Who stole the song ?: politics of interpretation and the consumption of 'locality' in Indian marginalized space
Paper short abstract:
The paper attempts to examine Manganiyar's (the Muslim Musician Caste) ways of negotiation with modernity, namely the ways of representing their 'traditional culture', institutionalizing the cultural contents, appropriating the discourses of 'western' exoticism.
Paper long abstract:
The Manganiyars, the Muslim musical group scattering around Thar Desert of North-West India, have been experiencing unprecedented transformation of their life-style, social order and the environment of their life world over these three decades. Though they are Muslims, they had been embedded in caste dominated society as kamin or kisbi which implies the social group engaging in ritual services for their patrons, such as Hindu dominant castes. With the waves of modernization and the flourishing of tourism in nearby town areas, the Manganiyrs came to be viewed as exotic 'folk musicians' of 'folk artists', and they themselves began to reject their 'traditional' roles, and accept tourists or musical directors as new patrons. Taking the above situation into consideration, this presentation attempts to examine Manganiyars' ways of negotiation with modernity, namely the ways of representing their 'traditional culture', institutionalizing the cultural contents, appropriating the discourses of 'western' exoticism, and so on. To shed lights on these negotiative spheres, I will concentrate on the transitional processes of the lyrics of specific songs, which suggest the important diverging points of the musical group's tactics to survive in the world where market principles are at work. In addition, the diversity of ways that the people interpret the contexts of the songs will be shown. By doing so, I will try to reveal the 'reflexive mode of locality', which can be created in the arena of continuous assertion of multiple subjects over the question, 'what is Manganiyar ?'.
The transformation of South Asian performing arts in the age of globalization: an anthropological analysis