DEEWAANA (the mad one) : the lover of music

Tejaswini NIRANJANA*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The notion of deewaanapan or madness (as in being crazy about something) is deployed in this essay to make sense of musicophiliac behaviour in twentieth century Mumbai. I argue that new insights into the formation of ‘publics’ in the non-western metropolis can be gained through a focus on phenomena that embody ‘social subjectivity’. A major phenomenon of this kind is the devotion to Hindustani or North Indian classical music which spread through Mumbai starting from the late nineteenth century. The affective response of musicophiliacs is forged not in solitude but in a space of sociality. This idea also encompasses the actual performance of the khayal genre which became prominent in the twentieth century. The khayal represented a sense of intimacy and interiority which also needs to be understood as ‘social’ and ‘public’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-777
Number of pages29
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number5
Early online date19 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Hindustani music
  • interiority
  • Mumbai
  • Musicophilia
  • sociality
  • subjectivity


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