WHAT IS NIROSHTA. Before coming to the raga, we have to understand about the positions in the mouth either used or coming into contact with toungue for producing various alphabets. Thus, it has been grouped into five categories; Kandhya or Gutteral (using the Throat), Thalavya or palatal (using the top position, and the toungue), Oordha or cerebral (touching the palate), Danthya or Dental (touching the teeth) and Oshta or Labial (using the lips only). If you take the consonant letters, ka, cha, Ta, tha and Pa each represent the above in the order. So all the letters relating to Pa (pa, pha, ba, bha, ma) will be oshta lettes; in addition, the letter ‘va’ and the vowel ‘am’. When we consider the swaras (notes), Panchamam (Pa) and Madhyamam (Ma) use meeting of the lips. So, if we avoid these ‘Oshta swaras’ in both arohanam and avarohanam of any mela raga, it becomes “Nir” (without) “oshta”(lips).
Generally there is a belief that Niroshta is a raga created by Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar, by removing these notes from mela (29) Sankarabharanam. Even many books and internet sites refer to Niroshta as same. Let us come to the actual fact. As we know, there are 72 melakartha ragas, of which 36 are Suddha madhyama and 36 are Prathimadhyama ragas. Now, if we remove Madhyamam from these, then there will be only 36 combinations (Panchamam has nothing to do on the structure, as it is a basic note); this means we get 36 ragas which will be derivatives of mela (1) Kanakangi to mela (36) Chalanatta (same as mela (37) Salagam to (72) Rasikapriya). Since none of these ragas contain the ‘oshta’ swaras, Ma and Pa, all these can be called “Niroshtas”and are oudava-oudava (pentatonic) ragas. There are such 36 Niroshtas, which are listed as:
Name of the Niroshta - Janya of the melaraga 1.Oushadeesa priya - (Kanakangi) 2.Kumbini - (Ratnangi) 3.Kumara priya - (Ganamurthi) 4.Gnana Dayaki - (Vanaspathi) 5.Jyotsna priya -(Manavathi) 6.Karuni priya - (Tanarupi) 7.Dheergika -(Senavathi) 8.Nava Soothika -(Hanumathodi) 9.Trimurthi priya -(Dhenuka) 10.Gnana Bodhini -(Natakapriya) 11.Thittippadhwani -(Kokilapriya) 12.Thamasa Ranjini -(Rupavathi) 13.Thridasi Ranjini -(Gayakapriya) 14.Palini -(Vakulabharanam) 15.Makurantha priya -(Mayamalavagoula) ***** 16.Trinetrapriya -(Chakravakam) 17.Bhadrasri -(Suryakantham) 18.Natchatramala -(Hatakambari) 19.Thiraskarini -(Jhankaradhwani) 20.Bhagirathi -(NaTabhairavi) 21.Bhanupriya -(Keeravani) 22.Niroshta -(Kharaharapriya) 23.Palika -(Gowrimanohari) 24.Mukurakapola -(Varunapriya) 25.Bhargapriya -(Mararanjani) 26.Mrudani -(Charukesi) 27.Mattakasini -(Sarasangi) 28.Madhuralopa -(Harikambhoji) 29.Putrika -(SANKARABHARANAM) 30.Bharvidhwaja -(Naganandini) 31.Bhidajapriya -(Yagapriya) 32.Maboni -(Ragavardhani) 33.Barmangi -(Gangeyabhushani) 34.Mayavinodini -(Vagadeeswari) 35.Mrigendra -(Shulini) 36.Reva - (Chalanattai) (Ref: Ragapravaham)
From the list we can find that the Niroshta which we are referring to is actually a raga called “Putrika”, which is janya of mela (29) Dheera Sankarabharanam (or Mecha Kalyani). The notes will be: Aroh: S R2 G3 D2 N3 S; Avaroh: S N3 D2 G3 R2 S. Only because there are no any composition in the other Niroshtas, the raga ‘Putrika’ is commonly known to be Niroshta; the soonest a krithi is composed in any other, it loses its name. The Hindustani raga Adbhut Kalyan is also a Niroshta with all Suddha swaras.
Compositions known: (It is to be noted that like the Ma-Pa varjya notes, the lyrics also should not contain any ‘oshta’ letters) 1. Rajaraja radhithe - Muthaiah Bhagavathar 2. Jayathi jayathi - Ashok Madhav 3. Tanana Tirana (Thillana) – T.N.Seshagopalan (charanam uses the letter “va”) 4. Kanin maniye - Tanjore S.Kalyanaraman (the lyrics contain oshta letters) 5. Giri putrika gaura varni - Bangalore S.Mukund (same problem with lyrics)
We can listen to the composition, ‘Rajaraja radhithe’ from Master Arjun B.Krishna (Winner, Ragaratnam program of Amrita TV).