Mukund Lath

Born in Calcutta in 1937, Shri Mukund Lath is a leading thinker in cultural history whose explorations of ancient music, dance, and theatre have enriched our understanding of India’s performing past. Shri Lath took his Master's degree in Sanskrit from Jadavpur University, Calcutta, in 1965 and was awarded a Ph.D. for his study of Dattilam by the University of Delhi in 1976. At the same time, he studied music under Pandit Maniram, Ramesh Chakravarti, and, more intensively, under Pandit Jasraj. Between 1966 and 1968, he worked as a researcher in the Indian Section of the International Institute of Comparative Music Studies and Documentation, West Berlin, under the direction of Alain Danielou. He joined the Department of History and Indian Culture in the University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, in 1973, and has taught there for the greater part of his teaching career. Over this period, Shri Mukund Lath has researched deeply into aspects of music and musical culture, producing a varied body of work that includes translations and commentaries on classics, essays in musical thought, and explorations of past usage extending into present-day practice – not in music alone but in the wider realm of natya. Through his teaching at university, public lectures, presentations and interventions in learned assemblies, and not least his literary work, he has made a seminal contribution in the field. His publications on the performing arts include A Study of Dattilam: A Treatise on the Sacred Music of Ancient India (1978), Sangita evam Chintan (1992), and Transformation as Creation (1998), a collection of essays on Indian music, dance, theatre, and cinema. Sangeet aur Sanskriti: Sangeet, Nritta, Natya par Vimarsh-Lekh Sangraha is due to be published by Sangeet Natak Akademi. Increasingly, his thoughts have turned to philosophical questions, resulting in works such as Dharma-sankat and Karma-Chetana ke Ayam. Shri Lath has taught and lectured at several universities besides Rajasthan – at Oxford, Leuven in Belgium, Bamberg in Germany, and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Since 1995, he has been working to capture the history of thinking about the arts in India as a participant in the Project for the History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture. Shri Mukund Lath is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi for his contribution to scholarship in Indian music and the performing arts.