Well said, Nikhil

Nikhil Chinappa, the popular MTV Veejay, spoke up in The Hindu the other day about the police ‘raid’ on Speed, the music club. While his feeling that nothing bad ever happens in a disco may be too sweeping a statement, the article set right a number of errors. Speed is a club, not a bar. It is a club where one goes to relax and listen to contemporary music, perhaps dance, and yes, have a drink. And Speed has been a trendsetter in playing electronic music, a genre that is part of contemporary music.

He should know, as he’s at the forefront of promoting contemporary music and its evolution. So Speed’s main claim to fame is the quality of its contemporary music, and the knowledge of its DJ’s in mixing and serving up the music, NOT its bar. Music, in most places in the world, spreads and becomes popular through clubs (like Jazz, Soul and rap), and this is a phenomenon that has started in India. Bangalore has a number of them, so do Bombay and Delhi. The good news is that Madras (that is Chennai!) does too.(The rate at which the police are going, don’t know how long this will last though).

I’m glad that somebody who has the knowledge, and some standing, had the courage to speak up. The police stipulation of closing at eleven PM is, I believe, antiquated, archaic and a knee jerk reaction to the death of the young call centre employee who was killed when a car chasing her two-wheeler ran over her when she left a bar. The fact is, the problem lay with the young men who were misbehaving with her, not the bar itself, or the its timings. It is always so easy to lay the misdeeds of a very few at the door of facilities for the public, and punish the many on their behalf.

Then follow up the unrealistic stipulations with raids that bring the police a lot of media attention. While they satisfy their puerile interests by questioning people, usually hardly the criminal sort, who are at their mercy. Its time the police woke up to the new reality in urban India and started widening their horizons and broadening their minds so that we have a more civilized city. And it’s really no point shouting ourselves hoarse that this is too ‘westernized’. Whether we like it or not, the world has changed today, ever moving towards what’s now referred to as a global homogenous urban culture.

So its not any more about east and west, it’s about lifestyles. And like in most countries, we have adapted by retaining a large part of our traditions while accepting many aspects of this global homogenous culture. In fact, India is now contributing mightily towards shaping this global homogenous urban culture, with Indian food, clothes, music and films increasingly becoming main-stream, and part of it the world over. As for relaxing while listening to music and having a drink, come on guys, Indians have done this for the past two thousand years! Only the drinks and the music have varied over the ages.

So play on Nikhil. We’re listening.

5 Comments so far

  1. sj (unregistered) on November 12th, 2006 @ 10:38 am

    I think Indian culture adopts from western culture at a rapid rate, however there is no such thing as INDIAN first of all. India is an example of a experiment gone wrong when you try and get people from different cultures and put them into a pot with one ring leader. India is never represented in its full sense, I have been to foreign countries and all people associate with India is Punjabis and Bollywood. The majority of India is Hindianised however places that do not accept this are looked down upon by others. Chennai is looked down upon by North Indians as there is no Hindi here however the virus has begun spreading slowly but steadily Chennai is becoming swept up or being forced to become Hindianised.

  2. silanthimanithan (unregistered) on November 13th, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

    The chief minister along with his famous yellow dhristi-thundu and his entire ministry sits down enjoying a show with almost-naked women dancing and felicitating him while his culture cops are looking around for “obscene behaviour” elsewhere.

  3. david (unregistered) on November 15th, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    Right you are Sila. Why, watch any movie objectively and note the suggestive movements, clothes, innuendoes and general behaviour! All thats OK. But go to a club and sit down with friends over a drink and you’re slammed for immoral behaviour.

  4. DesiGirl (unregistered) on November 18th, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

    I am all for Chennai becoming a cool, hip joint but before signing up to be a part of the pro-West cities, we must have certain things in place – like security, safety measures etc. It isn’t enough to say ‘having a few clubs and bars about town will make us really cool’ if a person cannot go to such a place without getting molested or killed on the way back home!

  5. sj (unregistered) on November 23rd, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    Desigirl you must be an abcd tooo be talking like this pro west and all this rubbish you should be pro Indian before anything else but maybe thats the problem with people like you. All you want is to become westernised at all costs I wonder what your parents think about your comments?

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