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From Maharashtra: Book Review

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From Maharashtra: Book Review

Maharashtra’s Contribution to Music by Vamanrao Deshpande, (Maharashtra Information Centre, New Delhi, Re 1)

The Times of India, July 30, 1972

The article as it first appeared.

The article as it first appeared.

PROBABLY no other region in India has made so rich and varied a contribution to music as Maharashtra. It covers a wide range from classical and light classical to stage and light music. It was in Maharashtra that almost all the North Indian (Hindustani) gharanas crystallized and established themselves as independent musical ideologies in the course of the last one hundred years. The phenomenal popularity of these gharanas symbolized a general renaissance in Hindustani music which, in time to come, extended itself to the field of music education and research.

Maharashtra was the nursery of the Kirana Thumari which enjoys a tremendous vogue as a light classical form even today. It was in Maharashtra again that stage music evolved and attained a near classical status. Light music, too, developed side by side, as a distinctive art form to cater to the profane and the secular.

Behind this multi-splendoured contribution lay the talent, initiative and vision of a myriad pioneers – musicians, dramatists, composers, musicologists evangelists and researchers – all of whom ruled supreme in their respective domain and whose contribution displayed an all-India character.

Though the main purpose of the book under review is to give a broad appraisal of Maharashtra’s contribution to the enrichment of India’s musical heritage during the last one hundred years, the author has done well to preface his narration with a brief survey of the earlier traditions of the region. It provides the right background to the reader to understand the gradual flowering of indigenous musical talent over the decades.

The six chapters that follow present a brilliant assessment of the contribution the great masters have made to enrich and popularize the various styles of singing. (Ironically, the name of the late D.V. Paluskar, who died in the prime of life, finds no mention in this context.) The work of research scholars musicologists and missionaries like Bhatkhande, Deval, Mulay and Vishnu Digambar is discussed in detail in separate chapters.

Equally enlightening is the author’s account of the contribution of Tanjore’s Maratha kings to Carnatic music (appendix)

Despande is an eminent musicologist and author and he has a lucid style of writing. His book bears ample evidence of his vast erudition, diligent study and arduous research. The inclusion of rise photographers of great masters adds greatly to the beauty of the narration.

And, finally, what intrigues the reader is the fact that the author has dealt with the subject only in terms of Maharashtra’s contribution to vocal music. No doubt, its role in the field of instrumental music is not as significant. All the same, it will not be fair to overlook the greatness of instrumental veterans like Tembe and Korgaonkar (harmonium) Shridhar Parsekar (violin) Khapurji Parwatkar (tabla) Abdul Majid Khan (sarangi) and a host of others. No less conspicuous by its absence is the mention of Maharashtra’s contribution to film and modern Marathi music. Can we ignore the part played by srtistes like the Mangeshkar sisters, Suman Kalyanpurkar, C. Ramchandra, Vasant Desai, Sudhir Phadke, G. N. Joshi, Watve and several other trend setters ?

Gurudev Sharan


The Times Of India – July 30, 1072


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