Viswa Subbaraman

Opera and Orchestra Conductor

Inspirational Indiaspora (Part 2)

I'm continuing on with a bit more on Indiaspora: I was really impressed with the music of Reena Esmail. She presented some of her music and performed at the dinner. (I also presented at the dinner). I was happy to read the reviews from the attendees at the end, but there was an aspect of the whole thing that bothered me. I was very proud to be selected to speak about music and conducting. I was proud to be associated with so many amazing people, but it still felt as though musicians and artists were relegated to dinner entertainment. (In fact, most of the comments pertained to the ‘entertainment value’ of our being there).

I was at a forum participating in discussions of the amazingly vibrant Indian Diaspora and the variety of issues faced by our community, and yet it felt that the poets, artists, musicians, and oddly the brilliant physicist were mostly there to be the entertainment – not really taken on as a truly integral part of the greater discussion. (Only Indians can have a dark matter physicist as dinner entertainment). Luckily after we presented on Saturday, we were able to elbow our way into the discussion regarding philanthropy the following day. (Thank you Hari Sreenivasan for letting ‘Milwaukee’ push his way into the discussion).

Granted, I think this issue is also a problem in the greater American society. I think it’s important for artists and musicians to be a part of the greater discussion as to how our society is perceived. In the grand scheme of things, it really is what is left after we’re gone – the art and music we’ve created. When people think of the Greek civilization, we think of the Parthenon.

All that being said, I found Indiaspora to be a completely valuable and inspirational endeavor. I have to congratulate MR Rangaswami, Srinivas Aravamudan, Desh Despande, Arun Kumar, Rajan Navani, Sree Srinivasan, and Romesh Wadhwani for all their work and for organizing/hosting a truly wonderful forum.