Associate professor Roshni Sengupta recently published a research article titled: Negotiating Minority Identities in Europe Through Cultural Preservation: Music as Heritage among the Dutch Hindustani Diaspora in the Netherlands 

Twice-migrant and descended from the colonial labour diaspora, the Dutch Hindustanis in the Netherlands are one of the most assimilated, socially integrated and upwardly mobile minority diaspora groups in the Netherlands. The group also remains the repository of the early vestiges of Hindi film music as well as traditional music from the Northern Indian plains, thereby making it a fascinating case study for cultural preservation. This paper undertakes to take a close look at the modes and methods employed by the Dutch Hindustanis to preserve their musical heritage and argues that it has emerged as one of the primary nodes of diasporic identity formation for the group. Roshni Sengupta is Associate Professor, School of Modern Media, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun, India.

Preservation of culture through music

“The primary aim of musicians like Prewien Pandohi-Mishre and heritage enthusiasts like Mahesvari Autar have remained the preservation of the community’s musical heritage as an attempt towards homemaking. 

Rotterdam, where they both come from, is home to two music schools – the Stichting Kunstzinnige Vorming Rotterdam (SKVR) and the Rotterdam Conservatory, now known as the Codarts Rotterdam – University of the Arts. Both schools had courses on Indian classical music and eventually when SKVR did not have a teacher anymore to teach Indian music, 

Pandohi-Mishre stepped in. ‘I wanted the next generation of Hindustanis to have the opportunities I had to learn Indian music’, he reminisces. He now runs his own music school named Rasique (meaning an admirer of the arts and originating from the Sanksrit ‘rasika’) which teaches Indian classical music to young Dutch Hindustanis with a clear objective – the preservation of a musical heritage that connects the community to a larger transnational Universe.”

Read the article here

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