Chennai: At a time when accounts of sexual harassment allegations against prominent names in the Carnatic music community are doing the rounds, news reports said that the Madras Music Academy has decided to drop seven musicians from the list of performers this December season.
The musicians who have been dropped from the list are N Ravikiran, OS Thyagarajan, Mannargudi A Easwaran, Srimushnam V Raja Rao, Nagai Sriram, R Ramesh and Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan.
Speaking to media, N Murali, the President of the Academy said that this decision was a direct impact of the ‘Me Too’ movement. "This is a sensitive issue raised by the alleged victims and we wanted to show our solidarity to them. We also felt that as an organisation, we have to uphold the credibility of our institution. We can't be oblivious to what is happening around us. I am not saying these people are guilty but we have the right to decide who can perform and who can’t,” he stated.
Some of the musicians have already denied the allegations made against them. Among them is renowned chitravina player Ravikiran, who in 2017 had been conferred the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title by the Academy in recognition of his contribution to the field of classical music. “I have never sexually harassed anyone and am completely against such acts,” he had said on Facebook.
Vocalist OS Thyagarajan said, “This is a false allegation. I’m a very orthodox man. I don’t indulge in such acts.”
Various artists from across the world came together and signed an open document requesting for the constitution of a body to address such issues and to create a safer environment in the Carnatic community.
Popular singers like Ranjani and Gayatri, TM Krishna, Sriram Parthasarathy and Bombay Jayashri have also signed a document put forth by young Carnatic musicians from across the world that calls for due process through civil society investigations.
The Margazhi festival, held in December every year, is one of the most renowned celebrations of the classical arts in South India, featuring stalwarts from the world of Carnatic music and Bharatnatyam. The outsted artists have been regulars over the past couple of years.