What ails T M Krishna? Wrong question! The right answer is: T M Krishna is himself an ailment
To those who have followed Thodur Madabussi Krishna’s musical career for a while, it’s evident that while his career’s metamorphosis has been along expected lines, it has reached its logical end. The only way forward is downward. Here’s a wealthy, well-connected and mediocrely talented Carnatic classical musician who has today morphed into a poster boy and mouthpiece of the nation-wrecking, rogue, Radical Left-Liberal ecosystem. Also known as an Urban Naxal.
Over the past decade or so, his reverse Darwinism from being a practitioner of one of the most sublime and evolved forms of music into an unabashed and crude political propagandist has been as swift as it has been soulless. Especially over the last five or six years, he has converted the sacred podium of Classical Music into a pedestal for spewing said propaganda than providing joy for the Rasikas.
The Ideological Iyengar
It appears that there’s nothing under the sun that T M Krishna doesn’t have an opinion on. From detecting the Great Insight that “power that flows from the backseat of a car” to “concluding” that the festival of Raksha Bandhan discriminates against women to writing commentaries about the functioning of the Lok Sabha and then advocating for the human rights of Jihadi Saints like Ajmal Kasab, there’s no low that this Ideological Iyengar hasn’t plumbed. His Ajmal Kasab piece is both illustrative and symptomatic of the lamentably condemnable mentality of a garden-variety specimen of a section of the Musical Mamas of Madras. Sample this:
TM Krishna said MS Subbulakshmi 'Brahminised' herself for wider acceptance; faced backlash
“When I saw the image of the smiling public prosecutor holding what looked like a file or a book with the cover picture of Kasab and a noose, I was quite taken aback by the happiness on his face. On May 6 I realised that this was the universal feeling all over the country. People were dancing and celebrating the declaration of death.”
If I hadn’t already revealed that this was written by T M Krishna, you would’ve correctly concluded that this pile of textual rubbish would’ve been written by the likes of Sitaram Yechury, Arundhati Roy, or similar bleeding-heart liberal hypocrites. Because it’s characteristic of them to celebrate terrorists, to file court petitions urging the taxpayer to feed them biryani in prison, etc. Therefore, the deserved hanging of Ajmal Kasab becomes “the death of a humane society” in their words. Except that these are T M Krishna’s words.
TM Krishna is a wealthy, well-connected and mediocrely talented Carnatic classical musician who has today morphed into a poster boy and mouthpiece of the nation-wrecking, rogue, Radical Left-Liberal ecosystem. Also known as an Urban Naxal And the instances I’ve quoted so far are a tiny fraction of the entire rancid corpus of T M Krishna’s pearls of wisdom archived fittingly in the Red Vaults of The Hindu, the Communist paper run by deracinated Madras Iyengars. At one time, the pages of The Hindu were adorned by fine writing flowing from the pens of such luminaries as D V Gundappa. And today, T M Krishna seems to have become permanent ideological furniture in this paper.
Small wonder that T M Krishna’s writings are much sought-after by every Far Left rag including The Wire, Scroll etc. Because one of the chief strains that are concomitant with the ideology he proudly espouses happens to be the fact-free, unremitting and vulgar bashing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP, the RSS, the VHP and every organisation and person sympathetic to Hindu causes. And T M Krishna makes no bones about his hostility against them. Here’s what he writes, mourning the murder of the Naxal-sympathiser Gauri Lankesh:
It is well known that I am no supporter of Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad or their affiliates, but right now this is not just political distaste. I hold them morally responsible for permeating religious, intellectual and cultural hate in this country…let me say this out loud, the BJP and company have not only poisoned the minds of their supporters, but they have also achieved a larger goal. They have made the rest of us crass and inhuman to the extent that we are unable to empathise when an RSS member is killed.
Musician to a Useful Idiot of the Radical Left
It’s thus imperative that we need to trace in brief the journey of how T M Krishna got here. One can begin anywhere, but in the interests of space, we can peg T M Krishna’s rise to Urban Naxal stardom on the launch of his book titled A Southern Music at the hands of Communist China-Addict Amartya Sen in December 2013 who gave a clarion call to “make classical music accessible to the masses.”
In effect, it was the farmaan.
Ever since, the constant refrain of T M Krishna has been to “take Carnatic Classical Music to the Dalits, to the slums,” and his pet theme, to “de-Brahminise it” whatever that means. If classical music is “Brahminical,” every Brahmin should’ve been a classical musician, right at the foetal stage. Equally, if a non-Brahmin attains mastery in classical music, will this “Brahminical music” say to him/her, “I refuse to emanate from the mouth of non-Brahmins?” The only thing common between “Left” and “Logic” is the letter, “L.” As history is a witness, the galaxy of Carnatic Classical Music has been decorated with innumerable non-Brahmin stalwarts since for example, the time of Purandaradasa, widely revered as the Pitamaha of Carnatic Classical Music.
