Classical Music of North India:
with permission from the Journal of the Indian Musicological
Society, Annual Issue of 1999: Perspectives on Dhrupad. ©
Indian Musicological Society
This paper is presented in four parts:
A brief history
A stylistic background
A structural analysis
To the extent that a genre of music cannot be easily
interpreted in isolation, I have used the modern Khayal
genre as a reference point for many of my observations. My
observations rely inevitably on the volume and diversity of
Dhrupad and Khayal music I have heard over the last four
decades. I plead guilty to having assumed similar exposure
amongst my readers.
The term Dhrupad (Dhruva = immutable/ fixed + Pada =
Hymn/verse) refers to a style of presenting Raga based music
which dominated Hindustani (North Indian) classical music
between the 15th and the 18th centuries. Its distinguishing
features are (a) the deliberate, unhurried style of
presentation, (b) the sanctity attached to the literary
component and the melodic structure of the verses, and (c) a
disciplined method of melodic development.
Dhrupad is believed by many to have its origins in an
unbroken musical tradition going back into the pre-Christian
era. The links of continuity over two millennia, however,
remain in the region of conjecture. Contemporary authorities
attribute to Dhrupad a link of continuity with a form known
as Prabandha Gana (11th century AD). It is
therefore safer to describe Dhrupad as a medieval genre.
Contemporary Dhrupad has two distinct manifestations: devotional
Dhrupad, which is a resident of the Vaishnava temples,
and classical Darbari Dhrupad, which is now resident
of the concert platform. Companion papers have dealt, in
detail with the devotional form.
The focus of this presentation is on classical Dhrupad, or
“Darbari Dhrupad” (Dhrupad of the Royal Courts)
A Brief History
In its present form, Darbari
Dhrupad, the performing art, is an offshoot of "Prabandha
Gana" (Prabandha = organization/structure, "Gana"
= song/ singing), which enjoyed great popularity between the
11th and 13th centuries. From the 14th century onwards,
Dhrupad replaced Prabandha Gana, reaching its peak of status
and popularity between the 15th and 18th centuries.
The history of Dhrupad is
inseparably linked with Raja Man Singh Tomar (ascended 1483)
of Gwalior (Central Provinces). Raja Man Singh provided
patronage to some of the greatest Dhrupad musicians of his
time, and commissioned the compilation of the Dhrupad music
of his times and the publication of the scholarly treatise,
"Man-kutuhal" (lit: King Man's curiosity).
Gwalior and the neighboring
principality of Rewa, where the legendary musician Mian
Tansen (1491-1583) adorned the Royal Court, were the
original centers of Dhrupad music. The Golden Age of Dhrupad
commenced when Emperor Akbar (Reign: 1542-1605), invited
Mian Tansen from Rewa to Delhi to be one of the "Navratnas"
(Nav= Nine, Ratna=gem) at the Imperial Court.
Later, Vrindavan and Mathura (Northern Provinces),
originally under Gwalior rule, established their own Dhrupad
schools. In the south, the patronage of Sultan Ibrahim Adil
Shah II, a contemporary of Emperor Akbar, made Bijapur a
major center of the North Indian Dhrupad style (Prajnanananda).
Dhrupad thus held sway over the whole of non- peninsular
Dhrupad experienced a
geographical dispersion in the sunset years of the Mughal
Empire, when musicians began migrating to smaller
principalities in search of patronage. This process created
new centers of Dhrupad music, mainly in the fertile Indo-gangetic
plains of Eastern India: Bishnupur in Bengal, and Darbhanga
and Bettiah in Bihar (Prajnanananda).
According to Parjnanananda, while
Dhrupad was still at its peak, Perso-Arabic religious music
was influencing some lesser-known streams of Prabandha Gana,
to shape the modern, "Khayal" (Persian for
imagination/ contemplation) style. Today, it is more widely
accepted that the Khayal emerged as a fusion between Dhrupad
itself and the Sufi Quawali music.
Because of the poetic bias of the
style, the conceptual aspect of Dhrupad music has a strong
bias in favor of vocal music. However, instrumental music,
mainly the Rudra Veena, dance (Brihaspati, 1989), and even
theatrical performances, have been associated with the
Dhrupad music is characterized as
"Swarashrit" (Swara = tones through which the self
shines forth, Ashrit = sustained by) and "Padashrit"
(Pada = Hymn/ Verse, Ashrit = sustained by). The Dhrupad
style, is therefore anchored to the melodic-poetic axis, in
contrast to the "Khayal" style which revolves
around the melodic-rhythmic axis giving the literary
component only a subordinate, and even negligible, role.
