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Mukund Lath
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Mukund Lath
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Pandit Jasraj
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Dr. Mukund Lath is a thinker, scholar and cultural historian who has worked and written on various aspects of Indian music, theatre, dance and aesthetics, as well as history and philosophy. His work aims at an independent and inclusive approach assimilating disciplines and aspects into a single vision.

Born on the 9th of October, 1937, in Calcutta, Dr. Lath did a Senior Cambridge and moved on to do a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Delhi. Later he did an M.A in Sanskrit from Jadavpur University and took up work on Dattilam, an ancient text on Indian music at the Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation, West Berlin. The text led him to an in-depth exploration of ancient Indian thinking on music and into the lineaments of the early sacred form, the Gandharva. Coming back to India with the work, he made it the basis for obtaining a PhD in Sanskrit from the University of Delhi. He joined the Department of History and Indian Culture, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, in 1973, retiring in 1997. Lath has had a penchant for classical music from an early age and has intensively pursued the art, training mainly under Pandit Jasraj, with whom he spent years on concert tours.

Dr. Lath has published many books and articles both in English and Hindi. His research on the Dattilam resulted in A Study of Datilam, also published (in a shorter version) by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Other insightful writings on Indian music, theatre, dance and its cultural milieu include, Transformation as Creation (1998), Sangita evam Chintan (a unique attempt at relating music to conceptual thought). His Hindi Padavali of Namdev (written in co-authorship with Professor Winand Callaewart) is a leading text-critical study in which the earliest text of the saint-poet is shown to be intimately connected with a well-organized singing tradition. Lath has also worked at the nature of autobiographical writing in India through his acclaimed Ardhakathanaka: Half a Tale, a unique and surprisingly self-reflective and self-critical autobiography in Hindi of a 17th century Jain merchant and spiritual thinker. Besides these works Lath has written two works (in Hindi) on the nature and problems of human action: Dharma-Sankat (concerning the centrality of dilemma in human action), followed by Karma-Chetana Ke Ayam (aspects and dimensions of the will or the acting consciousness). His latest work, published in 2009, Kya Hai? Kya Nahin Hai? is a creative attempt at a philosophical dialogue concerning the central question of ‘what really exits’. Unlike other such works, there is no attempt here at using the dialogue form for imposing a single point of view. Lath has also two collection of poems recreated from the ancient Sanskrit and Prakrit into Hindi verse: Svikarana and Tir rahi Van ki Gandh.

In 2000 Dr. Lath was awarded the prestigious Shankar Puraskar for his Sangeet evam Chintan, a work awarded again in 2003 by the Madhya Pradesh Rashtrabhasha Prachar Samiti with the Naresh Mehta Vangmaya Puraskar. In 2008, The Sangeet Natak Akademi awarded Lath for his contribution to scholarships on Sangeet. In 2010 he has been awarded a Padmashree by the Government of India for his contribution to the field of Art. This year (2012) he has been awarded The Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow (Akademi Ratna) for Field Of Art.
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