19th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture today:Carnatic musician T. M. Krishna will deliver the Oration | Sunday Observer

19th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture today:Carnatic musician T. M. Krishna will deliver the Oration

The 19th annual Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture titled ‘The Liberal Vision Challenged’, will be delivered this year by T.M. Krishna, Carnatic music vocalist and public intellectual, at the Committee Room A (Jasmine), BMICH at 6 p.m. today, July 29.

Krishna’s talk will focus on the challenges to liberalism, in South Asia in particular, within the context of the current global black-lash against democracy and human rights and the rise of authoritarianism.

Krishna is a world renowned musician, who in addition to establishing himself as a vocalist in the Carnatic tradition also challenged existing hierarchies within this tradition. The Urur Olcott Kuppham Vizhar music festival that Krishna co-organised to create inclusive musical spaces, seeking out unconventional locations to present musicians cutting across different genres being a case in point. Krishna has also sought to use his music as a medium for activism, collaborating with environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman on a song titled Chennai Poromboke Paadal, performing with the Jogappas (transgender musicians) and setting the poetry of writer and poet Perumal Murugan to music.

He has emerged as a key public intellectual, speaking and writing about issues affecting the human condition and culture. Krishna has started and is involved in many organizations whose work is spread across the whole spectrum of music and culture. He has co-authored Voices Within: Carnatic Music – Passing on an Inheritance, a book dedicated to the greats of Carnatic music. His path-breaking book He was awarded the 2014 Tata Literature Award for Best First Book in the non-fiction category for his first solo publication A Southern Music – The Karnatik Story, published by Harper Collins in 2013 which sought to explore the underlying philosophy, aesthetics and socio-political realities of Carnatic Music. His new book Reshaping Art published by Aleph Book Company, asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated and addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender within society while exploring the contours of democracy, culture and learning. In addition, he has published four novels and a series of articles on a range of subjects from environmental degradationto the current wave of lynchings.

Krishna has been recognised for his contributions to the arts and society. In 2016, Krishna received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of ‘his forceful commitment as artist and advocate to art’s power to heal India’s deep social divisions,’ which was followed by the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration Award in 2017. In the same year, he also received the Professor V. Aravindakshan Memorial Award for connecting Carnatic music with the common man.

Krishna has visited Sri Lanka previously to perform but this will be his first oration in the country. The memorial lecture is organized each year by the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, an indigenous philanthropic organisation supporting community efforts to promote and protecthuman rights, social justice and reconciliation. The annual lecture marks the death anniversary of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, which falls on 29 July and celebrates his life and work by inviting scholars, writers, policy makers and activists to reflect on and engage with critical concepts of our time.

Dr. Tiruchelvam, a scholar, legislator, politicianand peace-builder, built bridges and sought common ground in a divided society through scholarship, institution-building, and politics. His thoughts and actions were animated by a personal philosophy of humanism, peace and non-violence. Firmly committed to transformation and reform to resolve the deep-rooted problems of Sri Lankan society, he sought to spearhead social change through dialogue and deliberation.

The lecture is open to the public.

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