Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Early Morning Ambience – Raag Bhatiyär

Remember that soulful, haunting jingle for the National Literacy Mission – ‘Poorab Se Soorya Ugä’? Early morning ambience with soft sunlight filtering through trees and windows, chirping birds and temple bells signify the arrival of the day। The night has surely ended and your mind has gained strength from the reassurance of the daylight that has just announced its arrival. Raag Bhatiyär excels in this twilight zone. Literacy mission’s famous jingle (link to this short-sweet composition is available under 'For Your Listening Pleasure...'), composed by Ashok Patki, brings out the end of uncertainty and beginning of hope with the notes of Bhatiyär!

Raag Bhatiyär, from the early morning twilight slot, belongs to the Maarwä Thaat (category) and uses all seven notes in the scale with Re (Second Note) being komal (minor). Alongwith flat Ma (fourth note in the scale), it also sparingly uses teevra (sharp) Ma in the ascent. The essence of this melody is its expansive treatment in the upper half of the octave where it shines with intricate taan-patterns around dhaivat and komal rishabh. Being an ancient melody, most of the accomplished singers / vocalists, especially from Agra, Gwalior, Kirana gharanäs, have shown their affinity towards Bhatiyär. Late Smt. Manik Varma’s recording of this raag is still popular almost forty years after its release. Much as I would have loved to share this recording with you, it was simply a technical challenge I could not surmount! Instead, you can listen to another quality recording of Bhatiyär by Sanjeev Abhyankar!

Bhatiyär also gels well with other melodies in combination. Some of the melodious and famous jod-raags and mishra-raags like Sohani-Bhatiyar, Triveni (using Lalat-Bhatiyär-Bibhas combination), Bhairav-Bhatiyar, etc. have been composed by creative minds like Pt Kumar Gandharva and others. Triveni has been immortalized by Pt Jitendra Abhisheki in ‘Tejonidhi Lohagol’, one of the most popular compositions from the landmark Marathi play ‘Katyär Kalajät Ghusali’ sung by inimitable Pt Vasantrao Deshpande।

Apart from the jingle mentioned above, music-lovers may remember the soulful Manna Dey – Lata Mangeshkar number ‘Ek Ritu Aaye Ek Ritu Jaaye’ where the opening lines of the song are composed in Bhatiyar. Marathi music has made the most of this soulful, expressive melody with several songs based on this raag. The first that comes to mind is Pt Jitendra Abhisheki’s composition ‘Arthashoonya Bhase Maj Ha’ from the play ‘Yayäti Aani Devayani’. Panditji’s disciple Ramdas Kamat also sung ‘Wäte Bhalyaa Pahäte’, a romantic composition in this raag. Mention must be made here that the lyricists of both these Bhatiyär compositions have had close ties with Nashik.

Recently, Padmaja Phenany-Joglekar has also used Bhatiyär very effectively to welcome the God of Light in ‘Yä Ho Yä ho Sooryanäräyan’! Likewise, go on; welcome the day with this timeless melody!

P.S.: Just as I published this refreshed post, dear friend Sonal Athnikar shared her precious recording of Smt. Manik Varma's Bhatiyär with me. So here it is for your listening pleasure - a taste of 'Khändäni Kiränä Gäyaki' in Manik-tai's sonorous voice courtesy Sonal...!


  1. some music too...

  2. I have heard about Manik Verma's Bhatiyar but can't seem to find it in the music shops in Pune. Does anyone have a suggestion where I could find it?