About the Book
Comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to- date, this three-volume
reference work covers the story of music spread across 2000 years. From entries
on classical, folk, film, and other forms of music to details of all forms of
dance, raga, tala, gharana,
treatises, technical terms, and instruments as well as short biographies of
vocalists, musicologists, saint poets, gurus, composers, and
instrumentalists-the range and depth of the Encyclopaedia is immense.
With 5000 entries by around 100 acclaimed
contributors, the volume spans all regions of India: from Assam, Manipur, and
Meghalaya to Gujarat, and from Kashmir to Kerala.
The music of the subcontinent, including Bangladesh,
Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka also finds a place. A vast collaborative effort
spanning 12 years and supported by an extended group of around 250 musicians,
musicologists, scholars, and teachers of music from India and the world, the Encyclopaedia
than 200 photographs from family albums and private collections as well as line
drawings of rare instruments. The text and visuals blend seamlessly to extend
our understanding of the many modes and moods of the music of India.
Developed by Sangit Mahabharati, Mumbai, and initiated by late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh, this
first-of-its-kind Encyclopaedia will be indispensable for practicing musicians and
students and teachers of Indian music in all its forms. Music connoisseurs,
amateurs, and anybody keen to know more about India, her history and culture,
will come across a wealth of information not found elsewhere.
one of India's
premier music academies, was established in 1956 in Mumbai by internationally
renowned tabla maestro and guru
Padma Bhushan late Pandit Nikhil Ghosh. The academy
offers courses on music and dance, and actively promotes classical music
through festivals, lecture-demonstrations, and open-to-all music appreciation
sessions. The academy conducts cutting-edge research in musicology and
maintains an archive of valuable information related to music in India.
We take great pleasure in presenting The
Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India, which has been developed over many decades. The Encyclopaedia
began as a
personal project of Pandit Nikhil Ghosh,
the founder of Sangit Mahabharati
(SMB), in 1961, with the aim of bringing together a large fund of authentic
information about the music of India for the use of teachers, students, scholars as well as anybody keen to know more about India,
her history and culture. At that time, Pandit Ghosh consulted acclaimed musicologists such as Acharya S.N. Ratanjankar,
Professor P. Sambamoorthy, Kumar Bahadur
Birendra Kishore Roy Choudhury,
Bimalakant Roy Choudhuri,
Thakur Jaidev Singh, and others across India and
different parts of the world, for both guidance and participation in the venture.
Subsequently, he embarked on a mission to gather textual material, rare photographs, and sound recordings for
In 1967, the Board of Trustees of the 5MB formally
adopted the Encyclopaedia project as its own. As founder and chief editor, Pandit Ghosh worked untiringly on
the project until his demise in 1995. During this time, he had the dedicated
support of his wife Usha Ghosh. In the succeeding
years, as the Managing Trustee of 5MB until her passing away in 2006, she was
an unfailing source of inspiration for the project. Her support remains
The project passed through many tough and lean
phases, for financial reasons as well as the difficulty in putting together a dedicated in-house team willing
to work for long periods with limited resources. Since 1988, S. Devadas Pillai has been the
project's executive editor. A social scientist with postdoctoral experience at
the universities of Mumbai and Amsterdam and a known author in his field, Devadas Pillai has led the
project to its conclusion with the help of a competent in-house team of
scholars, data compilers, and editorial associates. In fact, the 5MB team
(listed on p. ii) is the largest single contributor to the Encyclopaedia.
The Government of Maharashtra sanctioned a grant of
Rs 100,000 per year in response to our request for help. Beginning in the 1980s
and renewed for six years, the grant helped the project in its crucial take-off
stage. We are extremely grateful to them for this generosity.
We are indebted to Oxford University Press (OUP)
India for including this work in its prestigious 'Oxford' series. Our contact
with OUP India began in 1991, and blossomed into an agreement in 1999-a
memorable partnership lasting more than a decade. These were extremely
difficult years in terms of personnel and finance, and caused serious delays in
developing the manuscript. OUP India stood by us graciously: agreeing to accept
the manuscript in batches spread over 11 years and extending each deadline
several times; re-framing its own schedule and budget to accommodate the
completion of the volume; and supporting us with consistent academic and
editorial feedback. The distance between Mumbai and the OUP head office in New
Delhi never posed any problem as we were provided with a dedicated editor based
in Mumbai for the entire duration of the project.
We wish to put on record that in the long process of
putting the Encyclopaedia together, OUP India has lived up to its ideals of
promoting academic excellence and the highest levels of research.
For many years, we have been organizing fund-raising
concerts for Sangit Mahabharati.
We are thankful to all our well-wishers and music lovers from Mumbai and across
the country for patronizing these events, and for their small and big donations
through the years. We are grateful to all the artistes who performed in these
concerts with a spirit of munificence. A list of their names has been included
at the end of the Encyclopaedia.
The project would, perhaps, not have seen the light
of day had it not been for the timely emergency treatment given to Pandit Nikhil Ghosh by Mercy
Hospital, Bakersfield, USA in 1985. Perceiving the maestro was on one of his
strenuous missions across the USA to garner funds for the project through
concerts, Mercy Hospital waived off substantial hospital bills as a gesture of
their support to the project.
We also take this opportunity to thank scholars and
resource persons from across India and abroad who
contributed and reviewed many entries, and provided basic data over the years.
The Encyclopaedia includes a separate list of their names.
Key to Initials
Contributors and Scrutinizers
Artistes Involved in Sangit
Credits for Illustrations
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