Another distinguishing feature of
the Dhrupad style is its rigidity, and the consequent
tendency towards becoming a genre of “Nibaddha”
(pre-composed) music. Dhrupad enthusiasts resist this
suggestion. Relative to the Khayal style, however, Dhrupad
does fall closer to the “Nibaddha" (pre-composed) end
of the spectrum than the Khayal, which places a high premium
on improvisation, and positions itself close to the "Anibaddha"
Having evolved from a relatively inflexible stream of
Prabandha Gana, the basic character of Dhrupad derives from
the principles of melodic organization and a correspondence
between the melodic structure and the poetic form.
For melodic organization, the Dhrupad tradition prescribes
a four-stage development. In contemporary terminology, they
Each step has a well-defined esthetic function. The musical
idea stretches its wings in the Sthayi, soars up in the
Antara, traverses the distances in the Sanchari, and
finally, with a broad sweep of notes in the Abhog, furls
down its wings (Jaydev Singh).
Although this principle of melodic organization pertained
initially to the composition of the melodic-rhythmic shell
of the poetic form, it has been accepted as a general
principle, valid also for the elaborate alap that precedes
the presentation of the composition in contemporary Dhrupad.
Following this principle of
melodic development, Mian Tansen laid down the criteria of
eligibility for the "Pada" (the melodic-poetic
composition). A Pada, according to him:
have four rhyming stanzas
have been composed by a learned Guru
represent any of the nine Rasas or primary emotions
emotional content of the poetic element should be
consistent with that of the Raga in which the Pada is
composed (Brihaspati, 1989)
The majority opinion amongst 15th
and 16th century scholars favored a three-stanza Pada
(Ibid.). In more recent times, the Pada, as performed, has
shrunk to just two stanzas (Mukherjee, JIMS,1993) -- the
Sthayi, and the Antara.
The literary component of the
Pada-s has been predominantly in praise of Hindu Gods and
Goddesses. Many Pada-s were written on musicological themes.
As Dhrupad became a resident of the Royal Courts, Pada-s
also came to be composed in praise of emperors and princes.
While the poetic shell of the Pada has undergone a
shrinkage over the centuries, the Alap part of the Dhrupad
presentation has apparently retained, and even enhanced, its
elaborate complexity, in its vocal, as well as instrumental,
Vocal music and the Rudra Veena have been the two mainstays
of the North Indian musical tradition. Dhrupad music was
frequently accompanied by the Rudra Veena, while both also
had their independent performing domains.
Dhrupad inherited a tradition of
very elaborate alaps (“ragalapti”). Later, it went
through a stage of featuring a very cryptic Alap, called the
Auchar, rendered in "Aakar" (the "aa"
vowel), which did not conform to the four-part melodic
development, and was followed by an elaborate presentation
of the Pada. Even during the era of cryptic alaps, Pada
rendition, along with its embellishments, could last upto an
hour (Mukherjee JIMS 1993). The durational balance between
the alap and the pada rendition has, since then, changed
again in favour of the alap.
The stimulus for the restoration
of the elaborate alap in vocal music is believed to have
come from Rudra Veena music. The Rudra Veena, being a
fretted and plucked instrument, could develop an elaborate
Alap traversing three octaves, conforming to the four-step
Prabandha discipline, and rendered at three or more
different tempi -- Vilambit (slow), Madhya (medium) and Drut
(fast) corresponding to the contemporary terminology of Alap,
Jod and Jhala.
At some stage, it would appear,
vocalists wanted to match the elaborate sophistication of
the Rudra Veena in Alap rendition. They had two obstacles:
the difficulty of descending into the lower octave, and the
absence of consonants in their vowel-based Alap vocabulary
which would permit them to step up the tempo. (Ibid.).
They broke through the
lower-octave barrier with Pranayama (breath control
exercises). To emulate the medium and fast paced Jod and
Jhala movements of the Rudra Veena, they adopted a
consonant-based vocabulary in the form of religious
concepts, and names of Gods and Goddesses, such as Ananta,
Hari, Om, Narayan, Tatsat .The distorted remnants of these
original Sanskrit words can be heard, to this day, as the
meaningless consonants Ta, Na, Ri, Nom, Tom. Hence the
contemporary description of the Dhrupad Alap as a
The Pada being common to vocal
and instrumental renditions, the chasm between the vocal and
instrumental expressions of Dhrupad was thus bridged.
