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The Harmonium

  And its checkered history in India It would surprise many readers that this musical instrument, so common to the music scene today, had such a troubled past. Born in France and further modified to meet Indian requirements at Calcutta, to be mass produced and sold in in the thousands, this humble hand powered instrument had a difficult history, to say the least. So many people have tried hard to erase it off the Indian musical scene, and persons of great repute have been credited in banning it from the AIR for all of 30 + years. John Fielden, John Foulds, Anand Coomaraswamy, Jawaharlal Nehru, Keskar, Rabindranath Tagore, etc. have all been named as the people behind the ban, while the instrument itself not only gained in popularity in the drama stages and music composing studios, but also ported instrumental music and accompaniment from the performing stages to many households. Not all details of the ‘anti harmonium’ movement have yet come to light. Though for all practical purposes,

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