Of the ‘fittest’

Youth today would find it hard to imagine a world without facilities available to them. As a writer quipped that in future, grandchildren would laugh at you, if you told them you could not read Amazon books on Kobo or Sony format on Nook. Apart from ease, what else is it that technology realizes? Empowerment. Which may work both ways.

The sufferer is economically deficient class, community and individuals.  Less, through poverty and more through refusal to get distracted, did a number of communities invite a techno-bias. There is nothing that hurts as neglect. It is an invisible weapon of decay.

Often, perfection in their knowledge-system demanded insularity and Indian sciences survive today only where this rule is followed. Far more blunt than imaginary deductions of physics that lead to uncertainty, is the truth that any interaction between two systems is certain to change them both. To an alloy the touch of gold would bring little change in its value, but the purity of gold gets destroyed at once.

Indian artiste is the wrapt most self-situated individual. To qualify this statement, consider his motivation. His art is the medium granted to him to offer his gratitude to creator for having been granted the ability to offer it. Tautology? All forms of art transcend words that concretize thought. Suffice here then, for some incomprehensible reason, he would behave in a fashion that does nothing to weld a relationship between his art and the world that surrounds him. Why? Why, is he not bothered by presence of others besides him, on this planet? Is it not his duty to acknowledge them and do something for them?

Well, he does that. As they all perform their chores to offer gratitude to their maker while he partakes of the fruit of their labor, so do they partake of joy he gets in practicing his art. Rajshekhar Mansur asked about structure of Shukla Bilawal, could only say, “It is like a… prayer” before he broke into the melody.

Has technology harmed the artist? No. He is beyond it all. So, if he is unharmed, his art should also be unharmed. Yes, his art is with him, unharmed. It is after all a manifestation of his existence. If technology has harmed neither him nor his art, then what has it neglected? The possible survival of Art has been neglected by technology. Hypothetically, if a disaster fell or some contagion devoured a large chunk of community, the artiste might die along with his art. He would have been treated equally. Even though attention is not required by him, its lack is enough to sound the death knell.

As India began its journey on a war-torn globe for creating a fresh political identity, the urgent need for show-casing was felt. Technology at hand was used to thread these pearls into glorious, enchanting trinkets. Expediency and lack of infra-structure amplified this selectivity. Had an average citizen in ‘50s  been as ambitious as one contemporary, he would have barged in to bead some jewelry for his gain. The limelight, thus circled out a few individuals, specially to those who responded favourably. Media gained strength as decades rolled, changing all in its wake. Aging body could not shake the faith, but in a whirlwind world the un-aging spirit could not find a taker; likely ones having been drawn away by the artificial brilliance of ephemera. With everything changed after hurricane, there is little left to gather.

Pushed into necessity of sudden change, India has lost a great part of its treasure. It is only by chance that we come across a fragment or two, caught in thorny bush. Through tireless gathering of gems lodged with various connoisseurs, this film on Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur could be made. It is not a film about legendary star of Jaipur-Atrauli style of singing. Singing came to him naturally and he sang out all his gratitude. The film transcends mere practice or performance. It is about how it all existed when there was no material gain but pure ethereal joy. The joy – as faces of women, children, men simple and scholarly evince –  which, subliminally pervaded all within earshot.

Those, who have inklings of such devotion watch in admonished silence as the simple soul belittles all with his absolute identification with his art. You wonder, how can he remain so unconcerned / immersed while going about everyday affairs?

It recreates the abundant humanity strengthened by humility, of which the world will have no first-hand experience. How natural and normal it was, to ask without shame and refuse without hurt. Different clips this documentary film is comprised of, have their individual technical flaws. Probably, this was why, none of it could be telecast before. It needed Technology to empower the common; for this all to be gathered and presented before the world. While, in this case, content is favored by disregard for quality of form, the reversal of this has often caused harm.

The documentary also displays the learner’s devotion and teacher’s sublimation into his disciple’s accomplishment. If only this same, with thousands more others across the numerous fields of traditional, oral knowledge, could have been presented to the world five decades back, India may not have required UNESCO Convention 2003 to help safeguard its intangible cultural heritage. The heritage, which is almost irrevocably lost, unless the world joins in to create islands of life-style that allow such flowers to bloom.


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