Why does the world weep for Michael Jackson? (Tribute)

July 9th, 2009 - 9:31 am ICT by IANS  

Michael Jackson By Rajendra K. Aneja
My cook Kundan was heart-broken. “Michael Jackson is gone,” he told me in anguish. Kundan hails from a remote village in India. He has never heard a Jackson song nor seen him perform. Yet he was shattered. I wondered why?

Then it dawned on me that Michael had over the last three decades become a part of our lives, through his music, songs, dance, episodes. We had assumed he is always there - like the clouds, stars, rivers, flowers. And then suddenly, he is gone. And suddenly now, we feel older, more vulnerable.

The last service for Michael Jackson was watched by about a billion people across the globe. People irrespective of nationality, gender, age, caste, creed, colour of skin or eye, stopped eating, drinking, working, to bid adieu to a talented singer.

Michael seems to have touched everybody’s life and psyche, irrespective of whether they understood pop music. He was an entrepreneur and ambassador of music, with his prodigious talent.

He ignited the imagination of music and dance lovers across the world. A vibrant, creative personality, his influence spanned continents, and will now span time. A child prodigy, he had a profound impact on music in the last 35 years.

His passion for music will be his enduring legacy. All enormous achievements in music, art, science are born of dedicated passion, which Michael possessed in munificent qualities.

Michael had detractors too. Whenever there is celebrated talent and achievement, there is powerful criticism and jealousy. Nobody in the world could dance with Michael’s kinetic electric energy. Success has venomous accompaniments.

Whether we were inspired by his music or not, the various controversies concerning him made their way into our lives. His prank with his son over a balcony, relations with children, desire to look white, divorces, became fodder for a public mill. This is the price of success, fame. When you are successful, everything you do is viewed through tinted eyes. In retrospect, much of the slurs cast on him appear superficial, publicity-seeking sprees of vested interests.

Who then can blame Michael for becoming a recluse? When you are a towering public personality, a sneeze becomes a headline. When every dance step you take, the studded jacket you wear, the tilt of your hat, become commercial icons, then you guard your privacy zealouly. The artist withdraws into a cocoon, with a few trusted friends and family members. This of course draws more curiosity and even sneer. The isolation is the price you pay when you belong to the world and you are the greatest entertainer on the planet.

Many have criticised that of late Michael was busy climbing trees and playing with water balloons. Michael’s brother Jermaine told Larry King that Michael retreated to a favourite tree to relax and write music. Which author does not retreat to a favourite hideout to write without intrusion? Almost all of us, irrespective of age, have played with a balloon at a kids’ party.

The global involvement in Michael’s last service has exceeded that of any leader, president or prime minister of any country. Truly Michael Jackson has touched more lives worldwide through his music, singing, vibrancy, than any political leader in the last many decades. He will continue living in his music and songs. It is sad, that a vibrant personality like him went so soon.

Michael became a citizen of the world. With his music and style, he reigned over a world without boundaries. Here was a possessed young man who could sway the world by singing “We are the world”. Wrong, Michael. You were the world, not we. We merely danced to your tunes.

That which deserves to live lives. Now, we will miss you. Badly.

(The author is the CEO of a foods company based in the Middle East. He can be contacted at rkaneja@emirates.net.ae)

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