Two Men And Music: Nationalism in the Making of an Indian Classical Tradition By Janki Bakhle

It is a highly secularised book.

The author writes in preface:

"My project began with trying to understand how and why it was, and indeed if it was the case, that in a region that had spawned organisations as virulent as the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Shiv Sena, there was in the case (and performative space) of music a temporary suspension of prejudice."

In the introduction the author writes:

"Bhatkhande and Paluskar occupy centre stage in this book precisely because they enable the telling of a capacious and critical history that situates music as a part of and participant in a historical transformation that throws larger question into relief: questions about nationalism, secularism and modern religiosity in the public sphere, and about gendered respectability and progressive histories."

For the record:

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) was founded in 27 September 1925. On 9, 10 November 1929 meetings held at Nagpur, Doctor Hedgewar was designated as the Sarsangh Chalak (Chief). In April 1930, Mahatma Gandhi gave a call far 'Satyagraha' against the British Government. Dr. Hedgewar participated in the famous 'Jungle Satyagraha' along with others. He was promptly arrested and sentenced to nine months imprisonment and sent to Akola jail. He was released in February 1931.

Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (August 10, 1860 - September 19, 1936) was an Indian musicologist who wrote the first modern treatise on Hindustani Classical Music. His Four volumes bearing the title: Hindustani Sangeet Paddhati. are the standard text on Hindustani music. Bhatkhande arranged all the ragas of Hindustani classical music across 10 musical scales, called thaats. He also prepared the Hindustani Sangeet Karmik Pustak Malika as a series of textbooks and started the tradition of the All India Music Conferences to provide a common platform for discussion between Hindustani and Carnatic classical musicians. Bhatkhande suffered paralysis and a thigh fracture in 1933.

Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar (August 18, 1872 - August 21, 1931) sang the original version of the bhajan Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram, and founded the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya in 1901. This was a school open to all and one of the first in India to run on public support and donations, rather than royal patronage. In September 1908, Paluskar went to Bombay (now Mumbai) to establish another branch of the school. To accommodate all the students, he took loans, built a new building for the school and hostel as well. To settle debts, he gave several public concerts. But while on a concert tour in 1924, Paluskar's creditors attached his properties and auctioned off the school. He has written a book on music called Sangeet Bal Prakash in three volumes, and 18 volumes on ragas as well.

Looking at the timeline, it is anyone's guess as to how much influence RSS would have on the individuals mentioned.

The above facts establish the secular credentials of the book.

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