In Pada rendition, orthodox Dhrupad apparently permitted
only such forms of melodic improvisation, as would protect
the integrity of the poetic element. Rhythmic embellishments
of the Pada such as its rendition at different multiples of
the tempo are a later development. Dhamar presentations,
however, permitted Dogun, Tigun, and Chaugun renditions of
In recent times, probably in an
effort to compete with the Khayal form, Dhrupad apparently
veered way from the melody-poetry axis and towards the
melody-rhythm axis. By late 19th/early 20th century, Pada
rendition and elaboration had acquired a strong rhythmic
bias, provoking some commentators, like Prof. VN Bhatkhande,
to describe it as a wrestling bout between the vocalist, or
instrumentalist, and his percussion accompanist.
This unkind view of Dhrupad could
have arisen from a variety of factors. For one, the rhythmic
obsession could be an aberration to which Dhrupad succumbed
as it was resisting extinction. Alternatively, this
criticism may have limited validity, appropriate only to
some of the Dhrupad schools practicing a markedly aggressive
style of rendition (Brihaspati, 1989). For, the Dhrupad
mainstream did, indeed, incorporate different sub-streams
called "Bani-s" (Lit:languages/ dialects) with
their own stylistic biases.
The “bani-s” ceased to retain
their formal identities in the 16th century after
the death of Mian Tansen, and merged into the new “seni”
gharanas. However, such a political realignment could not
possibly have obliterated the stylistic diversity that
existed at that time, nor prevented its proliferation in
different parts of the country.
Raja Man Singh Tomar's treatise
(Man-Kutuhal) mentions the four "Bani-s". In his
time, these classifications were based on the language/
dialect in which the Pada (Verse) was written: "Gaurhar"
from Gwalior, "Dagur" from the Dangar region near
Delhi, "Khandar" from the Khandar region, and
"Nauhar" from the dialect spoken by the Nauhar
community. (Brihaspati,1989). In later years, the four Banis
have come to signify stylistic distinctions.
Gaurhar has come to be known for its exceptional demands on
breath control, its dependence on "Meend", and
two-stanza Padas -- against the traditionally prescribed
four or three -- of relatively weaker literary
content.(Mukherjee, JIMS,1993) Its emphasis is on the "Shanta
Rasa", the peaceful sentiment.
Dagur is characterized by a superior literary content,
specialization in slow and medium-paced compositions, along
with embellishments.(Ibid.) Dagur is also described as the
music of the "Madhur" and "Karuna"
Rasa-s, pathos, and its sweetness.
Khandhar is known for the "Vakri Chalan" (zigzag
phraseology), and its emphasis on "Veer Rasa", the
spirit of valor and heroism.
Nauhar specializes in the "Chhoot" (leaping from
one melodic center to another, distant, melodic center)
melodic phraseology, the infrequent rendition of slow-paced
compositions, and a bias towards medium-paced
compositions.(Ibid.). These features have classified Nauhar
as music of the "Adbhut Rasa", the element of
In contemporary Dhrupad, this
variety of distinctive features is not clearly discernible.
This could be so because Dhrupad, as a genre, has a very
small share of the performing and pre-recorded music market
--- a share so miniscule that it cannot permit each of the
different Banis to be adequately represented.
Recent, and contemporary, raga
presentation in the Dhrupad format consists of (i) an
elaborate three/ four tiered alap in “aakar” and
“nom-tom”, unaccompanied by percussion; followed by (ii)
a Pada in chautal, accompanied by the pakhavaj.
A durational analysis of Dhrupad
performances (Thielemann, 1997), establishes the three/four
tiered alap as consuming over 60% of the duration of a raga
This structure can be interpreted
in two different ways:
Firstly, the Dhrupad format
represents a sequential separation of the melodic from the
poetic-rhythmic. The alap is pure melody. It has laya but no
tala. The Pada, on the other hand, is dominated by poetry.
The manipulation of the melodic and the rhythmic elements,
beyond the confines of the basic frame of the composition,
is severely restricted.
In comparison, the Khayal
requires the simultaneous manipulation of the melodic, the
rhythmic, and the poetic elements right from the beginning.
