Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication under the UGC – Special Assistance Program (SAP) on Visual Culture organized a talk by Dr. Shalini Ayyagari, an ethnomusicologist and Assistant Professor of Music at The University of Pittsburgh, USA, on ‘Small Voices Sing Big Songs: Music and the Development Imaginary in Western Rajasthan’.


In her lecture, Dr. Shalini talked about intersections of development, institutionalization, and community-building in contemporary regional music practice in western Rajasthan. She also explained the interplay between themes of tradition, preservation, and the contemporary, drawing on Development Studies and Subaltern Studies, in examining the social understandings of development among the Manganiyar, a community of hereditary professional musicians, in what she called “an imaginary of development.”

SAP was initiated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to facilitate excellence in selected number of University Departments that have some potential in research and teaching. The programme is intended to encourage the pursuit of excellence and teamwork in advanced teaching and research to accelerate the realization of international standards in specific fields.


Dr Shalini Ayyagari specializes in the music of South Asia. To date, her research has explored the connections between South Asian regional music, Subaltern Studies and post-colonialism, Borderland Studies, and Bollywood film music. Her current book project is a sociocultural history and musical ethnography of the Manganiyar, a community of hereditary musicians who have maintained music within a patronage system as their caste and livelihood for centuries.

by Kartheek B
Department of Communication

PC – Pranay Rupani