Amlan Dasgupta

Prof. Amlan Dasgupta speaks about himself

I have taught English literature for nearly 25 years now, mainly at the universities of Calcutta and Jadavpur. My M.Phil (at Balliol College, Oxford) was on Renaissance English literature, specializing in Milton’s theological reading. I went on to do a PhD (at Jadavpur University) after some years of teaching  in Kolkata, again on a theological issue in Milton. Subsequently, I have worked in other areas too, such as classical European thought: I run courses in classical Latin and Biblical Greek in my Department. My publications in my professional field include editions of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Aristotle’s Poetics; an edited collection of essays on Renaissance literature; translation of Bengali fiction into English. I have also published articles in scholarly journals in these, and other, fields. I have held visiting positions at Pune University, Universiti Malaya at  Kuala Lumpur and at Delhi University.

My interest in music is over three decades old, and I have been in contact over this time with nearly all the major collectors of music in Kolkata and some in other parts of India and elsewhere too. I have been writing and lecturing on music history and problems of music preservation for over a decade now, and a main theme of these efforts has been to communicate my sense of how seriously endangered musical records are, and how quickly existing material is disappearing. Even though there are many institutions offering degrees in performative music and music theory, there is little presence of music in cultural history courses. A few years ago I designed on request an MPhil course entitled Music and Modernity for Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A seminar paper on early gramophone records has been translated and published in Marathi and Bengali.

When in 2005, the School of Cultural Texts and Records offered me a chance of setting up a music archive, I took this opportunity to initiate dialogue with collectors, and I was deeply gratified to see its results. I have built up a large collection of North Indian Classical Music at the Archive which is now open for consultation. We have recently received a grant from the British Library under its Endangered Archives Project to continue and strengthen this work.

I expect to continue to work for the preservation of all kinds of music and the integration of music studies in cultural history programmes.