Secondly, the Dhrupad format
represents a sequential separation of the linear progression
of music from the cyclical flows.
The progression of the alap, from
the lower octave to the higher, from a subtle laya to the
explicit, and from a slow tempo towards the higher, is a
predominantly linear structure. The sanchari and abhog
sections of the alap, as originally conceived, had an
element of cyclicity. However, with these two movements
having fallen into disuse, the Dhrupad alap has become a
linear melodic entity.
While the alap is linear, Pada
rendition is totally cyclical in its structure. The
poetic-melodic-rhythmic shell of the presentation is
cyclical. Improvisations, whether melodic or rhythmic,
remain within a restricted periphery of the
melodic-rhythmic-poetic frame of the composition, and are
therefore largely cyclical.
In Dhrupad, therefore, the alap
moves in a well-defined direction, while the Pada goes
nowhere. Khayal, in comparison, plunges simultaneously into
the linear and cyclical flows of the musical idea. It
progresses simultaneously on the melodic and the rhythmic
dimensions in terms of density and complexity. The Khayal is
therefore continuously going somewhere. Khayal progresses
towards a destination that appears to justify the musical
endeavor more categorically than Dhrupad.
The notion of “going
nowhere”, or “going somewhere”, and the implications
of this notion for the build-up and release of anticipatory
tension, defines an important structural divide between the
medieval Dhrupad and the modern Khayal forms.
Music “going nowhere” is, obviously making a different
kind of philosophical statement from “going somewhere”.
“Going nowhere” is either nihilistic or has surrendered
man’s evolutionary process to the Divine Will. In
comparison, music that is “going somewhere” is an
expression man’s evolutionary aspirations, in achieving
which he ascribes to himself a meaningful role.
This is not the appropriate forum for a discussion on which
of these represents superior wisdom. However, these
implications are relevant as a backdrop to the esthetics of
Dhrupad and Khayal, and to a hypothesis on the “target
market” for Dhrupad. .
Based on the above structural analysis, I submit a few
observations on the esthetics of the Dhrupad genre, again
with the Khayal as a reference point. A totally coherent
framework might elude us, considering that we are looking at
a very sophisticated product of the Indian musical mind
struggling to regain a foothold in the mainstream after a
long spell of relative neglect. And, yet an attempt to
interpret its esthetics must be made.
The architectural metaphor
It is customary for music
criticism to use a metaphor from other art forms in order to
make itself understood. The literary metaphor is generally
considered appropriate for music because literature, like
music, is sequentially created, sequentially absorbed, and
By this logic, the architectural
metaphor is considered less appropriate because architecture
is experienced primarily in a gestalt rather than
sequentially. This contention reduces architecture to the
level of sculpture, an unwarranted diminution in the
complexity of its experience.
Architecture too, although in a
different way, is absorbed sequentially upon entry into the
various organized spaces, and experienced cumulatively.
Pieces of music have often been defined as “magnificent
edifices”, and music-criticism has come to terms with
imagery such as texture and color. The imagery of the
plastic arts in general and the architectural metaphor in
particular is, therefore, not totally out of place.
The architectural metaphor might
claim substantial validity if we wish to consider the
“intent” of the artist in isolation from its
“impact”. The “intent” of the artist – whatever
his medium -- is always a composite whole, irrespective of
the medium of expression or process of absorption. As an
understanding of the esthetic intent, the architectural
metaphor can have a legitimate place in music criticism.
Dhrupad, as a genre, suggests a
highly functional and even clinical approach to design. Le
Corbusier (Towards a New Architecture), describes a building
as a machine to live in. Nothing more; nothing less.
Extending this metaphor, Dhrupad can be described as a
machine for the expression of a Raga's emotional content.
Nothing more; nothing less.
To Le Corbusier, as it is to
Dhrupad, the plan i.e., the functional organization of
spaces (a concept perfectly compatible with the meaning of
"Prabandha" in Sanskrit) is everything; any
element which does not derive inevitably from the plan, is
either sculpture or ornamentation, and therefore not
architecture, and therefore redundant.
If Dhrupad represents the
architecture-dominant facet of Hindustani music, by the same
logic, the Khayal style may be described as strong on
sculpture, and the Thumree-related genres of Purab (Eastern
UP) being strong on ornamentation.
