I write with reference to the observations of A.R.S. Mani (Sruti 346) that “No other profession is subject to such harsh criticism from every Tom, Dick and Mani. Every rasika here is an enlightened critic!” I have a slightly different take on this.
It is true that while cricket has its Boycott, Chappell and Gavaskar, and while tennis has its Allen, Amritsar and Becker, we generally do not have their counterparts writing reviews of music concerts.
However, just as the sports fan has the sovereign right to adulate or rubbish a sportsperson, I believe every rasika has the sovereign right to applaud or dismiss a musician. Such admiration or criticism need not be based on knowledge, experience or any understanding of the merit of the musician by any objective yardsticks, since enjoyment of music is a highly subjective experience. The consumer is king in the concert hall, as he is in the mall or the stadium.
Yes yes yes!
But things begin to get complicated only when such a rasika begins to fancy himself as some kind of expert, just because he has organised and/or heard n number of concerts and listened to x tapes and CDs, besides browsing some souvenirs and journals of the Music Academy.
What?! What –
The confusion is worse confounded when misguided sections of the media hail the rasika as a “musicologist”, not stopping to realise that such an appellation is an insult to the real musicologists – men of deep erudition and a lifetime of research – of the calibre of Prof. Sambamoorthy, Dr. V. Raghavan, Dr. S. Ramanathan and Dr. S.R. Janakiraman, to name a few.