Why is art and culture so important to Anand Mahindra? | Tech US News


The ghats of Varanasi are set to reverberate with music as artistes like Carnatic singer Aruna Sairam, Dharpad maestro Ashish Kumar Jaiswal, singer Jasleen Ulkh and urban folk music band Tapi Project are set to perform at the upcoming Mahindra Kabira Festival. 20 November). The sixth edition of the event continues to celebrate Kabir’s ideals of equality with special performances by Fauzia Dastango and Dadi Padmaji of Ashara Puppet Theater Trust. “Saint Kabir’s philosophy and teachings are still relevant in our lives. He conveyed the most basic message of love and brotherhood to all. His call to start the inner journey is still good,” said Anand Mahendra, Chairperson. , Mahindra & Mahindra Group, which organizes the annual fair, said in an email interview.

The Kabira Festival is one of many such arts and cultural initiatives launched by the Mahindra Group over the past few decades – the oldest being the Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards (META), which started 17 years ago and is the oldest. The new entrant was Mahindra Independent. Rock, whose first edition ended earlier this month. Some of the others include Mahindra Blues, the Sanatkada Lucknow Festival, which was started in 2010 to not only bring back the Lucknow ‘civilization’ but also to support the city’s artisans, and many more. As corporations begin to sponsor literary festivals and art exhibitions, these efforts may be rational-minded organizations’ bids to add a soft “emotional” touch to their existence.

According to 67-year-old Mahendra, META was started because he saw theater as the source of all arts and the earliest form of community entertainment. “Theatre has been overshadowed by cinema and is a stepping stone for actors, directors and technicians for the many ‘filmwoods’ in our country. But I have always said that theater is actually the ‘source’ of film. The code is,” explains Mahindra, who started supporting theater at a time when many corporate or private institutions were not supporting it. Similarly, rock festivals started the rock scene in India. was intended to revive and become an expression of independence for the country’s young independent rock musicians.

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And now the group is all set to flag off the World Percussion Festival in Bengaluru in March 2023, focusing on the diversity and history of the instrument in India. According to Jay Shah, Vice President and Head of Cultural Outreach, Mahindra Group, the company’s commitment to the arts and culture ecosystem has been strengthened with the new festivals, “which add to the vibrancy and diversity of our programs. All our Festivals will continue to have an element of discovery and hopefully make a positive difference to the art form, artist and audience.”

Anand Mahindra believes that his background in fine arts helped him understand the power of art and culture.

Anand Mahindra believes that his background in fine arts helped him understand the power of art and culture.

One finds it interesting that the company decided to start a blues festival in Mumbai, a far cry from its origins in Mississippi. “We started the festival primarily to connect with the farmers of the Mississippi Delta. Mahindra Tractors has a strong client network in the US. So, we thought we should support the blues, which in the country has high cultural and artistic significance,” says Mahindra. For him, the genre is about human emotions — the music of marginalized people, hoping for a better life for themselves. “Mumbai and its Residents also go through these emotions everyday. Their lives are difficult but there is always a song on their lips. Outside the US, Mumbai seemed like the best place for a blues event,” he adds.

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The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have been difficult for people all over the world, including artists and actors. How, then, did the group reaffirm its commitment to the community during this period of grief and struggle? According to Mahindra, the group was able to continue with some festivals such as META and Kabira in 2020, albeit through an online medium. And this helped artists a lot because after that they could get a lot of online gigs. We continued to pay performance fees to META participants during Covid-19. And when cases dropped in 2021, Kabira was one of the first festivals to go live,” he says.

As one emerges from the dark ages of the pandemic, the arts have gained even more importance in their ability to heal and soothe. In such a situation, supporting the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the country becomes even more important. Mahindra feels that his background in the arts helped him understand the power of art and culture. With an undergraduate degree in film, he was at a disadvantage when he entered the corporate world. However, creative thinking and ‘understanding of people and culture’ proved to be a great strength indeed.

“By integrating arts and culture into our core values, we hope to inspire ‘creative thinking’ within the Mahindra organization, and in the communities we are a part of,” he explained. “Government has a huge responsibility to provide basic needs to millions of people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, it is the duty of corporations to act as constructive members of society and with resources, arts, artists and Do your bit for our cultural values.”

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