Modern Influence and Commercialization in Sacred Music of Caste Musicians in India



Modern influence and Commercialization in Sacred Music


The commercialization of Indian music began in the last seven decades after establishing Independence in 1947 A.D. The caste system was finally declared as a punishable crime if discriminated by any caste or race in law passed in 1955 A.D and renamed in 1976 A.D as the law of Civil rights which meaning of untouchable means punishable by Law. The traditional musician from several castes then started forming bands and musical groups instead of a traditional way of performance.

The socially depressed group Dalits and other several caste musicians always struggle from hand to mouth. The traditional way of patronage is not sufficient anymore to survive in society having a family and children. To come out from poverty and show their talent by means of selling the craftsmanship of music-making, the Dalits forms musical groups and start working as a professional music band rather than the homely patronage system. The commercial trade of talent on any occasion in cash makes their life easier. The musical essentiality among the Brahmans and other higher communities cannot be minimized so they are offered for religious and ritual practices. The increasing media, modernity, urbanization, and globalization in music expand their profession to elaborate to large extent and spread the craftsmanship of traditional music-making for sustainable development of their earning beyond the circumstances of the traditional patronage system.

Modern musical influence is often a reflection of recorded and tempered music. This may be from the cinema, Jazz, Blues, and pop music. Today, modern music continues to reflect perceptions of the ills that permeate society and the injustices that the sector of the population view as an endemic part of the nation.

          Of the various genres of modern music that one part that can most closely be associated with segments of the Dalits population is film music, which often emphasizes romance and indecency. The traditional and folk musicians adopt film music as well as popular music instead of folk music to survive in urban life. The rural musicians are also somehow less affected by modernity but the urban life is confined only to the modern musical genre, mostly dependent to film music. The local clients or the patrons for whom they play auspicious music frequently asked for Bollywood music instead of traditional repertoire, even in Shehnai, Sarangi, and other folk instruments.

The audio CD, VCD, DVD, radio and television, Mass Media, Social media, and growing popularity of YouTube also blur the raw musical tradition of Dalits. They are losing the patrons because there are numerous options to entertain rather than the social conjunction through music. Because of modernity Folk Artists completely lost their patrons, Tradition musicians are depending on westerners losing supremacy playing Shehnai and Dholak, and Nagara in any rituals activities.

           India has a huge Cultural variety with lots of traditional and folk culture from various people from various states so a new genre of music was introduced to the people that fused Indian folk songs and folk tunes with other musical genres of west and Indian film music. During that phase, the traditional caste musicians accepts and adopted light music sufficiently distinctive to the society. Hindi films songs and other ensembles affect the folk tradition after the media like Radio, FM, and T.V. rooted in common society during the 40s -50s and 60s of 20th century.

          At present, the Typical Instruments, Shehnai, Dhol, Nagara, and Sarangi and the traditional musicians are highly familiar with world music. They appreciated and blended the imported music in traditional instruments to sustain their life with the help of music. It is Sad to say that people are less concerned about traditional music in comparison to the popular music genre.  The Caste Musician in Varanasi and Allahabad can be seen singing western songs in Sarangi, a substitute than Kajari or Chaiti. Dhol- Nagara has almost vanished in cosmopolitan life if heard also then, the songs from Hindi films, Bhojpuri Film Music, Punjabi Popular music and other popular music are played during the rituals rather than the traditional auspicious music. The people are also least aware of the tradition and culture that we belong to. The process of changing in the folk genre may be the cause of the vanishing of the identity of common people with the folk music repertoire and also the survival of caste musicians who are best known for the auspicious music maker in Indian Society.


Written By

Kumar Sargam









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