“A defining period in Montessori’s outlook”: Letters from India

Maria Montessori Writes to Her Grandchildren

In October 1939, while the “storm of war was gathering in Europe”, Maria and Mario Montessori set off to India to deliver a training course and lecture tour. When Italy became involved in the war, the British rule of India did not give the Montessoris permission to leave; they were to spend close to seven years in India, which would become a defining period in Montessori’s outlook on life and education.

The letters Montessori wrote to her four teenage grandchildren in Holland give a completely new, private insight into that compellingly interesting period. We see a woman who is deeply connected to her family and friends. We also see her strong commitment to bringing progress and fighting illiteracy in India, which grew into an enduring love for the country and its people. Montessori’s colourful descriptions of her journey and life in India, her worries about her grandchildren in war-torn Europe, and her son’s imprisonment make a fascinating read.

Source: Maria Montessori Writes to Her Grandchildren (Association Montessori Internationale Montessori 150 © 2021)
https://montessori150.org/maria-montessori/montessori-books/maria-montessori-writes-her-grandchildren
Date Visited: 12 July 2021

Italian currency bill 3 October 1990

Tagore’s devotion to the ideal of a world without cruel, irrational discrimination – Unesco

Rabindranath Tagore sketched by Martin Monickendam (Amsterdam lecture, 23 September 1920)

Rabindranath Tagore: a universal voice

Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher, educator, novelist, poet and painter, is without challenge one of the greatest and most noble figures of modern times. Not only was he awarded the rare honour of the Nobel Prize for Literature, but he also won the distinction far more rare, less spectacular but much more significant, of having his works translated into different languages by writers of equal glory, Nobel Prize winners in their own right, such as André Gide in French and Juan Ramon Jimenez in Spanish.

India today does not celebrate merely the thinker and writer. Above all, India reveres Tagore’s generous, universal soul, open to the problems not only of his own land but of the world, the son of the Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, who had been one of the guiding spirits of the Brahma-Samaj. For one of his greatest works, the monumental novel Gora, Rabindranath was to choose as theme the trials and problems of this movement. It is not merely by chance that Unesco, among its many undertakings towards the celebration of Tagore’s Centenary, has decided to publish the first French translation of this very novel. For in this book the poet stresses with great fervour and by moving scenes depicted with all his skill as a writer, his zealous devotion to the ideal of a casteless world, a world without cruel, irrational discrimination between one human being and his fellow men. […]

Writing days after Tagore’s death in August 1941, Jawaharlal Nehru said : “Both Gurudev and Gandhlji took much from the West and from other countries, especially Gurudev. Neither was narrowly national. Their message was for the world.” Tagore was in truth a living link between East and West. And so he willed it. His entire life he fought against narrow distrust of foreign cultures. He had faith in the fruitfulness of cultural intercourse and friendship. With this message he was and remains a Guru to Unesco, and it is both fitting and imperative that Unesco’s homage to Tagore should join that of the rest of mankind.

Vittorino Veronese

Message from the Director-General of Unesco, to the Tagore Centenary celebrations in Bombay in January [1961] >>

Read this issue. Download the PDF >>

Date accessed: 3 September 2021

Listen to Tagore: Unlocking Cages: Sunil Khilnani tells the story of the Bengali writer and thinker Rabindranath Tagore: https://bbc.in/1KVh4Cf >>
The acclaimed BBC 4 podcast series titled Incarnations: India in 50 Lives has also been published in book form (Allen Lane).

“I was moved by how many of these lives pose challenges to the Indian present,” he writes, “and remind us of future possibilities that are in danger of being closed off.” – Sunil Khilnani quoted in a review by William Dalrymple in The Guardian (14 March 2016)

Why Carnatic Music Matters More Than Ever

by Ludwig Pesch

Published by Shankar Ramchandran on behalf of Dhvani Ohio | Read or download the full article (PDF, 800 KB, updated 19 June 2021):

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License

Sruti Magazine (October 2018)
Learn more on carnaticstudent.org:
A brief introduction to Carnatic music >>

For this musicologist and author, there are good reasons to believe that Carnatic music matters, perhaps more than ever and almost anywhere in the world. So why not perform and teach it in the service of better education for all, for ecological awareness or in order to promote mutual respect in spite of all our differences? And in the process, get “invigorated and better equipped to tackle the larger issues at hand”.

Related post

What makes one refer to Carnatic music as “classical or art music”? | Carnaticstudent.org >>

Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training

“Thinking and learning in South Indian Music” by Ludwig Pesch, chapter 4 in:

Markus Cslovjecsek, Madeleine Zulauf (eds.)
Integrated Music Education – Challenges of Teaching and Teacher Training
Peter Lang Publishers, Bern, 2018. 418 pp., 29 fig. b/w, 2 tables
MOUSIKÆ PAIDEIA Music and Education/Musik und Bildung/Musique et Pédagogie. Vol. 1 pb.
ISBN 978-3-0343-0388-0

This book was presented  during the 33rd ISME World Conference for Music Education (isme2018.org) on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

About this book

Schools are generally oriented towards discipline-based programmes and therefore students often accumulate fragmented knowledge, disconnected from real life concerns. The eighteen contributors to this work suggest that music offers a highway to developing a more appropriate integrated education. They present a range of views on Integrated Music Education rooted in various cultural traditions, based on several interdisciplinary models and integrated arts curricula, inspired by psychological concepts and referenced to recent teaching experiments as well as original research.

