Music as an industry in Nagaland….. a failure?

Lipokmar Tzudir

The declaration of ‘Music as an Industry’ by the Nagaland state government was received with much hype and enthusiasm above and beyond apprehensions of the policies and its applicability.

When we talk about establishing an ‘industry’, we immediately wonder about the availability of natural resources, machinery to extract or treat raw materials, its marketability and so on and so forth.

After more then a year of its declaration, Nonexistence of results makes one question;

•    Don’t we have enough materials and resources?

•    Do we not have the machineries to extract and treat the materials?

•    Do we not have the manpower (talents)?

•    As a public sector, do we have any market strategy? Or are we still at the mercy of some private Producing companies in East India? 

•    Have we thought about the vast market in South-East Asia?

•    Or does the interpretation of Music as an Industry to the Nagaland state Govt. simply mean, giving platform to some ‘lucky’ artists to perform once or twice in metropolitan cities? Or to entertain state guests with a petty honorarium? Or simply organizing one national rock concert in a year?

It is a matter of setting priorities.

1.    Resources or Materials:  in this context, we refer to the intangible heritage of the state, which is barely preserved by a handful of committed folk artistes in villages. These resources are time bound. Unless the Govt. makes an urgent effort, the knowledge (resources) that they have accumulated from their forefathers will completely die with them. Erecting of Village gates and monuments or declaration of heritage villages to attract tourists can neither sustain the Art nor the artiste.

The govt. of India has several schemes to engage folk artistes professionally and stipends for trainees who learn the Art. The Govt. of Nagaland should understand its obligation to engage these folk artistes professionally as they are the hallmark of our rich cultural heritage. Without these artistes and the resources they uphold, we have no materials to start with.

2.    Machineries:

(a)  Mechanism to extract and treat: The Govt. needs to assign experts to collect materials from the folk artistes and dig into the commonalities of the various tribal Arts that define Naga Art as one entity. These experts should be able to establish various common patterns of musical movements, modes, styles etc. 

Upon doing these, they may be able to suggest certain modes or styles to fit various genres of music. (For instance, the western classical music that we know today is simply an offspring of the European folk art forms.)

We have enough resources in our cultural heritage to develop Operas, Musicals, concertos, popular songs and even Rock music etc.

(a)    Production: The private recording studios in the state should be aided by offering subsidized loans or at least help avail financial grants from the centre, such as ‘scheme for up-gradation of music studios for development of creative arts’ etc (recommendations in this case should be based on performance). With such funding and support, we can contain the production cost thus help studio entrepreneurs and recording artistes. This exercise will ensure healthy competitions and quality production with reasonable market price.

(b)    Promotion/Market: The state Govt. should attempt to centralize the Nagaland cable TV network in partnership with the private cable TV distributors as share holders. The main objective is to run a ‘Naga Channel’. There can be a main distribution unit in every district and sub units in every sub town. This can be ultimately transmitted to other national and international networks.

Its outcome; (1) generate state revenue (2) showcase and promote the entertainment business (Music, Films, documentaries etc. and even News)  (3) generate employment in a large scale.

3.    Manpower (talents):  This writer believes that a Musician is not made. It is what is already in the person (innate) that makes the person a great musician. Therefore the question of whether one should first obtain a music degree in order to be successful does not arise. Although the knowledge to read and write music will be a positive factor. The main concern in this business is the ‘talent’ of the individual or the group.
A music consumer normally looks for originality, virtu

sity, uniqueness, charisma of the artist(s) etc.

We have exceptional talents in the state who surely need to do their part, but certainly, the state Govt. does have a major  role to play for the so called ‘Music industry’ (that they advocated) to take shape . Or was it just pitiable imagination?

In the near future, India and China will be major market players. The North-East region is certainly the gateway to the South East Asia -Pacific market. The traditions of the NE will be the highlight of the next era provided we rationally preserve our resources and engage our efforts in the development of creative arts and sustain it through various forms of performing arts.

Art, be it visual or performed is a way of life and the very essence of humankind is the one that gives life to the Art.