Launch of Archive of Indian Music AIM in Delhi

First-of-its kind initiative to digitize and preserve old and rare gramophone records of our country

30th July 2013, New Delhi:In a unique first-of-its kind effort to digitize and preserve old and rare gramophone records of our country, the ‘Archive of Indian Music’ (AIM) came into existence. It is unfortunate that many of these rare records are on the verge of destruction and without timely action, these would be lost forever. The Archive of Indian Music (AIM)was officially launched by Mr. Salman Khurshid, Honourable External Affairs Minister of Government of India in the esteemed presence of renowned classical dance exponent and Advisory board member of AIM ‘Padma Vibhshan’ Dr. SonalMansingh, historian and archivistDr. BoriaMajumdar, Member Secretary of IGNCA, Smt. Dipali Khanna and renowned author/historian and founder-trustee of AIM, Mr. Vikram Sampath.


AIM, is the brain-child of Bangalore based author/historian and Sahitya Academy winner, Vikram Sampath and has been established with the generous help of Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education. The main objective of AIM is to create the first digital sound archive of India and disseminate the content freely among all music lovers through an online portal and through innovative ways like audio exhibitions, listening kiosks, guided listening sessions etc. and by taking it to the youth in schools and colleges and giving them a new perspective of looking at Indian history—through sound.  The range of gramophone records that we restore is Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, Folk music, Early Cinema, Theatre, Speeches of great leaders of the country and voices of common Indians that were recorded starting 1902.


Mr. T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education and an ardent patron of AIM believes that‘AIM is a brilliant initiative to refurbish the rich musical tradition left behind by our ancestors, it is a unique concept that provides us with an opportunity to access the rich audio records that we have inherited and we are extremely proud of. In this day where only material gains matter to people, I am delighted to see a young man like Vikram who has worked on this with unparalleled passion and zeal and hence I came forward readily to support his dream and help it materialize.” 


Mr. Vikram Sampath, Author and Founder Trustee of Archive of Indian Music added, ‘India’s musical inheritance is a larger aspect of its identity in the world of music. AIM is an intellectual property created to save these vintage recordings for the future generations to know and be proud of the work created by the musical geniuses of our country. It breaks my heart to see this valuable cultural inheritance rot in the most despicable manner in flea markets and Kabadi shops across India.


On a war-footing, we hope to reverse this trend and have set ambitious targets for ourselves- including restoration of 1 Lakh records within the next 5 years and construction of a National Sound Archive of India in Bangalore, with parallel centres in other parts of India. Equally important is disseminating this archived material for the public at large as it is the treasure that every Indian has inherited and has a rightful access to”

Established in 2011, the Trust has set up an office in association with Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities in Bangalore and imported state-of-the-art machinery to digitize old gramophone records. The website of AIM features around 200 artists and nearly 1000 tracks at present—all of which can be accessed completely freely and sitting at home. Rare tracks including Gandhiji’s Spiritual Message that he recorded in 1931 in England, the country’s first recording by GauharJaan in 1902, Tagore reciting his Bengali poetry, the first recording of the National Anthem by the ViswaBharati Chorus, the first recording of M S Subbulakshmi as a child of 9 years are just a few of the valuable gems in the website.


The Archive has already collected nearly 10,000 old and vintage gramophone shellac and vinyl plates from various parts of India for purposes of restoration.AIM has Trustees from all over India and is guided by an Advisory Board comprising of some of the most eminent artists of the country- Mr. ShyamBenegal, SmtSonal Man Singh, Mr. ChinmayaGharekhan of IGNCA, Smt Bombay Jayashri, Dr. JayanthiKumaresh, Pt. Vijay Kichlu, Mr. VAK Ranga Rao, SmtAlarmelValli, DrShyamala G Bhave, SmtLalith Rao, SmtNandiniRamani, Mr. VAK Ranga Rao, MsArundhati Ghosh of IFA and MrBhaskarMitra of Sangeet Ashram Kolkata.


For more details please contact:

Atul Malikram

[email protected]