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The word Dissent in its various misinterpretations has been in use for a while; within the zeitgeist of uncertainty that we are now living in, the immediacy of an engaged artist, citizen, human being has become apparent and urgent.
This episode of BIC Talks with musician and author TM Krishna in conversation with activist and author Kavita Krishnan begins as a conversation based on Krishna’s newest book – The Spirit of Enquiry: Notes on Dissent blossoms into a philosophical exchange on aesthetic, the practice and consumption of art, politics and socio political stances, that addresses crucial issues of caste, culture, class and gender with nuance and openness.
Thodur Madabusi Krishna is one of the pre-eminent vocalists in the rigorous Karnatik tradition of India’s classical music. He has co-authored Voices Within Carnatic Music. Passing on an Inheritance a book dedicated to the greats of Karnatik music. His path-breaking book A Southern Music The Karnatik Story won the 2014 Tata Literature Award for Best First Book in the non-fiction category. His long-form essay ‘MS Understood for the Caravan’ was featured in The Caravan Book of Profiles. He is also the author of Reshaping Art and Sebastian and Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers which received the 2020 TATA Literature Live! Book of the Year Award in the non-fiction category. His latest book is “The Spirit of Enquiry”.
In 2016 he received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of ‘his forceful commitment as an artist and advocate of art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions. In 2017 he received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country. In 2017 he has also received the Professor V Aravindakshan Memorial Award for connecting Karnatik music with the common man.
Kavita Krishnan is Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), a women’s group that is especially active among women workers, agricultural laborers, and other sections of poor laboring women in rural and urban India. The AIPWA has a record of resistance against feudal violence on women and state repression against women. Kavita has also been a student activist, helping to organize women students on many campuses to demand mechanisms against sexual harassment. Kavita is also editor of ‘Liberation’, the monthly publication of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).