In this innovative book, the reader is invited to go beyond the dichotomy between ‘education in music’ and ‘education through music’, exploring the opportunities put forward by Integrated Music Education thanks to a constant movement from the theoretical roots through a precise description of teaching activities to the benefits for students in terms of integration of knowledge, personal development, and social and cultural belonging. Lastly, there are some new and interesting ideas for training teachers.

https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/34993
Art: Arun VC (Wayanad, Kerala)
Illustration from
Vaitari: A musical picture book from Kerala
Audio file: Lakshmi and Marma talas combined in an original rendition by Thrikkamburam Krishnan Marar, a hereditary temple musician in Kerala. Recording location: Natanakairali Irinjalakuda; described in the present publication:
Vaitari: Syllable-based rhythm exercise from Kerala by Ludwig Pesch (pp. 290-4), Ch. “Activities Which Explore Links between Music and One Other Subject”

Video | Everyone deserves to play music – BBC & #IAmMySong

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-56734767

A Cookstown teenager has teamed up with the Afghan Women’s Orchestra to star in a music video aimed at peace-building and supporting women’s rights.
Cara Monaghan will perform on the song Gham Be Haya with Afghanistan’s first women’s orchestra – also known as Ensemble Zohra – as part of a partnership with local charity Beyond Skin, funded by the Community Relations Council.
Since recording the song, the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan has banned girls older than 12 from singing in public arenas.
The campaign #IAmMySong has been launched to reverse this decision.

Source: BBC News 13 April 2021
URL: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-northern-ireland-56734767
Date visited: 29 April 2021

In true music there is no place for communal differences and hostility. True music is created only when life is attuned to a single tune and a single time beat. Music is born only where the strings of the heart are not out of tune.

Mahatma Gandhi – A unique musician” by Namrata Mishra >>

Audio | Homage to Max Mueller: cultural programmes & seminar

A radio programme by Christoph Hahn with German introductions and explanations © 2000 Bayerischer Rundfunk

Excerpts from live programmes and report (click Download >View to listen/read)

Sruti Magazine (India’s premier music and dance magazine, PDF 560 KB):

Excerpt

1974 stamp of India © Wikipedia

Max Mueller Bhavan (German Cultural Institute) in Chennai organised a clutch of cultural programmes and a seminar during 28-30 November 2000 to mark the death centenary of Max Mueller, a great Indologist. Born in 1823, Mueller died when he was 77.

Mueller is remembered for stimulating widespread interest in Indology, mythology, philosophy, comparative religion, linguistics and social criticism. The special cultural relations between India and Germany are largely attributed to his works.

Mueller never visited India. But, had he come to India, he would likely have sought the company of musicians and scholars in the field of the performing arts, considering that he wanted to become a musician and belonged to a family that considered music and poetry a way of life. His first love was indeed music which he would have taken up as a profession but for the unfavourable climate for such a pursuit in his days.

The famous Indologist is best known all over the world for the publication of the Sacred Books of the East (51 volumes), amongst several other works. He was an ardent promoter of Indian independence and cultural self-assertion.

Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, entrusted Ludwig Pesch, a German who has spent years learning and studying Carnatic music, with the task of planning a befitting programme of tribute in Chennai in the wider context of a major German festival under way in India. Hundreds of German artists and scholars are presently touring India but Pesch was to help mount a celebration of a different kind- primarily with and for South Indian participants.

Dr. Eleonore Rahimi (Institutsleiterin, Max Mueller Bhavan Chennai) & Ludwig Pesch

Ludwig Pesch felt that this presented him with an opportunity to highlight the manner in which Max Mueller would have wanted the manifestations and contributions of other civilizations to be recognised, and to explore cultural achievements connecting people from different periods and places. In the event, he sought and secured the cooperation of several renowned performers and scholars, and the students of Brhaddhvani, to be Max Mueller’s guides on ‘a cultural tour’ of South India.

The celebrations began with an invocation and ended with a Musical Journey, both presented by Brhaddhvani’s students.

The morning and afternoon sessions organised at the Max Mueller Bhavan consisted of lecture demonstrations by the artists of four public programmes held at the MMB and at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium.

There were also lectures and lecdems by several eminent scholars in accordance with their chosen fields of specialisation: Dr. K.V. Ramesh (Patronage in South Indian Performing Arts: Evidence from Epigraphical Records); Dr. Premeela Gurumurthy (Harikatha Kalakshepam: A popular multicultural art in the 19th and early 20th centuries); Nirmala Paniker with her daughter and disciple, Kapila (Mohini Attam: About the research conducted at Natanakairali); P. Nanda Kumar (Dance music in Kerala: edakka with mizhavu players of the Natanakairali ensemble); Dr. Prema Nandakumar (References to South Indian Performing arts in early literature); Dr. V.V. Srivatsa (Language in Indian Art); Vidya Shankar (Sanskrit and Music); Rajkumar Bharathi (Bharatiyar’s contribution to the South Indian music repertoire); T.R. Sundaresan with Pakala Ramdas (The beauty of Yati patterns); S. Rajam with disciples and T.R. Sundaresan (Max Mueller’s great musical contemporaries in different parts of South India: Parameswara Bhagavatar, Patnam Subramania Iyer, Ponniah Pillai, Vedanayakam Pillai, and Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar).

Considering that theatre was the original performing art which also comprised dance and music to varying degrees, the first day was entirely devoted to theatre and Harikatha. The second was devoted to dance, and the third to music to reflect the evolution of these arts in their own right.

G. Venu, Founder-Director, Natanakairali (Irinjalakuda) gave the opening lecture-demonstration titled ‘Koodiyattam, the Sanskrit theatre of Kerala: Research, training and presentation in the tradition of Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar’. The story of this small, but famous cultural centre is fascinating and unique in having quietly worked with minimum resources, but successfully so, for the revival of Kerala’s traditional performance traditions over a period of 25 years, this being the silver jubilee.

Source: HOMAGE TO MAX MUELLER IN CHENNAI: PRESENTATIONS OF MUSIC, DANCE & DRAMA
Sruti, India’s premier music and dance magazine – Issue 197, February 2001
https://www.sruti.com/febmar01/febn&n2.html17.10.2001

Learn more: Max Mueller (Wikipedia) >>

A Theatre for All: Sittrarangam (The small theatre Madras) – Free Download

A Theatre for All Sittrarangam—the small theatre Madras by Ludwig Pesch with a Foreword by Himanshu Burte

Download the epub-version for offline reading, printing or getting read out on the Archive.org website >>

eka.grata publications © Amsterdam 2002 (print version), 2016 (ebook versions)

Digital edition © Ludwig Pesch 2016 based on the 2nd revised edition 2002This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

Beautifully and very imaginatively conceived. India needs theatres of this kind in every village.

Goverdhan Panchal, Emeritus Instructor of Scene Design at the National School of Drama and author of books and articles on traditional Indian theatre

Project website
https://www.natyasala.mimemo.net/Natyasala/Small_theatre.html

Sittrarangam is discussed in the chapter on Indian theatre architecture together with Kalakshetra and Kerala Kalamandalam in:
The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre edited by Ananda Lal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 18-19
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/470139309

New CD – Classical instrumental and vocal music from North and South India

The CD consist of two live concerts, one is vichitra veena from Dr Mustafa RASA, and my live concert in Carnatic music at the Vilnius University Theatre performed 2018 featuring Raga Abohi. The CD is also available in digital form in this link.

INDIA IN MUSIC. Dr. Mustafa Raza + / Manickam Yogeswaran +
KUKŪ Records SMF 6-005, 2020
Unique CD recorded and realized in Lithuania with mega stars of India – Dr. Mustafa Raza + from North India playing vichitra veena and owner of golden voice of South carnatic – Manickam Yogeswaran +
12 pages comprehensive booklet in English included.

True happiness according to Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore sketched by Dutch artist Martin Monnickendam during a lecture tour in September 1920 © Stadsarchief Amsterdam

True happiness is not at all expensive. It depends upon that natural spring of beauty and of life, harmony of relationship. Ambition pursues its own path of self-seeking by breaking this bond of harmony, digging gaps, creating dissension. Selfish ambition feels no hesitation in trampling under foot the whole harvest field, which is for all, in order to snatch away in haste that portion which it craves. Being wasteful it remans disruptive of social life and the greatest enemy of civilization. | Read the full lecture >>

Source: Rabindranath Tagore in “Robbery of the soil” (Calcutta University, 1922), posted by Tony Mitra on a blog “Exploring citizens duty on food security, environmental sustainability, covid and freedom issues” (27 September 2015)
https://www.tonu.org/tag/robbery-of-the-soil/
Date visited: 12 January 2021

“We have a natural ability to both learn and teach”: Interview with Sanjay Sarma – cbc.ca

Human beings are very unique in the sense that we are learning animals. We have a natural ability to both learn and teach, and that is called parenting. And being a child, the system of education is relatively recent, where you sit people down in classrooms and, you know, systematically teach them. But what’s happened is that in doing that, we’ve lost the thread a little bit because in fact, the human mind works on curiosity, works on building a model of the world. It needs a lot of love and attention. And parents know how to do that, but we sort of ignored it.

Listen to Quirks and Quarks or read the interview here:

An online learning expert explains how the COVID crisis might help change education for the better >>