Chennai: The #MeToo movement has hit the Margazhi music season too. Seven artistes, some of whom are very well-known, have been dropped from the forthcoming season, which is the highlight of the world’s largest fine arts festival.
Descriptions of sexual harassment by musicians in their training sessions with young artistes had been doing the rounds for a while since #MeToo gathered momentum and the Music Academy decided to act in order to uphold the credibility of the prestigious guardian and promoter of classical music and dance.
The seven musicians dropped from the season known as Margazhi (after the Tamil month) or December season are: N Ravikiran, OS Thyaga-rajan, Mannargudi A Easwaran, Srimushnam V Raja Rao, Nagai Sriram, R Ramesh and Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan. The list is topped by Chitravina Ravikiran who was the recipient of the Sangeetha Kalanidhi, the Academy’s highest honour, just last year.
Many young Carnatic musicians had come together to sign a requisition calling for creating a safer environment within the Carnatic community. The academy action is seen as a natural corollary.
“We had finalised the December programme as early as April and May. But, as the #MeToo storm gathered we could not be oblivious of what is happening around us. We have to be sensitive and sympathetic to the plight of the women who have found their voice.
They have begun to articulate their positions despite the pain and we have to show our solidarity with them,” says Mr N. Murali, President, Music Academy. “We did not go about this wildly or merely by the accusations. We went through the detailed descriptive put out by those making the charges to decide on case by case basis,” Mr Murali explained....