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Music has no language
Jean Paul Richter observed: Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of Life.
Music is a vast subject and can be described in many ways. World famous poets have beautifully stated what is music in many ways. It is a good topic and all will enjoy it as they love the music. Music has no language too. All like it and enjoy it better than anything else. Normally we listen to music in our own language. Apart from our mother tongue we may listen to music in the English language also. This is the case in all regions of this world; whether it be Asia, Europe, Africa, North America or Latin America. English being the universal language, it is quite natural too.
Then, can you guess a region where music from seven languages are religiously listened and followed? You won't even suspect such a place exists in the world.
Then believe, it does exist. This place is called Kerala, a small state in the southern part of India. This practice is more seriously done in the Malabar (Northern) region of Kerala. It has got another feather too on its cap: the achievement of 100% literacy!
The language of Kerala is Malayalam. People usually speak here that language only. But the people of Kasaragod, Trivandrum and Palakkad use some other languages also such as Tulu, Kannada and Tamil. It is for the reason that these districts share its border with states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
You cannot see a Tamilian listens to Malayalam songs. But Malayalees listen to Tamil! Nor you can see a North Indian listens to Malayalam. Again Malayalees watch and listen Hindi movies and music. A North Indian never pays his attention to any music from a South Indian language.
Here comes the Malayalees (People of Kerala) with an impartial mind when it comes to music and film. They don't mind the language. What they consider is only the quality. Almost all Keralites love Tamil Songs as well as Hindi songs. They also prefer watching Films too from these languages. The Malayalees enjoy music from seven languages-Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, English & Arabic. They will sing beautifully Tamil and Hindi songs. They are great fans of S.P. Balasubramaniam, Ilayaraja, A.R. Rahman. They also love Rafi, Kishor, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha from Hindi.
Tamil and Hindi music and films do good business in Kerala. Malayalees have up to date data of the Tamil & Hindi Film industry with them. But sadly no Tamilian or North Indian can boast of such a claim as Malayalees do. Hindi being our national language, there is no much relevance for Keralites' love for Hindi. All Indians should love Hindi. But what is surprising is Malayalee's love for Tamil songs and films. Most of the Malayalees follow Tamil programs on Radio and TV. They love it and enjoy it well. Tamil Nadu is their neighboring state. So naturally the love can be justified. But Kerala is a neighboring state for Tamil Nadu as well. But the Tamilians are least interested in Malayalam.
Now the question arises: Why it doesn't happen in the reverse way? Means, why Tamilians don't like or follow Malayalam songs or films? They can't even sing a single song. There may be a certain exemption. Their knowledge too is so weak when it comes to Malayalam music. They stick on to their own language. They love only their language. The Tamilians know well that Malayalees are great fans of Tamil music and films. Still they don't reciprocate even in a remote way. The reason is simple. They are narrow-minded. Linguistic chauvinism is what govern them primarily. (My criticism is limited to this topic only).
Had they been as open minded as the Keralites ( music only), they too could have enjoyed beautiful Malayalam songs and films. The loss is for them only as Malayalam Film industry produces some of the best movies in India. What the Tamilians miss is an opportunity to listen to some quality works from Malayalam. On the contrary, Malayalees, being broad-minded are enjoying good Tamil movies and great melodies from Tamil.
And English being a universal language all love and follow it. It is more so about the Keralites. They watch Movies and music from English though the number of followers is lesser when it compares with Hindi and Tamil. Mainly students and the male folks love it.
A large number of Malayalees have migrated to Arabian countries for job and business purpose. It must be the reason for their love for Arabic music. Justifiably, it is Muslims, who are mainly the fans of Arabic music. They are also great fans of Gazals, which is mostly in Urdu. Pankaj Udhas, Jagjit Singh and Umbayi are great artists rendering Urdu Gazals and they have a large fan in Kerala. Similarly, the Punjab folk songs also are so popular in Kerala. The fast Punjabi numbers have good takers here and Malayalees love Daler Mehndi as their own singer. What magic music performs among the intelligent Malayalees irrespective of languages! It is Kerala's unique record and no other states follow such a healthy practice in music listening.
People from other regions may be surprised when they come to know that the showcase in almost every homes in Kerala are stocked with Cassettes and CDs of so many languages with equal passion. It is done in an impartial manner too. To the doubtful minds on this unusual scene, there is only one answer the Keralites can provide: Music has no language!
© 2012 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth