India Uncut

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Rock is evil

Well, that's the attitude of Mumbai's cops, who stopped Independence Rock, the annual rock concert organised by Farhad Wadia every year, from taking place at the last moment on Saturday despite Wadia having procured all necessary permissions. The fans landed up, but the organisers were told that the music could damage the monument. There's a superb open letter to the fans by Wadia here, in which he points out that after the show was cancelled:
Rock Fans who have been stereotyped as violent & abusive & other unflattering adjectives by the police quietly left the venue. Had this been a Ganesh Utsav, Durga Pooja, or Navratri Celebration there would have surely been a riot there!
Dead right. Wadia also framed six questions for all of us:
1) Are we going to let the Police decide what type of music can be played at a national monument?

2) Are we going to have one set of rules for Jazz, Indian Classical, & Fusion and a different set of rules for Rock?

3) Are we still suffering from a post-colonial hangover that foreign/white bands can perform at national monuments & Indian bands don’t have the same rights?

4) Are we going to have separate rules for big newspapers & TV organizations, & politicians and different ones for ordinary citizens like me?

5) Are we going to let government officials whose salaries get paid by taxes that we pay cause irreparable loss of money, time & effort to citizens like me?

6) Are we going to let shows get cancelled after 14 different government departments have okayed it, just because someone did not like the idea of the Gateway of India to be used for a rock concert?
Regular readers of my blog would have guessed that the question I find most pertinent is the fifth one, because it makes a point I can't harp on enough: government runs with our money. AN Roy's kids get breakfast on their table because people like Wadia pay their taxes, and that should give him a certain humility and a sense of responsibility. Instead, we continue getting this officious "we'll-run-your-life-and-tell-you-what's-good-for-you" nonsense.

I don't know if Wadia was simply naive when he first named this concert, or whether he had a fine sense of irony. Independence Rock? When did that happen?
amit varma, 8:17 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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