Taj Mahal Foxtrot

Jazz Goes To Bollywood

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

Jazz Goes to Bollywood
with Naresh Fernandes
Author of Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 6:00-8:00pm

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Tang Center, Building E51, Room 275
2 Amherst Street @ Wadsworth Street, Cambridge

Discussant: Vivek Bald, Associate 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 Scroll India, which is a very interesting reading source online, worth checking out.

20th Annual Harvard India Poetry Reading

All are welcome to participate, in “all languages.”  More information at Harvard South Asian Institute.

Bollywood Songs: Romance and Revolution

Learning songs is a fun way to learn a language, and you generally will never forget vocabulary and phrases you learn via songs you enjoy. This lecture from Hindi lyricist Ali Husain Mir gives an insightful historical overview of the development of Hindi-Urdu movie songs so you’ll know where to start and how to put it all in perspective.

March 27, 2015: Translating a Hindi Classic Into English Aesthetics, Or “How Can I Convince Everyone This Novel Is Awesome?”



Anyone who has studied Hindi for a while knows what a daunting project translating Hindi literature into English should be, especially if you want it to maintain the original appeal of the Hindi.  So this lecture  on 3/27/15 at Boston University should be interesting. It’s open to the public;  check it out if you can, at 745 Commonwealth Avenue, room 625.





“The Problem With White Girls, Boys, and Voluntourism”

This article from The Huffington Post looks at some troubling issues to do with development work, and gives a few good reasons to learn a foreign language–well.

Harvard South Asia Institute Summer Film Series



The HSAI Summer Film Series begins June 27, 2013 with Amar, Akhbar, and Anthony, the campy fun Amitabh Bachchan vehicle that was the first Bollywood movie I ever saw.  This was Bollywood’s biggest blockbuster of 1977 and also stars  Vinod Khanna, and Rishi Kapoor.  The other movies in the series are more serious.  Check out the schedule here.  I believe these movies are free and open to the public.


South Asia Without Borders Symposium April 25-26, 2013

This symposium, sponsored by the South Asia Institute at Harvard, will be held at the Inn At Harvard in Harvard Square, and will cover a range of socio-economic topics.  Check out the schedule right here.

Boston Hindi Speaker’s Meetup 4/12/13 at 7:00 p.m.

Please join us tomorrow at Paneera Harvard Square for this Hindi Conversation Meetup.  More information here.

Hindi Meetup Beginner’s Practice 3/2/13 at 2:00 p.m.

I will be leading a Beginner’s Hindi Practice meeting for Boston Hindi Speaker’s Meetup tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at  the EC Boston Language School, 1 Faneuil Hall Square, Boston.  At this meetup, we’ll cover expressing basic wants and needs on a shopping trip.  Grammatical structures will include want/need, singular and plural nouns, and pronouns with ko.  Vocabulary will include fruits/vegetables and numbers. Please join us if you can.  Feel free to email me with any questions.

Join us at the Hindi Meetup 1/10/13 at 7:00 p.m. at Paneera Harvard Square

Yahoo Meetup Group Boston Ke Hindi Bolnewale is having its regular Hindi Conversation Meetup tomorrow at Paneera, Harvard Square (1288 Mass Ave.).  There are usually a number of native speakers in attendance and this is a great opportunity to practice Hindi in a casual setting. You can officially join this Meetup Group and see their other events here.