Pune: Roping in rock bands to catch the pulse of college-goers, the government is planning a series of music programmes on patriotic theme across top colleges in India. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has planned a series of gigs to mark the 70th year of Independence and 75 years of Quit India Movement.
While All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the move, asking the government to define ‘patriotic rock bands’, this themed celebration has attracted mixed reactions from students, experts and musicians in Pune.
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Bollywood musical composer, Ehsaan Noorani, of the trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, welcomed the move, and said, “Music is a strong platform for spreading a good message. However, it has to come from within the songwriter or the composer and has to be a genuine statement. Many patriotic songs have been done in the past and I think there is always place for a few more.”
Students’ also welcomed this idea as it could be a good way of unearthing talent and creativity. Abhishek Srinivas, a final year student of Electronic and Telecommunication (ENTC) department and also head of Music Section of College of Engineering Pune (CoEP) said, “This is a unique way to perceive patriotic songs. There have been many such mergers in music like rock and classical music, rock and Sufi music.“The music played in Coke Studio brings a different music genre altogether. This kind of music is trending now and is lively. Also, young generation who are unaware about patriotic songs will now know them.”
However, few musicians, educationists and student activists worry whether the initiative will serve the purpose in a true sense.
A popular musician from a famous Indian band, who did not want to be named, felt mixing rock and patriotism is not a good idea.
“This is just ridiculous. Now, soon they will ask us to play ‘bhajans’ in rock style - it is all getting meaningless day by day. Moreover, it is an irony that while they promote such things in educational institutions, the budget invested in the education sector has fallen half per cent from previous year. They are not addressing the real issues faced by the people in our country but act silly by ordering such things,” he said.
Pune-based educationist Vivek Velankar also slammed the move, saying that these are superficial methods used by the government to evoke patriotism among youngsters. “If by merging rock and patriotic songs bring the feel of patriotism, it should be played more in engineering colleges whose students are highest in numbers to go abroad.
He added that this music will remain only for three minutes until the song gets over. “It won’t stay with the students after a while, so I am skeptical if this will serve their purpose,” said Velankar.
City President of Students Federation of India, Naseer Sheikh was also skeptical.
He said, “I suppose its high time MHRD should start concentrating on imparting real education now.”