The nature of appeal
Dhrupad is generally considered more “intellectual”,
while the Khayal is considered more “emotional” in its
appeal. As an alternative viewpoint, we might consider the
proposition that the Dhrupad tends towards the
“emotional”, while the Khayal veers towards the
A significant justification for
the description of Dhrupad to being more “intellectual”
might rest on the richness and sanctity of its poetic
element, relative to the Khayal. Most scholars are agreed
that the richness of Dhrupad’s literary content is now
history, and its significance too has shrunk substantially
over the centuries.
If, on the other hand, Dhrupad is
considered more intellectual on account of its structure
which is “going nowhere”, the proponents of this view
are implying that it requires a superior intellect to obtain
esthetic satisfaction from such a musical experience. Here
we have a problem. “Going nowhere” is perhaps closer to
a “sthita-pragna” (I will not dare to translate this
term) level of spiritual evolution, than of intellectual
evolution. We are now in a territory beyond esthetics. The
equanimity of the “sthita-pragna” might be difficult to
reconcile with “emotional” satisfactions. But, it is
equally difficult to reconcile it with “intellectual”
satisfactions. Neither of them is germane to the definition
The Dhrupad genre has been
described as “Swarashrit” and Padashrit”. By this
description, its soul lies in its melodic and poetic
elements, and the relationship between the two. Since a Raga
is a melodic vehicle for an emotional statement, and the
poetic element of the Pada is required to be in perfect
consonance with emotional content (Rasa) of the raga –
refer to Tansen’s tenets enumerated above -- the
elicitation of an emotional response would appear to be the
predominant esthetic intention of Dhrupad as a genre.
Another way of looking at this
issue is the level of freedom Dhrupad allows the musician in
the different departments of musicianship. The constraints
on improvisational freedom -–melodic, rhythmic or poetic
– are so great that the only real freedom musicians enjoy
is in the soul-power and the emotional intensity with which
they imbue their music.
Whatever a genre permits, it
encourages. By shutting the doors to freedom in most
departments, Dhrupad focuses the musical energies upon the
most fundamental dimension of musicality: helping the
esthetic impact of tone-delivery to transcend its known
The esthetic ideal of Dhrupad
would appear to be the experience of the tone as “Swara”
(Swa=the self + Ra = illumination). For achieving this
result, medieval musicological texts have defined ideal
tone-delivery as a product of two qualities: “anuranan”
(the haunting quality) and “deepti” (a resplendent
luminosity). Neither of these terms can be satisfactorily
translated. Their intent is, however, to relate voice
production and tone-delivery to the auto-suggestive and
personality-transforming potential of the act of
music-making for the musician himself. This deduction
appears to support an “emotional” for Dhrupad more than
an “intellectual” one.
When Dhrupad enthusiasts wax
eloquent over Dhrupad being a “journey into the realm of
pure sound”, they appear to emphasize this feature of
Dhrupad. As a genre, Dhrupad invests an extra-ordinary
proportion of musical energy into the acoustic and esthetic
cultivation of voice production and tone-delivery.
Consequently, the individual tone becomes as basic a unit of
the musical expression as the phrase that it constructs.
The acoustic and esthetic ideals
of voice production and tone-delivery in Khayal are, in
fact, identical with those of Dhrupad. However, Khayal has a
comparative bias in favor of phrasing, and demands a
substantial investment of musical energies in other
departments of musicianship. Consequently, the Khayal is not
perceived to possess this “pure sound” magic to the same
extent that Dhrupad is, or even as much as, Khayal itself
The phrase, as a unit of music,
has an element of design in it, which defines the
relationship of the expression to a raga. Pattern
recognition is largely a cerebral process. When, as in
Dhrupad, the individual tone receives focussed attention, it
enables its esthetic enjoyment, independently of the phrase
and the raga. A tone (Swara) in isolation, by virtue of its
momentary isolation from the phraseological context, is a
more probable stimulus for an emotional response than an
The comparison with Khayal points
towards another esthetic dimension of Dhrupad. Khayal
requires the simultaneous manipulation of the melodic, with
the poetic, and the rhythmic, and of the linear with the
cyclical. A genre requiring the simultaneous manipulation of
more than one variable at a time is intellectually more
absorbing and demanding than a genre that handles them
severally and sequentially. By this logic, again, the
structure of the Khayal can be considered more
“intellectual” than that of Dhrupad.
