New Delhi: A concert of singer TM Krishna, one of the top names in Carnatic Music, that was to be held in Delhi on Saturday has been called off due to the alleged propagandist strategies of right-wing trolls.
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 Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the cultural body, SPIC-MACAY. On November 10, AAI announced that Krishna will be performing at the event in a tweet. Several advertisements were also released in some newspapers of the city.
#AAI cordially invites you to a Carnatic vocal performance by @tmkrishna who will be accompanied by R.K. Shriramkumar on violin, Praveen Sparsh on Mridangam & Anirudh Athreya on Kanjira - on 17th November in the 2nd edition of 'Dance & Music in the Park' at Nehru Park, Delhi. pic.twitter.com/8ZiUd4n2xC— Airports Authority of India (@AAI_Official) November 10, 2018
However, while speaking to News18, Krishna revealed that AAI informed SPIC-MACAY on Tuesday night that the concert has been called off due to “some exigencies of work,” and that the organization is no longer “in a position to go ahead with the dance & music concert.”
The email further requested to postpone the concert to a new date and inform all concerned, adding, “the new date will be discussed with SPIC-MACAY soon.”
Krishna had re-tweeted AAI’s invitation on Monday, which triggered a spate of trolls who targeted the government body for sponsoring the concert. The tweets accused AAI of using public funds to sponsor Krishna, who sings about “Jesus and Allah”, is “anti-India”, a “converted bigot” and an “Urban Naxal”.
Soon after, the hashtag #DisinviteTMKrishna started doing rounds on the micro blogging website.
@sureshpprabhu ji & @jayantsinha ji, do you agree with him that @narendramodi govt's ministers/MLAs/MPs publish fake news? Is it ok when he says Indians don't matter to Modi ji's govt? He says BJP/RSS members are castiest & religiously bigoted ones...u agree? #DisinviteTMKrishna pic.twitter.com/juZsPuV054— Gayathri (@igayathri9) November 13, 2018
Carnatic sabhas are already disinviting him for his anti-traditional stance. Definitely, tax-payer money cannot be used on this #UrbanNaxal #DisinviteTMKrishna https://t.co/lHQa3cC3kK— Silent Witness (@v_venkataraman) November 12, 2018
@AAI_Official if you are going to invite tmk don't call it a carnatic event.. #DisinviteTMKrishna else you guilty of tarnishing carnatic music with his participation.. Do some background check on his dubious credentials.— You (@BelaginaJava) November 13, 2018
The trolls also tagged senior functionaries in the government, including Minister of Railways, Coal and Corporate Affairs Piyush Goyal and Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu.
When the news reached the organizers, they dispelled all rumors and gave assurance to Krishna that the concert will go ahead as per plans. Krishna was also told to be provided additional security.
AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra has denied allegations that suggest the concert was postponed due to the backlash received for inviting Krishna.
"This is alarming. At least they could've come up with a better excuse to cancel my performance," said Krishna.
Krishna’s views on constitutional values like secularism and his attempts widening the reach of Carnatic music concert repertoire by including hymns in praise of Christ and Allah, and poems by writers including Perumal Murugan, have made him a target of right-wing attacks.
In August, a Maryland temple had cancelled his concert, allegedly after Hindutva activists accused him of singing Christian hymns. In January this year, a Hindu right-wing group had threatened to disrupt his concert in Tirupur, the textile town in western Tamil Nadu, but it was held under enhanced security.