The Vijaya Parrikar Library was launched in 2003 and my prefatory remarks at the time are reprised below:
Only a modest fraction of the recordings of India’s past classical masters has been published commercially. A large body of mehfil recordings lies out of public earshot, locked away in the vaults of private collectors or mothballed in the warrens of the Indian government bureaucracy, unavailable to the common rasika. These civilisational treasures ought not to be any individual’s fief. Even in the happy instance where a collector is willing to part with his kitty, there attends the familiar logjam: copyright and related legalese are a fact of contemporary life. It is, therefore, unlikely that these cultural documents will see the light of day anytime soon. Perhaps in the long run the troves will be pried open and their contents disbursed, but as John Maynard Keynes famously observed, “in the long run we are all dead.” The simple truth contained in Keynes’s utterance furnishes the imperative for this library. [Added: That was then. It is a different world now. Post-2013 there has been a stampede to upload private holdings to YouTube and other online platforms.]
The Library takes its name after my mother, Vijaya Parrikar, whose sacrifices and blessings made it possible for me to study and take delight in music, that “nourishing pasture of both the heart and mind” (quote adapted from Professor John A. Wheeler’s essay on Hermann Weyl).
The assets of the Vijaya Parrikar Library include excerpts of old recordings, most of them hard-to-find or unpublished. Many are documents of live performances and may not enjoy the kind of audio clarity obtained in a studio setting. I hope you will look beyond the uneven, fractured sound, the hiss and other imperfections in the audio quality. For structural and aesthetic considerations of the ragas featured here, refer to the resources of the Music Archive.
The Catalogue includes both Hindustani and Carnatic musicians. I shall look to Dr. V.N. Muthukumar and Dr. M.V. Ramana to provide direction to our Carnatic section.
Every effort has been made to acknowledge the original sources but it is not always possible to do so; in many instances the relevant metadata was never documented. If there is any missing credit for any item such as a photograph or a recording, and you have information about the original source, please let me know. I have scanned most of the photographs on this site myself. Unfortunately, photographer credits are seldom recorded in Indian publications. Any help in filling the missing blanks is welcome.
I thank Dr. Narasimha Bhat of Manipal for helping me put together this layout. The steadfast support of Romesh Aeri, Dr. Ashok Ambardar, and Dr. Ajay Nerurkar is deeply appreciated. Finally, I am grateful to Anita Thakur and Vijainder Thakur of the now defunct South Asian Women’s Forum (SAWF) site for hosting the Library on their site the first 7 years. It was Anita‘s initiative and persistence that gave life to this project.