The Evolution of Hindustani Classical Music in Pakistan Since 1947

The 1947 partition of British India on religious lines significantly impacted Hindustani classical music in the parts of the colony that became modern Pakistan. There is a consensus that, since the creation of the country, Hindustani classical music has declined in Pakistan. Various reasons for this decline have been theorised: the contested status of music in Islam, Pakistan’s search for a national identity distinct from India's, and the loss of patronage. In this paper, I trace the evolution of music in Pakistan since 1947, focusing mainly on the adaptive strategies employed by gharana musicians to continue performing within the new societal constraints. These adaptations include focusing on the less problematic genre of ghazal rather than khayal and fusing elements of Western pop into local styles (as exemplified by Coke Studio).

Kabir Altaf
EPW Engage