The British National Anthem  and the Nottusvara sahityas


Several folk tunes and band tunes arrived in India  in the 1700s along with the British East India Company. One of the tunes that transformed into a nottusvara sahitya in the hands of the composer Muthusvami Dikshitar is the British National Anthem - 'God Save the King'.The nottusvara sahitya version has  the following text.

santatam paahimaam
sangeeta shyamale
sarvaadhaare - janani
chitroopini shive
sriguruguha sevite
shiva mohaakaare

Listen to the composition

Muthusvami Dikshitar (1775-1835)  wrote lyrics in Sanskrit to many of the Western melodies that he came in contact with. Thus was born a new genre of music, known as nottuswara sahitya.  This new genre of music is both Indian and western and at the same time it is neither completely Indian nor completely western. It is unique and special. This genre of music represents a unique dimension of creativity and is also a pointer to the relatively unknown aspect of the cultural interaction between the East and the West in the 1800s.
Please follow this  link  to an earlier article on Dikshitar on Templenet.

Please also read a three part article summarizing the research presented by Kanniks Kannikeswaran on this topic at the Music Academy Madras.


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