At 8th Cross, Vontikoppal, a 24-day extravaganza

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes:  Life in Mysore is mostly on the quieter side but come September, the City wakes up from an extended siesta, as it were, and slips into a period of intense cultural activitiy that borders on the frenzy for a couple of months.

There is, of course, the grand Dasara festival where there is a State-sponsored programme in every nook and corner of the City. Depending on your age, either you could quietly sit in the main Amba Palace and listen to nonagenarian R.K. Srikantan, who is still in fine fettle to give a 3-hour Carnatic classical receital, or dance to the popular hits in Kannada or Hindi by Sonu Nigam at the Yuva Dasara in Maharaja College Grounds.

But the musical extravaganza that really gives a headstart to the cutural calendar is a private one.

The Sri Prasanna Vidya Ganapathi Mahothsava Charitable (SPVGMC) Trust on 8th cross road in Vontikoppal, brings classical music to everyone’s doorstep during Ganesh Chathurthi.

Under the art patrons K.V. Murthy and R. Vasudeva Murthy and their tireless man for all seasons, secretary Himamshu, the 8th Cross Ganesha music festival is usually a no-nonsense ten-day feast, but this year, on the occasion of its golden jubilee, it has been extended to an amazing 24 days.

The who’s who in Carnatic music vie with one another to come to sing in the permanent pandal erected on the tiny stretch of the 8th cross between fifth main and sixth main roads.

Padma Vibhushan Umayalapuram Shivaraman, who has a law degree from Madras University, left his preparation for the IAS to take up law practice, and left that too to learn percussion instruments, is coming again this year. He has taken his mrudangam to concerts with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and recorded for ECM in a new age jazz direction with L. Shankar.

So are veterans, Padmabhushans both, T.V. Shankarnarayana and T.N. Krishnan, who will rub shoulders with software techie kids like Saket Raman and Pattabhiram Pandit, and Soumya who holds a masters degree in chemistry.

Local violinists Mysore M. Nagaraj and Mysore M. Manjunath, who are now bracketed with international performers, somehow find time to be in Mysore to accompany the stalwarts as it happened when Pandit Rajeev Taranath came to perform here from the United States last year.

***

What is it here at 8th Cross that attracts performers and rasikas alike?

We discussed it at length last year, but it bears repetition: the absolutely informal ambience.

Life goes on in the narrow space on the two narrow footpaths, where chairs are put up for the swelling crowds. In this needle eye-hole, students walk back from their inevitable private tuition, dogs which come running in the middle of the road suddenly remember it is music time, walk back and use the needle space to amble along.

There is a flamingo tree in the middle of the foot path with roots spread all around. The tree is probably 60 years old and must have been a small plant when the SPVGMC Trust started.

Both have grown together and have not come in each other’s way. The organizers have not, thankfully, made any effort to remove the full blown tree and this is the crux of the matter. Co-existence is a better alternative for people who hanker for development at any cost.

This year the renowned neurosurgeon Dr V. Bhaskar gave a fantastic Hindustani classical recital.

This year is also the centenary anniversary of the Carnatic music singer who sang English notes. Yes, that’s Madurai Mani Iyer, whose rendering of ‘Sarasa Saamadhaana’ still has no parallel.

This year, Dr L. Subramaniam, the violinist, has been felicitated.

8th Cross Ganesha brings old memories back to those who have grown and left Vontikoppal. But they can be sure of one thing. Himamshu and his band of enthusiastic friends will always ensure music flows here year after year, to places that were once their homes.

For those who can’t make it, the entire programme can be seen by visiting www.8thcrossganesha.org

Also read: At 8th Cross, even Ganesha wants a good concert

Once upon a time, Govinda, Venky, Seshu, Gundu…

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11 Responses to “At 8th Cross, Vontikoppal, a 24-day extravaganza”

  1. ramchandra Says:

    Carnatic!!!! will there be a day when you people allow a kannadiga to proudly say karnataka sangeetha . whole generation, from reddys who exported iron ore liberally everywhere to the the author who takes pride in naming Taranath to have come from US, is so obsessed with FOREN.

    Shameful generation. The one before this was not like this though they started wearing black coats.

  2. Satya Says:

    In respone to the above post by Ramachandra : We should be proud and feel fortunate as Kannadigas, of ANY great artist of note among us – their tall achievement and mastery is the essential, most important factor here. Nothing else really matters. The article does highlight as you state, the presence of international artists and in particular Pt. Rajeev Taranath – yet it should be mentioned that Pt, Taranathji has been living in Mysore for many years and wsa in Bangalore for most of his life prior to that. As a touring performer, he has earned both national and international acclaim, and had also taught for ten years at the renowned California Institute for the Arts, where he was on the faculty with other highly respected musicians of international repute.

  3. M Says:

    @ Ramchandra.

