'> <p>The 'Untouchable’ Castes and the Muslims in the Craft of 'Authentic’ Classical Indian Musical Instruments in Kolkata Metropolis: An Inter-textual Case Study</p>


Anthropology and Ethnology Open Access Journal (AEOAJ)

ISSN: 2639-2119

Research Article

The 'Untouchable’ Castes and the Muslims in the Craft of 'Authentic’ Classical Indian Musical Instruments in Kolkata Metropolis: An Inter-textual Case Study


Das A*, Chhandita B, Subhamay K, Roshni B, and Karan R

DOI: 0.23880/aeoaj-16000110


The central question of our present study was how caste, class, gender, religion and also the local-regional (post)colonial
cultural politics produced the scenario of manufacture of classical Indian music and its material culture in Kolkata,
erstwhile Calcutta. Our research following Stakian case study method presents an inter-textual analysis of historical
findings of past researches and present fieldwork among the families of two previously ‘untouchable’ castes, who are
known for their most ‘authentic’ craft of Indian stringed musical instruments in Kolkata since pre-colonial period. The
earlier researches made room for assuming the connections of the craft of Kolkata to the last Nawab of Oudh, Wajid Ali
Shah who was banished to Kolkata in 1856. The study reveals—despite being marginalized due to their low caste, class,
non-literate identity by the hegemonic cultural elitism of bhadra samaj (genteel society), represented by colonially
mediated patriarchic bhadraloks (genteel men) pertaining to the upper castes, middle and upper classes—the families of
the two castes Poundra and Namasudra could excel in their craft and business to the extent of developing local-regionalnational-
global networks of culture industry. Their memories, perceptions and other lived experiences establish that
contrary to the espousal of Hindu nationalist approach to the a-historic musical culture of India, as only contributed by
the Vedic upper castes, the craft culture of musical instruments in Kolkata was conspicuously carried forward by the
reproductive connections between Muslim mastery and lower castes’ zeal to acquire and flourish, though not out of
patriarchic gendered rules of the tradition.


Case Study; Marginalization; Caste; Indian Minority; Capital; Chhotolok; Bhadralok; Baiji; Indian Classical
Music; Calcutta/Kolkata

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