(Last Updated on : 21/05/2010)
Raagas in modern Indian music are a component of the new age tendency to search for newer and more varied things. This is reflected in the social and cultural fields of society. In the older times, when the musicians wanted to be off beat, they would take recourse to the nearly forgotten compositions and raagas which use to fascinate and overwhelm the listeners. However in the modern times, the musicians cannot adopt this approach. This is because there are a number of factors, such as lack of grooming under the past masters and closer contact with Carnatic music
, which have led them to sing and play newly composed khayals in ragas that were nearly unheard of three decades ago. More than 100 new ragas have been added to the repertoire of about 150 existing ragas (comprising about 60 common and the rest unknown). Some of the raagas have been imported from the Carnatic musical system of ascending-descending scales, without the raaga
sangatias. Some others are revivals from those imported earlier like (Hathsadhvani, Nagasvarfivali, etc.). Yet others are combinations of older patterns with new creations. Here instrumentalists, like Pt. Ravi Shankar
, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan
and Halim Jaffar, have made richer contribution than vocalists, with the lone exception of Kumar Gandharva
Raagas in modern music are many in number. Some of these new ragas deserve mention here. These are: Amrit Varsini, Arabhi, Ahir-Lalit, Bairagi, Bhuparanjani, Campakall, Candramauli, Candranandana, Carukesi, Devarangani, Devakansa, Devamukhari, Gauranjanl, Gavati, Gandhi-malhara, Gauri Sankara, Girija, Gambhira-Vasanta, Guamati, Govardhana, Gauri mafijari, Harhsamanjari, Harhsanat, Hamsanarayani, Hema-behaga, Hemanta-Bhairava, Hemavau, Janaranjani, Janasammohini, Jayakamsa, Kamala Manohari, Kamala Ranjani, Kalasri, Kokila Dhvani, Khusruvani, Kiranaranjani, Lalit Kesara, Lagana Gandhara, Lajwanti, Lalit Kali, Latika, Manohari, Madhuranjani, Malarani, Malayamarutam, Modasri, Madhail, Mafijari, Mazamiri, Pranavakans, Paramesvari, Prabhakall, Pulindika, Rasacandra, Rasikapriya, Sammohini, Sarasvati, Sajana, Subhavati, Tilaksyama, Jankaradhvani, etc. Thus there has been seen an explosion of ragas in the field of Indian music.
It is interesting to note that despite this variety and growth in the number of raagas in modern Indian music, only a few amongst them have gained wider acceptance and currency among the reputed musicians. One such possible reason for the low-level acceptance of these raagas is that the higher grade musicians of today, vocalists or instrumentalists, have been tutored in the composition and ragas of the older ages, and they are averse to accepting new ragas which may prove to be novelty without creativity. Moreover, listener's resistance is another reason, which may be due to unfamiliarity as well as aesthetic non-satisfaction. The listeners will have to get familiarized with new ragas, and for this purpose, much will depend upon their frequent and aesthetic presentation by the more acknowledged artistes of the day.
It is a known fact that excellence in music has never depended on the number of ragas and composition known to an artist. However, at the same time it is also true that much appreciation is always given to a new raaga with a distinct character and a new composition rather than a new garb in the form of a new set of words for an old body of the tune.