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Catch `em young

Kiran Seth, the founder of Spicmacay, has a focused agenda of shaping young minds


IS heartening for all those who are mute spectators to the overwhelming westernisation to hear some voices vehemently espousing the cause of Indianisation. And the following, though minuscule, does kindle hope that all is not lost. This is precisely what Spicmacay (Society for the Promotion of Indian Music and Culture among Youth) is trying to do, says Kiran Seth, the founder.

Seth, who addressed the State convention of Spicmacay, comes across as a balanced academician who is not far removed from today's world. Being educated in the U.S. of A., he admits the enormous scientific and technological progress that has revolutionised life. "It's admirable but," he cautions, "There are certain side effects to this development that youngsters should be prevented from succumbing to." Drawing a parallel with India, he explains, "Here everything has a long gestation period. Experiencing them requires faith and patience. The West has the advantage of instant discovery and satiation. It is at this juncture that the youth have to be taught to `respect and imbibe the best in education from the West while shunning the superficial lifestyles."

Spicmacay has been around for the past 26 years and been very popular too. Despite this, Seth says, "We are fighting a losing battle. At the most, we have succeeded in making young people realise that there is something called an `Indian' heritage."

To succeed in the real sense, Seth has a focused agenda up his sleeve. "We should be able to get through to school children. They are at an impressionable age and can influence others' thinking so that the cascading effect is felt in the entire tribe of young minds," he states.

It is Seth's innate belief that if we want the values of our cultural heritage to shape the future of our youth, the drilling should start in early childhood and be enforced in all schools. "It is a pity that very few of us know that yoga or mediation increases ekaagratha (singlepointedness) which is a pre-requisite to act or do things faster. Culture has become a loose term - we have pub culture, club culture, mobile culture and what not. I would redefine Spicmacay as an educative venture trying to take people into the intangible domain from where man can draw his strength."

Chalking out an agenda for schools in an interactive session with the heads of various schools, Seth, an IIT professor and a scientist, feels that in place of pipe music during the assembly in the morning, there should be a Bismillah Khan shehnai or a Hariprasad Chaurasia flute melody. "The constant dinning of classical music would automatically create a sense of music in the child's heart which will go a long way to mould his/her character. Yoga, especially something like pranayama, should be introduced and practised to create and enhance concentration in the students. Its effect can be felt in the academic results. A shruti box (an electronic tanpura music box) can be played in the background in low tones when the child is studying at home. It is no disturbance and has been proved to have a remarkable influence on absorption levels of the brain. The final four-point formula also insists on one inspirational input per week in the school calendar with every student.

Seth places the responsibility of shaping young minds in the hands of teachers and schools since these days parental influence and personal guidance is limited. "Today's corporate structure looks only at the tangible. They have lost the inner eye. Their extra curriculars are no doubt needed but then what about the awakening of the being within each of us? We should be able to sponsor our core competencies not those in which we stand a negligible number.''

Born in the rooms of Delhi IIT in the 1980s, Spicmacay has an active presence in 175 cities across the country (a few abroad) and has 1,350 events to its credit till last year.

RANEE KUMAR

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