INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players

 

Author Message
Bob
Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 29, 2004 01:22 p.m.


In reading Danielou�s book and others, I see that many ragas are associated with images from Hindu mythology which I imagine might be offensive to Moslems. Do the great Moslem players ever comment on that? My guess would be that they consider it irrelevant to their music and simply ignore it. Has anyone here ever heard anything about what their philosophy is on this?
Neal
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 30, 2004 03:55 p.m.


That's silly. The music has multiple influences (Moslem, Hindu, Persian, etc) Those are all what make the music what it is. I'm Jewish and not affended by any Christian, Moslem, Hindu or Mormon influences on the arts. Why would I be?

Neal

In reading Danielou�s book and others, I see that many ragas are associated with images from Hindu mythology which I imagine might be offensive to Moslems. Do the great Moslem players ever comment on that? My guess would be that they consider it irrelevant to their music and simply ignore it. Has anyone here ever heard anything about what their philosophy is on this?[/quote]

Remco
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 30, 2004 04:22 p.m.


Like Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar says:

The best singer, the best painter, the best architect knows no religion

http://www.themusicmagazine.com/faridint.html

Peace,

Remco

AJ
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 30, 2004 06:44 p.m.


Most excellent quote and website, Remco!

AJ : )

aanaddha
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 31, 2004 12:12 a.m.



Neal (May 30, 2004 03:55 p.m.):
That's silly. The music has multiple influences (Moslem, Hindu, Persian, etc) Those are all what make the music what it is. I'm Jewish and not affended by any Christian, Moslem, Hindu or Mormon influences on the arts. Why would I be?

Neal

In reading Danielou�s book and others, I see that many ragas are associated with images from Hindu mythology which I imagine might be offensive to Moslems. Do the great Moslem players ever comment on that? My guess would be that they consider it irrelevant to their music and simply ignore it. Has anyone here ever heard anything about what their philosophy is on this?


[/quote]

I think Bob's question is well-intentioned and relevant to an historical understanding of Indian classical music and Indian culture in general. And, I don't believe he was proposing that anyone should be "affended" or forced to choose sides in the matter.
Perhaps at the height of the classical period of music in India and raga development there was a great deal more religous tolerance in India than there is today?

Aanaddha

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Keshav Das
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players May 31, 2004 12:20 p.m.


There's a wonderful book called "The White Mughals" by Wm. Dalrymple and one of the themes that pops up throughout the book - has to do with the 1001 ways Muslim culture became Hindufied when it moved from Persia to India. Historically - it's always been the politicians that stirred up between the Hindus and Muslims - who left to their own devices - get along just fine. BTW - for any folks out there who entertain fantasies of moving to India . . . this is a very eye-opening book.
Bad Ustad
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 01, 2004 09:20 a.m.


Daneliou seems to filter his understanding of Indian culture through a rather foggy lense. His comprehension aways seems (to me) convoluted and shallow. In any case, Hindus and Muslims always try to claim bragging rights over popular aspects of each other's culture. South Indians are constantly pronouncing their versions of various ragas as having originated in their neck of the woods. It's doubtful that anyone can authoritatively say at this late stage where some of the older traditions were born. Written history never seemed to catch on with Indian academics until the 1930's. It's been pointed out in many texts - that until the British stuck their noses in it all - there was no such thing as an Indian history book. Vedic literature consisted of Sanskrit books that only priest could read. And the occaisional collection of religeous poetry like that of Mirabai or the Ramayana. Musim literature generally consisted of poetry, story telling and medical texts. It's true that the muslims did print "akbars" a sort of limited run newspaper for the wealthy and upper classes, but history was passed on orally which after thousands of re-tellings, leads to a rather liberal and less than objective version of the truth.
Bob
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 01, 2004 05:38 p.m.


Thanks for the responses!

I suppose my original question was really about how people of different cultures interact within the arena of the arts and how they conceptualize the relationship between art and spirit.

