Monday, November 18, 2019

Musicians want airlines to secure their instruments

New Delhi: As a crowd of over 200 lovers of Indian classical music gathered in a temple in New York, preparing to spend their evening in the shimmering melody of a sitar, musician Shubhendra Rao greeted them and announced that he had not brought his sitar along. The collective gasp of the crowd filled the auditorium.

The sitarist, who is among the leading soloists in India and a protégé of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, discovered after a 15-hour Air India flight from New Delhi on November 1 that his sitar had been irretrievably damaged. Its stem had cracked, and the ‘tabli’, or the soundboard atop the pear-shaped base, had broken into three pieces.

But perform he did, on a sitar borrowed from a disciple though it was “like walking on an artificial limb”. He says he has had too many strokes of bad luck lately — three incidents of “vandalism” during air travel in the past three consecutive years, which even forced him to cancel a concert in France in 2017.
Mr. Rao has restarted a petition he launched in 2017 on In it, he urges that airlines be made accountable for damage to a musical instrument. He also demands that making passengers waive the liability of airlines for fragile items by signing a “limited release” document be done away with.
He describes the special relationship every artiste has with his or her musical instrument, which is also their voice. “To every artiste, his or her instrument is like a child he or she loves and nurtures every day.” Mr. Rao says his sitar is always by his side, whether he has a broken arm or on a honeymoon.
The petition has received more than 10,600 signatures and many world-renowned Indian musicians have joined the cause. Each has his or her stories of agony and suspense every air travel brings with it.
18/11/19 Jagriti Chandra/The Hindu
To Read the News in full at Source, Click the Headline


Post a Comment