"SO In October 1959, India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru had this to say on western music in India:
"In India, we have been rightly encouraging all branches of Indian music. Unfortunately, however, Western music tends rather to fade out from our ken. Perhaps, only two cities of Calcutta and Bombay are votaries of Western music to be found in any considerable numbers. I think that it is desirable and even necessary for Western music to have a definite place in India. Not only would this be an encouragement of some of the highest developments in music, but it would be helpful, I think, in its reactions on Indian music."
Nehru's words were expressed on the occasion of the visit of the Czech Philharmonic to India.
Western classical music is not new to South Asia. Since the nineteenth century, the cities of the region have been exposed to ideas from afar, including musical and theatrical influences, that have impacted the creative arts and seen expression in musical and drama performance, as well as in film where there is a very rich amalgam of East and West. At the same time, the rich indigenous musical traditions of the region live on and find expression in the daily lives of the people of all eight countries.
It is our hope that the Symphony Orchestra of South Asia will include repertoire from the region in its performances, in addition to the classical orchestral music of Western composers.
Here are some links that we have curated that give expression to the musical talent of South Asia:
vanraj_bhatia_–_serenade_🔊.pdf -the virtuosity of Vanraj Bhatia, Indian composer
in_pictures__afghanistans_musical_journey_|_|_al_jazeera_🔊.pdf Afghanistan is seeing a musical renaissance despite the ongoing civil war
‘art_langar’_—_the_alternative_narrative_-_daily_times.pdf The music of Pakistan