    You raised an important point. Nobody has yet asked why Mysore, which is the erstwhile metropolis of Southern (and prosperous) Karnataka has more Iyers ,Iyengars and something ‘-an’ than Bhats, Shettys, Gowdas, -iahas -appas. The Wodeyars never realized this and nor has the successive State Govt.

    BSY was all worried about granting land to IISc when less than 5% scientist there are kannadigas despite the institution being around for nearly a century now. Then take ISRO; a complete malayalee adda; even peons and attenders are malayalees;BSY made Kasturirangan the Chairperson of KA-knoweldege commission.

    Have you asked why in all interstate disputes KA losses cases in SC. Look the linguist profile of our bureaucracy. Why should State Govt. which are constitutionally autonomous take officers recruited by UPSC. Why should there be IAS/IPS in any state in India. KA won Beema water dispute because people of NK raised money on their own and hired a lawyer to argue on their behalf and not because of state’s law panel.

    Till 3 yrs ago I was a PhD student at National Chemical Laboratory in Pune and noticed that majority of the peons/attenders/clerks were mostly tamilian/north indian. Forget about scientific staff where maratis were less than 10%.

    It is this enormous CENTRAL POWER that has caused patchy development in India. Have you looked at Railway map of India; Dark holes in Karnataka and Orissa. But every taluk in UP/Bihar has railways connectivity despite being loss making sector. Recently new rails were announced from Lucknow & Kolkata to Bangalore and yet no rail and no railway track from Bidar to Bangalore. Duranto Express takes (if the claims are true) 9 hrs to reach Bangalore from Kolkata; but the Bidar-Bangalore bus journey from which is the only means of transport also takes 9 hrs. Where is the global village. Global for them village for us!

    I have highlighted these issues because I know them well as I’m a Kannadiga. But as a Vishwa Manava I know these are also the causes for backwardness of North Karnataka, Telangana, Vidharbha, Interior West Bengal, Central India ………..

    Why do we have so much Centralization of power. Less than a week ago I read that a parliamentary subcommittee wanted ‘water’ to be made a central subject which is right now in the state list. Then why do we have State Govt.? Why do we have an elected Mayor and yet its the commissioner who is the LORD of Corporations/Municipalities. We have Zilla Panchayats, Taluk panchayats, village pachayaths which either have no power or its chairman is an IAS/KAS officer. Then why do we have these elections.

    Do you know in KA the ‘owner/boss’ of the Vidhan Soudha building is the Chief Secretary and not the CM or the Speakers of either Houses. Who elected this CS? Do you know that technically a Minister cannot ORDER a civil servant to anything but can only REQUEST him. CIvil Servant were the Lords during the British Reign and they are still there.

  4. Raghavendran Says:

    Yet again this blog is putting a Shamiyana to ”Kannadiga -Outsiders” quarrel. Without hesitation, i can definetly blame kannadigas who always have inferiority complex about their own culture.

    First let us take carnatic music as an example, where it is purely dominated by Tamil Iyers and to some extent iyengars. But why? Why cant kannadiga brahmins dominate this field? The answer is many of them view carnatic classical as a platform to enter movie land only, there is a serious lack of interest in learning carnatic classical music traditional way in hale mysore area. In the other side, Madras is still the center of Carnatic music even in this era. The present generation in TN learns still continues to have immense interest in learning carnatic music. Even today famous keerthanas of purandara dasa(kannada) and thiyagarayar(telugu) are sung by musicians in Madras during various concerts.

    And regarding the job oppurtunities in south indian cities, before 1980’s Madras was the economic hub. People from andhra and kerala use to come to Madras for the oppurtunities but what about kannadigas? No, they hate migration, they want the job within bangalore, still more specific within Banashankari. When Bangalore became the major center for IT and all the central government jobs, naturally people from other states came for the opportunities. If properly propagated by kannadigas, today kannada would have been learnt by many non-kannadigas and would be the language of communication in bangalore. But lack of self pride within kannadigas and immense love towards hindi has made kannada a dieing language in bangalore. The usage of kannada, will get further gets decreased in other places of karnataka slowly in the coming days.

    P.S: Being a tamilian from coimbatore, i learnt kannada(Read and write) in bangalore on my own during 80’s with the help of few real kannada abhimani’s. Personally feels sad when one of the oldest language is treated very badly by its own people.

  5. Vijay Says:

    @Raghavendran. Not sure you could learn the language without properly integrating with the native Kannadigas and speaking to them in Kannada. I bet you are another Tamil who saw Kannadigas as a soft touch, and practice your own language and culture. Grow up, and start talking in Kananda with your colleagues and more than that read Kannada literature to appreciate the culture.

    I have no problem if people settle in Karnataka from other states, provided they learn the language and integrate with the local culture. We had giants like TP Kailasam, KV Iyer, DV Gundappa who were Iyers but look at how they shone through Kannada literature. Not to speak of Masti, Gorur.. who were Iyengars giants in Kannada literature?

  6. Raghavendran Says:

    Vijay,

    I should say that u need to advise your own people who speaks hindi and english more than kannada in so called corporate bangalore. Moreover can you tel me how many of u insist the same kannada abhimana with a hindi speaking north indian? We can see many north indians settled in bangalore for more than 10 years but doesnt have atleast basic knowledge of local culture and language. Also kannadigas have infinite hatredness only towards tamilians even though many of us have adopted the kannada culture, but they can happily accept hindi speaking people. U guys need to grow up.

  7. Vijay Says:

    @Raghavendran. Just answer a couple of questions:

    !. Give a list of 4/5 Kannada books written by the Kannada greats. For example, have you read DVG’s ” Mankuthimmana Kagga?”.
    2. Try to give a 3 liners from any of GP Rajaratnam’s ” Ratnana Padagalu” work or KV Iyer’s Shantala.

    I will then answer your questions.

    My parents were from the then Madras State settled in Mysore in 1930s, but since my birth I was tutored to read Kannada literature by my parents, and I am proud that not only I read the gems produced by giants like DVG and GP, I met them through my father, and also I am proud to say that I still cherish the meetings with Gopala Krishna Adiga and discussing with him Navya Kavithe. I am fluent in 5 languages including Tamil and Kannada, and I worship Kannada. I have grown up unlike you.

    Oh, forgot to say I am settled in Western Europe, and speak 3 European languages including French and German. The ones in my opinion who are hard to adopt any where are Tamils and look at the problems they have created in SE Asian countries where they have gone to settle.

  8. ramchandra Says:

    @Raghavendran,
    “First let us take carnatic music as an example, where it is purely dominated by Tamil Iyers and to some extent iyengars”

    We have no problems or hatred , Music has no barriers or boundaries and that is our dharma . This land and language is always known to give more to others from time infinite.

    but call it karnataka sangeetha and not what british called.
    Ultimately you have to use words like gamaka, aalaapa, aarohana , tillana etc etc . why not Karnataka ?

    carnatic is result of direct hatred of tamilians and impure relations with british.
    they even don’t know how to pronounce kannadiga! sometimes they call kannadi and sometimes as karnatakans just like kannad and karnatak by hindi people.

    But when it comes to other words like ‘Rama Sethu’ or ‘Sufi music’ we never do any modifications like ‘Rama Sethuve’ or ‘Supi music’ in day to day use.

    This shows there is a fundamental difference in the mindset of both north indians and tamilians . both have pseudo nationalism and they call it superiority complex. Be it recent films like ‘Pulikeshi’ in tamil and ‘Singham’ in marathi/hindi, or be it verdict on Rajiv’s killers they are never as strong as us.

  9. Raghavendran Says:

    Vijay,

    With due respect to all the poets mentioned by u, i would rather say just learning few poems, the language doesnt survive. The language survives and grows only by the usage. Even if you have 3+ crores of kannada population i can bet many are reluctant in using kannada and that is where kannada is lagging behind other dravidian language. Govt and authority need to make it popular. But there is no interest here with the government as well as the people.

    I am glad to know that u know so many languages of the world. I totally reject your claim that Tamils doesnt get adopted to other culture. There are tamils in each and every corner of the world, take for eg. your family from madras got adopted to kannada culture.With no offence i would say its the kannadigas who doesnt get adjusted to other culture.

    Today if you go to Sigapore, Malaysia or any SE countries, tamil language is deeply rooted, its just because the preservation of culture and language by tamils from past many century which we cant see in kannadigas. Srilanka, Malaysia all these countries tried to crush the culture but tamils resisted, i dont think this resistant habit should be called as an issue.

  10. Vijay Says:

    Try writing proper English. The places you mentioned in SE Asia have Tamil ‘s related problems,. I have visited them. As for you, your attitude suggests that you are better off in Karunanidhi’s and EVR’s Tamil Nadu. Some fanatic. Why did you Tamils change the style of writing to EVR’s style? The problem is unlike the narrow-minded Tamils, Kanandigas welcome many, there lies the problem.

  11. Raghavendran Says:

    Vijay,

    Take it is easy my freind, i hope we are just doing a healthy discussion here. May be my english is not as good as yours, but i am not a personal offender like you. Fanaticism is everywhere, what about your Vatal Nagaraj who always barks against tamilians? what about your fanatic rakshana vedike? what about killing of many innocent tamilians during kaveri riots? But in TN, we dont have such fanatic people who target our own brothers from different states. Remind you that, TN has considerable telugu and kannada population in western districts.

    As i said, when people try to crush tamil culture, always tamils protests against it. Forget about protesting, kannadigas themselves will crush their language and culture, so no point in saving kannada culture which is sharply diminishing.

    Anyways let me tel you, India is a free country. Anyone can migrate to any state and can live happily. Generally most of the kannadigas are always insecure(Just like you) and have infinite inferiority complex and thats why people from other states will rule on you. Karnataka and Bangalore definitely belongs to India and not specific to kannadigas.

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