Congratulations to COSAS Member and Associate Professor of Music and the Humanities Anna Schultz on her chapter “Cosmaharaja: Popular Songs of Socialist Cosmopolitanism in Cold War India,” in the book Sound Alignments: Popular Music in Asia’s Cold Wars. In Sound Alignments, a transnational group of scholars explores the myriad forms of popular music that circulated across Asia during the Cold War.
Professor Schultz’s chapter asks how the power of personality, bolstered by music and religion, performed political work that eluded middle class nationalists in the period leading up to and during South Asia’s Cold War. Professor Schultz explores the margins of the Cold War through the work of Sant Tukdoji Maharaj (1909-1968), a rural Indian singer-saint whose influence was local, national, and international. Tukdoji was many things to many people: a devotional singer, a Gandhian, a champion of progressive land reform, an international spokesperson for World Peace, and a supporter of nuclear defense at the Chinese and Pakistani fronts. These seemingly unreconcilable tensions in Tukdoji’s oeuvre mirror the ambivalences of a “cold” war marked by “hot” antagonisms, even as they reveal the struggle of a rural devotional singer translating between disparate worldviews.
Sound Alignments: Popular Music in Asia’s Cold Wars can be purchased here.