S. K. Saxena

Born in 1921 in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Sushil Kumar Saxena is a noted philosopher of art who has distinguished himself as a writer on Hindustani music and Kathak dance. From 1948 to 1986, when he retired as Professor, Shri Saxena taught philosophy at the University of Delhi, focusing on the study of aesthetics for most of his academic career. Once a music critic with the Hindustan Times, he is known also as an expert interlocutor who has engaged performing artists in extended conversations on their art, recorded in archives of music and dance. An illuminating speaker on these arts, he has made a mark as a creator of new compositions for Kathak dance. After he left his university in 1986, Dr Saxena has worked ceaselessly on research projects on Hindustani music and Kathak dance. He has published his work in philosophical journals such as Diogene, the British Journal of Aesthetics, Kant Studien, Il Veltro, and Philosophy East and West. In India, his articles have appeared in Marg, the Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research, the Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Sruti, and Sangeet Natak — to which his contributions have been the most copious. His pioneering books on aesthetics of Indian music and dance include The Winged Form: Aesthetical Essays on Hindustani Rhythm (1979), Swinging Syllables: Aesthetics of Kathak Dance (1991, reprint 2006) — both published by Sangeet Natak Akademi — Art and Philosophy: Seven Aestheticians (1994), and Hindustani Sangeet and a Philosopher of Art (2001). Shri Saxena’s latest aesthetical work, ‘Hindustani Music and Aesthetics Today’, is currently under publication by Sangeet Natak Akademi. Shri Saxena has been honoured by various institutions for his scholarly contributions in the performing arts. The Sahitya Kala Parishad of Delhi conferred on him its Samman for 1995- 96, and Sangeet Natak Akademi bestowed on him its Award for scholarship in the performing arts in 2004. He has been selected for the state honour Padma Bhushan in 2008 for his contribution to the arts. For his dedicated service to India’s music and dance over a lifetime as a philosopher and writer, Shri Sushil Kumar Saxena is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi.