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Gone in the Air

“My Name is Gauhar Jaan!” The Life and Times of a Musician, by Vikram Sampath (©2010) Rupa Publications, New Delhi, ISBN 8129116185 – In 1857, following the deposition of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the cities along the Ganges one by one slipped into the hands of the British East India Company and three hundred years of Mughal reign in the subcontinent ended. Shifts in fortune, power, patronage, and custom at the eye of the pyramid dripped down the walls of Indian society, north to south; new power structures were erected, and with them new technologies and customs emerged, new histories were written, and new fortunes were made, many of them sealed with blood. It was against this unutterably complex social transformation that a young girl named … [Read more...]