RARE RAGA SERIES: SAINDHAVI – JANYA OF MELA (22) RAGAM KHARAHARAPRIYA

Saindhavi ragam is not much heard in concerts, as there are no prominent compositions, though many are composed in this raga. There is no much scope for any alapana, this can be sung towards the end of concerts as filler. This raga is a janya of mela (22) ragam Kharaharapriya, very pleasing to listen. The arohanam and avarohanam both begin in Dhaivatham; while the arohanam ends in Nishadam, avarohanam begins in Dhaivatham. This particular property of being limited to be within one octave may be the reason for its non-popularity. Still, the vakra prayogas in the lower notes, NDN makes it more beautiful. The Ragaswaroopa can be seen as:

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 // D2 P M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2 N2 S

As per Sangeetha Sampradaya Pradarshini (SSP), the raga lakshana is given by Venkatamakhi in the sloka:

"saindhavi sagraha purna arohe tu dhavakrita |"

Saindhavi is described as a sampoorna raga, with D2 in vakra in arohanam, as:

S R2 G2 M1 P N2 D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

(As per the currently followed configuration, there is no sanchara below the mandra sthayi Dhaivata and above madhya sthayi Nishada. However, Venkatamakhi has traversed in two sthayis in the lakshana geetham in this raga).

Ragapravaham by D.Pattammal shows eight other configurations also, along with the present one, under mela (22); one of these, same as the janaka raga itself.

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 P N2 // D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2 N2 S

S G2 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 // D2 P M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2 N2 S (followed one)

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 // P M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2 N2 S

N2 S R2 G2 M2 P D2 N2 // D2 P M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2

N2 D2 N2 S R2 G2 M1 P // M1 G2 R2 S N2 D2 N2 S

S R2 G2 M1 P D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 R2 S

S R2 G2 M1 P N2 D2 N2 S // S N2 D2 P M1 G2 S

The name “Saindhavi” means belonging to the Indus (called Sindhu in Indian languages) region. Hence, a Ragini that came from the Indus Valley is Saindhavi. Etymologically, it means a woman from the Indus Valley. By extension, it can also mean an Indian woman, because the term India (or Hind) itself comes from Indus or Sindhu. The “S” becomes “H” in Arabic and Persian. Thus, Arabs and Persians began to call Sindhu as Hind and by extension, the land lying around and beyond Indus as also Hind. Indus and India are the European derivations from Hind. Thus, Arab/Persian rendition of the term “Saindhavi” would be “Hindavi” i.e., “an Indian.” In today’s context, Saindhavi can also mean a woman from Sindh, (though we are not associated with Sindh). Taking another view, “Sindhu” means a large body of water, or the sea (hence, this name was applied to a large river like the Indus). Thus, “Saindhavi” can also mean a woman from the sea-shore, like the relatively calmer Arabian Sea, which makes the beaches on the western coastline of India so very enjoyable. Metaphorically thus, Saindhavi can also mean “Mermaid.” In any case, the derivation from the Indus (Sindhu) regions seem more logical.

compositions:

ITu sAhasamulu yala napai – Swathi Thirunal

Pahimam anisham – Swathi Thirunal

Sumukhi ninnul tapa – Swathi Thirunal

Marakataman i – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

PashupatE namOstutE – Dr. Muthaiah Bhagavathar

SaindhavI rAgapriyE - Muthuswami Dikshithar

ini nAn irukkalAmO thAyE - Arunachalakavi

EzhaikkirankavoNNAthA - Vedanayakam Pillai

Singam irukkiRAn - Suddhananda Bharathi

Emanthune Muddu balamani - Dharmapuri Subbarayar. (usually sung in kaapi)

Dondara videmutO – Kshetrayya

Anandam Anandam - (sung by Charulatha Mani)

Are bhuvanamohana roopa (gitam) – Venkatamakhi

The most commonly heard song in this list is the ‘Javali’, “Itu sahasamulu’ by Maharaja Swathithirunal. (An article about Javalis and Padams had been published sometime back, just to differentiate these; Javalis are shringara-oriented, that is love-poems, mostly dealing with unfaithful nayakas (infidel male-lover) and in madhyama or vilamba kaala (medium and slow tempo). Many of them are openly erotic with some even using obscene language, accounting for their gradual disappearance from concert platforms as musicians probably felt squeamish about rendering them). In this composition, Lord Sree Padmanabha is considered the ‘Nayaka’. Also, the way it is usually sung is ‘Itu sAhasamulu yAla nA pai’, whereas, Prince Rama Varma, the descendant of the Maharaja is of opinion that it should be only ‘Ela nA pai’ and the other is only a colloquial form Telugu.

Now, let us listen to a very pleasing rendition of this composition by mahavidushis. C.Saroja and C.Lalitha (Bombay sisters).


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