A bit of south Indian history

A couple of book reviews from the latest Hindu book review section that I noted; one pertains to studies on fortification in South India, while the other deals with a bit of Indian music history, and both are, of course, strongly recommended.

Here is Kesavan Veluthat on Jean Deloche’s Studies on fortification in India:

Sumptuously produced, this volume brings together a few articles of Jean Deloche, largely on fortification in South India. Deloche’s studies are known for meticulous research, and this volume is no exception.

Forts and temples are among the more numerous and impressive public structures of historical India. While there is a considerable body of literature on the latter, fortification cries out for the attention of the scholar. The present volume is a contribution in this direction. In the words of Deloche it “barely indicates even the outline of such a history and has a far less ambitious aim.” Modesty apart, his success is immoderate.

All in all, the book is a solid contribution to a neglected area of scholarship in Indian history.

I am curious to know if the section on Mysore hill forts deals with those that are in the present day Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamilnadu (which, I hail from), like Kundani, Jagadevi, Denkanikota, and so on; as a matter of fact, both  the towns Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri themselves have their own forts.

T N Venkatasubramanian recommends Sreeni Nambirajan’s The mystic citadel of 22 srutis music:

The author has approached the subject of ancient music from an Indian perspective and has explored the Indian musicological literature in depth.

The entire exercise has emanated from the curiosity of how and why. Did the medieval musicologists fail to unlock the codes clamped on the “22 Sruti music” of the ancients?

In chapters I, II and IX, the author establishes the “Sadja-grama” format but is unable to locate mathematical models in vogue. Hence his quest for a scientific and mathematical rationale for our music. Chapter IV explains how only 22 simple fractions are mathematically feasible in an octave.

Chapters VI and VII bring out symmetry and consonance respectively. The author has done well in conceptualising a circular model by mapping the 22 Srutis (on the perimeter) and the seven-Svara spectrum (on the diameter axis).

This book is a valuable addition to music research on 22 Srutis and is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the theory of Indian music.

Sound interesting, if a bit complicated.

Take a look!

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