Shubha Mudgal, noted composer and singer of Hindustani classical music as well as an archivist of enterprises, has launched initiatives like www.sangeetkosh.net and www.underscorerecords.com with partner Aneesh Pradhan. Most of all a voice of resistance and protest, Shubha speaks to Newsclick & Communalism Combat about her personal journey.
As a young student who grew up in the rich cultural and academic milieu of Allahabad, Shubha began with kathak dancing, worked as a broadcaster with All India Radio and from the proceeds of her hard earned work bought her first tanpura. Shubha then trained in Hindustani classical music under Pandit Ramashreya Jha in Allahabad, later Pandit Vinay Chandra Maudgalya in Delhi.
In this free-wheeling conversation with Teesta Setalvad, she speaks of the rich values of diversity that the Hindustani music and arts culture encapsulates, also recalling wonderful anecdotes of how leaders of the national movement like Nehru and Gandhi involved a vast array of Indians, including less visible citizens to participate in the ousting of British rule.
Keen on art and music education being introduced to Indian children at a young age, she recounts how her own personal experience of these rich and diverse worlds opened doors of the mind and heart. ‘Art and music are antidotes to intolerance’ says Shubha, firmly endorsing the strong creative protests across the length and breadth of the country.
Shubha Mudgal is a regular part of SAHMAT’s January 1 celebrations every year. She speaks of the transformative experience of performing there. SAHMAT was formed after the brutal killing of Safdar Hashmi twenty-six years ago. On January 1, 1989, 34 year old Safdar Hashmi, poet, playwright and political activist with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was beaten up by hoodlums belonging to the Congress party led by Mukesh Sharma while attempting to stage a play at Jhandapur in Sahibabad. He died from his injuries the next day. SAHMAT soon emerged as a strong artist and academic collective against the voices of authoritarianism and communalism.
On February 27, 2012, Shubha Mudgal performed at Gulberg Society as part of the tenth memorial of the Gujarat genocide. Her stage was the roof of a house where 19 people were killed. Those that soaked up the renderings of Shubha, Aneesh Pradhan and Sudhir Patwardhan were over 1,000 survivors of the pogrom from all over Gujarat along with human rights defenders.
She ends with the vocal rendering of Sahir Ludhianvi, “Aao koi khwaab bune kal ke waste…”
This is a joint production of Communalism Combat, Newsclick and Hillele.org