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Article: Music, tradition and the Internet -- Part II

By Haresh Bakshi

The Indian teaching tradition has always been Guru-Shishya Parampara (Guru-disciple Relationship tradition). This system is the backbone of propagation, preservation and even production of Indian classical music. As the mainstay, the system supports, sustains and spreads the music.

However, there are conditions under which this system works properly. The first and foremost requirement for the system to work is: the selfless Guru. As in the Indian spiritual tradition, the Guru who teaches music is ideally withdrawn, selfless, austere, stern, with a forbidding aspect, and simple. This ideal guru would not care for name, fame and money. If the guru is all this, you may never come to know his name, but you will know him through his pupils, who will be renowned for quality and novelty in their performance.

Did such guru-s really exist? -- yes. Do they exist today? -- some do, certainly. Some others, however, have become "practical", having given up the"old-fashioned", "theoretical" ideals of their past masters. The adepts of yesterday do not represent the ideals of today. As in all fields of fine arts, culture and religion, the values have changed drastically. This new creed of guru-s are pillars of Guru-disciple Relationship tradition to the extent that it suits them, in a way that serves their purpose for material gains. They find the tradition useful as long as it fills their ego with"waah", and their purse with dollars. In the opinion of the orthodox, the strict purity of gharana-s may have already been compromised; the aesthetics of music may have already taken a back seat.

The result: Commercialization of Indian classical music.




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