This book looks at the life and music of Veena Dhanammal (1866–1938), considered the embodiment of ‘classicism’ in Karnatik music. It locates her art within the cultural, social and intellectual milieu she inhabited, allowing readers to track the changing musical landscape of southern India, as a process of urbanisation — beginning in the late nineteenth century — resulted in Karnatik music’s movement from a ritual and courtly location to a modern, secular form of entertainment in the city space.
This series explores the intellectual history of South Asia through the lives and ideas of significant individuals within a historical context. These 'pathfinders' are seen to represent a break with existing traditions, canons and inherited histories. In fact, even the idea of South Asia with its constituent regions and linguistic and religious divisions maybe thrown into crisis as we explore the idea of territory as generated by thought. It is not cartographic limits that determine thinking but the imagining of elective affinities across space, time and borders. These thinkers are necessarily cosmopolitan and engage with a miscegenation of ideas that recasts existing notions of schools of thinking, of the archive for a history of ideas, and indeed of the very notion of national and regional limits to intellectual activity. The books in this series try to think beyond the limited frameworks of colonialism and nationalism for the modern period and more generally of histories of societies that are told through the prism of the state, its institutions and ideologies.
These slim volumes written by leading scholars are intended for the intelligent layperson and expert alike, and written in an accessible, lively and authoritative prose. Through telling the lives of celebrated names and lesser known ones in context, this series will expand the repertoire of ideas and individuals that have shaped the history and culture of South Asia.