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Critical engagement with traditions of song-texts in India remains a largely unexplored domain in academia. 'Shabd Aur Sangeet :Unravelling Song-Texts in the Indian Situation' (Jan 21-22, 2017) an international conference organised by the Centre for South Asia at FLAME University and conceived by renowned exponents Shubha Mudgal, Dr. Aneesh Pradhan and Prof. Kunal Ray was an attempt to address the lacunae and invite discussion and debate from various disciplines.

A song is much more than a mere combination of sounds or musicality. It is a cultural document which reveals a great deal about the histories of the people and societies that produced them. Various panels at the conference including film song-texts, song-text in folk and other arts, song-texts in the tradition of Hindustani classical music, protest song-texts, song-texts in Ghazal and devotional song-texts examined shabd aur sangeet from diverse perspectives to suit the broadly themed conference.

The conference began with a stimulating keynote address by Javed Akhtar. Other guest speakers included Dr. Sumangala Damodaran, Yatindra Mishra, Pt. Satyasheel Deshpande, Dr. Shruti Sadolikar Katkar, and Dr. Jack Hawley who dealt with subjects as wide ranging as protest through IPTA song-texts to the Hindi film songs of Lata Mangeshkar to song-texts written and composed by Indian classical musicians to portraits of Surdas and their implications for the study of his poetry. Besides, the conference also witnessed participation of delegates from as far as Trinidad and Tobago and numerous reputed institutions nationally and abroad. Prof. Sameer Dublay's performance ensured that in the midst of academic conversation, the performative aspects of the song-texts were not lost.

The event, praised greatly by all present, created discourse in fields of study where it was previously absent, and has hopefully been a catalyst for further enquiry.