The next time you visit Delhi University’s Indraprastha College for Women in Civil Lines, you can sit in a room and engage in the solitary pursuit of listening to rare musical recordings. The college — the oldest women’s institute in the university — will, on Friday, inaugurate Music Archives and Listening Room (MALR), which aims to revive the ‘Baithak’ culture that has been vanishing slowly.
A brainchild of the college principal, Babli Moitra Saraf, the MALR is an unique centre where youngsters will be made aware of the nuances of music, especially Hindustani classical. “Our country has a rich musical heritage and we cannot just let it go into oblivion. So MALR is a dedicated centre where rare recordings have been digitised for the informed and those appreciating the art form to learn and enjoy it,” said Saraf.
Kanav Gupta, a teacher in the Department of English, has helped Saraf in the project by identifying donors — mostly music lovers and practitioners who have given their recordings in different embodiment and manifestations. An elaborate catalogue of the digitised music has been maintained and students can sit and listen to them in the listening room, which can accommodate at least 25 people. There is also a studio and a recording room at MALR. The centre also plans to translate musical treatise, which are available in other Indian languages.
“Places like Doordarshan do archive the music but we wanted to make something which is readily available and accessible to the public. If the contemporary artists want to use the space for recordings that can also be done. Their interviews can be recorded and then further digitised,” Saraf said. From time to time, the centre will also hold lecture demonstration for students of the college so that they can understand the rich legacy of music. “We will also start a music appreciation course, which will be of 10-hour duration,” the principal said. The centre will remain open on all days except Tuesday and Sunday. The centre, however, will be open at different times on each day. MALR is a second unique project started at IP College. In 2015, the college had started the Museum Archive and Learning Resource Centre.