Komal Kothari

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Komal Kothari
Born (1929-03-04)March 4, 1929
Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Died April 20, 2004(2004-04-20)
Nationality Indian

Komal Kothari (March 4, 1929 – April 20, 2004), commonly known as Komalda, was an Indian folklorist and ethnomusicologist from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. A pioneer in the study of Indian folklore, he is most known for his work on the folklore of Rajasthan and its links to Music of Rajasthan and its instruments. He founded the Rupayan Sansthan in the 1960, with Vijaydan Detha, an institute that documents Rajasthani folklore, arts and music.[1][2]


Kothari's research resulted in his development of the study of a number of areas of folklore. In particular, he made contributions to the study of musical instruments, oral traditions and puppetry.[3]

He was also a patron of Langa and Manganiyar folk music, the latter of which translates to 'beggars' and is currently used as a debasing term for Merasi. [4][citation needed] He was the first to record them and helped spread them out of their traditional regions.[5] To this end, he also founded the magazine 'Prerna'.

Kothari founded the Rupayan Sansthan with Vijaydan Detha at Borunda village in Rajasthan, an institute that documents Rajasthani folk-lore, arts and music, and spent most of his career at the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Academy. He died from cancer in April 2004.

Awards and honours[edit]

He received the Padma Shri in 1983, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2004, given the Government of India.[6] In 1986, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in performing arts, by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama, for lifetime achievement.,[7] and Prince Claus Award in 2000.Recently Govt of Rajasthan has bestowed upon him the first ever Rajasthan Ratna award, the highest civilian award in the desert state.


A 1979 documentary film on his ethnomusicology work, and another titled Komal Da, on his life and works, are now archived at Columbia University Libraries.[3]


  • Monograph on Langas: a folk musician caste of Rajasthan. 1960.
  • Folk musical instruments of Rajasthan: a folio. Rajasthan Institute of Folklore, 1977.
  • Gods of the Byways. Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. 1982. ISBN 0-905836-28-6.
  • Rajasthan: The Living Traditions,Prakash Book Depot. 2000. ISBN 81-7234-031-1.
  • Life and works of Padma Bhushan Shri Komal Kothari (1929-2004), by Komal Kothari, National Folklore Support Centre, NFSC. 2004.
  • Bards, ballads and boundaries: an ethnographic atlas of music traditions in West Rajasthan, by Daniel Neuman, Shubha Chaudhuri, Komal Kothari. Seagull, 2007. ISBN 1-905422-07-5.

Further reading[edit]

  • Rajasthan: An Oral History — Conversations with Komal Kothari, by Rustom Bharucha. Penguin India. 2003. ISBN 0-14-302959-2.

Internal Links[edit]


  1. ^ 2000 Prince Claus Award Accessed June 1, 2006
  2. ^ "Komal Kothari – The Folk Musician". Press Information Bureau Government of India. April 22, 2004. 
  3. ^ a b Remembering Komal Korthari Columbia University, Accessed June 1, 2006
  4. ^ Stephen Huyler, September 25, 2016
  5. ^ The magical music of Manganiyars goes global Good news India, Accessed June 1, 2006
  6. ^ Komal Kothari: Folklorist Par Excellence SRUTI magazine, Accessed June 1, 2006
  7. ^ "SNA: List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Puraskar winners (Akademi Fellows)". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. 

External links[edit]