Carnatic vocal maestro T M Krishna is undoubtedly an avante garde artist both in terms of the way he practices his medium and his views on social issues. The musician, who has been challenging all sorts of exercises of power that pamper social hierarchies through his art and words, has now come up with a video that hails the Supreme Court verdict upholding privacy as a fundamental right.
The multi-lingual and multi-genre video, which is the outcome of a combined effort by Krishna and three others - rapper Sofia Ashraf, author Perumal Murugan and folk singer Shital Sathay - also questions the Aadhaar card system being imposed by the government on citizens despite opposition from various corners.
The 10-minute video features the rendition of a song by Krishna, a rap by Ashraf, a poem by Murugan and a Hindi song by Sathay and her group. All the performances uphold the need to preserve privacy while questioning the validity of the Aadhaar. Krishna's song even ends with a proclamation that the apex court's historic verdict would enbale the common man to make the government's Áadhaar' 'niraadhaar' or baseless.
"We hope that the SC verdict will have an impact on the Aadhaar program," a confident Krishna, who has been opposing the unique identification system ever since it was implemented, told Onmanorama over phone.
Asked about the making of the video, Krishna said it was an artistic reaction to the historic verdict "which is beautifully written."
"After the apex court delivered the verdict, a friend of mine called me and suggested that let's do something artistic about it. Eventually I discussed it with some other friend and we decided to come up with a multi-lingual video. We wanted it to be a pan-India project," Krishna said.
All the artists featured in the video performed voluntarily and it took two months to complete the project.
Asked how he expects the song to reach the common man and the marginalized, who he says are the most affected with the Aadhaar system, Krishna said he wants to request all the activists and other stakeholders to take the song to the public.
"This song belongs to the people of India," he said.
Reiterating his opposition to and concerns about the Aadhaar card, Krishna said it has been something the people have been lied about repeatedly.
"There has been a lot of doublespeak on Aadhaar. It is something that invades one's body, thoughts and mindset. The Supreme Court itself can see that the government has lied about it again and again," he said.
The Supreme Court in August end pronounced a landmark judgment which upheld privacy as a constitutional right. The verdict is viewed as a major setback for the government, which had argued that the constitution does not guarantee individual privacy as an inalienable fundamental right.
Though the anti-Aadhaar campaigners have hailed the verdict as a vindication of their stance, it has yet to be seen how the order is going to impact the unique identification program with the government aggressively forcing people to link their bank accounts, mobile number etc with the Aadhaar number and making the identity proof mandatory for availing various services.
A Malayalam song from Krishna
Krishna, who has a huge fan following in Kerala, said he was working on a Malayalam song. He had in an earlier interview with Onmanorama said that he was ready to make a Malayalam composition if someone could come up with a poem.