On Raga Nand

by Rajan P. Parrikar
First published on SAWF on April 3, 2000

Rajan P. Parrikar

Rajan P. Parrikar

Raga Nand, known variously as Anandi, Anandi Kalyan, Nand Kalyan, has attained considerable popularity in recent times. Although the provenance of the raga is not easy to pin down, it is thought to have been conceived in the early 1900s. For a long time time the vilambit khayalE bare saiyyan tohe sakala bana dhoondun – composed by Mehboob Khan “Daraspiya” (d. 1921) held sway. The distinguished Daraspiya was a student of Tanras Khan and the father-in-law of ‘Aftab-e-Mausiqui’ Faiyyaz Khan.

In those days there was considerable give-and-take of musical ideas between the Atrauli-Jaipur founder Alladiya Khan and the Agra gharana elders. And so this Daraspiya composition came to be firmly affixed in the repertoire of these two schools. Over time the composition dispersed beyond its immediate environs establishing itself as the apotheosis of the raga. Today it has a presence in virtually all vocal gharanas. Another early bandishajahun na aaye Shyam, bahuta dina beete – composed by Agrawale Vilayat Hussain Khan ‘Pranpiya’ also made quite a splash.

This beautiful raga is product of the highest musical imagination, a masterful synthesis of melodic calculation and aesthetic imperatives. The contours of Raga Nand do not obtain from simple, linear arohi or avarohani tonal ribbons. There are tantalising chhayas of 3 or 4 ragas but its has an independent personality all its own. Mastery of this melody requires assimilation of its kernel and its lakshanas. Let us examine some of the highlights.

Throughout the following discussion, M = shuddha madhyam and m = teevra madhyam.

Raga Nand employs all the shuddha swaras plus the teevra madhyam. Its signature may be encapsulated in the following tonal phrase:

G, M D P R, S

It is not simply a matter of hitting these notes; the swara uccharana is crucial. There is no better example of this execution than Lata Mangeshkar‘s prelude to a Ghalib ghazal tuned by her brother Hridaynath.

The key raga-lakshanas are now summarized:

S G, G M, M (M)G P
The gandhar is a nyasa swara, and the elongation of shuddha madhyam releases a pleasing effect.

G M P D N, (D)P, P D (P)m m P, G M D P R, S

G M P N, N (D)P, G M P N S”
The uttaranga launch is Bihag-like.

P D R” N D P and P D S” R” G” (R”)S” R” N D P are occasionally employed for embellishment. Be on the lookout for the latter prayoga in Kesarbai’s rendition later.

P N R” N DP, P D m P G M (D)P R, S

Chromatic use of the two madhyams (albeit mediated by a meend) is found in some treatments, viz., S G, G M (G)m, m P

The discerning will feel an abhasa of Ragas Hameer, Kalyan and Bihag at various times.

A superb selection of recordings on tap.

We set the ball rolling with the familiar exemplar from MERA SAAYAA (1966). Madan Mohan‘s composition, tu jahan jahan chalega, is rendered flawlessly by Lata Mangeshkar.

Purandaradasa‘s pada, enna palisu, by Bhimsen Joshi flirts with Nand’s signature in the mukhda but then veers into alien territory.

Composers of Marathi natyageete have fruitfully exploited the luscious Nand landscape as the following three examples attest. Master Krishnarao‘s composition in AMRUTASIDDHI, inspired by Daraspiya’s bandish, by Gangadhar Londhe: dhanya tuchi kanta.

The great violin maestro from Goa, Shridhar Parsekar, was a composer of considerable renown. His creation in VAHINI is handled by P.L. Deshpande, another gifted individual known throughout the Marathi world as “Pu. La.”: pakhara ja.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Jitendra Abhisheki re-ignited interest in Marathi musicals in a burst of creative energy. He was unusually talented in the art of marrying verse to raga-based melody as witness this gem from MEERA MADHURA. Why he let Ramdas Kamat (a fellow Goan) molest this gem will forever remain a mystery. Take note of Ramdas-bab’s tans towards the end of the clip, indistinguishable from the bawling of a newborn baby: ananda sudha barse.

We inaugurate the classical segment with Kesarbai Kerkar‘s iconic rendition. Her tans are beautifully calculated and executed to perfection, always in service of the raga. Vazebuwa’s description of them as a shower of costly ‘ittar’ seems apposite.

Mallikarjun Mansur, another Jaipur-Atrauli master, especially enjoyed his Nand. The Daraspiya bandish in vilambit Teentala –

If the Atrauli-Jaipur grip on Nand has not registered by now, this assay by Kishori Amonkar should drive home the point. We have two of her cuts.

Kishori 1.

Kishori 2.

The final act in the Atrauli-Jaipur lineup, Nivruttibuwa Sarnaik.

Amir Khan‘s meditations are a mixed bag, in tune with that great man’s musical personality, but not fully in sync with the gestalt of the raga (which is perhaps not suited to his style). The ubiquitous Daraspiya bandish, this time set to Jhoomra.

The representative of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana Nissar Hussein Khan lends a lyrical touch to Daraspiya’s baby…

… and then goes on to sing Vilayat Hussein Khan’s ajahun na aaye Shyam.

Enter the Agra punter, Dinkar Kaikini. He sings an exquisite bandish composed by his guru Acharya S.N. Ratanjankar that, for a change, locates the sam on rishab: payal mora baje.

The Kirana songstress Roshanara Begum takes off with Daraspiya.

Kumar Gandharva‘s rendition of his own composition ranks among the finest pieces of recorded music: Rajan, ab to aaja re.

This beautiful All India Radio rendition of D.V. Paluskar finds him expanding the Jhaptala bandish – ajahun nahin aaye.

The kingdom of Darbhanga in Bihar once boasted a strong dhrupad tradition. The primary exponents of that style today are the Mallicks.  Vidur Mallick presents a dhamar.

A dingdong and a blowjob at this juncture wouldn’t hurt. Vilayat Khan and Bismillah Khan lock horns in this classic.

Ravi Shankar distills the essence as only he can.

To round off the Nandfest, three ‘new’ compositions of Ramashreya Jha “Ramrang” are adduced.

The first, in dheema Teentala: E rangila aaya.

Next, a cheez, ajaba anokhe naina.

Finally, Nanda ghara ananda, heralding the arrival of baby Krishna.

Nand’s proclivity to readily mate with other melodies was put to good effect by Narayanrao Patwardhan in what he branded as Anandi Kedar, a cocktail of Nand and Kedar. The idea was embraced by Kumar Gandharva: la de beera mhane chunari.

We end this excursion with a bhajan in Raga Anandi Kedar, composed and sung by Lakshmi Shankar in a 1995 private concert in Fremont, California. The accompanists are Rajan P. Parrikar on the harmonium and Pranesh Khan on the tabla: darshana dena pranpiya.