Thursday, March 26, 2015

Second edition of "Hindustani Music -- a Tradition in Transition"

Preface to the Second Edition

It is heartening that, after more than eight years since the release of this book, it continues to engage the attention of serious music lovers.  The book has brought me in touch with some of the finest scholars and connoisseurs of Hindustani music in India and abroad. Their reactions and comments have suggested to me those facets of our music, which readers would like me to explore more comprehensively.

Two segments of this book appear to have engendered the widest interest. The most important, not surprisingly, is the phenomenon of the Raga. A close second is the coverage of musical instruments. Both subjects are inexhaustible. An attempt is, however, made in this edition, to enrich the contents of these two sections of the book.

On the subject of Raga-ness, I have added two new chapters reflecting my current understanding and concerns. To the original chapters, I have added post-scripts where I thought they were warranted.  The chapters on the instruments have been revised, and made more comprehensive. The coverage of instruments has been enlarged with  chapters on the Tanpura, the Violin, the Bansuri, the Pakhawaj and Tabla, and the Harmonium, which have appeared in my most recent book, Hindustani Music Today (DK Printworld, 2012).

I trust these additions will make this book significantly more valuable to my readers.

Deepak S. Raja

Vijaya Dashami, 2013

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tips for a writer

Almost 15 years ago, I was mentoring a budding journalist. In the process, I started penning down notes that might orient her towards a writer's way of relating to the world and to his/her work. For reasons I cannot recall now, it was a short-lived effort. It ended after three parts. CAVIEAT EMPTOR: In hindsight, this is an utterly juvenile piece of writing.  I am sharing it in the belief that somebody somewhere might benefit from the effort.

June 22, 2001


What I am writing about is non-fiction writing, journalistic writing. But, a lot of it could be valid for other kinds of writing also.

Writers are not born. There is also no school anywhere in the world with anything like a great reputation as a trainer of writers. Writers train themselves, or are trained by their superiors or mentors.

A part of training yourself as a writer is to seek an answer to the question: “Why do I want to be a writer?” OR “Why am I writer?”  I don’t imagine you will find an answer easily or soon. But, I also believe that no writer of any worth has ever stopped asking this question of himself. I also suspect that no writer has found an answer that remains valid for too long. Writing is a process of self-discovery. It cannot end; nor can it ever be given up.

There is absolutely no contradiction between [**] writing as a process of self-discovery and [**] writing as persuasion. We discover ourselves in the process of persuading our readers. We also persuade others in the process of discovering ourselves.

A note of caution: Don’t deceive yourself into believing that you have answered the question conclusively and finally when you realise that you “write for a living”. If you are honest with yourself, this answer will disappear almost as soon as you have found it.

1. Writing is a persuasive art/ craft. Persuasion belongs to the category of “behaviour modification”. Behaviour modification, as an objective, is constrained by/ governed by existing levels of knowledge/ belief/ involvement related to the subject. To persuade your reader, therefore, you need to be clear about [a] what is the lay of the land you are entering, and [b] what you want to achieve by way of results.

These questions have also been framed differently: [a] Where are you in the reader’s mind? [b] Where do you want to be in the reader’s mind? If you can define point [a] and point [b] clearly, it is easy to write a piece that takes you from point [a] to point [b] in the reader’s mind.

Asking these questions, and answering them, has to become a habit of the mind. If you can adopt it as a formal discipline, it can work even better.

2. You cannot start writing a piece until you have achieved clarity about the “target reader” and the “target response”.

## Who am I writing for? Try to describe your “target reader” in as much detail as possible. The more detailed your description, the better your writing will be. The most important part of the description is your guess about: What do they know on the subject? What do they believe on the subject? What do they feel on the subject?

## What do I want him to do/ know / believe/ feel after reading the piece? The “target response” to any communication is always action / knowledge / belief / feeling. These are not mutually exclusive objectives. Each is connected with the other. Once you have figured out the most important “target response”, the role of the others will define itself.

If you want people to DO something, they will need to FEEL in a certain way to want to DO it; they will need to BELIEVE some things in order to  justify their FEELINGS, and they will need to  KNOW some things to support their  BELIEFS.  All these derive logically from your “target response”, defined in terms of  ACTION.

If you follow the discipline of writing down the objectives in this excruciating detail before you start, the entire process of writing will become easy, and produce satisfying results. Try it once; you will never give it up.

3. The first advantage of clarity in objectives is evident in the research. No matter what your objective, you will find that knowing the subject thoroughly helps.

YOU CAN USE THE INTERNET FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON ALMOST ANY SUBJECT ON EARTH. Did you find out enough about COFFEE before you wrote Coffee Cat? I doubt it seriously. The Brazilian Coffee Board would have given you caffeine poisoning with the amount of information on their website. There could be many more I am not aware of. 

Knowledge of the subject works in mysterious ways. But, it works. Research can include tapping any source – newspaper clippings, books, interviews with people, experts, visits to places. The greater the variety of sources tapped, the better your chances of achieving the “target response”. Even if none of your knowledge is explicitly delivered to your reader, just having the knowledge will make your piece sparkle.

I have also found that, no matter how well I have studied a subject before writing on it, there is always one guy out there – amongst my readers – who knows more than me on the subject. This is unavoidable. Nobody can be the ultimate expert on everything. Not being the ultimate expert is safe as long as my writing doesn’t provoke this smart guy into embarrassing me publicly for my ignorance or folly. Once you have done your research well, you will AUTOMATICALLY adopt a tone of voice in your writing that doesn’t challenge the “smart alecs” to a debate. Knowledge has an amazing way of making people humble, and more acceptable.

4. This is why it helps to specialise on a subject, or a set of allied subjects. Specialisation enables you to develop your knowledge-base ASSETS – in terms of sources, human and other. Research for every piece then gives you valuable knowledge not only for that piece, but also for every subsequent piece. No piece will then be in totally unfamiliar territory. Every piece will become easier to write, and will sparkle with insights and perspectives gained from the research on other pieces.

The most important part of your ASSET will be the networking of people concerned with the field of your specialisation. The same network of people will give you information, authentic and credible quotes, and ideas for subjects. They will also be grateful to you for remaining alive in the public mind through your mentions/ quotes. “Grateful hangers-on” can be useful, too, if you are discerning in your choice of people. Every profession is a give-and-take community of sorts, where those with access to the media enjoy a privileged position.

5. As a career strategy, specialisation is unavoidable. Even if you decide not to specialise on a subject, the market – if it exists for your work – will start demanding more of what you are best at, and drive you towards a specialisation. This will happen because nobody wants just a writer. But, people want experts on something or the other all the time. And, experts, who can also write, will always be in short supply. If you are not a SOMEBODY in a well-defined field, no matter how small the field, you are doomed to being a NOBODY.

6. Develop a sound, but not very complicated, storage and retrieval system for your knowledge / source base. [If you have specialised prudently, the material will never be either vast enough or diverse enough to justify a very complicated storage/retrieval system] Treat your interviews – notes as well as tapes -- with special respect. Tape every interview, and store it. Don’t throw away your interview notes. You can’t tell which interview will provide you with information or quotes for which piece, and when. You cannot assume that the value of an interview done today ends with the publication of the piece based on it. You can’t also tell when you will be the only one living to have evidence of some event that seems innocuous today, but proves to have been historic. Journalism might be history written in a hurry. But, history, it still is. But, your interviews being oral history, they have the potential to play havoc with your career. Interviewees are notorious for denying what they said. If you can’t fling their interview tape back into their faces when they do this, you might one day find yourself thrown out of editorial offices.

7. I have found that there’s two stages of research in writing. One kind of research is done before you start writing the piece – the research that gives you the content of your piece, the facts, the trends, the conclusions, the perspective etc. Once you start writing, you need a different kind of research – research that makes the piece of writing come alive. This research looks for some “telling detail”, something unusual, something memorable, some figure/ number, sometimes just a quotation – anything that puts “life” into the subject and, preferably, drives home the basic point you are trying to make on the subject.

Therefore, you cannot afford to put away your reference material after you have made your notes, and started writing. To write really fine stuff, you will almost certainly need your original reference material repeatedly  – for a different kind of reference – right through the duration of the writing.

8. Don’t trust the magnetic media [computers] as storage devices. Keep back-ups of all your writing and print material – on hard copy as well as magnetic media. Open an archival account on for free storage space. You can download whenever you want, rewrite, edit, re-use, refer.

9. What are you going to do with this piece of writing? Is it worth storing? If it is, print it out, and file it. Reading it two years later could be equally rewarding. Also park it on your FREEDRIVE archival space.

June 23, 2001


I am now sharing with you my understanding of effective writing. There’s no well-conceived structure for this note – there ought to be; but my brain isn’t working well at all today. I am just
haring my experience as it comes to me.

  1. A lot of research has been done on readability of English writing. Different texts have been tested for speed of reading and for ease of comprehension amongst people with different levels of education. The Fleisch Readability Score came out of this research. Never mind how it is calculated. What is important is to know what its components are, and be sensitive to them when you write.

The components are:

[a] Number of sentences per paragraph. Lower the better. Four to five sentences is considered a prudent limit, subject to conceptual clarity of para separations. You and I both know, however, that some of the most powerful paragraphs we have read is just a single sentence. Conceptual clarity. One big idea, emblazoned in its isolated glory, has immense impact.

[b] Number of words per sentence. Lower the better. But, again, it depends on the nature of the text. Literary greats like John Steinbeck or John Gardner achieve eight words per sentence. You and I will neither need to get there, nor ever succeed in getting anywhere close. A legal document may have 50 words per sentence, or more. In journalism, every publication has its own style. I haven’t checked recently. But, Economic Times used to be around an average 21 words per sentence some years ago. The Economist [London] used to do 18 words per sentence. Serious academic journals might go upto 25 or more. If you analyse current journalism of the type you are doing, an average can be determined. This is easily done on a random sampling basis. If you need my help, I can do it for you. I reckon, you will come up with something like 15.

