Part-II, Donít build but snatch, whenever possible

Excerpts from the book:

a.
In May 1922, Bhatkhande wrote again to Rai Umanath Bali about the possibility of holding a fourth conference in Lucknow. .....he wrote, "I am told Lucknow is a Shia stronghold and Shias don't encourage the art. They say it is haram! I hope it is not true. We may let alone the Shias and stick to Hindus and Sunnis only. . . . Music has nothing to do with politics." But, of course, it did, and Nawab Ali recognized it as Bhatkhande may not have. "Personally, I am very doubtful about the success of the music Conf. at Lucknow," he wrote to Bali. "Apart from the difficulty of collecting funds for the purpose, I am afraid of the mujtahids of Lucknow. You know Lucknow is the center of the Shia community and our priests are very orthodox in these matters. Perhaps you remember that the Ulemas of Lucknow tried their level best to dissuade H. H. of Rampur to go as President of the 2nd Conf. at Delhi." He warned Bali and, indirectly, Bhatkhande, too, that "by holding the Conf. at Lucknow, you will be storming their citidal [sic] and rest assured they will not tolerate this invasion. I am therefore afraid of an organized and systematic religious propoganda [sic] against the Conf. at Lucknow." And finally, he proposed, with some puzzlement, "Why not have it in Cawnpore if you are so keen on holding the Conf. [in] this cold weather in the U. P [sic]?" Despite these worries, the fourth conference was held in Lucknow, at Kaiser Bagh Palace, with the stated objective to establish a college for training in music.

b.
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(1907) The comment also addressed the divide between a history and theory of music, on the one hand, and its practice, on the other. This divide was one that Bhatkhande wanted not to maintain but to bridge.

The conversation proceeded:

Karamatullah Khan: What have you decided about Teevra, Atiteevra,and Atikomal Swaras?

Bhatkhande: Khansaheb, you must have addressed all of this in the book you wrote.

K: Yes, I have.

B: Which text did you use as authoritative for your work? Or did you write whatever came into your mind?

K: Of course not, how could I have written without textual authority?

B: Tell me the name of one Sanskrit text if you can, please, so that we can then talk about that text.

K: What is the need for a Sanskrit text? Why only Sanskrit? It is not as if there are not many other texts. I have thought carefully about a lot of them before writing my own.

B: Were those texts in Sanskrit or Prakrit?

K: No, what is wrong with reading in Arabic and Persian, there are no lack of texts there. There is one beautiful text after the next on music in these languages. Music as an art was not confined solely to Hindustan. Arabia, Iran, these countries too had music. They too had ragas and raginis, their children and wives, such compositions can be seen for example in "Arabi" raga, I worked through the 52 notes given and came up with our "Bhairavi" or our "maakas" is the same as your Sanskrit "Malkauns." I studied all of this and then wrote my book and I will give you a copy. (He does this immediately.)

B: Khansaheb, are you claiming that your Musalman Pandits translated our Sanskrit texts and then took them to their respective countries?

K: No. Not at all. Nothing like it. Music belongs to all countries. I went to the Paris Exhibition and heard music from all over the world. I talked at length to various scholars of music there and then came back and wrote my book.

B: I do not completely follow your meaning, perhaps. Are you possibly claiming that scholars from Arabia and Iran took their music from our countryís ragas?

K: No, not at all. I am saying those countries had ragas/music right from the beginning. Whether they took it from here or Hindus took it from there, who is to decide? Perhaps the concept of ragas traveled from there to here. It is possible. [Bhatkhande noted to himself, "This answer in particular made me a little angry. Ragas from our books are turned inside out, twisted around in their books, yet we have apparently stolen music from them, this is what this Khansaheb is declaring." (Emphasis mine.)]

B: Khansaheb, which is this book, can you tell me its name and year? Was it Sarmaay Ashrat? [sic]

K: No, No. That is not the book I mean, that is a recent book. I am talking about books going back hundreds even thousands of years back, one of which is Tohfat-ul-Hind, a very important work.26

Bhatkhande broke off the conversation here, writing: "Forget it. There is no point in arguing with this Khansaheb."

The arrogance is unmistakable in this conversation,

26. In Ashok Ranade's Hindustani Music (26) Tohfat-ul-Hind is given as a text written in the early eighteenth century for the son of the last powerful Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. (1666-1707)

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Take Away:
Muslims will not help build anything but won't hesitate to take away if it is beneficial to them. Like they will say music is haram in Islam but will write, sing, give music and dance on songs with Khuda/Allah in it.

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Sandeep Singh, www.swastik.net.in, #swstiknetin