One common complaint against the young generation is that it is growing tech-savvy at the cost of emotional attachment, susceptibility and the overall quality of heart. In other words, young people are becoming increasingly impersonal and robotic. The majority of them who have mastered the digital gadgets are mostly runaway successful in their careers but there are some who have simply become addicted to such gadgets to be the servants of the latter.
Where things have gone awry is the point at which the visual take over the auditory and reading books or listening to the finest pieces of classical music takes a backseat to action-packed films or rock-n-roll music. Rabindra sangeet is 'so dull and drab' to them, even Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Tchaikovsky are none of their cup of tea. Band music appears to be attractive to them. Even the eras of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson are somewhat old fashioned to them. Their craze with Mick Jagger to Madonna and a host of today's vocalists is not out of love but mostly to be in tune with the latest trend. Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Adele have all made it to the top chart and so the new generation of audience is likely to be attracted by both their visual and auditory appeal.
Does music need visual aid to enjoy its essence? It should not. The unsaid, when there is a hint, is more attractive than what has been said. It is the imagination, a picture that takes shape within the mind that is as much a creation of the composer, lyricist and the singer as that of the listener. The images may vary from one listener to another but are still likely to maintain a universal stream of consciousness. Listening to an extraordinary song or a piece of music, particularly of the classical genre, is an experience in something spiritual or sobering to the extent that it transposes one to a world where serenity and calmness reign supreme.
Music can thus act as a therapy as against the excitement of hyperactive music where the high-pitch sound of drums and assortment of musical instruments is an oppression to the eardrum. Likewise the finest films bring one to reality of life with a new meaning that has evaded so long although it was so commonplace within everyday experience. An insight suddenly comes flashing on the mind's eye not on the eyes with which we see the world.
People these days are in a hurry everywhere, they just want momentary excitement and the two popular art forms ---movies and music/song--- have been making such an arrangement without giving a thought to its consequences. Films, songs, music and paintings, however, have always taken the pioneering role of elevating human experience from one level to the next higher level until the education and enlightenment reach the spiritual and the divine.
Do the new generation feel any urge to be connected with Nature or anything called divinity? Well, this is not in term of religion but in the sense Ustad Alauddin Khan, Bismillah Khan and Bhimsen Joshi and other legendary classical musicians took their art to an otherworldly plane where the audience also felt connected with the divinity.
True, not all can appreciate ragas but the ambience created by classical music---both oriental and Western---casts a spell that helps one to transcend the known world to something not experienced yet. Now the question is, if the momentary excitement is anywhere near the enlightening experience of the soul?
It is exactly at this point, the generation well-versed in cutting-edge technology and efficient in handling digital devices lose their souls to something that helps them gain material comforts. But life is nothing if not it teaches people to pause and ask what purpose it is going to serve ultimately. The rush for material gains is destroying the planet's resources at a rate it cannot replenish. The signs are evident almost everywhere. Nature is hitting back and countries the world over have unprecedented problems and disasters they cannot tackle. It is time people listened to the voice of their souls. To do that they have to develop the insight from within.
Correction: Last week's feature had an incorrect title due to a technical glitch. It should be "Off-the-track tradition and culture".