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October 2001 Issue
The Geographical Review
October 2001, Vol. 91 (4), pp. 690-701
Geography as Melody in Muttusvami Dikshita's Indian Musical Works
Chandra S. Balachandran and Surinder M. Bhardwaj
Keywords: cultural diffusion, Muttusvami Dikshita, India, music.
The life and works of Muttusvami Dikshita (1775-1834), a luminary of South Indian Karnatak classical music, abound in spatiocultural symbolisms of integration and harmony. Dikshita's peregrinations symbolize a cultural circuit of Hindu pilgrimage. His studies of North Indian Hindustani music at Varanasi (formerly Benares), and his transplantation of them throughout South India, make him an active agent of cultural diffusion, harmonizing cultural traditions through spatiosymbolic anchors. The religious expression of his musical genius, his songs, and his melodies contributed to linking linguistically and politically disparate regions of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century India. The works of Dikshita affirm India's cultural continuity and underscore its enduring cultural empathies and similarities.