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Cosponsored Event

MIT-India and the Harvard South Asia Institute present South Asia and Its Diasporas, a speakers series

Naresh Fernandes, Author of Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age

Discussant: Vivek BaldAssociate Professor, Comparative Media Studies/Writing, MIT

In the late 1950s, a period acknowledged as the Golden Era of Hindi film music, Bollywood songs were enlivened by a rather unusual influence: jazz. This presentation will explain how a group of journeymen jazz musicians fleeing racism in the U.S. in the 1930s gave India a taste for hot music, and how these syncopated sounds found their way into the Hindi film studios. It will also explore how political ideas traveled the other way, as African Americans sought Gandhi’s advice on their political struggles.

Naresh Fernandes is the author of Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age. He is the editor of, a digital news publication in Bombay.

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