Misnomer of Indian Classical music / Hindustani Classical music : शास्त्रीय or अभिजात ?

This article is intended to explore the misnomer used in Indian languages to the Indian Classical music or Hindustani Classical Music.

The Indian Classical music is translated as Shastriya Sangeet ( शास्त्रीय संगीत ) in Indian languages. This is a misnomer and doesn’t go in tune with what is implied. Classical in true translation means Abhijaat ( अभिजात ) .  I am not sure how and when the word “Shastriya” stuck to the Indian Classical Music. If one were to translate it correctly , the term “Abhijaat” would fit aptly. The Indian Classical Music needs to be called “Indian Abhijaat Sangit” ( अभिजात संगीत ) and not “Shastriya Sangit” ( शास्त्रीय संगीत) which is the prevalent translation of Indian Classical Music.

The word Shastriya ( शास्त्रीय ) refers to Scientific . It is a form of science.

The word Classical refers to Abhijaat ( अभिजात) . It is a form of art.

The crux here is to define if the Indian Classical Music is an art form or a science form. In my opinion , it is an art form based on the science of human auditory perception. The notes and shrutis , their periodic repetitiveness appreciated by human ear is the basis of this musical art. Even the taals (rhythm patterns) of Indian Classical Music are based on the natural “Lub-dub” of human heart.

So , in conclusion , The art of Indian Classical Music needs to be labeled as Abhijaat Sangit ( अभिजात संगीत )  though the science behind it might be labeled as Shastriya Sangeet ( शास्त्रीय संगीत  )

To add further , one reason why most people (irrespective of knowledge of music) , tend to like and appreciate classical music performances could be because this art is based on the scientific principles of human anatomy , physiology, perception and psychology.

I am sure this topic needs a larger diversified discussion. The misnomer is however blatant.


About Prasad Bhave

Clinical Scientist / Healthcare Informatics Consultant
This entry was posted in अभिजात संगीत, शास्त्रीय संगीत, Classical Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Indian Classical Music, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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