of 11 years of communal peace since then, lends very poor support to such a charge.
(4) More importantly, the terrorist attack on Akshardam temple was a grave provocation to communal peace in Gujarat. Not a single incident happened or was allowed to happen in the aftermath of that attack. That was the highest state of preparedness which blunts the criticism of incompetence
(5) In a democracy, voters decide on competence. Not Op. – Ed. writers. They have made their judgement clear on more than one occasion and, as intelligent human beings, it behoves us to take that into consideration. Arm-chair experts have this habit of talking down to real people and you have, unintentionally, done that.
Substantial number of Muslims have voted for him. Many Muslims stand behind Shri. NM and a leading female activist and Muslim quit the Congress Party and joined BJP. Pl. read the reports I refer to in point (10) below. Are they all blind?
(6) Figures of number of Muslim casualties and stories of disembowelment have been shown to be lies by courts. You should check them up.
(7) Many Congress workers and leaders participated in the riots and in the killing of Muslims. Have you unleashed your wrath on them? Why not?
(8) Communal riots were not new to Gujarat. It is not a NM production. Pl. check out this post for a better understanding of history:
(9) If you wanted to hold Shri. NM responsible for the death of Muslims, then perhaps you should hold him responsible for the death of Hindus too. Hundreds of Hindus too died in the riots. Why do you give them short shrift?
(10) Unlike many of us who play plaintiffs, prosecutors and jury comfortably in the case of Shri. NM, some one like Madhu Kishwar, who has no axe to grind, had camped in Gujarat and written up a five-part report. If you are interested, I can send that to you. You may not agree with her. IF so, then you must do what she does. Go and see for yourself, ask for yourself and rebut her.
(11) In the last nine years, India’s economic growth has been brought down to the levels that prevailed for the most part, up to the 1980s. Cost of living is spiralling. There are power cuts. We are now called a rape nation and Delhi is the capital of this nation. Tourism declines. Jobs are lost. Incomes vanish. Mines are shut. Miners lose jobs. People go back below poverty line. Public money has been looted by the thousands of crores. These human costs are equally colossal, if not more. How have you come to the conclusion that these human costs are far lighter than the ones for which you unleash a scathing criticism of Modi.
All of these have happened under the Congress government. Shri. RG had nothing to say on any of these.
A philosopher offers guidance and does not ramble.
Social conscience is one thing. Political and governance intelligence are another thing. You need to know clearly where your competence lies and what your calling is.
Best wishes to you as a musician.
V. Anantha Nageswaran (from Singapore)
Respecting his objection to his personal response being placed in a public domain, his response has been removed. Hence, I am posting below only some additional points I had made.