Very respected Apunba Manipur Matam Ishei Kanglup, in the name of holy traditions of the land, I’m sending you my deepest regards.I hope you are doing well and I believe I’m not disturbing you in your daily raga recital. The last time I heard about you was when you insisted the government to declare Sana Leibak Manipur as the state anthem just after the demise of the legendary Bachaspatimayum Jayentakumar Sharma who penned the song. Unfortunately the authority is indifferent as always but lesser than that of the people, who are assured that this song would evoke the false pride in you. That’s another story. Image from Tapta’s Fan Blog You have made a bolder step this time. But why would you act like the army and issue diktats? As far as we know, you are a group of contemporary singers just as your name suggests; and neither would anyone believe you are a fascist organisation. Didn’t you feel getting out of tune when you write out that Tapta cannot sing anymore simply because he is not a member of your organisation? Probably you don’t. That’s why you have not only boycotted him but gone ahead and made your terrifying royal promise of banning the film as well of which he is a playback singer. Perhaps the film, Keishal, under the banner of Plus Media Production, might never see the light of the day. This is considering that you can summon artistes for negotiation in rebel camps or pay the police to do what they do best: threaten the people. However, there are so many things at stake here.Truth be told, your name must remain as it was: like a band of Nazi-inspired musicians but in a non-existential zone or wherever far from a sane society. Today, you might not mind it, you have never. You would not care that you have become the laughing stock in the whole town these days. A real musician would have produced a fine work from such humiliation but we know you are callous. Your fascist ideology—if there is any other such thing beside sheer stupidity behind your organisational workings—is only as good as your crappy tabla-harmonium music. If there is one thing that is so typical in the world of artistes, it is their love for freedom and liberty. But clearly you have become blind and you cannot see beyond your overbearing octave. For that matter, Tapta is more popular than all of you combined, yes, he also performs better than the combination of all your rule-obsessed, cheesy singing mates. Doesn’t this give you some clue why people are calling you all sorts of names because you are blindly trampling on the people’s choice of music and professional affiliation? Tapta is creative, independent and politically engaged—all of which you are not. We can see these issues would be too much because for you, art should be only for art’s sake. You have nothing to do with the diktats from both the state and non-state actors, which have shoved us into a corner of collective listlessness. Of course, nothing can be more important than obtaining a visharad degree from your alma mater located in faraway Agra and Gwalior and others; and yes, flaunting your power in this land of no master. The royal order of the AMMIK Image:Plus Media Production Again, Tapta is more popular than your organisation. This fact might be a source of great disturbance to your inflated ego. Why don’t you go and sing on the radio if it is not the music season in the town? There are lots of issues at hand that the people should care about. For instance, in one eastern corner of the land, in Chadong, hundreds of families have been displaced from their homes. The government’s myopic plan of building a dam has backfired though the authority is nonchalant as ever. The rhythmic patterns of violence and underdevelopment have already imprisoned us in a time warp of nothingness. In this kind of situation, your diktats and boycotts have become an unnecessary pain in the ass. An album cover pic of the Eastern Dark Image: Eastern Dark’s Facebook page We are grateful to you for keeping up the Manipuri language. Albeit, everybody knows your disciplined approach to learning and practising music is doing much harm than helping it. Have you watched the film “Western Sankirtan”? You should ask your big brother, the Film Forum Manipur, if you have not. To explain briefly, the theme of the film is about going back to our roots, but while ignoring or too stupid to know that Sankirtan can never be a marker of our identity. It is no less different from your borrowed ragas and khayaals. And oh, your mates are tired of your adopted microtones and semitones: now they are aping the shittiest music from all over the world. I presume you like Ranbir Thouna. I like him too but I cannot tell how AR Rahman sounds so much like him. I’m kidding, I don’t like him but the mention about AR Rahman is true. In the last few days, metal-inspired Eastern Dark has also come out with their stories of intimidation. Incidentally like Tapta, this band is known for its socially relevant music just in case you had missed it in your self-righteous ride to conquer the music world in the stupidest ways. Pop stars from the olden days including Sanaton and Naba Volcano were the closest you can get but they are gone a long time ago. If copycats, alien music styles and unquestioning loyalty are the foundation of your world, you might as well boycott yourself and excuse us for some time. We know what our choice of music is and you cannot dictate what it should be. Please admit you are a fascist organisation and you are all powerful. We might be able to boost your ego and help do away with your talentless struggle, or, probably show you how it takes fans and supporters—and not primitive aggression and high-handedness —to raise an art form.
Finally, you are only strong as a group and, for your kind consideration, there is an adage: those people who cannot work outside a group or on their own, they are a nobody when they are alone. For all the talents you don’t have, it seems you are making it up with your illegal dictatorial rules. Please do go to Agra and improve your skills. You might become a better singer some day. Who knows?!
An anonymous music listener