At the launch of Mrigya's album
(25th November 2015)
I am not Aamir Khan.
That’s obvious, right? He is several inches shorter than me, several years younger, and several hundred crores richer. AND, the only film in which I starred never made it out of the editing studio.
But, like Aamir Khan, I am married, and like him, I do talk to my wife. I won’t tell you what we last talked about, because if I use the ‘I’ word, we’ll invite the abuse and intolerance of those who insist that India is a tolerant country.
If it wasn’t for them, it’s true - India IS a tolerant country. And it is because of them that we did briefly consider whether we should live in another part of the world.
But the very next evening, my wife was at Dilli Haat, a crafts bazaar, and heard the voice of MS Subbulakshmi at a stall selling archival recordings. She came back with tears of joy, and two CDs, and said, “Our culture is so rich, how can we even dream of living elsewhere?”
Indian music goes beyond tolerance. It is assimilative by nature. Who can say where ‘shastriya sangeet' ends, and the khayal begins? Who can say whether the violin belongs in Indian music?
Those who seek to draw such lines in time and space do so, either because they are unable to deal with the vast richness, the moving landscape of our culture, or because they need to draw narrow constituencies they can govern.
Mrigya’s music defies such efforts; over the 15 or 18 years I have known them, they have drawn on, and exemplified, the vast mines of influence to which India has exposed herself, and in turn enriched.
Enjoy their music, and be proud that you, too, are part of the diversity that is India.