MUSIC IN PUBLIC AND
Conferences, Institutions, and Agendas, 1916–1928
By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, music was taught in schools in addition to private homes. Musicians performed in public halls as well as in aristocratic drawing rooms. Bhatkhande had published his major works on music theory, and Paluskar’s two schools, in Lahore and Bombay, were well established. Furthermore, Paluskar’s students were well on their way to founding additional music schools modeled after the Bombay GMV in cities around the country. However, even more than schools and texts a new format, the All-India Music Conference, would convert music into a subject worthy of national attention, not in the manner in which Jones had spoken of it, but as part of a modern, anticolonial project.
In convening All-India Music Conferences (hereafter AIMC), Bhatkhande (and Paluskar) did not invent a new format as much as he adapted the principal mode of the Indian National Congress. Between 1916 and 1926, Bhatkhande and Paluskar each convened five music conferences. Bhatkhande’s first conference was restricted to musical experts, but at subsequent conferences, tickets were sold to the public daily and musicians’ performances at the close of the day’s discussions were held in large and crowded venues. Daily discussions about music tended to be quite technical, and in this new