019, School of Engineering and Applied Science
“We were taught sadhana; the business of music is not taught to us. While teaching us a composer’s song, our guru would instil in us the respect for the composer and ensure we understood the importance of acknowledging their work whenever we performed their composition. That was copyright in those days. Acknowledged ethically. Now I need a proper license. This industry is different; it has come down through the centuries. How do we acknowledge this composition was originally made by this composer? Nobody has asked us musicians these vital questions,” said Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal while in conversation with Aditi Deo, Assistant Professor, School of Arts and Sciences. They were discussing the challenges and pleasures of being a musician in 21st century India at The Nalanda. Talking about the importance of sadhana so deeply rooted in Indian classical music, she said, “Sadhana is not a bed of roses. There is impatience with its repetitiveness, for instance. But looking back, it instilled an idea of maintaining a disciplined routine, even if self designed now that none of my gurus are there. Sadhana is not just about singing but also reading about music and processing music. It's about the journey of studying. You don't really feel you're making a sacrifice.”
Born into a musically dedicated family, Shubha Mudgal is a widely respected singer of Hindustani Classical Music and has received training from some of India's finest musicians and musicologists. In addition to being a performer, she has won accolades as a composer and has received prestigious awards, including the Padma Shri (2000) from the Government of India, the Gold Plaque Award for Special Achievement in Music at the 34th Chicago International Film Festival (1998), the Yash Bharati Samman from the Government of Uttar Pradesh (2015) and the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award given for her outstanding contribution towards the promotion of communal harmony, national integration and peace in 2016. Shubha Mudgal was formerly a member of the Central Advisory Board of Education to introduce the arts as part of the National Curriculum Framework (2005). She is actively involved in strengthening artists' rights along with Tabla player Aneesh Pradhan. Together, they have established an online distribution platform for musicians specializing in diverse forms of Indian music through their website, www.UnderscoreRecords.com and have initiated steps to preserve India's rich musical heritage through www.SangeetKosh.net.
Shubha Mudgal also writes regularly about Indian music and debuted as an author with a collection of short stories titled "Looking for Miss Sargam: Stories of Music and Misadventure." A dedicated teacher, and eager student, she received her training from eminent scholar-musician-composers Pandit Ramashreya Jha, Pandit Vinaya Chandra Maudgalya, and Pandit Vasant Thakar, and later from maestros Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki and Pandit Kumar Gandharva. She has also received training in thumri from Smt. Naina Devi. Shubha Mudgal is not only a versatile singer but also one who loves to experiment with the various genres of her art.
Professor Aditi Deo is an Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Languages Division of the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University. She completed her PhD from Indiana University Bloomington (USA) in Ethnomusicology, with minors in Folklore and Communication & Culture. Her research interest is in the music of the Indian subcontinent, especially Hindustani Khyal music, Hindi film music, and vernacular folk traditions in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Professor Deo has held positions as Faculty Fellow at IISER Pune (2014-17) and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University (2011-13).