Hindustani Music At The Crossroads

A leading European musicologist made the observation in the nineteen seventies that appreciating Indian classical music requires tens of years of training of the ear, mind and, indeed, the soul. It was a time when the towering musicians of the 20th century, who had matured in the pre-independence era, still dominated the concert platform.

Independence changed everything. The patronage of the princely class and wealthy merchants all but evaporated. Even for the greatest amongst musicians, music ceased to be a secure way of life, and became a high-risk self-employed profession.