6:30 AM: You gently wake up to sip your morning tea with the soft and scintillating notes of ‘Sa’ and ‘Pa’ beautifully reverberating from the Tanpura. You sit down to get completely engrossed, ‘magana’ in Kharaj Riyaaz. From Mandra Saptaka, you begin a smooth transition to Madhya Saptaka and eventually to Taar Saptaka – Meditation. So serene and peaceful. It’s like morning bliss experienced in the most ideal way.
Such is the magic and power of Hindustani Classical Music, the roots of which can be traced back nearly two thousand years to its origin in the Vedic hymns of the Hindu temples. Raaga is a remarkable and quite an essential component of classical music. According to a saying in Sanskrit “Ranjayathi iti Ragah’, that which colours the mind is a Raaga. Each Raaga has its own aura and humour, a unique vibe associated with it. Hindustani music scholars claim that each Raaga has a time period in which if sung, it is embraced by our soul, our rooh. From Raaga Alhaiya Bilawal sung in the first part of the day after sunrise to Raag Bageshwari in the third part (the evening) to Raaga Tilaka Kamod in the second part after sunset, all fit in. The beauty of this form of music is, unfortunately, being disregarded by the youth these days who are more captivated by the western forms, particularly the English styles.
They forget that for us to be able to cherish the art of music wholeheartedly, it’s imperative that we stick to our roots along with accepting diverse forms of music.
There’s a strong link between our music and other international styles. Hindustani classical music is said to have influenced The Indonesian Classical music and the Dangdut, especially in instrumentation, melody and beat. Despite having distinct origins, Hindustani Sangeet and Jazz have a lot in common too. Both, absolutely pure in their form are popular for melodies based on modes, pulse oriented rhythms and improvisations. Pandit Ravi Shankar, a sought after Indian maestro has been credited for solely popularising Indian music in the West. Mesmerised and influenced by his work, George Harrison, the lead guitarist of the famous band ‘Beatles’ learnt how to play Sitar.
This resulted in their collaboration in Norwegian Wood, the first Western Record with Sitar used as an instrument in it. This led way to the birth of a new genre called “Raaga Rock”. Sitar, Surbahar, Esraj, Veena, Tanpura, Bansuri, Shehnai, Sarangi, Santoor, Pakhavaj and Tabla are all instruments used in Hindustani Classical Music. We must preserve and pass on this skilful art, the symbol of refined taste. We must be appreciative of our rich heritage and be proud custodians of it.
About the Author:
Saniya Sehgal (MCM DAV 36)