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By: Viram Jasani

Independence to Freedom

Pages: 394 Ratings:
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This is a story of migration from rural Gujarat to Nairobi, Kenya and the impact of the struggles for independence from British rule on a traditional Hindu Gujarati family, and finally to London in 1949.

Here, the family navigated a life in between two cultures maintaining and imbibing the best of both. Hemkunver lived a life of bhakti – devotion. Manilal, her husband, followed a life of engaging with the world but spiritually grounded in his love for Indian classical music and philosophy. These characteristics were passed on to the main protagonist Viram, who from a very early age fell in love with Indian classical music. His abilities and interests were varied though – so he did not mind playing his sitar with jazz, or playing with Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin or composing for films, TV and radio, whilst also developing a successful career in business. His desire to create awareness for one of the most sophisticated music systems of the world, led him to become an authority as a performer, advocate and producer of Indian music throughout the UK and Europe, creating around one hundred iconic events per year. He overcame the prejudice he faced from the British arts elite and jealous Indians by embarking on a journey into Vedantic philosophy to find his freedom.

Viram Jasani was born in Kenya in 1945. He came to England with his family in 1949. Growing up in London, the dilemmas, and conflicts of living in two cultures were all too apparent. However, he resolved these through his deep passion for Indian classical music and Vedantic philosophy. Viram became a leading authority on Indian music through his work as a performer, a powerful advocate and becoming the major producer of Indian music in the UK. He graduated from St Andrews University in 1967, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 1969. The author was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (FRSA) in 1993, winner of the Asian Voice Asian Achievers Award 2003, winner of the HSBC Indo-British Award in 2003 for promoting good relations between India and the UK, and awarded an Honorary doctorate from the University of York in 2007.

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