Much as some of us would like everything in society to be in black and white and slotted in watertight compartments, this thankfully is not the reality. We encounter innumerable grey areas and though we may choose to ignore them, they are the ones that make our very existence layered and more meaningful.

Curiously, many people who are quick to recognise these grey areas in other spheres seem to ignore them in their own disciplines. This is true also of those working in the world of Hindustani music. They include individuals involved in performing, teaching and research.

Last week, in the first episode of our series on Hindustani compositions that have borrowed from multiple language sources, I had briefly mentioned the fact that the presence of a diversity of languages in these song-texts was one of the many elements that demonstrated the inclusiveness that this system of music represents. I had also hoped that young musicians would study this inclusiveness through the medium of language by revisiting these compositions.

But today, I would like to point to the scholars writing on Hindustani music. In the recent past, there have been many scholars trained primarily in disciplines other than Hindustani music who have chosen to study various facets...

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