The role of the arts


Art has an enormous ability to touch, motivate and inspire. In recent years, however, art has played a major role in inciting carnal passions. Now we will have to divert this powerful medium and engage it in the task of helping to cultivate values that build up healthy, caring and sharing communities. [ . . . ] The following seven points pertain to how this can be accomplished. 

49. DEVELOPMENT OF ORATORY SKILLS

[. . .] In personal life, the cultivation of cooperation from others depends on how we talk to them. Amicable speech can bring unknown and opposing people over to our side, whereas unpleasant speech will turn even our friends against us. [ . . . ] For the cause of the New Era, we will have to make constant use of this crucial skill. Therefore, we need to be adept in it. [Jivan-Sadhaks] should receive systematic training in the things that need to be kept in mind and the skills that need to be developed for both conversation and public oratory. [ . . . ]

50. REGROUPING SINGING GROUPS

Singing is just as important as oratory. A well-rendered song can deeply touch all who hear it. Song has as much power to influence the feelings as speach has in transforming the thoughts. Singers need to be brought together and they should be given inspiration to learn and sing poems echoing the sentiments of the New Era.
Devotional singing groups who have been fragmented should be reconvened. We should also encourage individuals who sing in private to give the public the benefit of their art. Collective musical programs should be organized on a regular basis. The main thrust of all these programs should be to facilitate elevating thoughts and feelings among the masses.

51. PROVISION OF MUSICAL TRAINING

Those who have a good voice and a talent for playing instruments may not get an opportunity to develop without an availability of a systematic training facility in vocal and instrumental music.

52. DRAWING AND PAINTING

[ . . . ] It is of the utmost importance to inundate publications and exhibits with pictures of great people, self-sacrificing individuals, people with exemplary characters as well as inspiring events that can foster worthy and advantageous impressions on mind. To achieve this, it will be expedient to receive help from those artists who can impart uplifting feelings and thoughts among the masses by means of their creations. Inspiring thoughts, sayings and uplifting quotes should also be portrayed in an artistic way. Use of cartoons and caricature can also be effective in campaigns against immorality. [ . . . ]

53. ORGANIZING EXHIBITIONS

[ . . . ] The undesirable consequences of the present-day social and moral evils should be displayed in the form of posters. This can prove very effective if the pictures are clever in the way they communicate the real facts to spectators. It is essential to make the public aware of the alarming increase of destructive policies and behavior. This can be done by displaying excerpts from newspapers and periodicals. Exhibitions of graphics, excerpts and quotes are necessary to arouse the public’s awareness, alertness, opposition and struggle against evil. Equally important is the simultaneous display of graphics, excerpts and quotes conveying the growing popularity of generous and altruistic acts so that they can inspire people to commit acts of kindness, sacrifice, love and generosity and to tread the righteous path and lead a virtuous life. Such exhibitions, if regularly staged in fairs, festivals and other occasions, would go a long way towards encouraging progressive values, ideas and activities.

54. STREET PLAYS

[ . . . ] The organizers of street plays should cut down the meaningless and solely entertaining elements and emphasize those features that impart teachings that inspire people to walk a righteous path. This style of performance should be used to educate the public. Most fairs, carnivals and pageants have an underlying tradition or history which can be highlighted with street plays, theatrical drama, monologues, exhibitions, singing, music, posters, and the like. This will educate people as to the main purpose of the celebration and thereby help them assimilate its core ideals. Accomplished artists who perform in [ . . . ] street plays can help organize programs in their locality for both education and entertainment. This will not only attract more people to the fairs, but it will also provide a good opportunity to communicate a message.

55. THEATER

Theatrical performances are a more evolved form of the open air street play. [ . . .] Here we are not talking about professional drama companies but about small groups which can create a stage with readily available materials and perform plays to portray inspiring scenes from the lives of great people or historical scenarios, thereby using them to entertain the masses. Such groups can also charge fees to sustain themselves for the purpose of promoting noble themes. One-man shows are also very engaging and entertaining. Solo performance is the most popular and successful art of expression in schools and can be extended beyond the boundaries of schools to programs and festivals. It is desirable to write and put together such play scripts that can adequately contribute to the moral character of the revolution.

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