What struck me was that Danielou seems to feel that an integral part of each raga is the Hindu imagery feels is associated with it. Supporting his view, I noticed that in The Raga Guide, they include many samples of what they refer to as "ragamala" paintings that they say are traditionally associated with each raga. These paintings seem, for the most part, to reflect Hindu themes and nythology.

Now I could not help but note that the Hindu players are only part of the world of ICM. I began to wonder if Moslem players have their own set of extra-musical associations with the ragas.

My question became more pointed as I noted that the �Raga Guide� explains that the raga Bhairavi is associated with the image of Kali worshipping a stone image of the phallus of Shiva. Would every Moslem player be comfortable with that? My guess would be probably not, as many Moslems feel that one of the distinctive aspects of their culture is that they do not worship stone objects and in particular, not sexual objects. My question is do Moslem players (1) actively disavow the connection between the imagery and the music (2) have a different set of images (3) considered it a non-issue.

I certainly don't mean to suggest that one side is right or wrong or that they shouldn't live together and play musical together joyfully. Nor do I mean to suggest that every Moslem has the same outlook on the issue or that every Hindu does. It's just a question I've never heard addressed and I am curious if anyone here had any insights.

For myself, I tend to think that music simply is what it is. While metaphors for music, descriptions of music, and comparisons of differing styles are often valuable in understanding music and playing it, ultimately these devices must stand apart from music. In the end, music is a nonverbal experience � it transcends the limitations of the spoken word and allows us to live for a time in a different and very special world. That, IMHO, is one of the reasons why it is cherished around the globe (and perhaps beyond it) as a form of communion with one�s self, one�s audience and God.

AJ
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 01, 2004 07:48 p.m.


Hmm........!

Welp, since I hate Freud and most other pcychological idiocyncrisies attached to various cultural/religious/whatever stuff..........it's all in how you look at it

Kali destroys to make way for new!
This is an essential element and fact of the physical plane........and paying homage to a Shiva Linga, well...........let's just say I think there's more to it than just yer average "phallic" trip..........! The linga is not ONLY male......!

Just thought I'd toss this is for the heck of it, nothing better to do, ya know? Like PRACTICE, maybe? heheheh

See ya round like a necklace of bloody skulls!
AJ : )

Keshav Das
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 03, 2004 05:45 p.m.


Mebbe it would have been simpler to say that most modern players of Musim descent - tend to gloss over the whole question of rags and traditions and the variations being attributed to Hindu influences. I have found the players I have known, like my own teacher Gulam Mohammed Khan, tend to roll their eyes at the whole question and just say "All music is God's - now stop talking and practice." Works for me.
Peace.
KD
aanaddha
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 03, 2004 07:18 p.m.



Keshav Das (Jun 03, 2004 05:45 p.m.):
Mebbe it would have been simpler to say that most modern players of Musim descent - tend to gloss over the whole question of rags and traditions and the variations being attributed to Hindu influences. I have found the players I have known, like my own teacher Gulam Mohammed Khan, tend to roll their eyes at the whole question and just say "All music is God's - now stop talking and practice." Works for me.
Peace.
KD

KD,
I can respect that as one solution to a touchy question - like a guru's tangental answer to a student's insolent question that usually translates as "..you ask too many questions. ! ". I imagine the loss of anyone's culture or heritage is even now a very painful thing to recall.
But it's still not an answer to the original question, is it? Strange, because I seem to recall stories where several future Pandits actually begged their earliest learning from the eminent old Ustads of the time. That being the case you'd think Rag Aswari could easily have become 'Rag Akbar' instead?

Sincerely,
Aanaddha

Keshav Das
Re:Hindu Mythology and Muslim Players Jun 04, 2004 09:01 a.m.


Yes - I'm no musicologist, but my gut feeling has always been that 95% of Hindustani Classical comes from music that traveled to India via Persia and Afghanistan. I think in any public forum, a Muslim musician would be compelled to point out the origins that most ICM is derived from compositions written by the Ustads of yore. Muslim musicians I have been lucky enough to meet don't seem to been carrying a big resentment against Hindu musicians. Recently - I was at a birthday celebration for TV Gopalkrishnan and there were some very famous Muslim musicians attending and they were clearly in awe of the "The Doctor". After he sang - they filed up to the tucket like so many grandchildren to pay their respects. Very sweet.
Aanaddha
Re:Hindu Mythology and Muslim Players Jun 04, 2004 10:28 a.m.



