Rajeev Taranath
Taking the Sarod to New Depths
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Paula: Do you have any comments about the current state of Indian Classical Music? Is there more of a World-wide audience for it now than in previous years or decades?

Rajeev Taranath: Independence in 1947 started a process. The numerous feudal rulers disappeared in this political change. The musicians in their courts had to seek other patronage. The capitalists, the moneyed merchant classes and the connoisseurs came to the rescue. Music festivals - annual or bi-yearly; smaller individual concerts and 'house concerts' started. Learning classical music and performing on the stage were no longer confined to courtesans and their entourages. The upper middle class, in Bengal and Maharashtra especially, took to music as a serious and respected vocation. The children occasionally became professionals (for example, Nikhil Bannerji, Buddhadev Dasgupta, myself and now many more). More people heard this music - film songs and records helped too. Some dilution of taste also took place. A superficial look at the scene might sometimes lead you feel that Indian classical music is on the decline. It is also true that India is going through a philistine phase in her culture. But look again: so many brilliant young artistes, so many very low profile musical gatherings...

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