In the 19th century, the decline of the Mughal Empire and British colonial policies that diluted the power of princely states precipitated the movement of musicians and courtesans from all over the country to emerging economic hubs, such as Mumbai. Musicians of all backgrounds and genders mingled in Mumbai: Muslims from hereditary musician families, middle-class Hindu musicians who spoke Marathi, Hindi, Kannada or Konkani as their mother tongues, and women from Goa’s kalawant families, or hereditary lineages of artistes. Parsis set up organisations to teach this music and cultivate listeners. Wealthy Gujarati patrons supported musicians. Audiences also came from diverse class, linguistic and regional backgrounds. In these divisive times, this session offers a glimpse of how Mumbai became a hub for Hindustani music and in the process forged its pluralistic ethos.
Session presented by NCPA
Tejaswini Niranjana is a scholar and translator. Among her books are Musicophilia in Mumbai (2020), and Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad (2006).More Info
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