[c] Number of syllables per word. Lower the better. In journalism, the average should be below three.

[d] Number of passive voice sentences to active voice sentences. Lower the better. The human mind appears to read and comprehend the subject-verb-predicate sequence faster and better than predicate-verb-subject.

MSWord sensitises you to these problems, and others, with green lines below the problem sentences. Take a second look at such lines. Until a few years ago, MSWord also used to give you a Fleisch Readability Score. They have discontinued it now, but under TOOLS [Word Count], you can still get a count of characters, sentences, paragraphs. This is a good beginning.

  1. Word length. When you write a full piece, and want to cut it down in length, use the Editing features of MSWord. You just have to specify by how much you want to cut down the length of the piece, and the programme highlights what you can easily throw out. Take clues from this, and edit it yourself. I have found the programme amazingly powerful for almost any subject.

  1. Seduction: The principles of good writing are not very different from those of seduction. Make the reader want more. The headline must make the reader want to read the first para. The first para must make the reader want to read the second. And, so on. He should finish the reading the piece before he realises it’s over.

  1. Sequencing of ideas and information. In conventional writing, say a research report, you start with a problem, discuss its causes, and then move towards its solution. In journalistic writing, you take the inverse route. The first para must have your whole story. In it, you simultaneously discuss the solution and the problem. In the rest of the report, you defend the story [the first para] – how it works, why it works etc.  This logic is based on two assumptions: [a] that the first para should enable the reader to judge whether the subsequent paras are of any interest to them or not [b] that a majority of your readers may not have the time or the inclination to read beyond the first para and this is why a summary of the whole piece should be given to them up front. This is why most good writers write the first para at the end, after the whole story has been written, and then proceed to reorganise the body of the story for a logical flow of ideas.

  1. The same inversion of logic is followed for each paragraph. We would normally structure a paragraph by starting with the premise, and the facts, and then finally state the conclusion. In journalistic writing, the conclusion comes first, and the rest of the paragraph defends the conclusion with the premise and the evidence.

  1. The INVERTED PYRAMID means: The first para of a story is a summary/ conclusion of the whole story. And, the first sentence of every para is a summary/ conclusion of the whole para. The journalistic style is: STATE AND DEFEND. This is the opposite of the “Evidence-to-Argument-to-judgment” logic of the law courts. Why this order? Simply because those who agree with your conclusion/ judgment will read further because they agree; and those who don’t agree with what you state will certainly read further to find out how you came to the conclusion that you did.

  1. If the first para has to be the whole story, it is desirable  – if the subject permits – to focus it sharply on a reader’s [ probable] problem, and give him the possibility of a solution. This will persuade him to read further, if the problem you are discussing is relevant / important to him. This is why, it is excellent practice to compose the first sentence addressing the reader in second person singular. The first three words should contain the word YOU. If you can write the whole piece in second person singular, nothing like it. All advertisements are written, at least in theory, with this notional address. If somebody is paying so much for them, they must be doing something right! And, indeed they are. Everyone loves himself more than he loves anyone else.

  1. The first para should, ideally, make the reader sit up and say: “Wow, I didn’t know this!”. It doesn’t matter whether what he didn’t know  -- and you told him – is good news or bad news. The sheer novelty, the revelation value, will grab him. But, for God’s sake, don’t start a piece with “Did you know…?” except under the rarest of circumstances. Nobody likes being told he didn’t know something. You should merely tell him something he is not LIKELY to have known. That will make him jump.

  1. If the subject you are dealing with is unfamiliar to most readers, try to relate it to something familiar. The human mind is inclined to shut out what is patently unfamiliar. It is willing to consider moving only from the familiar to the unfamiliar, if you show him the rewards of so doing. If your reader hasn’t heard of Mahesh Dattani, a quote from Lyllette Dubey or Naseeruddin Shah will help establish the link of familiarity. Without such a link, the response could be: “Who’s Mahesh Dattani? I couldn’t care less!”. And, you’ve lost your reader. But, if he hasn’t heard even of Lyllette or Naseeruddin, then he’s probably not your reader anyway.
  1. Any piece of writing will generally have three facets of the subject – [a] positive/ pleasing/ encouraging,  [b] neutral/ factual and [c] negative/ limiting/ discouraging. All three categories of information must be presented to do justice to the reader. And, it should always be in this same order [1] positive [2] neutral [3] negative. Don’t, for your own sake and Gods, actually describe any of these as positive/ neutral/ negative in the report. Just categorise and organise the material in this order. The order is important. Once you get people smiling and nodding vertically, it will become a habit, and they will forget to frown, or nod horizontally even when the facts warrant it. At the end, you can thus have an honest report, as well as a satisfied and happy reader. It is a win-win formula. This is good strategy also in personal communications. It takes hard work; but whoever said managing personal relationships wasn’t hard work?

Monday, 25 June 2001


This again is limited by my experience.

  1. Start by determining the wordage you wish to produce – based on what your publisher/ editor says, and the subject on hand. Having a notional word length in your mind from the beginning always helps in minimising the chopping and editing you have to do at the end. It is, obviously, always safer to edit a piece down to the feasible wordage yourself, than risk allowing some semi-literate sub-editor to mess up either the flow of thought, or the argument.

  1. There are, broadly, two ways of putting a piece together. [a] Write the whole piece down in one sitting – the first draft, if you like  – and then start polishing it up with captions etc. [b] Divide the whole piece into chapters/ sections, write each chapter/ section in any order you find convenient, polish up each section separately, and then thread the whole piece together in a sequence that you feel is best for the flow of the argument/ ideas. After you have assembled the components, you must refine the “linkages” between the sections once again to ensure that the flow of thought is smooth.

  1. Both have worked with me. But, I strongly recommend the second approach for several reasons: dividing the piece into sections/ chapters it enforces a conceptual clarity on the effort, permits/ encourages you to achieve a certain level of depth in every section – you won’t be happy with a section until you have achieved it – and leads to a sharper wording of captions. Editing and polishing small texts at a time is also much less painful than editing a large piece in one shot. The most important gain from the second approach is the ease with which the “Inverted Pyramid” structure can be built. Every section/ chapter has to have its own summary up-front. Once you have, say, five or six chapters with their own summaries leading them in, you also have the ideas available for writing a summary of the whole piece and putting it on top as the lead-in of the piece.

  1. Once you have edited the whole piece, and are reasonably happy with it, go back to the difficult/ complex/ uncomfortable/ controversial paragraphs/ sections for micro editing. In this effort, you have to accord special attention to: [a] the possibility of complicated/ confusing sentence structure or of mutually conflicting ideas, [b] the risk of derogatory or pejorative interpretations of some words [c] the possibility of controversy, which you might wish to either avoid or explicitly recognise and [d] the possibility of some ideas having been repeated in the because you were, initially, working on each chapter/ section as a stand-alone piece, trying to make it comprehensive and complete.  I can’t think of any more risks at the moment. But, basically, I am talking about a “risk control” effort.

  1. Once you are satisfied that the whole piece reads well, flows smoothly, and is within the target word length, start work on the “special effects” [SFX] department. The SFX department deals with features and elements in your piece, which will make your piece memorable, preferably, quotable. Some examples are given here:

[a] There could be one or two ideas, or words, in your piece, which capture the essence of the whole piece. There is a danger that such words will have been used repeatedly in the piece. Identify such words, look up a thesaurus for all possible synonyms, and strategically strew them all over the piece as replacement for the excessively repeated word. This helps in two ways: Punaravrutti Dosha is removed, and you are able to project the “atmospherics” of the piece through kaleidoscopic imagery of associated/ similar ideas.

[b] There could be the possibility of introducing a “telling detail” that makes people remember and quote your piece. Sometimes, this detail might merely establish that you have seen your subject “from the inside” – like: “The moon was almost full”. This detail establishes the date of an event within a range of +/- two days. Another example – “I was received at Oman Airport by an ancient, bearded, Bengali gentleman called Abdul Qayyum”. Now, dash it, even if he was a clean-shaven 35 year old, and was a Malyalee, and his name was Ghulam Qadir, how does it matter? You have sufficient detail here to have your reader believe that you were “actually there” – even if you weren’t.

The “telling detail” can also be a perspective on a fact – like: “The value of Indian black-money accounts in Swiss banks is equal to the India’s foreign debt.” Another perspective on similar facts could be – “To pay off India’s foreign debt, the entire population would need to starve for three years.”  Numbers/ figures/ numerals make excellent memory hooks. They activate the mind’s eye by encouraging people to visualise what they are reading.

[c] Try some journalistic “Ustadi”. Throw in, if possible, a couple of words of rare usage -- like: “It’s a CINCH”. Or “The truth of his statement RANKLED.”  If you want to be really wicked, choose words for which very few dictionaries provide a meaning, or few thesaurus’ provide a synonym. If you hunt hard enough, you should be able to locate an anthology of rare usage words in the major bookshops of Bombay/ Pune. An alternative to the rare-usage word is a foreign [French, Greek and Latin is ideal] language word/ term, which is not totally unfamiliar in English – without providing a translation. Just to gently intimidate your audiences, you could use the expansion “Exempli Gratia” [Latin] instead of the common abbreviation “e.g.”, and watch people take note of you. Such Ustadi has to be done very sparingly and judiciously In most cases, just once in a piece is good enough. It’s not enough to avoid annoyance to the reader – you shouldn’t risk giving your editor a complex.

