Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 14-15 (July-Dec 1987) p. 109.


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Vishnu Digambar Paluskar

Neela Bhagwat

IN INDIAN music, which is a highly individuated art form. socio-cultural problems of a specific period are easier to identify within the contradictions of an individual than through more conventional historical approaches.

Vishnu Digambar Paluskar and Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande both worked in the same historical period, and both tried to view music as a body of knowledge which could be made available to anyone who wished to comprehend it.

I have chosen to write on Paluskar for the following reasons. Firstly, he was himself a powerful s.inger, who had acquired his knowledge of music within the traditional guru-shishya structure, sustained by princely patronage. Secondly he was the first to introduce processes of institutionalization in music, which implied a more formal structure of relationships, and involved a new class of musicians who performed and taught music in music schools, earning for their profession a certain dignity and status in the eyes of the middle class. Paluskar therefore championed a cause more social than aesthetic.

Paluskar evidently drew a lot from personal experience within the field of music, but the period in which he worked was also one that saw significant transformations in the realm of education. In 1901, Paluskar opened his school of music in Lahore. Just the previous year, in 1900, Dhondo Keshav Karve had started his school for women in Hingne, Maharashtra. Ferguson College had been founded a few years earlier in 1885, soon after the New English School in 1880. These establishments were part of a certain movement, an effort towards enlightenment through education for all, including women. They were soon to develop a patriotic zeal.

Journal of Arts & Ideas 109


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