Kalakshetra withdraws nod for vocalist Krishna's event

Chennai, Jan 31 (PTI) Kalakshetra Foundation, an autonomus body under the Culture Ministry has withdrawn its permission to noted Carnatic music vocalist T M Krishna's book release function slated to be held on February 2 on its premises here.

While the revocation of the nod has led to a volley of protests in the social media, the organisers have said that the event will now be held at another premises here on the same day and time (6.45 pm).

The reputed institution, devoted to the promotion of performing and visual arts and music made known its decision in a letter to the publisher of the book 'Sebastian & Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers.' Mrdangam, known as 'mirudangam' in Tamil is a percussion instrument.

Citing the book review in a daily, KF Director Revathi Ramachandran said, it 'contains certain statements relating to the book which touch controversial issues and certainly have a lot of political overtones.' The institution was unaware of the 'controversies surrounding the subject matter of the book,' at the time of renting its auditorium for the book release, she noted.

The foundation said it was a government organisation and hence canot allow any programme that may instigate political, cultural and social disharmony.

'We therefore regret to inform you that we hereby withdraw our permission given for usage of our auditorium for the book release function.

The hire charges are remitted back to the bank account from which it was received,' she said.

The withdrawal of permission trigerred a bout of protests in the social media and Krishna said he was 'saddened and baffled' by the foundation taking back its permission.

The book celebrated generations of mirudangam makers, their travails and how they were marginalised.

In a tweet, he said the venue for the launch of the book has been shifted to Asian College of Journalism here.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi chief Thol Thirumavalavan who is set to take part in the event alleged: 'Kalashektra humiliates not just T.M.Krishna but Dalits too. T.M.Krishna's book has nothing controversial, but throws light on what exist in the society.

Actor politician Kamal Haasan too slammed the denial of permission and alleged it stemmed from subservience.

'Subservience to foreigners (rulers), dominant caste and higher officer is due to age old fear and devotion,' he said in a tweet.

The book release is set to happen at a college sans 'hurdle and fear' the Makkal Needhi Maiam chief said and extended his greetings.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took to twitter and said, 'Shameful that Kalakshetra should withdraw permission to hire their auditorium to release the new book by T M Krishna.

'Withdraw permission' is an euphemism for cancelling a contract. Cancellation is illegal besides being high-handed.' In November 2018, Krishna's concert in Delhi, organised by the Airports Authority of India was allegedly cancelled following a troll campaign against it for hosting the vocalist, a Magsaysay award winner who has been called an 'urban Naxal' and 'a converted bigot' among other epithets.

The AAI and cultural organisation Spic Macay, organisers of Krishna's concert had said that the event was not cancelled but 'postponed'.

On November 17 that year the event was held in another venue in Delhi and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had dubbed the huge turnout a 'political statement to save the country's diversity'. PTI VGN ROH ROH ROH