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TM Krishna Award – War Of Words Continue


TM Krishna Award – War Of Words Continue

CHENNAI (ANI) – It seems like the row over TM Krishna’s Sangita Kalanidhi award is not ending anytime soon.

On March 25, Carnatic vocalists Ranjani and Gayatri condemned a letter written by N Murali – the chief of the Madras Music Academy, to the sisters over their decision to withdraw their names from participating in the Music Academy’s conference 2024.

Recently, the sisters declared that they will not attend the Academy’s December annual music festival to protest TM Krishna being awarded the Sangita Kalanidhi award.

Excerpts from the letter read, “Dear Ms. Ranjani and Ms. Gayatri, I received your joint letter of 20th, March 2024 and was shocked by both its vituperative content, which is replete with unwarranted and slanderous assertions and insinuations verging on defamation, and its vicious tone against a respected senior fellow-musician. You are aware that the Sangita Kalanidhi award instituted by The Music Academy in 1942 is the highest accolade in Carnatic music. The choice of Sangita Kalanidhi made year after year is a prerogative of The Music Academy and has always been made after careful deliberation, with the sole criterion being musical excellence demonstrated over a significant and sustained career. This year, the Executive Committee of the Academy chose T.M. Krishna for this accolade based on his excellence in music over a long career, with no extraneous factors influencing our choice.”

Ranjani and Gayatri responded on X, “With your verbose answer to questions we never raised, you are trying to build a convenient narrative and cast aspersions on us. Your statements to the press in this regard are immoral and dishonest. We were a bit surprised as to why your response reads like a release on behalf of the awardee, erasing the distinction between him and the Music Academy. But it became obvious when Mr. N. Ram, media hegemon, joined as an undeclared spokesperson, with his campaign branding us ‘bigoted, cattiest coterie’.”

The sisters asked the academy to have more inclusivity in the executive committee.

“We immensely respect this hallowed institution, and it will be the happiest day for us and for millions of people to see star performers emerge from underprivileged communities and dominate this stage. We want to see the day when the TTK auditorium is filled up with a diverse inclusive crowd from all communities and religious minorities,” they said.

Ranjani and Gayatri accused TM Krishna of causing “immense damage to the Carnatic music world” and “willfully and happily” stomping over the sentiments of the music community.

TM Krishna has often spoken out against conventional ideas of caste and gender politics in the existing Carnatic music system and has also been vocal about the non-inclusiveness of the famed December music season in Chennai, also known as the Marghazi season. He had also started a music festival in the fishing village of Uroor-Olcott Kupppam.

An economics graduate, Krishna was a musical prodigy who started learning music from Bhagavathula Seetharama Sharma, followed by lessons from Carnatic vocalist Chingleput Ranganathan and Semmangudi Srinivas.

Krishna is the grandnephew of former Indian finance minister TT Krishnamachari, who is among the founders of the Madras Music Academy.

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