Musical Citizens and Postcolonial Custodians: Inter-religious Dialogue in Post-Partition Punjab and Beyond
This presentation will examine the role of music festival organisers as “postcolonial custodians” fostering communal amity through classical music in newly created India and Pakistan. Focused on musical life in the region of Punjab that saw the greatest volume of migration and cataclysm during the violent upheaval of Partition in 1947, I offer a new perspective on regional cultural activity during the 1950s and 1960s in South Asia. The space of the musical festival, I argue, created conditions for the emergence of a new kind of postcolonial musical public and audiences of ‘musical citizen-connoisseurs’, whose allegiances extended to notions of a broader cultural heritage beyond the nation-state. Offering case studies of figures like Ashwini Kumar in Jalandhar in Indian Punjab, and of Hayat Ahmad Khan and Raza Kazim in Lahore in Pakistani Punjab, as well as of a ‘politics of joy’ expressed by audiences, I reveal the curious life of musical exchange, and by extension of Hindu-Muslim dialogue, across one of the most militarised borders in the world.
Date: 31 January 2023, 14:00 (Tuesday, 3rd week, Hilary 2023)
Venue: St Antony's College, 62 Woodstock Road OX2 6JF
Venue Details: Syndicate Room
Speaker: Radha Kapuria (Durham University)
Organising department: Asian Studies Centre
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Part of: Modern South Asian Studies Seminar Series
Booking required?: Not required
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Audience: Public
Editor: Clare Salter