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Culture-vulture in Bengal? How indifferent TMC students 'allowed' top singer to die

By Indraneel Mukherjee* 
Back in college days we read about Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman”, but today I am shocked, and I must write about the death of an artiste, a musician who was centrestage at Kolkata’s Nazrul Manch just a few days back...
I saw a post on May 31 in which KK announced that he was going to Kolkata for a show, being organised by the Chhatra Parishad, the students’ wing of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). Got truly shaken up by the inputs of media person Rakhi Mitra, who shared her angst in a video on the reality of what had happened and how a hail and hearty man lost his life!
Krishna Kumar Kunnath, popularly known as KK, had come to Kolkata to perform at the Nazrul Manch. The auditorium had a capacity for 2,200 people but apparently 7,000 had got in. The Chhatra Parishad quite clearly had gone overboard. 
With such a huge audience, it was only natural to expect an ensuing pandemonium, which was waiting to break out in the hall; bottles were being thrown at each other, and one failed to understand that how an artiste could be treated so shabbily, by showing scant respect!
The man who was singing fabulously and looking after the request of all the audience had asked the organiser for a towel as he was sweating profusely; he also asked for a glass of water and was told by the organising students that both the things would be given after the show. He was told, “gana ga lijiye uske baad milega” – this was the answer!
Honestly I as a Bengali am at my wit’s end and at a loss to see such callous handling of an artiste of great repute in Bengal, known for its heritage and culture, at this kind of sick behaviour, culture of the vulture.
There are reports of how the carbon dioxide lids of the fire extinguishers were snapped open and breathing became difficult; the AC was shut, as the hall owners knew the capacity was trumped and the number of people far exceeded the auditorium capacity, in the sweltering humid heat of West Bengal.
The payment was not done by the organisers, and that's the reason for the shutdown of AC. The organisers had the choice of stopping the show in order to get back the AC, but they were busy in open fighting during the concert.
I am flabbergasted ’n amazed to think how indifferent the organisers could be. These students of Generation Next... how did they have the heart to treat a gentleman singer, so much loved and popular like KK, the way they did? And then, when KK was nearly collapsing, instead of taking him to the nearest Army Hospital at just 2 km distance, the students sent him packing to his hotel.
How is it that these young boys and girls who organised the show did not have the understanding that a collapsing person like this one needs to be rushed for medical support, where time is of prime importance, where seconds are precious and minutes are fatal?
The students showed complete indifference like illiterates. They lacked any sensitivity towards an unwell human being who was giving them so much happiness by his singing. Apparently the students are more into their “union baaji” than educating themselves to become good sensitive citizens, for humanity’s sake. It's most unfortunate that the students cared for their “Union baaji” more and proved education is only secondary.
Students showed complete indifference. They lacked any sensitivity towards an unwell human being who was giving them so much happiness
Ironically, TMC gave a lot of respect to KK in his death. After such a glorious performance the responsibility of looking after the star singer performer who gave such a wonderful concert and the thorough gentleman artist that he was, how could you absolve yourself by offering a gun salute and a grand state funeral?
The question now arises, will the students be punished for this cold blooded callousness, or will the attention be diverted to other things? As a Bengali I feel extremely let down. How can such a culturally alive people come to such a defunct state of being so insensitive in their behaviour towards a performer of the caliber of KK.
I feel devastated and would certainly like to see the students and organisers punished, as the City of Joy, will see many such programmes, but there shouldn't be any further cold blooded death due to the negligence of organisers!
I know: West Bengal common people are asking this question – that especially when a local artist like Rupankar Bagchi was also present at the site, why was he as much in careless attitude, lacking concern at a fellow artist who is much great in status to his own? Why he did not fight for the correctness of things to save KK?
Few people, part of the organisers, threatened media reporter Rakhi Mitra to delete her video inputs, but she quite boldly let out her anger and anguish. She ensured that truth must prevail, calling it a complete failure of the West Bengal government, police, and its administration to control the Chhatra Parishad.
Indeed, it is the Government of West Bengal which is responsible for this death of an artiste musician. A hail and hearty man died because of sheer indifference and negligence, of cold blooded callousness. Instead of seeking CBI to do an enquiry, one would rather expect the police to do a self-introspection and take some strict action, so that nothing like this should occur again with another artiste. For, as Kolkata will keep having such concerts, figuring many big artistes, locally or otherwise.
In the meantime I will add my very personal note on this. First of all, I feel the songs of my times with singers like Saigal, CH Atma, Mukesh and Hemant Kumar had lovely deep bass voices, but current singing like KK’s is all about hitting high notes, quite strenuous; he uses western techniques which I attribute for the strain in him.
I had met Krishna Kumar Kunnath in my college, with the then principal, Bhim Sain Singh, who discussed with us of getting other ex-alumni of Kirori Mal College to build the College Auditorium, which was at a very big cost. KK of our college was forever ready for it.
We recollected other big names, all them alumni, like Big B, Dinesh Thakur, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shakti Kapoor, Satish Kaushik, Ravi Baswani etc. Everything is seemingly getting out of reach now. But if I was to get a chance I would dedicate the College Auditorium and name it KKK Auditorium of KMC.
Rest in eternal peace young friend, this wasn’t the time to go!
---
*Veteran singer and musician based in Delhi

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