2000: Reflections on the Arts in India

Edited by Pratapaditya Pal, Marg, 2000, 180 p, colour photographs, ISBN : 8185026505, $90.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

2000: Reflections on the Arts in India/edited by Pratapaditya Pal

Contents: Introduction/Pratapaditya Pal and Kavita Singh. 1. Mulk Raj Anand: a visionary aesthete/Kavita Singh. 2. Indian archaeology: looking back, looking forward/B.B. Lal. 3. Museums in India: repositories or depositories of material culture?/Asok Kumar Das. 4. The vanishing world of tribal arts/Cornelia Mallebrein. 5. Indian "Folk art": tradition, revival, and transformation/Jyotindra Jain. 6. Indian textiles in the 20 century: crisis in transformation/Martand Singh and Rahul Jain. 7. What’s new in Indian art: canons, commodification, artists on the edge/Geeta Kapur. 8. Indian architecture and the "sixth" millennium/Balkrishna Doshi. 9. Making Indian cities: urban design in the new millennium/Rahul Mehrotra. 10. From raga to fusion: Hindustani music/Sandeep Bagchee. 11. The state of classical dance: 2000/Sunil Kothari. 12. "We need a house of our own": the impasse of Indian theatre after independence/Rustom Bharucha. 13. The enduring allure of the big screen: a century of Indian cinema/Shyam Benegal. 14. The power of the small screen: television as purveyor of culture/Amita Malik. Index.

"The arts reflect a society’s deeply held values and aesthetic sensibilities. It is therefore necessary to periodically review the arts as an indicator of the broader developments in society and discern the direction in which they are heading. The beginning of a new millennium is an appropriate moment to do so. In this volume, more than a dozen scholars and practitioners – each an expert in his or her field – assess the current state of art in India and look back on a century of changes with enormous shifts in cross-cultural and cross-media influences, and movements for both modernization and revival of traditions.

"We begin with a tribute to Marg’s founder editor, Mulk Raj Anand – part personal memoir and part centennial overview – by young art historian Kavita Singh. Pioneer art critic and activist, at 90 plus Mulk still remains active.

"Looking at the arts which seek out and preserve a civilization’s heritage, senior archaeologist B.B. Lal reviews the triumphs and failures of Indian archaeology in the past hundred years, particularly the post-independence period, and noted museologist Asok Kumar Das surveys the museum movement in India and points to successful institutions as a blueprint for the future. Addressing the problem of the division between the "fine arts" and craft traditions, anthropologist Cornelia Mallebrein speaks of the tribal artists among whom she has spent long years, while art historian Jyotindra Jain discusses the place of folk art in today’s society. From ancient times India’s textile traditions have been world-renowned; Martand Singh, a pioneer in the revival of highly skilled techniques, collaborates with textile historian and designer, Rahul Jain, in an essay that examines the social and historical dimensions of handlooms in the past hundred years. Geeta Kapur, our premier art critic, analyses important recent movements in the contemporary art scene. In their essays on architecture and urban planning, arguably the arts that most affect everyday life, doyen among architects, Balkrishna Doshi, and architectural conservationist, Rahul Mehrotra, sketch visions of the heavens, and the hells, that can be built on earth.

"Unlike the visual arts which leave behind their achievements in paint of stone, our performing art traditions are both enduring and evanescent. Living in the bodies and actions of performers, music, dance, and theatre require constant renewal, as is brought out in the essays by Sandeep Bagchee on Hindustani music; Sunil Kothari on dance; and Rustom Bharucha on theatre. But contemporary India’s contribution to the world of popular culture lies in its use of the audiovisual medium. Fittingly, we have Shyam Benegal, the celebrated filmmaker, tracing trends in cinema, while India’s seniormost television critic Amita Malik recounts the growth of TV in India.

"Besides presenting an overview of the current situation in different areas of Indian art, the essays in this richly illustrated turn-of-the-millennium volume offer ideas for future possibilities and view directions for the 21 century." (jacket)

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