Two days after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) called off a concert by T M Krishna in the national capital, the Delhi government on Thursday reached out to the Carnatic singer and offered to host his performance.According to Delhi government officials, the office of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia contacted Krishna on Thursday and extended the offer.
Confirming this, Krishna said: “Manish Sisodia’s office reached out to me on Thursday afternoon. They are making every effort to hold the concert on Saturday, and are looking for a venue. I will, most probably, be singing in Delhi on Saturday. The final venue will be confirmed by tomorrow.”
According to a Delhi government official, the Department of Art, Culture and Language is looking for a suitable venue for Krishna to perform on Saturday. “We have extended an invitation and he has accepted it. We are working on a mutually convenient date and time. We will be able to finalise everything by Friday,” said Abhinandita Mathur, Advisor (Art and Culture), to Sisodia.
As reported by The Indian Express, Krishna’s concert was to be part of a two-day “Dance and Music in the Park” festival at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri, organised jointly by the AAI and the cultural body, SPIC-MACAY, on November 17-18. But on Tuesday night, AAI informed SPIC-MACAY over email that the concert was called off. “Because of some exigencies of work, we are not in a position to go ahead with the Dance & Music concert… Hence, we request you to kindly postpone to a new date and inform all concerned. The new date will be discussed with SPIC-MACAY soon,” the email said.
Following this, Krishna said on Wednesday: “Give me a stage anywhere in Delhi on November 17, I will come and sing. We just can’t let ourselves be cowed down by this kind of threats.” On November 5, the AAI announced the concert from its Twitter handle, and, over the following week, shared details about the performers. On November 10, it tweeted about Krishna’s proposed performance. Besides Krishna, dancers Sonal Mansingh and Priyadarsini Govind, and sitarist Shahid Parvez Khan were to perform at the weekend event.
Krishna re-tweeted AAI’s invitation on Monday, which activated trolls who targeted the government body for sponsoring the concert. The tweets called Krishna “anti-India”, a “converted bigot” and an “Urban Naxal” among other things. AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra, however, denied that the concert was called off because of the criticism the government body received for inviting Krishna. “We have some issues. Some exigency has come up and we are not free that day,” Mohapatra told The Indian Express on Wednesday.
— Sourav Roy Barman (@Sourav_RB) November 15, 2018
Krishna’s views on constitutional values like secularism and caste prejudice in music have made him a target of Hindutva supporters. His attempts to increase the Carnatic music concert repertoire by including hymns in praise of Christ and Allah and poems by writers including Perumal Murugan have been attacked. Krishna, 42, is considered one of the finest among the current crop of Carnatic musicians. A Magsaysay award winner, he is also the author of A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story.