ARUN: i am a Hindu – hundred p.c Hindu. and that’s the fantastic thing about Carnatic song. It is awfully, very handy to adapt your self to any trend, discover a distinct genre out of affection for song, now not that I wish to convert into another religion. Come on. supply me a ruin.

FRAYER: Arun and other Carnatic singers have long blanketed Christian or Muslim songs in their repertoire. It was under no circumstances an argument.

LAALITHYA KONDURU: it’s no longer that they are singing about Jesus.

FRAYER: Laalithya Konduru, a doctor and amateur musician herself, wrote a magazine op-ed saying it be blooming to praise Jesus – just don’t spend Hindu devotional track to do it.

KONDURU: they may be taking whatever thing inherently Hindu and attempting to strip it of its roots and say here’s now not Hindu. that is what people are finding offensive.

FRAYER: That offense has boiled over on Carnatic singers’ fb and YouTube pages. they’ve been known as disgusting cretins. Arun received threatening mobilephone calls. And one by one, Hindu temples in the U.S. where Carnatic singers were speculated to perform q4 have said they’re not welcome. When the secretary of Chennai’s prestigious music academy wrote an article defending Arun’s inventive freedom, there have been calls for him to be fired. M. Ramesh, a Chennai journalist and Carnatic singing fan, says here is now not about song. it’s about politics and the upward thrust of Hindu nationalism in India.

M. RAMESH: or not it’s been there for a long time. And today there’s a notion that the climate is now appropriate for them to speak. there is a professional-Hindu nationalist government.

FRAYER: The govt of major Minister Narendra Modi. some of his followers believe India’s Hindu identification is below risk.

RAMESH: The executive, I believe, isn’t doing ample to stop these voices – extremist voices.

FRAYER: Laalithya Konduru, the medical professional who wrote an op-ed, says she’s no extremist. She’s a non secular conservative defending the spiritual character of this song, and he or she doesn’t wish to be labeled a bigot.

KONDURU: they may be abruptly, like, oh, them correct-wingers. They seem down upon them. Why? Freedom of expression, freedom of speech – why can’t or not it’s for the other side as well?

ARUN: Singing in international language.

FRAYER: Now O.S. Arun handiest dares to sing about diverse gods in the privateness of his own home. He switched off sociable media and canceled his U.S. tour. He shrugs and says maybe this is simply his karma, to be caught between music and politics.

ARUN: Vocalizing.

FRAYER: Lauren Frayer, NPR news, Chennai, India.

ARUN: Singing the previous day, all my troubles appeared so distant vocalizing, the day prior to this vocalizing. Transcript provided via NPR, NPR.