Prelims cum Mains

Lightweight ‘sadmridangam’ finally gets patent

The News

  • Mridangam maestro Kuzhalmannam Ramakrishnan has been given the patent for the design of a lighter version of the mridangam by the Patent Office of the Government of India, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.


Key highlights

  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has given the patent under ‘drum’ category.
  • Ramakrishnan has named the instrument made of steel and fibre ‘Sadmridangam’
  • The instrument hardly weighs 5 kg.


Improvement over traditional mridangam

  • Going by the literal meaning, mridangam is a musical instrument played softly. Traditional mridangam is made out of the wood of jackfruit tree and the weight varies between 15 kg to 30 kg.
  • As a result, performers of this percussion instrument who accompany Carnatic musicians and dancers feel the huge weight of the instrument dampened the softness.
  • Transportation was also a matter of concern. There are occasions when the performer had to carry it on his shoulders.
  • The ‘sadmridangam’ hardly weighs 5kg which is much lesser than the traditional wooden mridangam. However there will be no compromise on the output.
  • The improvised instrument with all the features of mridangam ensures more mobility for artistes.
  • Cost-wise also, the Sadmridangam provides an advantage since it will be available at nearly one-third of the cost of the traditional mridangam which is priced around Rs 15,000.


About Mridangam

  • The mridangam is a percussion instrument from South India.
  • It is the primary rhythmic accompaniment in a Carnatic music ensemble.
  • Known as “Deva Vaadyam,” or “Instrument of the Gods”, the mridangam is often depicted as the instrument of choice for a number of deities including Ganesha (the remover of obstacles) and Nandi, who is the vehicle and companion of Lord Shiva.
  • The mridangam evolved to be made of different kinds of wood due to its increased durability, and today, its body is constructed from wood of the jackfruit tree.
  • With the development of the mridangam came the evolution of the tala (rhythmic) system.
  • The mridangam is most widely used in Carnatic music performances.
  • As the principle rhythmic accompaniment, the mridangam ensures all of the other artists keep their timing in check while providing support to the main artist.
  • There are two main mridangam schools/styles called Puddukottai school and the Thanjavur school.


About Patent law in India

  • Patents are negative rights, not positive privileges.
  • A patent provides its owner with the right to prevent the manufacture, sale, use, importation, or offer for sale of the patented product, process, or composition.
  • Patents in India are guided by The Patents Act, 1970 further amended by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005.
  • An invention relating to a product or a process that is new, involving inventive can be patented in India either alone or jointly, by true and first inventor or his assignee.
  • The term of every patent in India is twenty years from the date of filing the patent application.


Rights of a product patent

  • If the grant of the patent is for a product, then the patentee has a right to prevent others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the patented product in India.

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