In Delhi in 1978, four young people got together and organised a concert by the Dagar Brothers (Hindustani vocal) at I.I.T.
They called themselves SPICMACAY - the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth. Their aim was to revive Indian cultural tradition and music among the youths.
They worked on a fairly simple principle. If Mohammad won't come to the mountain, the mountain must go to Mohammad. They got in touch with major artistes- musicians and dancers-famous enough for cultural novices to recognise. These artistes went to schools and colleges and perform free of cost.
The initial response was disheartening. A whole generation of Indian youth had turned it's back on the five thousand years of Indian culture. To get them reacquainted with it, SPICMACAY had to work against a massive tide of ignorance and apathy.
But we are making it. Today SPICMACAY operates in over two hundred cities and towns. Our activities include Lec-Dems, Fests, workshops on music and dance and , recently, a scholarship programme in which students from all over the country were sent to famous artistes to imbibe the Guru-Shishya Parampara.
Our activities are funded by sponsors, cultural organisations, national trusts and major industrial houses. We have received invaluable support from artistes and recognition from all those people who are concerned about the future of Indian culture.
We still have a long way to go. On the average Indian campus you still get a more of response when you say 'Backstreet Boys' or 'Spice Girls' than if you mention 'Flute Mali'. But then we are not trying to force young people into becoming 'Culture Vultures'.And we don't want to pick out 'Peter Andre' out of your music collection. We'd just like to add some Indian classical.