Singer Chinmayi Sripaada has extended her support to a European woman named Lilian Van Dam, who has made sexual harassment charges against Gundecha Brothers at the Dhrupad Sansthan.
Dhrupad has a dedicated audience in Europe where concerts are held regularly. Many students at the Dhrupad Sansthan are Europeans. But Lilian van Dam, a disciple and a yoga teacher based in Amsterdam, levelled serious allegations against Akhilesh and Ramakant Gundecha in a note titled "Because you must know what is happening at Dhrupad Sansthan!" shared on Instagram.
In a lengthy note, Lilian van Dam wrote, "We, men and women; from all over the world: India, Europe, Asia and America; adults but minor too; witnesses and victims, are coming together to testify about psychological, physical and sexual abuses by Akhilesh and Ramakant Gundecha."
Lilian van Dam added, "It has been going on for years without anyone daring to say anything, but today we gather to reveal the truth of what we have suffered, of what we are still undergoing so that all abuses stop immediately. We will not tolerate that another single student could get sexually abused or approached. Without our testimony other girls and women will fall prey to Akhilesh Gundecha and it is our duty, your duty also, to protect the next potential victims."
Chinmayi Sripaada, who is known for the #Metoo movement, took to her Twitter page to raise her voice against the sexual harassment at the Dhrupad Sansthan. The singer shared her note and wrote, "In one of the first (?) stories speaking of predators in the Hindustani Classical Music scene, a European woman had to speak about sexual harassment by Gundecha Brothers at the Dhrupad Sansthan."
In a series of tweets, Chinmayi Sripaada spoke about the Guru-Sishya tradition in the classical music learning system. The singer also recalled her fight against lyricist Vairamuthu and Radha Ravi and said that, "I hold rasikas of classical music responsible for constantly platforming molesters."
Here is Chinmayi Sripaada's series of the tweet:
The classical music learning system in India and especially the God like status that is given to Gurus in the traditional Guru - Sishya Paramapara protects abusers in general. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse is normalized as discipline.
If the #MeToo experiences of students of the Carnatic Music scene and how the Rasikas, Sabhas and the entire ethos is anything to go by - you'd know most care a rat's ass if their favourite carnatic classical musician has molested kids as long as they can sing fabulously
As much as I hold the loyalists of Mr Vairamuthu and Mr Radha Ravi responsible for not doing the right thing; (2 years on - no ICC. No investigation. And I keep repeating here - How much longer?) I hold rasikas of classical music responsible for constantly platforming molesters.
Kudos to the @IndianExpress and The Wire for reporting on Sexual Harassment on the Gundecha Brothers. Only glitch - the chairman of Dhrupad Sansthan, Mr Umakant is probing the sexual harassment case. He happens to be the brother of the accused. Woman shrugging.