‘We need health­ier minds and purer hearts’

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Nikita Deb nikita.deb@htlive.com

Ari­jit Singh ad­dressed the is­sue of men­tal health at his con­cert in Mum­bai. One of the most sought after voices in Bol­ly­wood, Ari­jit per­formed for GenM, pre­sented by Mpower Minds, fo­cus­ing in the di­rec­tion of creat­ing aware­ness about men­tal health and re­mov­ing the stigma sur­round­ing it. At this show, the singer per­formed with world mu­si­cal in­stru­ments such as ka­nun, hang drum, didgeri­doo, ac­cor­dion and marimba ....

How im­por­tant do you think ac­knowl­edg­ing the is­sue of men­tal health is?

The way I un­der­stand the mat­ter is, our so­ci­ety first needs to ac­knowl­edge the fact that there is some­thing called men­tal health. I know some­one who is go­ing through men­tal health is­sues but finds it re­ally hard to even ac­knowl­edge the ill­ness out of awk­ward­ness in front of oth­ers. I may be wrong as I am a lay­man in this mat­ter, but my heart tells me to take baby steps to­wards build­ing a so­ci­ety of healthy minds by creat­ing an en­vi­ron­ment with­out fear and awk­ward­ness. My thoughts drive me to act po­litely against bul­ly­ing and other ir­re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iours. Our men­tal growth starts to fer­ment around the age of six. If a child goes through trou­ble, which he/she may not recog­nise, they may slip into dan­ger­ous lone­li­ness. I have seen chil­dren run­ning away from such un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tions. It looks small and unim­por­tant to no­tice th­ese things, but if we don’t un­der­stand the in­ter­nal pain they go through, they may get pushed into a cor­ner even­tu­ally.

Of­ten we triv­i­alise men­tal health and de­pres­sion...

It is easy to ques­tion ‘what is there to be de­pressed about?’, but I bet even we don’t have a proper an­swer to that ques­tion. De­nial is an­other way to be self­ish and run away from the prob­lem. This adds to de­pres­sion and men­tal ill­ness, and who knows if this is much more than just ill­ness. I be­lieve that all crimes and in­hu­man be­hav­iours around the globe are a dis­tor­tion of men­tal health. Only gen­uine love can help peo­ple, and we so-called healthy minds should be re­spon­si­ble enough to act. It is un­fair to ex­pect ac­tions from those who are al­ready go­ing through so much pain. This should not be just an­other ac­tiv­ity. I think it is time that we re­alise that our civil­i­sa­tion is get­ting more and more com­plex every­day. We need health­ier minds and purer hearts to fight the odds in the fu­ture and bet­ter hu­man­ity.

Do you think our so­ci­ety is play­ing its part to spread aware­ness about the is­sue through such con­certs?

I don’t think just or­gan­is­ing a con­cert would help but at the same time, it is a de­cent start to cre­ate aware­ness among peo­ple. Con­certs are about mu­sic and hap­pi­ness, and if it con­veys any­thing ex­tremely im­por­tant, I think some of us might just start ap­ply­ing the wis­dom in real life. Spread­ing hap­pi­ness around us can be mag­i­cal; we never know who is go­ing to sur­vive be­cause of the hap­pi­ness that we spread.

What is the set for the con­cert go­ing to be like, and what can the au­di­ences ex­pect?

I don’t want to re­veal any­thing about the new set. We are re­ally ex­cited and scared as al­ways be­cause newer chal­lenges gives us a sense of ad­ven­ture. I rec­om­mend not to ex­pect any­thing. Mu­sic is al­ways beau­ti­ful when it gives you hap­pi­ness with a sur­prise. You are wel­come to ex­plore.

You have sung al­most all the hit songs in the last cou­ple of years. Do do you ever say no to a song?

I say no to 90 songs out of 100 but it be­comes dif­fi­cult to say no to a mu­sic com­poser or a film direc­tor who has con­ceived the song with my voice in their sonic vi­sion. It is also about re­la­tion­ships but thank­fully peo­ple un­der­stand my trou­ble and they try to help.

What is your opin­ion on in­de­pen­dent mu­sic in our coun­try? Do you think it has re­alised its full po­ten­tial?

I don’t think we have un­der­stood our full po­ten­tial to do mu­sic or any other work in­de­pen­dently. I hope we em­power our­selves more in the near fu­ture.

Do you think the con­cert space or live mu­sic space has im­proved in In­dia over the past cou­ple of years?

Con­certs and live mu­sic scene has def­i­nitely im­proved, which has pushed the ca­reers of so many mu­si­cians. It’s great to hear live mu­sic.

Does it bother you when a good song doesn’t do well be­cause the movie flopped at the box of­fice?

I am for­tu­nate enough not to be both­ered about hits or flops. I am lov­ing the op­por­tu­nity to live mu­sic.

Ari­jit Singh

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