You know that debate that you see on magic forums, where someone writes, “Magic is art and magicians are all artists,” then a massive flame war starts? (The flames get bigger when flourishers get involved.) That’s an actual legal question before the Indian government. But asking the question brought up a bigger question about the status of magic, and whether it’s dying.
Vijay Raghuvir Bhopale, an Indian magician, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court for the government to consider magic an art. According to a report in the Times of India, the petition asks the state government to elevate the status of magic to “art” and fund it the same way the government funds literary meets, drama and folk dance events.
Vijay is the son of the late magician Raghuvir Yadav. (Warning: site contains bad music, but no pause or stop buttons.) Vijay and his son, third generation magician Jitendra Raghuvir (pictured, with a portrait of Yadav at left), have performed in the U.S., Australia, Singapore and Thailand, and say they have received tremendous response from audiences. They are just looking for a little of the same respect in their native country. Said Jitendra:
“It is disappointing that the native country is showing an apathetic attitude towards magicians. If the government supports magicians, it will help remove superstition about this form of art among rural people.”
Interesting quote, there, about removing superstition. Jitendra was quoted at length in a report on ExpressIndia.com, and elaborated about why he and his father filed the petition. Three reasons:
~ By declaring magic as an art, magicians get a boost to revive the art.
~ It will spread awareness of the “science behind magic,” curbing superstitions.
~ Unless there are concentrated efforts to revive magic, the art will “become a thing of the past.”
Does that mean the debate of whether magic is an art will be settled by a high court in India? Unlikely. We’re not exactly bothered by the notion of magic’s legal status. What is curious to us is the magicians’ notion that magic is a dying art.
Keep in mind that the Raghuvirs are expressing an opinion from what they see in India. We have our opinions, of course, but we want to know what you think. What do you see around you, in your neck of the woods? Is magic dying? If so, what are you doing to keep it alive?