The first week of June this year saw four days of celebration in the United Kingdom as a culmination of festivities that marked the Platinum Jubilee or 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II as the British monarch. Several Indians in the United Kingdom participated in the celebration and Bollywood music and dance played an important part of their offerings on this occasion.
But history informs us that this was not the first time that musical offerings were made by Indians to celebrate a British monarch’s long years of service. In fact, a special music concert was held in Mumbai back on February 15, 1887, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne of England.
The programme was organised under the aegis of the Parsi Gayan Uttejak Mandali, probably the first formal music club to have been established in the city. It had been set up in 1870 to popularise the learning and performance of Hindustani music among Parsi families.
During this period, nascent national consciousness among most of the intellectual elite including social reformers, with a few exceptions, was tempered by an overriding belief…