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The Spirit of Enquiry

 | Book Awards 2021 | English Non-fiction

The Spirit of Enquiry

Author: T.M. Krishna
Publisher: Penguin Random House India

Award Category: English Non-fiction
About the Book: 

As a vocalist in the Karnatik tradition, T.M. Krishna eludes standard analyses. Uncommon in his rendition of music and original in his interpretation of it, Krishna is at once strong and subtle, manifestly traditional and stunningly innovative. He is searingly outspoken about issues affecting the human condition. His work is spread across the whole spectrum of music and culture, politics and the social sphere; he is at once philosophical, aesthetic and sociopolitical, and asks important questions about how art is made, performed and disseminated. Unabashedly given to rethinking classical paradigms, he addresses crucial issues of caste, class and gender with nuance and openness.

For the first time, T.M. Krishna’s key writings have been put together in this extraordinary collection. The Spirit of Enquiry: Dissent as an Art Form draws from his rich body of work, thematically divided into five key sections: art and artistes; the nation state; the theatre of secularism; savage inequalities; and in memoriam. Revised and expanded, and with marvellous new additional materials and powerful new introductions, this is a collection that reflects the critical and cultural engagement of one of our finest thinkers, public intellectuals and practitioners of art.

About the Author: 

Thodur Madabusi Krishna is one of the pre-eminent vocalists in the rigorous Karnatik tradition of India's classical music. He has co-authored Voices Within Carnatic Music: Passing on an Inheritance, a book dedicated to the greats of Karnatik music. His path-breaking book A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story won the 2014 Tata Literature Award for Best First Book in the non-fiction category. His long-form essay 'MS Understood' for the Caravan was featured in The Caravan Book of Profiles. He is also the author of Reshaping Art and Sebastian and Sons: A Brief History of Mrdangam Makers, which received the 2020 TATA Literature Live! Book of the Year Award in the non-fiction category. In 2016, he received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in recognition of 'his forceful commitment as an artist and advocate to art's power to heal India's deep social divisions'. In 2017, he received the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for his services in promoting and preserving national integration in the country. In 2017, he has also received the Professor V. Aravindakshan Memorial Award for connecting Karnatik music with the common man.

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