No Urdu, please. And no Hindi too.

Urdu, I heard, is a beautiful language. I don’t understand it though, but those who have dealt with it, like a lyricist friend of mine, have always praised the language for it’s beauty. But Urdu has always seemed strange to me. A language that sounds like Hindi, yet if written looks like Arabic.

What seemed stranger to me was when people like Justice Katju who is known to have been outspoken and union minister Kapil Sibal battling for the language so much so that they even suggested that it should be taught in schools. It is true that Sanskrit and Urdu have had the fate of being associated with religion and thus keeping some sections of people away from them as Justice Katju had rightly put at an Urdu poetry symposium. But is teaching these languages compulsorily in the schools throughout the country the solution? I don’t think so.

We are already being taught Hindi compulsorily in the name of raashTRa bhaasha, which is of no use to us at all. For somebody who comes from the non-Hindi speaking region in India (and there are many non-Hindi regions in India), learning Hindi is useless. I have learned Hindi from 5th standard onwards, but the language is of no use to me now. I don’t even remember the words or grammar that I learned in the school because it never made to the daily use. I speak Malayalam and I use English at the personal and work spaces. What purpose does Hindi learning serve to a non-Hindi speaker if he is not living in the Hindi speaking part of the country? (And now they are teaching Hindi from 1st standard onwards!). Any language other than the native language and English should be treated as an optional subject in schools. Why make compulsory?

So what I would like to tell Justice Katju and Kapil Sibal is that we are already fed up of the compulsory mode of Hindi in our schools and it’s cultural invasion into our regional space. Please don’t push more as such down our throats. Make it optional if you want but not compulsory. And when you do that, take out Hindi too. It only helps in understanding Hindi movies but even that can be dealt with the subtitled DVDs.

Categories: Nation, Uncategorized

Every great thing must come to an end

They say every good thing must come to an end. So must Blogswara. Yes, we are going to put a full stop to our project after 6 years, 7 albums, 65 songs and a whole new bunch of amazing singers, lyricists, composers, orchestrators and mixing engineers.

Interestingly, we’d never thought past a single music album. Those were the good old days of music blogging and many singers were just beginning to find their listener base online. We thought of bringing all these musicians together under one umbrella and that too, to create a set of original songs and music. Thus was born our first album. And that was four months before Facebook opened up to public.

The journey went on. What we thought would come to an end after the first two albums had kept going on strong and in the meanwhile new platforms were born. A whole new world of social media exposure was waiting for the artists to explore them. Still, we went strong. We produced seven music albums. We inspired people and similar projects/websites. It is truly a moment of pride. But over the years, the momentum was slowing down. There are richer and easily accessible platforms that handle the publishing and sharing aspects easier than ever, like Facebook or YouTube.

That was obvious and inevitable, by the way. You don’t have to get stuck in time with a project that was a need of the hour when there was none but to continue to do it when there are better platforms does not make sense. Now if there is an amateur singer who wants to make his voice heard in the public can create a network through social media and make himself heard. We realize that and it is one reason that we are leaving for good.

We are proud to see that some of the artists whom we had introduced through Blogswara have made it big in the mainstream. Divya S Menon has made her mark with the song “Anuraagam” in the Malayalam movie “Thattathin Marayatthu”. Shyam, Praveen and Prasanna of TSJ Studio have made their debut in the Tamil film music industry with the album “Kamban Kazhagam”. Praveen Lakkaraju, Sreenivas Josyula and Sindhuja Bhaktavatsalam made their entry into Telugu music industry with the movie album “Hormones”. Sunny Sanour made his entry as a music director to Telugu music industry with the songs in the Telugu film “Swamy Ra Ra”. We are so happy and proud of these wonderful musicians.

Blogswara is a project that is so close to my heart. The project had taught me that regardless of many differences – regional, linguistic, caste, creed, religious, political etc – people can come together to create something that will make everyone rejoice in music. Most of us have still not seen each other or spoken to each other, yet we have built a relationship strongly rooted in music that continues to the date. It is music that binds us all, which is why I chose the tagline “United in Music” for Blogswara.

Personally too, Blogswara has helped me learn many things. The early lessons of leadership and organization, the pains and pleasure of it, came through Blogswara. I can proudly say that I have never succumbed to the pressures that would compromise the very founding principles of Blogswara. There were times when the pressure was mounted up on me to bring in the commercial aspect to Blogswara, or to bring in the religious fervor to it through the songs but I have resisted all that. I would rather see Blogswara vanish to thin air than deviating from it’s founding principles. Of the free/open music culture with CC licensing and the secular nature of the project. Of bringing in people of diverse cultures and languages in an effort to appreciate music. I can proudly say that I have been successful in that.

Another moment of pride was when Jessica Keyes, a student of Department of Music in University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada choseĀ  music blogging with a primary focus on BlogSwara for her academic defense. Her paper titled “Blogging Music: Indian Musicians and Online Musical Spaces” presented an ethnography of the Indian music blogging community and a critical analysis of the historical and technological foundation for music blogging.

There are so many people to thank. Narayanan Venkitu and Ajith Gopalakrishnan to start with. Senthil (Sen) for the spark of Blogswara. Ganesh D for the name Blogswara. Abdul Shafeeq for the initial art work and CD covers. Gopal M S for the name ‘Trunk Call’. Murali Krishnan of Connexions, Chennai for the initial support. Jyothis E for the continued support with web space through many albums. Nandu Mahadevan for bringing in a process in place. Roshan Ravi for the cover art of Blogswara’s album ‘Trunk Call’. Legendary Tamil writer Sujatha for his piece in Vikatan, Karthika Thampan of Manorama News, Asha Anilkumar of Indian Express, Shilpa Nair Anand of The Hindu, K Santhosh of The Hindu, Anita Iyer and Aparna Joshi of Sound Box Magazine, Sankar Radhakrishnan of Business Line, B S Biminith of Mathrubhumi, Deccan Radio, Poornima for Radio Mirchi Chennai coverage and bloggers like Amit Verma, Kiruba and Neha Vishwanathan of Global Voice Online etc. And many thanks to all Blogswara participants and member without whom this project would never have happened.

And thanks to you, our listeners, who have encouraged us and helped us grow. We will still be online if you wanted to hear our songs again. It has been a great ride and it couldn’t have gotten better. Peace and music to all!

Categories: Blogswara, Music, Notes, Uncategorized