O's Verse Series: Season 1, Episode 2
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
In Conversation with Prince Rama Varma
O's second episode of the Verse Series is with Prince Rama Varma, a renowned classical musician. His illustrious career as a musician and a great teacher aside, Prince Varma also manages to find time to write and his writing style reflects a broad spectrum of the society he is part of, where you'll find musings, lessons on music, experiences and encounters and such. And if you wish to explore for yourself, here's a link to some of his writings, which is in the public domain:
For the Verse Series, Prince Varma is being interviewed by noted Bhakti singer Ragini Rainu. She sings Sufi Gurbani and Bhajan. She is a Ganda-bandh Shagird of late Pandit Bhajan Sopori.
Here's a quick look at some of the topics the conversation covers:
Herself a lover of poetry, Ragini finds it particularly remarkable that Prince Varma insists on not only pronouncing the words in all of the compositions accurately, irrespective of the language he sings in, but also that he takes a keen interest in sharing the meaning of the text and context with his audience.
The conversation also explores the genres of books Prince Varma enjoys, as Ragini tries to trace the source of the flair with which Prince Varma shares the meaning of a composition with his audience.
And while at it: of how things stand in the Carnatic music world, today? Does Prince Varma have a favourite raaga or many?
And in the finite time, the conversation manages to also give us an account of his many sides — as an individual, a music lover, a student, a musician, a teacher, an organiser, a revolutionary
... and more as the conversation progresses.
This interview series is an effort at communicating to our viewers about the importance of art disciplines in our life and of the need to challenge academic imperialism, especially for young learners' through meaningful and effective discussions and talks.
As a token of thanks to Prince Rama Varma for taking the time out to speak with us from his busy schedule, we chose Sooraj's work:
Here's a bit about the artist Sooraj: https://www.o-o-o.org/craft-corner
O was set up a year ago to build bridges. It wasn’t a matter of identifying gaps for we know they are there and that the gaps are widening and so it is a matter of addressing these gaps and committing to work towards building bridges. The discussion of decolonising the curriculums isn’t new. In the precolonial India art and science subjects weren’t disconnected. In the post colonial India they are taught to students as two disconnected disciplines. That separation is an outcome of colonisation. Decolonising academia would in that case be the marrying of art and science subjects and not in the scant inclusion of English writers including William Shakespeare in English Language Teaching. West’s limited understanding of the East and the tendency to often assume a moral and academic high-ground to the point of academic imperialism is a definite cause of concern. It is in O’s interest to overcome these barriers in learning and to evolve a level-playing field for all. And at O we emphasise on verse and we begin with young learners.