A beautiful cultural revolution has begun in the west

Listen to the video

by Victor Karunairajan

(December 16, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) Indian music and dance traditions, classical, folk and popular are taking rapid roots among the young people of the west, especially from the universities, who are seeking a new hope for humanity.

It appears the fears expressed by philosopher and historian Dr Arnold Toynbee has been taken seriously by our younger folks in the west.

Reacting to the impact of western civilization globally, he said that it was already clear that a chapter which had a western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in the self-destruction of the human race. He warned humanity that at this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for the humankind is the Indian way.

Indian and Sri Lankan communities in the west encourage their children to take to classical and folk dances and music as extra-curricular involvments. In Ontario, for example, about three thousand children and young people take the annual examinations conducted by the Thamil Isai Kalaamanram of Ontario, a charitable organization. Apart from it, this organization conducts an Annual Gold Medal Vocal Contest at which six gold medals are awarded to successful participants and an equal number of silver medals to the runners up.

These medals are offered in the memory of such great artists and educationalists as M S Subbuluxmi, Papanasan Sivan, Veeramani Iyer, Vipulananda Adigal, the Rev G U Pope and Thangammah Appacutty.

Another annual event that is celebrated widely takes place in the month of September is the one that hails the Indian revolutionary and reformist poet and the prophet of India's freedom, Subramanya Bharathiar. Although he was a classical scholar of great repute and a courageous freedom fighter and editor, he also wrote some of the finest lyrics a human being could have written for children.

He interpreted religious, moral and ethical philosophies to their levels of understanding and inspired them to appreciate nature and all that is creative and beautiful in it.

Indian music festivals are held annually in Cleveland, Toronto, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and several other places. Well known Indian artistes visit the west regularly and duiring the summer there are many events held in various centres in Canada, USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Switzerland.

Young people of the west, hitherto strangers to the classical and cultural traditions of the west are becoming interested and invloved in learning them. Many of them take time to go to India and learn these art forms and more than that, try to learn, understand and appreciate the mystique behind these great traditions. They have come to know that these traditions go back to eons of ages and the Indian art is rooted in the creation of the universe.

Sages of old interpreted creation through art forms. The concept behind the Dance of Siva expresses in rhythm and melody the story of creation and this is how the sages perceived it and passed it down through generations of time.

This message is being illustrated by a German young lady, a sciientist in the making took to Bharata Natyam and pursued the mastering of it with a singless of purpose and also at the same time pursuing her educational goals. She has a school for teaching Bharata Natyam in Munich, Germany.
- Sri Lanka Guardian