Considering the totality of these
factors, and if we have to assign labels to the two genres,
a contemporary view would justify an “emotional” label
for the Dhrupad genre, and an “intellectual” label for
Khayal. The caveat to any such labeling temptation is, of
course, that they represent biases rather than the basis for
a mutually exclusive classification.
Dhrupad’s target market
The Dhrupad revival, such as
might be taking place, has been contemporaneous with the
induction of culturally alienated, and musically
un-initiated, urban youth into the classical music market,
and the development of a Western (European and American)
market for Hindustani music. It may therefore be defensible
to assume a relationship between the esthetics of Dhrupad
and the characteristics of these segments of the market.
It can also be hypothesized that
Dhrupad poetry in Braja Bhasha cannot have any significant
appeal for these audiences, who might have a poor level of
comfort even with conversational, everyday Hindi. To them,
the intelligibility of Dhrupad may, therefore, lie largely
in the linguistically abstract alap, and the
melodic-rhythmic play in the rendition of the Pada.
dominance of the
alap in the Dhrupad format emphasizes the dominance of
linearity of the musical flows. This makes Dhrupad, by its
dominant feature, more comfortable for the less mature
philosophical mind. This proposition is supported by the
observation that cyclicity, as a cultural force of
archetypal dimensions, is typical of the older
civilizations. Linearity and cyclicity are related to the
notion of time in every culture.
This has several dimensions. (a)
The idea that linearity and cyclicity are simultaneous
forces constituting man’s evolutionary spiral, (b) that
cyclicity is the ultimate truth, and (c) that linearity is
merely an ephemeral and myopic perspective on cyclicity.
These ideas are highlighted in the philosophical and
theological traditions of India, Greece, Persia, and China.
Kaal, in the Hindu tradition, is
personified as Mahakaala, a manifestation of Lord Shiva
himself. He has parallels in the Greek god, Aion, and in the
Persian god, Zurvan, all representing the cyclical notion of
time. The Chinese Tai’ Chi, common to the philosophical
foundations of Confucian and Taoist thought, is a similar,
though abstract and un-deified, idea.
In comparison, the linear notion
of time is predominant in the younger civilizations. Again,
here, we are not sitting in judgment over which of them is
closer to the truth.
Even at the here-and-now level of
the aural experience, the Dhrupad alap is possible to
comprehend as a monophonic, soloist presentation of what
could have been a symphony or a sonata. This simile refers
more to the “logical” sequencing of the movements and
its overall linearity, than to its “Nibaddha” tendency,
although this, too, is relevant. Extending this line of
argument, the Pada can be absorbed comfortably as a piece of
raga-based popular or devotional music, slightly more
complex than a film song. And, the two are unconnected,
except for being in the same raga.
Culturally alienated Indians and
“western” audiences can therefore be expected to
constitute a soft “target” for Dhrupad. This hypothesis
is reinforced by the earlier propositions, if acceptable,
that Dhrupad has a tendency towards becoming a pre-composed
art-form, is primarily a medium for delivering emotional
satisfactions, and is intellectually less demanding on the
listener than Khayal.
The transition from Dhrupad to
Khayal represents a huge leap in the complexity of the
music, and an exponential enhancement of the range of
esthetic satisfactions delivered. The story of any human
endeavor is cyclical -- first moving from the simple, to the
more complex, and at some stage, setting off a movement in
the opposite direction. The signs of a Dhrupad revival may
be an indication of this dialectic.
It seems paradoxical that
Dhrupad, once a genre servicing the cultivated elite of
society, is getting a fresh lease of life from the other end
of the audience spectrum. This, too, could be an integral
part of the dialectic process.
Contemporary Dhrupad is often
ridiculed with the rhetorical question: “How much Dhrupad
is there in contemporary Dhrupad?”. This a meaningless
question, because the same can be asked of any other genre
of music, from any musical tradition. No musical genre can
be treated as a museum piece, frozen in time, like the
treasures from the tombs of Tutankhamoun.
Dhrupad, as was made available to
contemporary musicians, is shaping itself to satisfy the
needs of contemporary audiences. It requires no validation
beyond the fact that there are musicians finding it
creatively satisfying and financially rewarding, and there
are audiences who enable them to persist in their practice
of the genre.
Raja is a sitar and
surbahar player of the Imdad Khan/ Etawah gharana, and an
occasional writer on music. He holds an MBA from the
Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad, and is a
Management Consultant by profession.