The “proposal” to name the Music University in Mysore after the late Hindustani vocalist Gangubai Hanagal has triggered off a row. A bunch of Carnatic musicians, led by R.K. Srikantan and R.K. Padmanabha, have come out openly and expressed their displeasure at the move.
Their contention is that naming the varsity after Gangubai will: a) give the impression that it is a Hindustani music university, b) be too much of the same thing, since a music study centre in northern Karnataka and fishing village on the west coast are already being set up in her name, and c) give room for further “regional imbalance”.
Instead, they say, the University could be named after a Carnatic stalwart as Purandara Dasa, Veene Seshanna or Piteelu Chowdiah although Hindustani music will also be taught there. Or after patrons of music like the maharaja Nalavadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar or Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.
Question: Is it wrong to name the University in the south of Karnataka after an artiste from the north? Should the University not be named after Gangubai merely because two other establishments are being named after her? Should a varsity teaching Carnatic and Hindustani be named after a person who was a doyen of only one of the two streams? And, surely, opposing Gangubai’s name itself furthers “regional imbalance”?