[d] Somewhere in your piece, you could be expressing your own opinion, or conclusions. Make sure that you have avoided the rhetorical question as a device for making such observations. This form tends to be perceived as dogmatic. Consider carefully if you need to add some “attitude softeners” to make your ideas acceptable. These softeners are mostly “tone of voice” devices. You can prefix your observations with “Some might argue that …..” or suffix them with a phrase like “Think about it!”. Opinions/ conclusions stated cautiously, without an air of finality, can become memorable and even quotable.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Editors have rather dogmatic views on the kind of SFX they will tolerate and the kind they will expunge. It’s a cinch. Read your editor’s mind and stick to the kind that will pass muster. 

  1. When is a piece ready for handing over?  The easiest answer, and the most frequent, is: “When the editor wants it.” But, even if you have some leeway in the matter, you still don’t have a formula. No piece is ever “perfect”.  “There’s not a hand in this world, that has written what another’s eyes cannot fault, and his hands cannot improve” [Reproduction inaccurate, Attribution forgotten]. You have to take this decision yourself. At some point, you will have to say, “That’s it!”, and close the file. Experience advises me NOT to despatch a piece for at least  48 hours after I have said “That’s It!”.

Your piece starts working on you after you have stopped working on it. Give the piece 48 hours to improve itself further. The, after 48 hours of “cooling”, examine it again, add the finishing touches as they suggest themselves to you, and pack it off with a “Jai Hanuman” or similar psychic protection for your work.

End of Part III

P.S. Jai Hanuman. And, all power to you elbow!
There won’t be any more parts – for 48 hours, by when I might remember something I have missed.

 (c) Deepak S Raja 2001

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Manjusha Kulkarni-Patil: the busiest Hindustani vocalist?

With upwards of 50 concert appearances a year, straddling Khayal and Natya Sangeet genres, Manjusha Kulkarni-Patil could well be the busiest Hindustani vocalist today.  Alongside, this 42-year old Pune-based vocalist nurtures a teen-age daughter, and runs a Gurukul and a Foundation, both named after her primary Guru, the late Sangitacharya DV Kane.  She is now a disciple of the contemporary maestro, Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar. On March 6, 2015, she spoke to Dr. Shreyas Masrani about her life in music. EDITOR

My grooming in music began early as my parents were deeply interested in Hindustani music. From age of 12, I was first trained in the semi-classical forms such as Bhajans and Natyageets by Chintubuwa Mhaiskar of Sangli for two years. I was then spotted at a singing competition by Pandit  D V Kane. He accepted me as his disciple. He was confident of my future in music. So, he allowed me to do an MA in music, after I completed my B.A in Hindi. I secured a gold medal in my MA exams. 

Kanebuwa had received talim from Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan and Mirashibuwa (Yashwant Sadashiv Mirashi)  of Gwalior and from Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan of the Agra gharana.  He was also deeply influenced by the music of Jagannathbuwa Purohit and the Jaipur-Atrauli maestro, Ustad  Bhurji Khan. Thus he assimilated musical values and principles of three gharanas -- Gwalior, Jaipur and Agra.
With Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar

Kanebuwa saw my bold aggressive and competitive traits as a person, besides the fact that I was gifted with a robust clear voice. His Gwalior-Agra background suited my own tendencies very well.  Kanebuwa’s talim was rigorous. It comprised two hour sessions in morning and evening daily apart from prolonged sessions on the tanpura when Kanebuwa trained other disciples.  I would travel daily to Ichalkranji from Sangli and stay over at Kanebuwa’s house on weekends and all holidays. My talim over 12 years from 1984 to 1996 made me the musician that I am today.

Stylistic influences
I am fortunate to have a great guru in the early part of my talim when I was too young to judge the merit of a guru. Later on, as I matured, I could evaluate and imbibe good musical values from other sources. Also the talim needed at different stages of an artist’s musical journey is different. When I was learning from Kanebuwa, he would encourage us to listen to many good artistes such as  HIrabai Badodekar, Kesarbai Kerkar and Pt D V Paluskar. Later on Pt. Ulhas Kashalkar’s recitals impressed me deeply as they integrated good features of the Agra Gwalior and Jaipur gharanas. After Kanebuwa passed away I received guidance from Pandit Vikas Kashalkar but it was evident that all that was missing in my music would now need the guidance of Ulhasji.

One can never stop enlarging one’s repertoire or stop growing. I had a stint with Prof. Ashok Ranade studying forms of popular or folk music, mainly Baithaki-chi-lavani. Ulhasbuwa has enouraged ne to learn Tappa, as he feels it will suit my voice. But, I did not get talim of Tappa from Kanebuwa. So, it may be some time before I am comfortable with the musical form. 

I like all forms of good music and have even done a music video conceptualised and composed by Shri Ashok Patki. I am also interested in what can be done with fusion. But my base and my chosen calling is Hindustani classical music.

On individuality
Nobody is interested in the Xerox of a Guru. Kanebuwa’s talim was such that we had to improvise and form our own phrases after he taught the rudiments of the raga. So we never ended up imitating or copying him. Besides, he – and now Ulhasji -- encourage us to listen to other great artistes and adapt the appealing facets of their music to our styles. 

For instance Raga Bhoop sung by Kishori Amonkar is an important benchmark and reference for me in presenting the raga. Another unique thing that Kanebuwa did was to make us sit on the Tanpura while he trained other disciples sometimes 3-4 hours at a stretch – and would reprimand us if we even yawned. Also he instructed me to do Riyaz in front of a mirror to prevent dosha of “mudrabhinaya”. Thus I evolved a stage presence and an individual style as a singer after assimilating various styles.

A musician’s relationship with her art should be sacred. That is what I understand by spirituality in music. I do have magical moments while practicing. But one has to come back to ground reality as one is performing in public. Apart from my spiritual guru, Kanebuwa and Ulhasbuwa have also given a spiritual orientation to my music. But, I am not yet a sufficiently elevated soul to fully grasp the spirituality of our music. 

In the profession
Politics exist in every field of life; and music is no exception. I welcome healthy competition but things do get unfair and vicious at times. One has to be tough to ignore all that. As a lady artiste the challenges are even greater. My spiritual guru’s blessings help me to maintain my equilibrium in such situations. If you have good talim and work hard, ultimately you will find a place in the market. 

It was my performance at Sawai Gandharva festival in Pune for the first time in 1998 which brought me into the limelight. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi personally prepared the list of artistes and I was chosen. An even bigger honour was my second performance at the same festival 4 years later. Elevation as a Top grade artist for All India radio in 2014 also is a significant event, which the concert circuit respects. 

What I have observed in almost two decades in the profession is that only genuine musicianship survives. Gimmicks give temporary success or fleeting limelight, but cannot last long. I was never tempted to resort to gimmicks because by and large my recitals were
With the Kirana stalwart, Dr. Prabha Atre
well received. Besides I have the guiding example of a serious performer in my guru Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar whose recitals have a full audience comprising classes as well as masses.

Classical concerts are not as lengthy any more as they were 50 years ago, therefore it is necessary to pack as much melody as one can within the confines of a raga. Also, the audience profiles vary at different places, so the aesthetic appeals have to be accordingly different. It takes years of contemplation to reach a stage where every second phrase will elicit a response, and I have to wait for my time. So, it is a task in evolution. 

When you have hit the concert circuit at a very young age, your evolution is taking place under public scrutiny.  There will be criticism of all kinds. I welcome criticism but am also aware of biased mind-sets which I have to ignore. My husband being untrained in classical music was a neutral listener. He used to say that he wanted relaxation - “sukoon” – from my music and a certain entertaining quality in my music. This also influenced my approach to music, and has given me popularity. 

Some degree of marketing is also required today. Especially on the Internet.  I am not very tech-savvy; so my husband Sandeep Patil, a software professional, handles that aspect. I am in the process of cutting new CDs as I have realized that people ask for my CDs after my recitals. Self-promotion is not my comfort zone but I am gradually overcoming my reticence in this matter and now I understand the power and reach of social media in today’s times.

A home-maker’s life in music
Of course, it isn’t easy. But, it is not impossible, either. My parents and my husband have always supported my career and I am very lucky in that respect, even my teen-age daughter understands my professional demands. Besides Kanebuwa had told me that an artiste is a part of society like everyone else and should live by norms in society. Also if one lives as a recluse, one’s example cannot be emulated. Your students should know that a harmonious family life can be balanced with a career in music.

Who is a good musician?
A good musician is a good human being first and a good performer next. He knows how to win over the audience. Also he has to have an unique attribute in his music. His music  should not be one-dimensional but multi-dimensional – assimilating the good musical features of several gharanas and their stalwarts. Also he should be able to transmit his “vidya” to the next generation.

A good musician will always be a respected musician irrespective of his commercial success. For instance playback singer Mukeshji was a successful musician but Mohammad Rafi was a better musician. Thus a successful musician need not be an equally good musician. A notable example is my guru Kanebuwa. He was a very good musician, and a respected teacher; but not very “successful” on the concert platform.

The “Pandita”/ “Vidushi” title has recently become common usage for lady musicians. My view is that a musician’s title should not be self-proclaimed. It should be conferred by people who understand good music. A Pandita or a Vidushi cannot be in her twenties or even thirties; she has to be senior – above 40 or 50. That’s when a musician is mature enough to be judged for his/her place in the music world. 

The Gurukul
People in cities have access to good artistes as Gurus. This is not so in the hinterland or rural areas. Sangli being my hometown and also being near Ichalkaranji –  Kanebuwa’s  karmabhoomi, I chose to establish a small Gurukul there. I personally train students on weekends and the talim sessions are 2 hours each morning and evening, there are other teachers too imparting basic training. Currently we are training 10 students in the age group of 8-15 years .

I do not define definite goals for myself in terms of  professional success. I want to keep growing as a musician, and want to be known as a good artist with the masses as well as the classes. As a teacher, I also want to leave a legacy behind of good artists who will keep the essence of Hindustani music alive.

© Dr. Shreyas Masrani  2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meera Music: The Importance of being Ajay Ginde

At a time when the music industry majors have virtually abandoned Hindustani music, Meera Music is fast acquiring stature as a specialist producer.  Its Director, Ajay Ginde spoke to Deepak Raja and Dr. Shreyas Masrani on February 15, 2015. Excerpts from the interview:

Ajay Ginde   
What is the origin of Meera Music?

I qualified as a Mechanical Engineer. From 1975 to 2009, I worked in the textile machinery industry managing production and exports, including a stint in Indonesia. The global recession came in 2008, and  there was no work. I got bored with sitting in the office with nothing to do. So, I decided to do something more interesting with my life. Classical music was an automatic choice.

My father, Prof. KG Ginde’s had wished that his series of lecture-demonstrations on Raga Vidya at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan should be published. So, I started with publishing the initial episodes, along with some of his concert recordings under the Meera Music label. Meera is my mother’s name.  They sold well through my father’s friends and admirers. Over the years, I published all the 38 lecture demonstrations in that series, and they have remained in demand amongst serious music lovers and institutions.

I was also concerned that the music of the old masters should be brought back into circulation, so that they are not forgotten. My father had been a disciple of Annasaheb (SN) Ratanjankar. Through my father’s circle of friends, I acquired the publishing rights for a couple of recordings of Annasaheb.  They did well -- again through the same limited network. In later years, of course, I could add several more titles of Annasaheb to my offering, all of which have done well.  The initial success encouraged me to enlarge my portfolio and reach out to a larger market.  

To enlarge my offering, I established contact with the Sangeet Kendra, a trust run by the Sarabhai family in Ahmedabad.  They had started publishing some of the old masters from their own archives. So, I took over their distributorship. From this source, I was able to offer concert length recordings of great musicians like Kesarbai Kerkar, Rasoolan Bai, Sharafat Hussain Khan, The Senior Dagar Brothers, Nizamuddin Khan (Tabla solo), Hanuman Prasad Mishra (Sarangi) and Asad Ali Khan (Rudra Veena). Around the same time, Mr. Kishor Merchant launched the Musicians’ Guild label and gave me distributorship for 120 titles – these included several old masters, along with a broad spectrum of contemporary musicians, including promising young talent. So, I now had a diverse portfolio, with the old masters giving me an edge.

Obviously your distribution strategy changed at this stage?

I could not think of going through the retail channels because I did not have the capital to block in inventories and receivables, nor the ability to accept the credit risk.  So, I had to turn part-producer, wholesaler and retailer, all rolled into one. The market is small but geographically scattered. I saw the opportunity in the music festivals that are held in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka during the music season (October to March), which would give me focused access to potential buyers. So, I hire stalls at all the music festivals in this region, and service the customers myself. I could not afford to hire staff anyway. But, more than that, interacting personally with music lovers gave me – and continues to give me – priceless insights into their tastes and preferences, and changing needs as listeners of Hindustani music.

I started servicing Indian retail stores and foreign wholesalers only in 2013. It has given me larger geographical reach, helped me to enlarge by distribution business for other recording companies, and built volumes. In addition to 124 titles of my own production, I am distributing about 300 titles for other producers: Sangeet Kendra, All India Radio, T Series, and a few Calcutta based companies -- Bihan Music, Inreco, Megaphone, Quest Worlds and Gattani.  But, I am still limiting the retail network to ensure that my working capital requirements do not go out of control.

My principal retail associates are Rhythm House in Bombay. I enjoy an excellent relationship with them, and they now account for a major part of my retail sales.  Their online sales operation gives my products a wider geographical reach.  They have an efficient customer service infrastructure, which I do not care to replicate or replace, even if doing so could mean higher profitability for my firm. 

But, even today, in terms of net sales realizations, my direct sales to customers at the music festivals would account for a major part of my business. This can change over the next few years. But, I never plan to discontinue my direct sales operations – they constitute my profit generators, my continuous market research, and an unending joy.

How has your product policy evolved? 

For quite some time, my primary interest remained in unearthing and releasing the unpublished and rare music of the old masters, with a bias towards vocal music. With this mission, I was able to release recordings of Wadikar Buwa of Chinchwad, Vasantrao Deshpande, Dayanand Devgangandharva ( Bhendi Bazar Gharana), Kesarbai Kerkar, Shivrambuwa Vaze, Pannalal Ghosh (flute),  Devendra Murdheshwar (flute) Chidanand Nagarkar, Kagalkar Buwa (disciple of Sawai Gandharva), Rasiklal Andharia, Lakshmibai Jadhav, Ramkrishna Buwa Vaze, and DV Paluskar.

Gradually, I also shifted my attention to the living performers of orthodox music, who were groomed by the early 20th century masters – but still very much the pre-independence generation. Amongst them, I could release recordings of Yashwant Buwa Joshi, SCR Bhatt (solo, and also duets with my father) Chhota Gandharva, Dinkar Kaikini, Kaushalya Manjeshwar,  Sangameshwar Gurav, and Jayshree Patnekar.

By this time, I started receiving offers from credible musicians of the 40-50 age group, who were looking for greater visibility. Amongst them, I released Milind Raikar (Violin), Basavi Mukherjee, Ram Deshpande, Raja Miya, and Kaivalya Kumar Gurav. These musicians have credible pedigree. But, even musicians without respectable backgrounds are interesting for me.  

For instance, I was in Ratnagiri once for a music festival. There, I heard an excellent vocalist, Rajabhau Shembhekar, an entirely self-taught musician. Enquiries revealed that he was a State Transport bus driver who drove only night-journey services between Bombay and Chiplun. In day time, he slept and practiced music. I persuaded him to record for me, and his recordings were immensely successful, and continue to sell even today. He was even invited to perform in Bombay and gave an impressive 3-hour performance at Karnataka Sangha!  Even after gaining recognition as a musician, Rajabhau continues to drive his night service ST bus between Bombay and Chiplun, and is a contented man.

What is your current thinking on your portfolio?

I will remain interested in the old masters and orthodox musicians who are either living or have just departed. But, there is a risk attached to the concentration of old music in my portfolio. An entirely new generation of listeners has now emerged in the market, and I find that there is a growing demand for fresh talent. The old masters are still selling, but their proportion in sales is declining.  This may also be because of the small presence of instrumental music in my portfolio.

Therefore, I am now actively interested in contemporary musicians in the 40-50 age group, and promising musicians in the 30-40 age group. In fact, I have recently released two CDs of Meghana Kulkarni of Bangalore, who is in her mid-30s; and they are selling very well.

Instrumental music now constitutes a big chunk of the recorded music market. I need to look at this angle also. In the vocal segment, we have produced only Dhrupad and Khayal music.  We should now consider the Thumree group of genres, raga-based Natya Sangeet in Marathi, raga-based Ghazals, other “Sufi” genres, and even tastefully rendered raga-based fusion.

People have been asking me why I have not entered the video (DVD) market with Hindustani music. The problem with the video medium is the format. Unlike the audio CD which can be played on any equipment, the DVD format is not standardized globally. So, we cannot address the global market with a single product. Moreover, the video medium demands undivided attention from audiences. Those who can, and want to, give Hindustani music undivided attention, are very few in number. So, the size of this market may be too small to be interesting.  Yes, indeed, there is a TV channel devoted to classical music. It may have a sizable listenership. But I don’t know if it has a sizable viewership.

Do you sense any threats to the audio CD market itself?

Right from the days of the audio-cassette, unauthorized copying has been a threat. And, I am sure that the total number of my CDs in people’s homes far exceeds my unit sales. But, the classical music market is too small to attract the hard-core piracy operators.  So, the loss of sales to the producer is acceptable so far.

The audio CD format may go out in a few years, and some other storage media might replace it. The pen drive is doing so partially already. But, people will continue to need a tangible and portable medium for music because increasingly, listening to music is happening in cars and other modes of transport.

Some people see the YouTube as a possible threat. But, YouTube is a video medium and demands undivided attention. Yes, YouTube audio downloads in MP3 formats are possible. But, this is a lot of effort. And, MP3 sound does not match Audio CD quality. Fortunately, very little of the music I offer is available on YouTube.

I do not see either our unit sales or growth rates weakening for the next five years. Ultimately, of course, the trends in storage media and audio technology will affect us, and we will adapt ourselves to these changes.

How do you view the business today?

Basically, what I am running is not a business. It is a hobby which keeps me comfortable, while giving me a lot of joy.  I get immense pleasure from dealing with musicians, unearthing talent, editing and processing concert and archival recordings, and interacting personally with my customers.  I do not want this enterprise to grow to a scale where I have to hire people to do any of these things. Nor do I want to grow it to a scale where somebody will buy it out for a handsome amount.  It will live and die with me. This may be the main reason for my success – if you wish to call it that.

We found a foothold in the market when the music industry was going through a substantial consolidation. In this frenzy for building up scale, Hindustani music, which could be less than 1% of the recorded music market, totally vanished from the radar screen of the organized sector. Some of the old labels still have valuable assets, which they repackage and recycle sporadically under different titles. None of the industry Big Boys has an active portfolio development program for Hindustani music. This is understandable because this segment requires specialized handling. The overheads required to exploit this small and scattered market would make this segment unattractive to music companies.

This environment was ideal for specialist producers to emerge from within the classical music community, and run reasonably profitable enterprises. We have survived and grown at a steady pace for several reasons -- I can acquire music on attractive terms. I am able to offer my customers a wide product portfolio. I can respond to their changing preferences through constant personal interaction.  I operate a frugal establishment in terms of production costs without sacrificing product quality. And, my pricing policy is moderate.

As I move from orthodox music to more contemporary music, none of this is likely to change. Meera Music is not going to transform itself into a “Business” as the term is commonly understood -- because it has a lot to do with the fact that I am the son of Prof. KG Ginde.

© Deepak Raja and Dr. Shreyas Masrani 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Prof. Ashok Ranade: a rare Guru

The admirers of Prof. Ashok Ranade had planned to bring out a felicitation volume for him on his 75th birthday. For some reason, the publication got delayed and finally appeared  as a commemorative volume after his demise. I had the good fortune of being invited to contribute a small essay honoring the pioneering thinker and a rare Guru. This essay was written on December 22, 2007.

Last week, as I received the Ashok Ranade Memorial Award of the Music Forum of Mumbai, I thought this essay should reach a wider audience. 

For more than a decade now, my search for superior wisdom has led me repeatedly, and always fruitfully, to the doorsteps of Prof. Ranade. Irrespective of the context of interaction – from the most formal to the totally personal and informal -- Prof. Ranade has always enriched my thinking with insights and perspectives which are uniquely his.

It would be impossible to enumerate the many ways in which he has contributed to my intellectual life. The best I can do here is to highlight his methods of guidance, and the manner in which he has shaped my perspectives as a writer on music.

In him, I have found an intellectual guide who forces his wards to think, both vertically and laterally. To achieve this aim, he is capable of using a wide enough range of devices to put the most inscrutable Zen master to shame. One day, he can casually throw a profound concept at you, and ask you to think about it. On another day, he may provoke you by stating the most outrageous proposition – a proposition he himself might not be able to defend, if pushed to the wall. Irrespective of the device he deploys, he leaves his wards with much more than the answers they sought – he imparts to them the ability to find their own solutions.

Like a majority of people who seek his guidance, I have sought his help on matters related to Hindustani classical (art) music. But, to him, art music is not merely about art music; even music is not about music alone. Art music, he insists, must be understood against the backdrop of the multiplicity of musical traditions, including the tribal, folk, devotional, martial and popular. Likewise, he urges his students to view musical issues as just one element in the entirety of the cultural process. He is not satisfied with figuring out of what a piece of music is. He drives untiringly towards an understanding of why it is what it is. Such a brief leaves almost no branch of knowledge untouched.

In handling the two facets of enquiry – the “what” and the “why” -- Prof. Ranade emphasizes the need for Indian musicology to remain “Indian”. His concern is particularly significant because a large part of contemporary writing on Hindustani music – including mine -- is in English and addresses, at least partly, an audience lettered in Western musicological concepts.

He is all for the study of Western scholars who have written on Indian art music, as much as he champions the study of Bharata’s Natya Shastra and Sharangadeva’s Sangeet Ratnakara. But, as writers, he believes, we must protect Indian musicological concepts against the risk of losing their “Indian-ness”. If this necessitates the coining of new words and phrases totally unknown to western musicology, he encourages me to be fearless in doing so. He considers it important that, even when rendered in a foreign language, the concepts remain anchored to the Indian musicological tradition, and faithful to the quality of the relationship between the Indian artist and his art. 

I have steadfastly resisted the temptation of asking him what constitutes the “Indian-ness” of Indian music because his reply could well send me off on a lifelong chase for an answer, well beyond my ability to figure out.

My work as a writer on music has also been inspired by Prof. Ranade’s enthusiasm for instrumental music as a mature and sophisticated art deserving of greater musicological enquiry, and his insistence that the task must be spearheaded by trained instrumentalists.

In this context, he laments the traditional notion of instrumental music as an “inferior” art form, and regrets its continued inability to step out of the shadow of vocal music in terms of musicological concepts. With stunning validity, he points out that the musical experience delivered by instrumental music differs radically from that of vocal music. Consistent with their technologies of sound activation and melodic execution, different instruments have even evolved their own genres (raga presentation formats), which no longer require a reference point in the vocal tradition. Considering that instrumental music now matches – and perhaps even surpasses – vocal music in terms of stature and popularity, the time is ripe for it to spawn its distinctive set of musicological concepts, and an independent body of musicological literature under Indian authorship. 

Describing a Guru, who derives immense satisfaction from seeing his wards pursue their own distinctive competencies, strive towards originality, and become self-dependent, might seem like a tautology. In theory, every Guru is expected to do so. In reality, however, such a Guru is rare, because only a Guru supremely secure in his knowledge can exhibit such qualities. As one who has partaken greedily of Prof. Ranade’s wisdom, I wish for him the satisfaction of having guided a worthy beneficiary.

Deepak S. Raja

Monday, January 19, 2015

Raga Tatva par ek nazar -- Nirakaar akruti se kalakruti tak

राग तत्व पर एक नज़र
निराकार आकृति से कलाकृति तक

हिन्दुस्तानी संगीत की सर्जन प्रक्रिया राग तत्व के आधीन होती है. राग तत्व एक निराकार आकृति है. इस कारण, हिन्दुस्तानी संगीत की सर्जन प्रक्रिया को एक अप्रत्यक्ष तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण का वर्णन दे सकते हैं.  The “formless form” of the Raga is translated into a communicable form.  यह प्रत्यक्षीकरण प्रक्रिया – अर्थात कलाकृति की निर्मिती -- कलाकार के संकल्पाधीन होती है. संकल्पाधीन प्रक्रियाओं के अंतर्गत इस निराकार आकृति का हमें विभिन्न आधीनताओं के अंतर्गत साक्षात्कार होता है. परिणामतः हमारा संगीतात्मक अनुभव प्रबंधाधीन है, लोकाचाराधीन है, रचनाधीन है, काव्याधीन है, लय-आधीन है, और तालाधीन है. जाहिर है कि प्रत्येक आधीनता का परिणाम हमारे रागानुभव पर विशिष्ट प्रकार का होगा. इस दृष्टि से मैं समकालीन गायन प्रबंधों के कुछ अंगों तथा उपांगों पर विचार प्रस्तुत करना चाहता हूँ.

आधीनताओं के दर्जे

राग संगीत कला का संतोषजनक वर्णन
सौन्दर्य शास्त्र में संगीत को Expressive Art अर्थात अभिव्यक्ति प्रधान कला कहा गया है. अन्य मतानुसार उसे Communicative Art  अर्थात श्रोतोंमुख तथा प्रतिक्रिया उत्तेजक कला भी कहा गया है. राग संगीत के सन्दर्भ में एन दो मतों में परस्पर विरोध प्रतीत नहीं होता. परन्तु, क्योंकि राग-तत्त्व एक निराकार आकृति है, हमें इन वर्णनों के अतिरिक्त एक और वर्णन को लक्ष्यान्वित करना होगा. राग संगीत एक Contemplative Art अर्थात एक आध्यात्मिक कला भी है. जबतक हम राग संगीत की बहिर्मुखी, व्यक्तित्व-निर्भर और अंतर्मुखी तीनों पहलुओं को समाविष्ट नहीं कर लेते, तब तक उसका वर्णन व्यापक नहीं हो सकता.

राग तत्व – एक निराकार आकृति
राग तत्व एक आकृति है – इस में कोई संदेह नहीं. प्रत्येक राग के स्वर निश्चित हैं, उनका प्राबल्य निश्चित है, उनका उपयोग क्रम निश्चित है. इन संकेतों के आधार पर अन्य रागों से उसकी भिन्नता और समानता को समझा जा सकता है, तथा उसे पहचाना जा सकता है. परन्तु उसे हम आकृति नहीं कह सकते क्योंकि रागकी पुनरावृत्ति असंभव है. कोइ भी संगीतकार खुदकी एक राग प्रस्तुति को भी हुबहू, सूक्ष्मतम रूप में दोहरा नहीं सकता. जिसकी पुनरावृत्ति असंभव हो, उसे निराकार ही मानना पड़ेगा.

“इष्ट राग” की भावना /कल्पना
जब हम साकार और निराकार की सीमारेखा पर ध्यान केन्द्रित करते हैं, तो अनायास ही देवी-देवताओं की उपमा उचित लगती है. उदाहरण के तौर पे भगवान् विष्णु के बारे में सोचिये. श्री हरी विष्णु निराकार हैं. उनका व्यक्तित्व अप्रस्त्यक्ष है; मानव इन्द्रियों और मस्तिष्क के लिये अगम्य तथा अलभ्य है. परन्तु उनकी आराधना के लिये, कोई भी कलाकार या शिल्पकार अपनी कल्पना के अनुसार, और शरणागत भाव से उन्हें एक विशिश्ष्ट आकृति में अवतरित होने का आह्वान करता है. देवी-देवताओं में और राग तत्व में यह समानता है. इसलिए हमारे कई ग्रंम्थों में प्रस्तुत राग को “इष्ट राग” कहा गया है. और इस भावना/ कल्पना का औचित्य व्यापक प्रतीत होता है.

आराधना हेतु किसी भी देवी-देवताकी आकृति का समकालीन समाज के लिये सुगम्य और सुलभ होना आवश्यक है. अतैव यह स्वाभाविक है की श्री हरी विष्णु का सर्वमान्य स्वरुप देश काल के अनुसार बदलता रहेगा. इसी प्रकार रागों के सर्वमान्य स्वरुप देश काल के अनुसार बदलते रहते हैं. आज हम मानते हैं कि भगव विष्णु की कल्पना शंख-चक्र-गदा-पद्म के बिना नहीं हो सकती. अन्य कोई भी गुणों में बदलाव आये, तो भी इन प्रतीकों का होना अनिवार्य है. इन प्रतीकात्मक चिन्हों के विद्यमान होते हुए, कोइ भी उस आकृति को ब्रम्हा या महेश नहीं समझ सकता. हम यह भी मानते हैं की यदि भालचंद्र त्रिशूलधारी आकृति हो तो वह शिवजी की ही होगी.

परन्तु इस बात पर गौर करें तो वास्तव में यह सभी प्रतीक चित्रकार और भक्त की कल्पना मात्र हैं, परंपरागत हैं, एवं लोकाचार के अधीन हैं. पौराणिक साहित्य के आगमन से पूर्व भगवान विष्णु समान जगत के पालनहार की कल्पना शायद नहीं थी. और यदि थी, तो उनकी आकृति समकालीन समाज के मानसपटल पर कदाचित श्री हरी विष्णु से भिन्न थी.  इस चर्चा का सार यह है की, देवताओं की भाँती रागों की आकृति भी सर्वमान्य कल्पनाओं के आधार पर होती है. और, इन कल्पनाओं की रूपरेखा हमें समकालीन प्रतीकात्मक चिन्हों में मिलती है. और समकालीन होने के नाते, यह चिन्ह परिवर्तनशील हैं.

संबोधन के इस पड़ाव पर हम स्वीकार कर सकते हैं की, राग तत्त्व निराकार स्वरूप  में सर्वोपरी है, क्योंकि राग तत्व एक स्वर-आयोजन नही है – वह तीव्र भावुकता की एक चेतना है, जिसके अनुभव के लिये मानव स्वरायोजन का सहारा लेता है. उसका प्रत्यक्षीकरण संगीतकार समकालीन कल्पनाओं के आधार पर, सर्वमान्य प्रतीकात्मक चिन्हों के आधार पर करता हैं. इन्हीं चिन्होंके आधार पर राग की पहचान होती है, और अन्य रागों से उसकी भिन्नता का आभास. परन्तु, जैसे कोई भी अराह्धक देवताओं के साकार रूप को उनके निराकार स्वरुप तक पहुँचने का माध्यम मानता है, उसी प्रकार, संगीतकार “इष्ट” राग के सर्वमान्य स्वरुप को उसकी निराकार आकृति के दर्शन पाने का मध्यम मानता है. “इष्ट” राग का साकार  स्वरुप आराध्य है; परन्तु आराधना का ध्येय उसकी निराकार आकृति है.

इस भावना से उसकी निर्माण की हुई कलाकृति प्रेरित रहती है. और इस प्रेरणा में ही रसास्वादन रूपी आध्यात्मिक चेतना का रहस्य छिपा है. इसी कारण, “इष्ट” राग के प्रति शरणागत भाव को अपने संगीत साहित्य में उत्तम माना गया है.

निराकार और सर्वमान्य स्वरूपों का सम्बन्ध
रागों की व्यापकता/ विशालता तथा सीमाओं का उस्ताद विलायत खां साहबने एक बातचीत के दौरान अविस्मरनीय संकेत किया था, वह आज यहाँ दोहराता हूँ. उन्होंने कहा – “राग कितना बड़ा होता है, उसकी तुम कल्पना नहीं कर सकते. और तुम्हारे उस्ताद भी नहीं कर सकते.” मैंने पूछा – “खां साहब, समझिए, राग कितना बड़ा होता है?” उन्होंने उत्तर दिया – “इस दुनिया में जितने भी संगीतकार गाना बजाना कर चुके हैं, और जितने संगीतकार पैदा होने के बाकि हैं, उन सबकी सामूहिक कल्पना से भी बड़ा होता है.  इसीलिए राग की सिर्फ एक झलक भी पाने  के लिये हम तरसते हैं. और, ज़िंदगी में कभी कभार, जिस दिन अल्लाह मेहरबान हो जाएं, उसी दिन उस का दीदार होता है.” स्वाभाविक रूप से मेरे मन में प्रश्न उठा, और मैंने कर डाला – “यदि राग इतना बड़ा है, तो उसकी सरहद कहाँ है?” उन्होंने कहा – “हर राग की सरहद वहां होती है, जहाँ वह किसी और राग की सरहद से टकराता है.”

इस बातचीत से दो तथ्य उभरकर आए. पहला – कि संगीत की सर्जन प्रक्रिया संगीतकारों के सामूहिक अभिप्राय से निर्मित राग स्वरुप के अंतर्गत होती है. दूसरा – कि प्रत्येक संगीतकार उस सर्वमान्य स्वरुप की सीमाओं के विस्तार का प्रयत्न करता है – क्योंकि उसका प्रेरणास्रोत निराकार आकृति है. इन दो प्रक्रियाओं के संयुक्त परिणामतः राग स्वरुप सदैव परिवर्तनशील रहता है.

राग-तत्त्व स्वतः एक असीम और निराकार आकृति ही रहता है. परन्तु कलात्मक उपयोग के लिये, सर्वसम्मति से संगीतकार उसे सीमाओं में बाँध लेते हैं. इन्ही सीमाओं के कारण प्रत्येक राग की पहचान बनती है, और अन्य रागों से उसकी भिन्नता का आभास होता है. इस सर्वसम्मत राग-स्वरुप के आधार पर श्रोताओंसे एक परिचितता का सम्बन्ध बनता है, जो एक Communicative art  के लिये आवश्यक है.

कलाकृति में राग स्वरुप
क्या यथार्थ में यह सर्वमान्य राग स्वरुप भी सुगम और सुलभ हो सकता है? और यदि हो भी सके, तो कलात्मक रंजकता की दृष्टी से यह वांछनीय होगा?  ज़रा याद कीजिये इंद्रपुत्र अर्जुन की हालत कैसी हुई थी, जब कुरुक्षेत्र के मैदान में भगवान् श्री कृष्ण से उन्होंने अपने दिव्य स्वरुप के दर्शन कराने का अनुरोध किया था. उस विराट स्वरुप को गांडीवधारी अर्जुन भी बर्दाश्त नहीं कर पाए थे. उस दिव्य स्वरुप में सम्भवतः श्री हरी ने उनके सहस्रनाम के सभी १००० वर्णनों का दर्शन कराया, जो सामूहिक रूप में बीभत्स तथा भयानक थे. यही परिस्थिति रगों के सर्वमान्य स्वरुप की होगी यदि उसे सामूहिक रूप में एक ही कलाकृति में दर्शाया जाएगा.

इसी लिये, कलाकृति की सर्जन प्रक्रिया के निबद्ध और अनिबद्ध दोनों संगीतात्मक अंगों में राग-स्वरुप का और भी संकीर्ण मुख देखते हैं. यह संकीर्णता प्रदान करने का काम प्रबंध और रचना के आधीन होता है, जिसमे काव्य तत्व, लय तत्व और ताल तत्व भी शामिल होते हैं. प्रबंध से मेरा संकेत ध्रुवपद तथा ख़याल प्रबंधों तथा इन प्रबंधों के अंग उपांगों की ओर है, जो आधुनिक संगीत की बुनियाद हैं.

प्रभंधानुसार अंगों पर एक दृष्टी
इस संबोधन का दृष्टिकोण स्पष्ट करने के लिये, मैं राग संगीत के निम्नलिखित अंग उपांगों की संक्षेप में चर्चा करूँगा.

१.      ध्रुवपद में आलाप अंग
२.      ध्रुवपद अथवा खयाल में पद / रचना / बंदिश
३.      विलंबित खयाल में आलाप अंग
४.      खयाल गायकी में तान अंग.

ध्रुवपद तथा खयाल प्रबंधों की पृष्ठभूमि
पंडित शारंगदेव के संगीत रत्नाकर (१३वीं शताब्दी) में दो प्रकार के “आलाप्ति गायन” का वर्णन पाया जाता है. इनके नाम हैं – रागालप्ती तथा रूपकालाप्ति. स्वामी प्रज्ञानानंद के मतानुसार यह दो गायन प्रकार ८वी अथवा ९वि शताबदी से प्रचलित थे.

राग  आलप्ती में आकार तथा निरर्थक व्यंजनों के उपयोग की प्रथा थी, और उसे ताल-वाद्य संगत के बिना पेश करने का प्रावधान था. रूपकालाप्ति में ताल-बद्ध काव्यात्मक रचना के अंतर्गत, ताल-वाद्य संगत के साथ आलाप करने का प्रावधान था. दोनों आलाप्ति प्रकारों में क्रमशः लय बढाने का रिवाज़ था. ध्रुवपद निष्णात सेलिना थिलेमान का संकेत है कि मुग़ल काल में रागालप्ती गायन को ध्रुवपद गायकी में सम्मिलित किया गया. यदि रूपकालाप्ति का वर्णन संगीत रत्नाकर में देखें, तो आज के विलंबित खयाल का समर्थ वर्णन है. आपको यह तो विदित ही होगा कि मूलतः विलंबित खयाल ही खयाल गायन है. द्रुत खयाल का जन्म बंदिश-की-ठुमरी की प्रेरणा से शायद १५० वर्ष पूर्व ही हुआ. तबतक बड़ा खयाल ही खयाल माना गया.

संस्कृत अथवा हिंदी शब्दकोशों में आलाप या आलप्ती का अर्थ देखा जाए तो इस प्रकार के भावार्थ मिलते है – परिचय, बोलना, उच्चारण, बात-चीत , रुदन. इस उल्लेख का तात्पर्य यह है कि आलप्ती की प्रक्रिया में उत्तेजित अथवा उत्तेजक अभिव्यक्ति का कहीं स्थान निर्धारित हुआ नहीं दीखता. आलाप – इस शब्द की ध्वनि-मात्र में एक शांत भाव का अनुभव होता है. निस्संदेह, किसी भी प्रमाण के आधार पर इस शब्द में आज कल के खयाल गायन में विद्यमान ओलिम्पिक प्रतियोगिता समान आक्रामक वातावरण का संकेत नहीं मिलता.

ध्रुवपद में आलाप अंग
ध्रुवपद का आलाप अंग तीन उपांगो से प्रस्तुत किया जाता है – विलंबित आलाप, मध्य लय आलाप, और द्रुत आलाप. तंतु वाद्य संगीत में इसे आलाप, जोड़ झाला भी कहते हैं.

राग तत्त्व की अराधना की दृष्टि से, विलंबित आलाप राग संगीत की सरवोच्च उपलब्धी है. वह लय-बद्ध नहीं है, काव्यधीन नहीं है, तालाधीन नहीं है. इस आलाप की प्रक्रिया पूर्णतया अंतर्मुखी है, जिसमें संगीतकार निराकार आकृति से, किसी अन्य तत्त्व के हस्तक्षेप के बिना, आत्मीय संपर्क बनाकर उसका आह्वान कर सकता है. समकालीन संगीत में संगीतकार को जितनी स्वतंत्रता ध्रुवपद आलाप ने दी है, उतनी किसी और प्रबंध के अंगों/ उपांगों ने नहीं दी.

ध्रुवपद के विलंबित आलाप को आंशिक रूप  से प्रबंधाधीन कहा जा सकता है – स्थाई, अंतरा, संचारी और आभोग, यह चार भागों में उसके क्रमशः विस्तार का प्रावधान है. यह अनुशासन  व्यापक रूप से सर्वमान्य सवरूप के अवलोकन को अनिवार्य बना देता है.  इस अनुशासन के पालन से, और कलात्मक स्वतंत्रता के उपयोग से, अन्य ( काव्य, लय, ताल) तत्वों के हस्तक्षेप के बिना सर्वमान्य स्वरुप का सर्वेक्षण किया जाय तो, उसका भी वेधन करके – उसकी सीमाओं को लाँघ कर -- राग की निराकार आकृति से भी कुछ आशीर्वाद पाने की संभावना बन जाती है.

ध्रुवपद का मध्यलय आलाप लायाधीन है, इस लिये राग-तत्त्व के आह्वान की दृष्टी से उसका स्तर निम्न कहा जाएगा. ध्रुवपद के द्रुत आलाप की तुलना ख़याल प्रबंध में तानों से की जा सकती है. इस उपांग की तरफ हम नज़र कुछ देर से डालेंगे.

ध्रुवपद अथवा खयाल में पद / रचना / बंदिश
राग तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण की दृष्टी से हिन्दुस्तानी संगीत में बंदिश का केंद्र-स्थान माना जाएगा. यह इसलिए कि संगीत सर्जन की अनिबद्ध प्रक्रिया भी बंदिश के इर्द-गिर्द होती है, और उसके अनुकूल होती है.

आम तौर पे कहा जाता है कि बंदिश राग का मानचित्र या नक्शा होती है. यह परिभाषा अपर्याप्त है. बंदिश राग-तत्व, काव्य-तत्व, तथा ताल-तत्व के सम्मिलित प्रभाव से बनती है. काव्य और ताल दोनों बंदिश के रसोत्पादन में सहभागी है. एस दृष्टी से देखा जय तो बंदिश राग तत्व का ही नहीं, ताल और काव्य तत्वों पर भी टिप्पणी करती है. इन तत्वों का प्रभाव राग-स्वरुप के अवलोकन को कुछ हद तक नियंत्रित करता है.

केवल राग तत्व की दृष्टि से देखा जाय तो भी यह परिभाषा संतोषजनक नहीं है. इसका प्रमुख कारण यह है कि कोई भी बंदिश राग के सर्वमान्य रूप को सम्पूर्णतया अंकित नहीं कर सकती. दूसरा कारण यह है बंदिश में रचनाकार राग स्वरूपकी अपनी समझ व्यक्त करता है.  अतैव, कोइ भी बंदिश सर्वमान्य रागस्वरूप का आंशिक नक्शा ही हो सकती है. तदुपरांत, रचनाकार अपनी कृति पर अपनी प्रतिभा की छाप छोड़ता है, और अपनी सौंदर्य दृष्टि का प्रमाण देता है.

हम फिरसे भगवान विष्णुके रूपों की उपमा लेकर सोचें तो – पहचान के तौर पर प्रत्येक बंदिश में सांकेतिक चिन्ह ज़रूर मिलेंगे – शंख, चक्र, गदा, पद्म. परन्तु विष्णु के १००० नामों मेंसे शायद १० ही वर्णन एक बंदिश् में मिलेंगे. उदाहरण मालकौंस राग का लीजिये --  मालकौंस तीनों क्षेत्रों में गाया बजाया जाता है. परन्तु, आपको प्रचलित बंदिशें या तो पूर्वांग प्रधान मिलेंगी, मध्यांग  प्रधान मिलेंगी, या उत्तरांग प्रधान मिलेंगी. यदि किसी मालकौंस बंदिश की स्थायी तीनों क्षेत्रों में भ्रमण करती है, तो उसे सुनकर आपको बेचैनी होगी. यह इसलिए कि बंदिश के अनुरूप राग विस्तार और संपूर्ण अनिबद्ध सर्जन प्रक्रिया भी अस्थिर रहेंगे, और रस-भंग की संभावना बढ़ जाएगी.

इस उल्लेख का तात्पर्य है कि बंदिश द्वारा राग संगीत की कला सर्वमान्य राग स्वरुप को और भी संकुचित कर देती है. तथा, बंदिश द्वारा लाई गयी संकीर्णता अनिबद्ध सर्जन को भी यह संकीर्णता प्रदान करती है.

राग तत्व की दृष्टी से बंदिश के मुखड़े का ख़ास महत्व होता है क्योंकि निबद्ध और अनिबद्ध के बीच का सम्बन्ध प्रमुखतया मुखड़ा ही स्थापित करता है. खयाल बंदिशों के मुखड़े में अक्सर एक अनापेक्षित अभिव्यक्ति अथवा वैचित्र्य निर्माण का इरादा नज़र आता है.  ज़ाहिर है कि राग के सर्वमान्य स्वरुप से हट कर ही वैचित्र्य निर्माण हो सकता है. और यही वैचित्र्य राग-विस्तार और तानों पर प्रभाव अवश्य डालेगा, और बंदिश से बनी राग प्रतिमा को एक अनोखा आकार देगा.

इस विचार श्रृखला से निष्कर्ष यह निकलता है की, राग के सर्वमान्य स्वरुप के अवलोकन का काम बंदिश का नहीं है. उसका काम राग, लय, ताल, और काव्य तत्वों का संपादन करनेका है, जिसके फलस्वरूप वह, स्वतः एक स्वतंत्र कलाकृति होने के अतिरिस्क्त, अनिबद्ध संगीत सर्जन की प्रक्रिया का भी कलात्मक निर्देशन कर सके.

खयाल गायकी में आलाप
बंदिश प्रस्तुति में सम्मिलित आलाप की चर्चा सिर्फ खयाल गायकी के अनतर्गत कर रहा हूँ क्योंकि वाद्य संगीत में हर वाद्य की अपनी विशेषता है, और उसके अनुसार राग-स्वरुप का अनुभव विशिष्ट होता है.

हम आलाप को खयाल का प्रथम चरण मानते हैं. परन्तु यदि राग प्रबंध की व्युत्पत्ति को समझें तो आलाप रुपकलाप्ती का प्रमुख अंग है. खयाल प्रबंध के अंतर्गत आलाप राग-तत्त्व के आह्वान का प्रमुख साधन है. इसकी विशेषताओं पर एक नज़र डालें.

१.      अनिवार्य रूप से लय-आधीन नहीं है.
किराना घराने की सामान्य लय (१४-२० मात्रा प्रतिमिनट) में आलाप हो तो स्वरायोजन लय-मुक्त रहता है. जयपुर- अत्रौली घराने की सामान्य लय (२५-३३ मात्रा प्रतिमिनट) में आलाप किया जय तो स्वरायोजन मात्राओं के इर्द-गिर्द चलता हुआ जान पड़ता है. यदि आगरा घराने की सामान्य लय (३८-४२ मात्रा प्रतिमिनट) में आलाप हो तो स्वराघात और मात्राओं में सामंजस्य बन जाता है. अर्थात, आलाप लय-आधीन हो जाता है.

२.      अनिवार्य रूप से काव्याधीन नहीं है
खयाल का आलाप आकार और बोल-आलाप – दोनों प्रकार से किया जा सकता है.

३.      आंशिक रूप से तालाधीन है
तालबद्ध रचना के अंतर्गत गाये जाने के कारण, आलाप को समय समय पर रचना के मुखड़े और ताल के अवर्तनों से सम्बन्ध स्थापित करना पड़ता है.

४.      आंशिक रूप से रचनाधीन है
प्रत्येक रचना राग स्वरुप के कुछ पहलुओं को अधिक महत्व देती है, और अन्य पहलुओं को कम. रसास्वादन हेतु रचनाकार के राग के प्रति विशेष रुझान के अनुकूल अपनी अनिबद्ध सर्जन क्रिया करनी उचित मानी गयी है.

५.      प्रबंधाधीन है
ध्रुवपद के विलंबित आलाप की भांति खयाल के आलाप में भी स्थायी-अंतरा-संचारी- आभोग की प्रथा है. उत्तम गायकों के विलंबित खयाल में यह चारों उपांग स्पष्ट रूप से विद्यमान होते हैं, और यह तर्कसंगत भी है. चार उपांगों का आलाप ही राग के वांछनीय  स्वरुप का सर्वांगीण अवलोकन कर सकता है, और रसास्वादन की संभावना को जागृत कर सकता है.

इन विशेषताओं को देख कर यह कहा जा सकता है की खयाल गायकी का आलाप संगीतकार को विस्तृत स्वतंत्रता देता है. परन्तु आंशिक आधीनताओं के कारण, राग-तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण की दृष्टी से, ध्रुवपद के विलंबित आलाप की तुलना में निम्नतर गिना जाएगा.

खयाल गायकी में तान अंग
राग स्वरुप को कलात्मक तथा द्रुतगामी स्वराघात से अलंकृत करने की क्रिया तो हम तान कहते है. यह एक परिभाषा है, जिसे आदर्श माना जाता है. तान अंग का यथार्थ काफी समय से बहुचर्चित रहा है. पंडित अनंत मनोहर जोशी का कहना था – “जहाँ कि खयाल गायकी का आलाप अंग प्रत्येक राग की विशिष्टता को दर्शाता है, (इसके विपरीत) उसका तान अंग सर्व रागों की समानता और अभिन्नता का प्रदर्शन है.” एस कथन से प्राध्यापक अशोक रानडे अधिकांश रूप से सहमत थे. यह धारणा तर्कसंगत क्यों लगती है?

तानों में स्वराघात की चपल गति के महत्त्वपूर्ण परिणाम होते हैं –अमुक लय के पार, स्वरोच्चार और ताल की मात्राओं में सामंजस्य बन जाता है. स्वराघात और ताल के विभाजन समक्षनिक बन जाते हैं. अर्थात, तानों में राग-स्वरुप पूर्णतया लयाधीन बन जाता है. लयाधीन हो जाने के उपरांत अल्पान्तारिक हो जाता है. जब राग-तत्व को लय तत्व कैद कर ले, और मात्राओं के बीच अंतर ही न छोड़े, एस परिस्थिती में स्वरों के अल्पत्व- बहुत्व को दर्शाना असंभव है. तदुपरांत, जब स्वराघात और मात्रा  सम-क्षणिक हो जाएँ तब विशेष स्वरों का वज़न, अनुपात, प्रमाण, और प्राबल्य दर्शाना नामुमकिन हो जाता है. और यही विशेषताएँ तो किसी भी राग को भिन्नता प्रदान करती हैं. उदाहरण के तौर पर सोचिये – अति-चपल तान में मुल्तानी और तोड़ी रगों के अवरोह में आपको क्या अंतर दिखेगा?

सोचने की बात है, की हमारे भारतीय Scale  को हम “सप्तक” क्यों कहते हैं, जबकि पाश्चात्य संगीत में उसे Octave (८ स्वर की श्रृंखला) कहते हैं. इसका कारण यह है कि हमारे संगीत की सर्जन प्रक्रिया आठ स्वरों के बीच के सात अंतरों में होती है, और न कि स्थायी स्वरों पर. तान अंग में स्वरों और मात्राओं के बीच कोई अंतर नहीं रह गया तो, उसमें राग स्वरुप का दर्शन कैसे होगा?

इन विशिष्टताओं के कारण तान अंग का महत्त्व राग-तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण में सीमित होता है. यदि ऐसा है, तो तान अंग की संगीतात्मक उपयोगिता क्या है? मेरी समझ के अनुसार तान अंग को उसकी उपयोगिता कलाकार की कल्पनाशक्ति और कंठ की चपल निपुणता से मिलती है. अंग्रेज़ी में प्रायः इसे dazzling artistry का वर्णन दिया जाता है. इस बात पर गौर किया जाये कि इस वर्णन में dazzling और artistry  दोनों हि पहलुओं का समान महत्व है.

इस विषय पर सूक्ष्म दृष्टि डालने की आवश्यकता है: तानों के मुख्यतया तीन प्रकार गिने जा सकते हैं और उनके योगदान का क्रमशः इस प्रकार मुल्यांकन किया जा सकता है:

१.      रागांग की तानें: राग के चलन से अनुशासित
राग-तत्त्व की दृष्टि से यह उत्तम प्रकार की तानें गिनी जाएंगी. राग के चलन के अनुसार इसमें कल्पना-शक्ति और कंठ की चपल निपुणता दिखाने का पर्याप्त अवसर मिल सकता है. यह देखा गया है की महान  संगीतकार अति-चपल लय में भी रागांग तानो का उपयोग करते समय अल्पत्व-बहुत्व का भी पालन करते हैं. राग-तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण की प्रक्रिया में इन तानों  का सर्वोत्तम स्थान गिना जाएगा.

२.      अलंकार की तानें: (geometric, symmetric, ascending-descending, kaleidoscopic)
इन तानों में कल्पना शक्ति के लिये कोइ स्थान नहीं है. राग स्वरुप से भी इन तानों का नाता संदिग्ध है. कंठ की चपल निपुणता के अतिरिक्त इन में कोई संगीतात्मक गुण प्रायः नहीं प्रदर्शित होता. राग-तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण की प्रक्रिया में इन तानों का न्यूनतम स्थान गिना जाएगा.

३.      मिश्र प्रकार की तानें:
इन तानों में सर्व प्रकार के स्वर-आयोजन का प्रयोग होता. इनमें कल्पना शक्ति का प्रामुख्य रहता है, तथा कंठ की चपल निपुणता से एक चमत्कृति का वातावरण निर्मित होता है. राग-तत्व के प्रत्यक्षीकरण की प्रक्रिया में इन तानों का स्थान मध्यम गिना जाएगा.

इस संबोधन का भावार्थ
राग तत्व एक असीम निराकार आकृति है. उसके अप्रत्यक्ष स्वरुप में न ही मानव मस्तिष्क उसे समझ सकता है, और न ही मानव ह्रदय उसका आनंद ले सकता है. इस उद्देश्यसे संगीतकार राग तत्त्व का कलात्मक प्रत्यक्षीकरण करता है. इस प्रक्रिया के अंतर्गत वह राग-तत्त्व को विविध आधीन्ताओं में बांधता है. स्वाभाविक है की आधीनताओं की जकड जितनी बढ़ेगी, उतना राग का प्रत्यक्ष स्वरुप सुगम, सुलभ, और आनंद दायक होता जायेगा. अर्थात कलाकार के प्रत्येक संकल्प का कलाकृति की रसास्वादन क्षमता पर प्रभाव पड़ता है. इस कारण, अंततोगत्वा, हमें किसी भी कलाकृति के चरित्र को समझने के लिये कुछ दार्शनिक तथ्यों का सहारा लेना होगा.

इस दिशा में विचार करने की प्रेरणा मुझे प्राध्यापक अशोक रानडे से मिली थी. उन्होंने संकेत किया था कि राग संगीत के विषयमें सोचते या लिखते समय हमें कलाकार के अपनी कला के साथ सम्बन्ध पर नज़र अवश्य डालनी चाहिए. इस संकेत पर चिंतन से यह आभास हुआ, की यह सम्बन्ध तीन प्रकार का हो सकता है –

१.      सात्विक
२.      राजसिक
३.      तामसिक

अभी तक की चर्चा हम एक सात्विक सन्दर्भ में कर रहे थे, जिसके अंतर्गत संगीतकार निराकार राग-तत्व का शरणागत भाव से आह्वान करता है. यही भावना उसके भावानुप्रवेश में सहायक होती है, और श्रोताओं को रसास्वादन की चेतना प्रदान कर सकती है. इसी परिपेक्ष्य में यदि हम राजसिक वृत्ति के संगीत की कल्पना करें तो हमें कलाकार राग-तत्व से प्रभुत्व की आकांक्षा दर्शाता नज़र आएगा. ऐसे सम्बन्ध द्वारा निर्मित कलाकृति में कलाकार के भावानुप्रवेश की संभावना नहिवत रहेगी, और संगीत का अनुभव श्रोताओं के लिये बौध्दिक – और कदाचित अभित्रास्गीय (intimidating/ oppressive) -- हो सकता है. इसी विचार प्रवाह में हम तामसिक वृत्ति के संगीत पर एक नज़र डालें. तामसिक प्रकृति की सर्जन प्रक्रिया पूर्णतया बहिर्मुखी होगी, और उसका का स्वाभाविक रुझान लालित्य, इन्द्रिय संतोष तथा मनोरंजन की ओर होगा.  

मेरे गुरूजी, पंडित अरविन्द पारीख इन तीन वृत्तियों को – (१) भक्तिमार्गी, (२) ज्ञानमार्गी और (३) वाम मार्गी की संज्ञा देते हैं. कहने का तात्पर्य एक ही है – राग संगीत संकल्पाधीन निर्मित होता है, और उसके निर्माण में संगीतकार के व्यक्तित्व का दर्शन होता है.

इस मक़ाम पर प्रश्न उठता है की – क्या इन तीनों वृत्तियों से उत्पन्न संगीत को हम “शास्त्रीय” या “राग संगीत” में समान  दर्जा दे सकते हैं? 

शास्त्रीय संगीत में सिद्ध संगीतकार को कला जगत में ऊंचा स्थान इसलिए मिलता है क्योंकि वह सर्वमान्य राग स्वरुप की सीमा को लाँघ कर निराकार आकृति से एक विशिष्ट अवतरण करवाने की क्षमता रखता है. जब हम महान संगीतकार के चरण स्पर्श करते हैं, तो हम उनकी उस शरणागत भावना को नमन करते हैं जो हमें निराकार की एक झलक दिखा सकती हैं – चाहे वह केवल क्षण भर के लिये क्यों न हो.

इस सन्दर्भ में, उस्ताद विलायत खां का हहृदयोद्गार फिर एक बार याद करें:

– “राग की सिर्फ एक झलक भी पाने  के लिये हम तरसते हैं. और, ज़िंदगी में कभी कभार, जिस दिन अल्लाह मेहरबान हो जाएं, उसी दिन उस का दीदार होता है.”

जैसा की एक लेखक ने कहा है –
The great artist is great because he has a hotline to God.

(c) Deepak S. Raja 2015

Paper presented at the Vasantotsav Vimarsh, in Pune on January 15, 2015.