TM Krishna's comments on MS stokes passion of music lovers

TM Krishna's comments on MS stokes passion of music lovers

The comment by Ramon Magsaysay Award winner and celebrated Carnatic music vocalist T M Krishna that music legend M S Subbulakshmi embraced Brahminism to be successful, has triggered a never-ending Twitter war of sorts.

The singer from Karnataka had made the comment while   speaking at "Manthan" on Culture and Community, the release function of Telugu book "Manaku Teliyani MS (The MS we didn't know), a translation of T J S George's book by Telugu writer Volga on November 24.

What angered MS fans and Brahmins was Krishna's observation that a Devadasi by birth, Subbulakshmi in later years distanced herself from her roots and transformed into a Brahmin. Krishna also said that this transformation of Subbulakshmi was evident from her songs during the '60s and '70s in comparison with later years. "M S Subbulakshmi's music was truly mesmerising, but her life story was a tragedy," a newspaper quoted Krishna saying here.

What irked many was the comparison of MS to a rock star. "If you listen to her songs on YouTube you feel that you are listening to a rock star. But one will also notice certain sadness in her voice, the result of the transformation she has undergone," the singer from Karnataka said. He said MS distanced herself from her family and her brother in Madurai, her native place. He asked the audience if they would have revered MS' singing if she had remained a dark skinned dalit.

Reactions galore

Responding to Krishna's comments, Anil Sreenivasan, from Chennai tweeted that he refuses to be ashamed of his birth into a Brahmin family. "It is an accident. But I will not bow down in shame for this," he said. Carnatic vocalist Sudha Raghunathan on her Facebook page wrote: "As musicians we need to be cognizant of the fact that origin, caste, creed are man-made and short-sighted. To rake these up is unnecessary".

However not all are criticising Krishna for his observations. Hema Priyadarshini Annadorai wrote: "I think the very act of identifying with a caste by birth is something to be ashamed of. I wonder why any man or woman with any self respect and a sound rational mind would do that!"

Kunal Shankar retweeted: Brilliantly argued piece by @tmkrishna here. #Dalit priests with sacred thread is akin too. It accepting them as they are. And for Dalits, it distances them from their own community.

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