26 July 2005

Tabla maestro gets off-rhythm cover

Ustad Shafaat Khan, whose death was reported on Sunday, was arguably the sexiest tablachi alive after Zakir Husain. Yet his demise at the age of 51 was played down in single paras by Deccan Herald and the Times of India on Monday. The latter managed a small pic. The Hindu carried no story at all! At least in the Bangalore edition that deserved cover, because Karnataka is home to Dharwar, the music capital of the Hindustani tradition. None bothered with an obituary. While I am all for pop stories and good strategies, I do believe big figures in the field of classical arts, bureaucracy or academia deserve some more press. My guess is that sub-editors were busy ogling at Brad Pitt pictures on the Net, and could not care less about a tabla maestro. Gen X/Y makes bad sub-editors and I would love to be challenged on this issue.

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