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The Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY) is a voluntary youth movement which promotes intangible aspects of Indian cultural heritage by promoting Indian classical music, classical dance, folk music, yoga, meditation, crafts and other aspects of Indian culture; it is a movement with chapters in over 300 towns all over the world. SPIC MACAY was established by Dr. Kiran Seth in 1977 at IIT Delhi.
Kiran Seth, a young graduate from IIT Kharagpur, was studying for his doctorate at the Columbia University, New York, when he chanced to attend a Dhrupad concert by Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariddudin Dagar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York City.
On his return to India in 1976, he started teaching and doing research work at IIT Delhi, where he got together with students and started SPIC MACAY in 1977, and its first concert by Dagar Brothers was held at IIT Delhi on March 28, 1978.
Some of its major activities include: FEST series, VIRASAT series, National Conventions for students and teachers, National School Intensives, Music in the Park, the SPIC MACAY Scholarship Programme, heritage walks, talks by eminent thinkers, yoga and meditation camps, screening of classic cinema etc.
SPIC MACAY organises thousands of programs every year and makes the living heritage of India accessible to its youth. SPIC MACAY chapters run by students have also come up in many countries outside of India such as the USA, UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Middle-east etc.
Virasat is a festival comprising performances and workshops in folk and classical arts, literature, art and craft, talks, theatre, films and yoga, held in different educational institutions. It is aimed at a close interaction between students, artistes and craftsmen. It is held during the first half of the academic year.
'Lec-Dem' as it is called in short, is an original innovation of SPIC MACAY to bring intricacies of Indian art and culture to the modern day youth - especially students of India. In this format, the artist performs while explaining various aspects of the performance. This format often includes elaborate question-answer session between the audience and the performers.
In the relatively recently introduced module of Workshop Demonstration, the audience is taught a short piece of dance or music or any other art-form before the performance by the artist. The program typically ends with selected students performing what they learnt with the artist. This format has proven to be quite interactive and popular with the students.
Awards and recognition received by SPIC MACAY and Kiran Seth
- EMPI-Indian Express India Innovation Award, 2012
- Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award, 2011
- Padma Shri – by the Government of India, 2009
- Distinguished Alumnus Award by the IIT Kharagpur
- NDTV Indian of the Year Award (under Arts and Culture category), 2009