This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to explore music’s history in the Deccan region of western India. It focuses on two men—Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande and Vishnu Digambar Paluskar—who gave Indian classical music, as we understand and recognize it today, its distinct shape. They enable the telling of a capacious and critical history that situates music as a part of and participant in a historical transformation that throws larger questions into relief: questions about nationalism, secularism, and modern religiosity in the public sphere, and about gendered respectability and progressive histories. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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