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Music for a cause: SC judges sing for Kerala flood relief!
'Music has Charms to soothe a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.' - William Congreve, in The Mourning Bride, 1697.

‘Customer is King’ is nowhere as evident as in the United States. In the 60s, on a visit to USA, humourist George Mikes, an Hungarian exile in London described with an example, in book his ‘How to scrape skies’ as follows: 

‘You can send a decorative birthday telegram to your grandmother for $ 1.00. For $10.00 the telegram boy will deliver the greetings and also sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to your grandmother. But for $ 100.00, the Postmaster General himself will arrive at the doorsteps with full orchestra in tow, and himself sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and hug the old lady’! Music and money can do wonders! 

Music moves! A glance in the newspapers at the evening engagements shows that practically all musical programs in the evening are fund raisers for various humane causes, ranging from ‘cancer’ to ‘war widows’.

In our own Mumbai suburb, Klub Nostalgia (with its by-line, ’Music for a Cause’), is the brainchild of Venkat Venkitachalam and Prem Kumar. Each programme is dedicated for fund raising for a burning cause of the day. Since its inception in 2004, they have held over 250 shows in India and abroad. . Their specialization is to showcase songs of the Golden Era of Hindi films, i.e. from 1950s and 1960s, by bringing up talented youngsters. Around 170 of those Klub Nostalgia shows were devoted to Mohammed Rafi. Venkitachalam calls it his 'partiality'. Members of Mohammed Rafi’s family have attended many of those shows and he recalled telling them for the past few years that “we have to do something really big for him”.

‘USA for Africa’, was the biggest global musical effort to raise money for a cause - namely for the severe African drought of 1985. In ‘USA for Africa’, ‘USA’ stood for ‘United Support of Artists’. The moving theme song ‘We Are the World’ was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. It was a thrill and a pleasure to watch top 37 singers together in harmony. Apart from Lionel Richie, and all the Jacksons (including Michel) also included were Harry Belafonte, Tina Turner, Bob Geldoff, Bruce Springteen, Stevie Wonder. Over 20 million copies of the video were sold, apart from the gate collections of live performances all over the world.

Judges sing for Kerala flood relief: 

Judges by the very dent of their profession are supposed to appear poker faced. As ‘sober as a judge’ goes the adage! But they too are human and have a heart that moves. This was amply evident from the news report appearing in the Hindu. 

“On a unique evening when judges, journalists, and lawyers got together for the aid of flood victims in Kerala, it was the latest entrant to the Supreme Court, Justice K.M. Joseph, who stole the show. His solo rendition of a Malayalam song from the movie Amaram, set among Kerala’s fishing community, was followed by the melodious ‘Madhuban khushboo deta hai’. Justice Joseph said the Malayalam song was his homage to the fishermen of Kerala, who were the first responders during the crisis. “They came in with their boats and saved many lives. It showed their innate goodwill.” 

“We shall overcome, some day. Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome, some day,” sang Supreme Court judge, Justice Kurian Joseph, for the distressed people of his native State Kerala’. He also urged Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and fellow judges to sing along. This sort of display of exuberance and camaraderie by our Lordships in public is rare and very welcome. Once again, it is the call of humanity which along with music mobilises and inspires! 

In the devastation of past few weeks, our brothers and sisters in Kerala have lost their loved ones and their homes. They have to start their life anew. This is the season for Giving. It is worth remembering the first few stanzas of the famous fund-raising song, ‘We are the World’:

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can't go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon makes a change
We're all a part of God's great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me’.

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