Hypocritical to act like a vicious political activist and claim privileges of an artist: Sonal Mansingh on TM Krishna

On Thursday, a huge controversy erupted when a cultural program by Airport Authority of India (AAI) featuring carnatic singer, TM Krishna was canceled at the last moment. Several people from various spheres of life, came out to make allegation that AAI had to cancel the program due to political pressure as the featured singer is known to be a staunch critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even though AAI quickly responded to the allegations saying that the program was not canceled but only had to be postponed for some issues, this did not stop some people from making speculations of a political hand behind it.

The singer himself seemed to be sensing some sort of political conspiracy behind the postpone of the event.  “This is alarming. At least they could’ve come up with a better excuse to cancel my performance,” the artist was quoted saying to News18.

Now however, expressing strong disagreements to the views espoused by TM Krishna and his supporters, another artist who was scheduled to perform at the event, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh has urged to stop “seeing meanings and narratives that do not exist.”

Through her editorial on the Indian Express, she vehemently criticized those who are alleging political hand behind the program’s cancelation. “I was a little troubled and surprised to see the brouhaha over T M Krishna’s concert being “scrapped” by the Airports Authority of India, which some people even extended to saying Krishna is unable to sing in our national capital! Let me begin with the factual inaccuracy of this narrative — it was not only Krishna’s concert that was cancelled, for reasons duly specified by the AAI but also a programme where other artists including me were to perform,” she wrote.

Further criticizing those doubting a political hand, she said ” Krishna’s political views are more than well known but that has never prevented him from performing anywhere across India. I am also confident that he will get many more forums to perform. It is intriguing why this one cancellation of a programme has only become about Krishna and the purported hand of the Narendra Modi government as well as the prime minister personally! Disagreeing, and in Krishna’s case, severely disliking the prime minister, is fine, but what is not is to make this about an assault on freedom of expression, where there is none.”

She also criticized the unparliamentary words that Krishna had used in past to attack Narendra Modi, especially during the Prime Minister’s Israel visit. “His views are not those of an artist but those of a political activist, which again is fine. But one only wishes he explicitly says so,” she said.

She ended the editorial by saying that one should not be a political activist and yet expect privileges of an artist. “However, it would be hypocritical to act as a vicious political activist and claim the privileges of an artist. It would also be immoral. If you are convinced about your political activism do it openly like thousands of others. Don’t use the garb of art to promote politics,” she said.

Meanwhile the Delhi government of Aam Aadmi Party has announced of holding a fresh concert in the National capital for TM Krishna, soon. The dates and locations are expected to be announced shortly.