But such questions only skim the surface of the hypocrisy of the kind of discourse that T M Krishna hawks. Why for example, doesn’t he ask that Hindustani Classical Music be “de-Brahminized?” After all, there is any number of Brahmin musicians there as well. But T M Krishna answering that question is akin to touching a live wire: because there are plenty of Muslim Hindustani Classical Musicians, and that is one lobby no Leftist eminence will dare to piss off. As an accomplished Classical Musician, I’m sure T M Krishna knows fully well that the distinction of Bharatiya Music as Hindustani and Carnatic is artificial yet he touts this “de-Brahminizing” sleight of hand. In reality, there’s a deeper ideological ploy underlying said “de-Brahminization.”
The Caravan Hitjob Against M S Subbulakshmi
Fortunately, T M Krishna has himself revealed this ploy in full technicolour detail in his October 2015 cover story in the Johnny-come-lately Communist magazine, Caravan. Pompously titled M S Understood, this long-form essay can be charitable, politely described as a vicious hit job against one of the greatest Carnatic Musicians of our time, the rightly-revered M S Subbulakshmi. This is not the place to dissect his hitjob, but a few things are in order.
The first thing that stares at you is his cowardice. What are the chances that T M Krishna would’ve written this had M S Subbulakshmi been still alive? He’s able to get away with such repeated hit jobs against her simply because she’s now a posthumous soft target.
The second obvious element is the practised technique and tactic of the Leftist narrative. Take an eminent, revered personality, pry into their private life, rely on hearsay and “private conversation” that the reader has no way to verify, and conclude that, “you know, they weren’t so great after all.” One only needs to look at how effectively this slander tactic was applied by the same Leftist cabal to ruin the careers and lives of truly honest scholars and historians.
The third and indeed, the very aadhara-Shruti (base note) of T M Krishna’s textual assault against a dead musical eminence who has no way of rebutting him is this: his naked Brahmin-bashing, yet another prime weapon in the arsenal of the Leftists. It indeed is why T M Krishna repeatedly stresses on M S Subbulakshmi’s origins as a Devadasi who became “Brahminised” to gain “social acceptance.” This disgusting approach shows two things: one, that although T M Krishna has learned Classical Music, he never imbibed the Samskara that it brings, which in turn adds effulgence to its performer; two, by invoking her origins, this great Musical Messiah of the Masses has actually slandered the “low classes” he claims to “liberate” with his music. A qualified shrink needs to tell him he needs to liberate him from himself.
The fourth and the final element, or rather the defining tenor of T M Krishna’s hit job, when you strip it of all its fluff is the fact that it follows the standard Leftist template. Name the catchphrases and standard terminology of Leftists, you find them in his slanderous pamphlet: oppressive patriarchy, feminism, free-spirited women, ugly Brahminical superiority, upper caste privilege, and the rest. Or how patriarchy and marriage killed M S Subbulakshmi’s music and its soul.
Here are some nuggets from the hit job:
“GNB’s love for MS has been underplayed, thanks to the latent patriarchy of Mylapore.”
“The free-spirited young woman was to become the embodiment of the ideal Brahmin housewife, seen among the elite as the epitome of purity and devotion.”
“The story is unsubstantiated, but even concocted tales can reveal something of the inner workings of the environment that produced them.”
It’s quite rich that T M Krishna should be criticising the same “latent patriarchy of Mylapore” and the selfsame “Mylaporean conformity.” In many ways, he is among the landed gentry of Mylapore, being the grand nephew of India’s former Finance Minister and industrialist, and one of the heralds of perhaps the first corruption scandal, T T Krishnamachari who was also one of the founding members of the Madras Music Academy. The kind of clout that T M Krishna enjoys in this circuit is anybody’s guess.
One fails to understand what is at the root of the Left’s incurable fascination with people’s romantic, sexual or love lives. The bigger the icon or greater the public respect for a person, the stronger is the Left’s obsession to dig up something, anything that borders on the salacious and blow it out of proportion and bring that person down. And of course, it’s convenient to give self-proclaimed disclaimers that concocted tales are valid as proof. This is precisely at the root of the depravity that characterises the Left. You cannot be a decent person and a Leftist at the same time. In general, this depravity expresses itself in the sapping and the mining of human frailties: Leftists simply can’t accept that such a thing as purity and devotion and duty for its own sake can even exist.
While it’s all fine and dandy for T M Krishna to rely on conjecture and hearsay and make convenient interpretations about M S Subbulakshmi and assess her contribution to Classical Music to suit his twisted narrative, what about his record as a Carnatic Classical performer? I’ll quote John Dryden’s verses by way of contrasting MS Subbulakshmi’s musical contribution with his.
(Reproduced from The Dharma Dispatch, ‘T M Krishna: The Musical Urban Naxal’, October 3, 2018)