Rajasthan: An Oral History - Conversations With Komal Kothari
- Author: Rustom Bharucha
- Publisher: Penguin
- ISBN: 9780143029595
An epic-style narrative that celebrates the living traditions of the desert For over five decades, Komal Kothari has journeyed through Rajasthan exploring its rich cultural and musical traditions. Neither an old-fashioned seer nor a modern academician, he has developed an understanding of people's knowledge systems in a manner that is uniquely his own. In this book, Rustom Bharucha attempts to map his vast experience of the desert, drawing on extended and freewheeling conversations with Kothari. Weaving in and out of several contexts, Kothari's interconnected reflections on land, water, agriculture, irrigation, livestock, sati and shrines supplement his observations on musical and performance traditions— puppetry, Teratali, and the folk songs of the Langas and Manganiyars. Geography colours the chants and vocal improvisations of nomads, and agriculture is embedded in the performativity rituals of pastoral communities. Also discussed here are the intellectual property rights of folk musicians in an electronic age, and the challenge of globalization. The outcome of this process of recording India's master folklorist itself becomes a history, in its frame, texture and timbre. Informal in its discourse and packed with nuggets of folk wisdom, Rajasthan brings out the diversities and play of local traditions. While being a major contribution to the fields of folklore, ethnomusicology, and cultural and performance studies, this book can be enjoyed by all those drawn by the spell of Rajasthan.