Champions of Indian Musical Heritage and A Support group for Young Musicians
ALL INDIA MUSICIANS GROUP (AIMG) – Champions of Indian Musical Heritage and A Support group for Young Musicians
Great things happen over a cup of tea: political alliances, romance, business deals, creative ideas and revolutionary works in the field of art and science. One such silent revolution brewed over chai some two years ago when some legends of Indian classical music Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt. Jasraj and Pt. Shivkumar Sharma met at the request of Pt. Arvind Parikh in Mumbai. This meeting was a sequel of initial discussions that Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Pt. Arvind Parikh had at a chance meeting in London. According to these music greats “Indian classical music-both Hindustani and Carnatic- is one of the most abiding, creative, and dynamic aspect of the Indian civilization embodying its unique richness, plurality and heritage,” Pt. Parikh added that “the growing consumerism and demand of popular entertainment has offered new challenges to the classical music. We decided not to be bogged down by this onslaught of mediocre and populist music”. After detailed discussions these music icons decided to form an apex body of top ranking musicians six each from Hindustani and Carnatic music to preserve, support and encourage classical musical heritage of India.
It didn’t take much effort to convince musical geniuses to establish a committee to include such as (in alphabetical order) Pt. Ajoy Chakrabarty, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Zakir Husain, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Rajan Mishra and Pt. Shivkumar Sharma from Hindustani music and, Dr M Balmuralikrishna, Shri T N Krishnan, Chitravina N Ravikiran, Smt Sudha Raghunathan, , Shri U Shrinivas, and Shri T V Sankaranarayanan from Carnatic music – and thus, All India Musicians Group (AIMG) was formed in 2007.
The status of the group was greatly enhanced due to the generous agreement of other music icons – legends – to act as patrons. These jewels are:
Hindustani system of music Carnatic system of music
1. Smt Girija Devi 1. Shri M S Gopalkrishnan
2. Pt. Birju Maharaj 2 Ms. D K Pattamal
3. Ms. Lata Mangeshkar 3. Shri Palghat Raghu
4. Pandit Ravi Shankar 4. Shri R K Srikanthan
The group had four meetings since then to address issues plaguing the Indian music such as meager financial support from the government, music education at the school and university level, transmission of this rich, plural and ennobling inheritance to younger generation, institutional framework for its support, etc. Pt. Parikh outlined few focus areas for the group:
- To ensure a better coverage of music, dance, theatre, and visual arts in the media that would helps toward expansion of appreciative and critical minded audience providing sustenance to the classical arts.
- To engage corporates so that they have a stake in survival and future of our rich musical tradition.
- To support a National Music welfare Fund that will help senior musicians and less fortunate brethrens of music community, and provide succor to those who are in indigent circumstances. (It was clarified that AIMG is only a catalyst body).
- To assist efforts to obtain coverage of insurance risk for poor and needy musicians
At AIMG initiative, a successful meeting was held with the Secretary of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, attended by the CEO of Prasar Bharati and other senior officials. AIMG members were informed that the budget for programmes dedicated to classical music have been increased from Rs. 33 crores to Rs. 49 crores. Action has already started to review the entire Audition system for broadcast through All India Radio.
“The twelve board members of AIMG have also taken a pledge to take out time and opportunity to ensure that the younger generation is adequately trained and groomed into well rounded disciples, who will act as torchbearers of our rich traditional music,” says Pt. Parikh.