By Ragini Trivedi
This short piece was inspired by a curious pupil who wished to ascertain the proximity of one or other Carnatic Raga to a Hindustani raga. It well may be out of severe paucity of time that has been fuelling the present attention-deficit-syndrome and has armed millions to pursue their current favorite or fancy in a free manner without constraints of academic discipline; but with this particular learner it seemd that a real lack of resources compounded his confusion. For all educationists (counting my colleagues), it is a challenge to provide correct information to such keen enthusiasts in an orderly manner. The current resource material available on internet should be surveyed and classified. Corrections should be requested where required. In Indian Classical music apart from the site of artistes there are half a dozen websites which provide information regarding the subject. However, there is no indication of the level of information. Some give a lsit of raga-s, or a list of musicians -- past masters and conetemporary practioners, some carry biographical details about a few stalwarts while a few sport articles or research papers on current issues. Apart from the serious sites, there are numerous blogs and web-sites created by hobbyists and enthusiasts having varied tastes and wide areas of interest. A scheme of gradation should be devised so that distant learners can make full use of on-line resource.
In Hindustani Raga system ten essentials or lakshana-s are must. Without these one cannot gain an insight into the soul or esence of a Raga. Raga Hindol is an ancient raga but from middle ages. The Raga system itself has not been in existence for more than a thousand years (prior to that Jati-gan was in prevalence) and Raga Ragini classification was just another kind of method to distribute Ragas into proper segments for understanding. Pt. Damoder Pandit in his book Sangeet Darpan has given the details of the classification of Hanumat Mat, Shiv Mat and others. In Hanumatt Mat it is the third Purush Rag Hindol who has five Bharyas (wives) Belawali, Ramkiri, Deshakhya, Patmanjari and Lalita. Remember, that mostly these Ragas were chosen to sing Dhrupad; Raginis were rarely sung by Dhrupad vocalists. Once again, care should be taken of not mistaking the Dhrupad of ancient times with the modern practices. A person desirous of singing or playing in the ancient way must learn Dhrupad in its ancient form with methodsand rules of elaboration then prevalent. It is quite like high romanticism of Shelley -- the modern changes in patterns of human life, geographical locale, the animal kingdom, the environment, the seasons, the sound as we hear it... have brought us so far away from the ideal and idyllic that despite two versions and one kindred raga (Deepak Kalyan) the singing of Deepak Raga today can not produce a spark much less light a fire as fabled.
Earlier Upaj was restricted to certain level (e.g., to be done on gamak alone) and rules were so rigid that it took life-time for a musician to learn. And during that life-time an artiste could rarely feel satisfied with his performance. All stalwarts have complained at one time or other that finally when they comprhend music with clarity, their physical self renders them incapable of expressing the true inner music. it is the extensive body of classical knowledge which requires time and patience before a scholar can find an area that suits both his ambitions and his skills. Even Tansen is said to have lost his voice in old-age; he could not sing as he had in his prime (Tansen. Harihar Niwas Dwivedi).
Raga Hindol as we know in the present, is Re Pa omitted and a complete consonant Raga that moves in middle and upper octave. Ni is weak while ascending so Ni Dha Sa is used; it has sharp madhyam and all other are natural notes. In south Rag Malkauns is named after Hindol because as Bhavrang (Pt. Balwant Rai Bhatt) has said that some intelligent musician from south thought he has discovered a new method of singing Rag Hindol by using all the flat notes and skipping Re Pa. Alas! he did not know that we already had Malkauns. It implies that earlier there was only one Hindol (Little moderation is possible during the coarse of the time).
In instrumental music whenver a person speaks of Kalyan thaat then all notes are dominated by Pancham with a sharp madhyam. Hindol in Marwa thaat is Dhaivat dominated raga with no pancham. Apparent similarity (in the case of present query of Amritvarshini and Malashree appearing to be similar to two versions of Hindol) in structure is deceptive limited only to denotatives of musical notes. Amritvarshini using two Re (flat and natural) together and sharp Ma with Pancham and a flat Dha has employed semitones which are dissonant. Moreover, it is pancham dominated. Malashree has five different versions and is not a Carnatic Raga but a north Indian one belonging to Kalyan Thaat while Hindol is of Marwa Thaat. Moreover Hindol is a complete pentatonic Raga while Malashree is a three note Raga stretched to five notes by including sharp Ma and natural Ni. Malashree is closer to Jait and Shree all being sung in early evening while Pt. Bhatkhande places Hindol in fourth "prahar" of night (pre-dawn) along with Sohni, Lalit, Paraj etc.
On turning the Madhyam of Bhinna Shadja into sharp Ma, it turns into Hindoli, says Bhavrang Pt. Balwant Rai Bhatt. Vimalkant Choudhury in his book Raga Vyakaran gives two versions of Hindol, Hindol Bahar, Hem Hindol and Hindoli which resembles one version of Bhavkosh. He also gives ten Carnatic Raga-s going by name Hindol - Hindolkannad, Hindolkapi, Hindoldarbar, Hindoldeshakshi, Hindoldeshik, Hindolnayaki, Hindolmalavi, Hindolvasant, Hindolsarang, Hindolsaveri. All these, as mentioned earlier are a take-off on Hindustani Raga - Malkauns.
Mystery of Raga-s. an Article by Bageshri Joshi in Bharatiya Shastriya Sangeet: Shikshan, Shastra Va Prayog.
Links to books on Indian Classical Music