Keshav Das (Jun 04, 2004 09:01 a.m.):
Muslim musicians I have been lucky enough to meet don't seem to been carrying a big resentment against Hindu musicians.

Ditto on the other side of the equation - I've never met a Hindu musician yet who hasn't expressed complete and totally emotional admiration for the great vocalist Ustad Amir Khansaheb.
So does anybody really know how the ragas got thier names - factually and historically speaking?

A.

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kedar_india_pune
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 04, 2004 06:27 p.m.


hi,
ICM is at its root a hindu concept..
the khayal has evolved or come from Dhrupad...
dhrupad has its mention in the vedas.....written a few thousand years back........the muslims came to india only in the 12th century
when the muslims invaded india..they gave this form of music a commercial outlook...like singing in courtrooms and such
but not all the muslims were same
many of them destroyed great texts of music ...and temples...
and this resulted in not many hindus were daring enough to sing this form
another reason was now..most of the ustads of the very olders generation's where hindus and were outcasted or forciblly converted to islam....
the greatest icm exponent "miyan tansen" was a hindu but then he got converted his guru was a hindu too
alluddin khan was a hindu ....his earlier last name was sharma...but then was converted..to islam
.......
most of the raags are named after hindu gods
for eg: kedar(lord shiva)
: bageshree ( a godess)
durga( godess)
.................
the orthodox hindus at that time felt that the music was polluted because this music was later also played in the so called " khotas" which were in some way like brothels...
but this was the worst period of icm.... its really a great thing that this music was preserved( these brothels in a way contributed)
but the persian or the afgani influence was added too...
like for instace raaga yaman
then the muslims also added concepts like
thumris and gazal's
But hori or kajri ..are very very old concepts...
the intention of this music was in its real sence spritual...
first there were follk music then were vedas...and shlokas and then the dhrupad style and then khayal.......
i feel that when there is a spritual connecteion then the religion really dosent matter
but the fact remains that this music was made by hindus....
Also the south indian music had influence on this music too
like the taals...for eg teen taal.....and a few raags
some people say amir kushro made the sitar...
but it was influenced from the veena...(some people would say).but there are people who will argue with this ....
but there is no doubt the muslims have contributed a great deal...
yours
kedar
Keshav Das
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 05, 2004 09:30 a.m.


It's good that someone mentioned S. Indian music. Carnatic music may be the most purely "Indian" music there is - in the sense that it is more purely native to the residents of the continent that comprises "India". It's sort of a mission of mine to turn more folks on to Carnatic music. Here in the West, S. Indian music barely gets lip service - which is really a shame. I say "Go out and by yourself a copy of any CD by Bombay Jayshree or Subbhalakshmi and get your mind expanded!!!" End of speech.
Cheers,
KD
aanaddha
Re:Hindu Mythology and Moslem Players Jun 08, 2004 12:12 a.m.



Keshav Das (Jun 05, 2004 09:30 a.m.):
It's good that someone mentioned S. Indian music. Carnatic music may be the most purely "Indian" music there is - in the sense that it is more purely native to the residents of the continent that comprises "India". It's sort of a mission of mine to turn more folks on to Carnatic music. Here in the West, S. Indian music barely gets lip service - which is really a shame. I say "Go out and by yourself a copy of any CD by Bombay Jayshree or Subbhalakshmi and get your mind expanded!!!" End of speech.
Cheers,
KD

There's an excellent two-hour radio program on Thursdays from 4pm to 6pm EST on the web from Stanford University at http://kzsulive.stanford.edu/
featuring Canatic Radio from 4-5 and Hindustani Music from 5-6. Lots of Subbhalakshmi, Nikhil Banerjee, and many other full length recordings and commentary.

Aanaddha

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