The Week, February 2013
I was invited to the Jaipur Literature Festival last month by the minister for art and culture of Rajasthan, Beena Kak. I was happy to learn that the festival, held at Diggi Palace in Jaipur, is the largest literary festival in the Asia-Pacific region. We need festivals of this nature where literature, music, workshops and other interactive activities come together to form a creative environment. It was interesting to see how the audience—which consisted of Indian as well as international readers, writers and other enthusiasts—made the festival an unforgettable event for authors across the globe.

I was invited to speak about my recent book, My Father, Our Fraternity. The book details my father's musical legacy, his fraternity and my journey through the same. I was in conversation with the author of The New World and The Immortals, Amit Chaudhuri. His involvement in music came as a pleasant surprise to me. Though we spoke about the book, I was impressed by his interest in the technical aspects of the sarod. Our conversation was followed by a musical tribute to Rabindranath Tagore by my sons Amaan and Ayaan.

I would also like to congratulate all the winners of this year's Padma awards. Personally, I am very disappointed with regard to these awards in the field of Indian classical music. I fail to understand why such awards are only given to musicians who are above the age of 70. There are many talented young musicians in the country. Recognising their capabilities and giving them such prestigious awards will only encourage their growth in the world of music. I feel the Government of India should hire an agency that can handle an online voting system to make sure that the most deserving artistes are recognised and awarded at the right time and age. Like elections are held to choose political leaders, the same procedure should be applied to choose the winners for all government awards in our country. Let the people of India decide who to support and choose. While receiving the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in Japan, I was surprised when I was told that they consulted 5,000 cultural organisations from around the world before giving the honour to me.

I feel sad to see so many classical musicians who have not yet received a Padma award. Very few musicians are selected to perform in the music festivals all over the country. Some are busy giving lecture demonstrations and other musicologists are busy teaching and earning a good amount of money from institutions in India and abroad. The most important aspect of creative art is that artistes should be given encouragement and awards at the right time. This will help the growth of art and artistes in India greatly, and also the dissemination of Indian culture abroad.

Earlier, winter used to be the concert season in India. But now, as the world is shrinking into a global village, even in the west concerts are taking place during winter. I hope that soon we will have concert venues of international stature in India, and that the legacy of forums such as the Jaipur Literature Festival spreads to Indian classical music as well.