I have been rejected by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations's music committee for upgradation as a classical Flautist. Committee members include M. Varadarajan, Jayant Kastuar and others.
I was depressed and asked some of my well-wishers what they think of my music. Here are those replies:
Eminent gurus The Dhananjayans:
My dear Rajan,
You have been recognized by all music loving connoisseurs as an excellent flutist and your music compositions have been enjoyed by both exclusive music lovers and classical Indian dancers, irrespective of any style or discipline.
You have been invited by organisations abroad and you have been travelling frequently abroad without ICCR help. So why do you worry. WE have been like that for all these years. The only ICCR fully sponsored tour was the India festival in USSR 1987. there were one or two partial sponsorship ( just Air ticket only) during our five decades of successful career. So take it easy, keep doing your duty, All the best to you . WE AS ACCREDITED ARTISTES, PROCLAIM YOU AS ONE OF THE BEST FLUTISTS.V.P. & Shanta Dhananjayan
Eminent Kathak Exponent Shovana Narayan:
Your music has enchanted one and all. I have personally found it moving and sensitive. Appreciation by the people and rasikas are the truest of all awards and recognition.
Eminent Bharata Natyam guru and Musician Shri CV Chandrasekhar: Dear Rajan,The soft melody of your flute has always haunted me.I 'm no one to comment on any committee's decision.But Im very sad about the decision.I can only say that I'm an artiste who has always loved listening to you again and again.Continue to love your chosen field of music.Love,
Eminent Gurus Katharine and Kunhiraman, USA:
YES, YOU ARE A GOOD MUSICIAN! I like your music, and your cassette is in my car where I need it most. Somehow I don;t see you kissing butt up in Delhi as much as one needs to for survival, and you must have faith in YOURSELF, and not wait for other bodies to underscore what you already should know.
Prabha Bala, Texas:
I think you are a great flute player. Your music has a rare quality sweetness in both the sound of your flute and the sensitivity of the music. For whatever value I bring as a rasika to the world of music and dance, I want to assert my strong endorsement of your artistry as a musician and flute player.
With deep regards,
Founder Member - Classical Arts Society of Houston
Performing Arts Historian Ashish Khokar:
Dear Rajan bhai, In Kalyuga what else do you expect? Take heart that all good artists suffer in some way. This is ICCR's way of making you work harder and more creative because in their wisdom (or rather lack of it, mostly) they must have read somewhere (if they do read anything!) that creative people must suffer in order their art improves! An artiste of your depth, calibre and range -- a fine composer to boot -- does not need any sarkari patronage or should not be limited by it. Amitabh Bachchan was rejected by the All India Radio in 1967 for his voice being too heavy! and Pt. Ravi Shankar was not given an A- Grade in 1957 until the Beatles touched him with their magic wand and made him world famous! Van Gogh died in penury and my own parents, pioneering dance figures, have not even got the most basic of Padma awards till date. Did that stop any one of them from being respected, loved, known for their art or worth? Only substantard, power and patronage seeking artists need sarkari support to survive; we in rest of India work mostly without it. Who cares for these bureaucratic jokers anyway? They do however sit on our monies/tax payers and use/misuse/abuse it . What is questionable is inclusion of non-carnatic specialist on such a selection panel, in your case. What does a quasi-bureaucrat and very ordinary Kathak-dancer-of-sorts like Jayant Kastuar know of raga-tala system and structure of Carnatic music, to sit on such a panel? Please file an RTI to question such a decision and also how these public institutions, run on tax payers monies can take such arbitary decisions?
To show our support, Im recommending you to a big project in Poland with a 55 member orchestra. Please keep your summer free. Please write to Dr Karan Singh,MP, President of ICCR, so he knows how underlings of ICCR are sabotaging genuine art activity. And finally, plaYour flute and carry on your divine music.... Ashish Mohan Khokar
With kind regards...and besThoughts!
- Ashish Mohan Khokar
Rathna Kumar, Senior Guru:
Dear Rajan, I heard snippets of your mellifluous flute on your website and was eager to hear more. Then, fortunately, you came with Rama Vaidyanathan and regaled us with your excellent music, winning many hearts in Houston. In fact, when I recently heard you again at the Music Academy in Chennai, my first question to you backstage was, "when are you coming again to Houston"? Not only are you a fabulous flautist, but you are also a very talented composer, as seen in some of the wonderful pieces presented by Rama. What can I say? This is truly a tragedy that the committee (I am nobody to question the members) has not considered you worthy of empanelment. I hope that they will change their minds and reverse their decision. I will keep my fingers crossed for you. Good luck - to a very deserving artist.
Rathna (Kumar)Director, Anjali Center for Performing ArtsArtistic Director, SAMSKRITI, Society for Indian Performing ArtsHouston, Texas
Hindustani Vocalist Sarathi Chatterjee:
Dear Rajani am not surprised with this news as Delhi is not a place for proper recognition of a quality musician.i think i am one of your old partner & friends & i still remember some of your beautiful compositions & flute performances. My submission is do you think a higher grade empanneld artist of ICCR gets concerts regularly or even occasionally?does this give you any extra recognition in your field as composer or performer ?i don't think so as thousands of empanneld quality musicians are there but they don't get not even one concert tour.on the other side lots of new artists are getting enough encouragement from ICCR.why??????????you never know the actual reason.i have no doubt about your honest & pure form of musicality.why do u stop ur music profession?nothing can stop a Genius rather a Genius can put lessons to anyone if he wish to do that. my best wishes are always with you & i know ur nature.you are made for music only ....so continue with full energy.................good luck sarathi
Bharata Natyam exponent Indrani:
The sad yet soul filling music for the Madhurashtakam stirs my tender feelings for the lord as a performer and yet leaves me calm at the end of the dance. You are a wonderful composer and fabulous flute player. Please keep playing and there are many of us all over the world who will wait to listen to you and get inspired.
Eminent Music Promoter Sesh Bala:
Dear G.S. Rajan:
You are a great flute player. I enjoyed your flute very much during your visits to Houston, both at the formal performances where you were accompanying, and also at the rigorous practice sessions at home. One particular occasion, I will remember for ever is your spontaneous solo session at night in our backyard in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, sitting facing the creek. It was so divine and so soothing, we hardly thought of what the Hurricane had done.
I am not familiar with the upgradation process you are referring to, but I do know you play for the love of music and you play with passion. I also know you will put any setbacks aside, just move on and continue to be the fine musician you are!
All the best to you,
Eminent Bharata Natyam dancer Rama Vaidyanathan:
Your flute playing and music composition skills are absolutely extraordinary and I have known of several choreographers who have enhanced their productions with your music. I personaly have experienced your deep sensitivity towards music and have also witnessed your total dedication and involvement in your profession. I myself have seen rasikas weep in ecstasy at your music. Do you need any other endorsement ? !!
Sattriya exponent Menaka Bora:
What had happened? Do share with me...but i strongly believe in your case. You are one of the finest Indian musicians and composers who is able to understand both the fine artistic and complex management of today's globalized music world.
All the best
Scholar/Photographer and son of Indrani Rahman:
I'm sorry I was drowned in my 20 year Sahmat exhibit which ended today at Jamia, and could only reply now..
I know how you feel as an artist. Unfortunately institutions like the ICCR and the Akademis and the stamp they bestow can matter materially regarding touring and concerts etc. But you should also know that the recognition from fellow artists and the public is ultimately the most important. It may not fill your bank account or help you keep the home fires burning, but it fills the heart.
Do not be depressed by rejection of this sort. It does not count in the larger scheme of things!