As a researcher and participant in an anti-poverty project in eastern UP in which we were trying to come up with suitable livelihood activities for the 40 percent of the population that was totally landless and dependent on agricultural labour, a surprising item would appear in the list of activities that dalit members of the target group expressed an interest in taking up.
Uma Vasudev’s biography of Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the renowned flautist, comes across as a mixed bag. At one level, there is little to distinguish it from most run-of-the-mill hagiographical accounts of musicians and their lives. Other reviewers hold that it reads more like an autobiography. I feel compelled to agree; to my mind it comes across exactly like a ghosted autobiography written for some reason in the third person.
The book as the title suggests describes the history of the devadasis of India who were regarded for centuries as servants of the Hindu deities. But for one century between 1857 to 1947 they came to be regarded as profane prostitutes by the emerging Indian westernized elite and the British officials.
This is an anthology of interviews conducted with eleven performing women artists and forms the second part of a series that C.S.Lakshmi has edited with an introduction. While the first dealt with women musicians and their engagement with the art form, the present monograph features dancers as the chief protagonists whose stories mirror the complex evolution of classical dance in modern India and its changing social context.
This book is yet another addition to the growing body of literature on the family and gender. An outcome of a seminar organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation it comprises thirteen excellent essays written by scholars from different academic disciplines and political views from Germany and India.
Feminism in Search of an Identity is the outcome of a University of Pune research project in the newly emerging discipline of feminist studies in India. In the book’s foreword, Professor Sharad Deshpande of the university’s Department of Philosophy reminds us that it is “devoted to a dialogue with the Indian tradition in its manifold appearance with the objective of searching for theoretical possibilities available within the tradition itself that may serve as a new vantage point in the struggle for the empowerment of women.”
The Self-Respect Movement initiated by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy in 1926 constituted, no doubt, the most radical phase of the Dravidian Movement. The vast literature on the history of the movement clearly locates its radicalism in its conscious effort to give primacy to issues of gender and particularly so in the women’s voices critiquing the brahminic patriarchy.
In this study of violin playing techniques in western classical and south Indian classical music Dr.Lalitha elaborates her understanding of contrasting techniques used in playing the violin in two distinct musical traditions. The violin was a late and foreign entrant in Indian classical music. The book in its framework and methodology adopts what one may identify as an ethnomusicological perspective.
James Kippen’s book on the tradition of tabla in Lucknow first came out in 1988, as part of the series of books entitled Cambridge Studies in Ethnomusicology. Re-reading the work at this distance dimly recreates the excitement of our introduction to ethnomusicology: for many of us, it was a new kind of writing on music, that generated both admiration and resistance strongly.
Pichwai painting is one of the best documented painting traditions in India. There have been several studies of pichhwai painting’s background, themes and iconography, such as Robert Skelton’s Rajasthani Temple Hangings of the Krishna Cult (1973), Talwar and Krishna’s Indian Pigment and Paintings on Cloth (1979) and Amit Ambalal’s Krishna as Shrinathji (1987).
For most people, the term ‘Buddhist monuments of India’ automatically brings to mind the Sanchi stupa and the magnificent cave complex at Ajanta; or perhaps the medieval monastery at Nalanda. Names like Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri in all probability draw a blank.