While I have not made it a point to put editorials in every issue it is time I wrote another.
First I'd like to thank all who have browsed RagaNet and our Batish Institute pages and sent your wonderful comments! We do this for the love of this music. The fact that you find our writings of help, is in itself our greatest reward!
To all you wonderful people that took the time to send in your voluntary subscriptions for RagaNet - God bless you! Your support to this cause is really appreciated. We are in the process of getting a new domain name registered for RagaNet so pretty soon you'll be loging in to RagaNet.com! We plan on renting the server space through our local online service. The other main expense will be the yearly registration fees of our domain name. So please keep your support coming. There's a lot more to do. Anyone wanting to pitch in with articles, editing, proof reading etc.... is most welcome.
In this editorial, I'd like to tackle a couple of important issues relating to certain areas of Indian music that will probably never be fully resolved by the Indian ethnomusicologists/musicians. There are many knowledgeable musicians I know. But there are also many that believe they know it all. This is where I have a problem. I call this the guru-explosion. We have tried to help direct the student to an appropriate guru in his/her area by starting the Guru-Shishya database. Please help by adding your recommendations and comments. As students and lovers of this fine art, you are the ones that keep in touch with this very important area so take some time out and fill this on line form to enter your teacher in our database. I hope this will help the student, and direct the seeker to the right guru.
Another area I have problem with is how many musician having something to do with Indian music adopt a honorary title like "Pandit" or "Khansahib" or "Ustad." who's in charge of this process? I don't mean to imply they don't deserve this honor. They might. But just because they see a "Pandit Ravi Shankar" or an "Ustad Alla Rakha" being listed on posters, albums etc., doesn't mean they should adopt this title in their first Western tour fresh out of their music internship! I urge all musicians to give this some thought. They need to first prove themselves in the arena, have a musical life, get some credits get a little older :-) and then let such a title be conferred by their actions. There is perhaps a misplaced belief that if you don't call yourself a "Pandit" you are not considered as "knowledgeable" and hence will be looked down upon by the Western public. These titles are not to be taken lightly. Try "Shri", "Shirimati", etc.
Another area I find could use improvement is where Indian words get translated into English. I find that there is a relaxed outlook on how such words might be represented. This has been tackled successfully by the past authors and we need to stick to the existing scheme as best as possible. Therefore, I recommend following the standard "Devanagri" translation scheme.
Unfortunately we do not have the necessary symbols for doing justice to such a scheme on the Internet unless we adopt a universal font or publish our works in postscript format. In RagaNet, this is not possible yet. I have designed a special font for our future hard copy versions of our books etc. Publishing in Hindi is another alternative and we plan on looking into this. Any suggestions will be welcome and open to discussion.
I want you to send me your opinions on these topics. There will be a new "Letters to the Editor" segment added to future issues of RagaNet.