Friday, 28 November 2008

ILaiyaraaja-Nation's Pride!

‘Our True Nationality is mankind’ said H.G.Wells.

‘Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first’ said Charles de Gaulle.

What is this ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ all about?

In this modern fast paced world, do we really care for the nation?Do we really care for the mankind?Do we care for anything at all??

Let us first see what the Nation means to most of us.Though we have a tendency to criticize and at times even abuse our nation, we all stand united whenever there is a crisis..and whenever there is Cricket match!

Sounds strange?

Yes..But most of the facts are strange..

Is it not a fact that most of us have prayed-and continue to pray- (even if we are non-believers) whenever there is an interesting match involving India?

And when the Team wins, don’t we celebrate it in a big way?
We hardly look at the caste or religion of these national heroes.What matters is they are Indians and that they play for our country!

They are the pride of our Nation!

In a similar vein, whenever there is a national calamity, our hearts bleed. We are concerned about our people-our own people, our own brothers and sisters!

The last 48 hours have been traumatic for all of us and we wish that the ordeal comes to an end very soon.

As Subramaniya Bharati said,

‘There are many castes and divisions here.Though we fight among ourselves, are we not brothers born to the same Mother ?’

ஆயிரம் உண்டிங்கு ஜாதி எனில்
அன்னியர் வந்திங்கு புகல் என்ன நீதி?ஓர்
தாயின் வயிற்றில் பிறந்தோர் நம்முள்
சண்டை செய்தாலும் சகோதரர் அன்றோ!

He also sang,

‘We all belong to the same creed. We are all part of the same clan…We are all citizens of India!’

எல்லோரும் ஓர் குலம்; எல்லோரும் ஓர் இனம்.
எல்லோரும் இந்திய மக்கள்!

At a time when the entire nation is looking at Mumbai and praying for the welfare of all the people in the city, it is also imperative that we do not let our emotions take control of heads.

Be a patriot but not a ‘nationalist’.

Condemn terrorism and not a particular religion just because the terrorists owe allegiance to that religion.

Vow not to fall a pray to the machinations of our great political leaders and ‘cultural nationalists’ who enjoy giving colour to everything (because their eyes are already jaundiced).

Let us spread Love and not hatred.

Let us realise that terrorism and terrorist sleep within us and it just takes a moment of madness for these to wake up, assume gigantic proportions and become a Monster.

That brings me to the subject that is very close to everybody’s hearts.


It is the unifying force..It is the omnipotent force..

It calms our nerves..It makes us think positive..

It makes us mellow..It makes us love others..

Many musicians have made our country proud.

The Gentleman from a remotest village in Tamizh Nadu has been giving music that mellows us; that melts us ; that makes forget ourselves ; that makes us love others.

Musicians across the globe have poured encomiums on him. People in the world have saluted him. He was the first Asian to compose a symphony for the Royal Philharmonic. The world famous Budapest Orchestra played for him.

Paul Mauriot, a very famous composer from France remarked ‘This is something different and wonderful’ after listening to ‘How to Name it’.

Alexander, another famous conductor of a Symphony Orchestra was enthralled when he listened to ‘Etho Mogam’(Kozhi Koovuthu) and said ‘This is not Indian Music.This is International Music’.

Is he not our national pride?

The song for today is also based on a Raga that literally means the Nation.
It is Raag Desh.

It is a Hindustani raga and is capable of melting anybody(including the terrorists).

Interestingly, Bankim Chand Chatterjee’s Vande Maataram is also set in Raag Desh!

Desh’s structure is
Sa ri2 ma1 pa ni3 Sa/Sa ni2 dha2 pa ma1 ga3 ri2 ga3 ni3 sa.

Like most of the Hindustani Raags, it uses alien swara(ni3) in this case.In Carnatic music parlance, such ragas are called as Bhashanga Ragas.

The main prayogas(called as ‘pakad’) in the Raga are ‘ri ma pa’ ‘ni dha pa’ ‘ma ga ri’ ‘ga sa’.

In the Hindustani system, we also have Vaadi and Samvaadi swaras-the sonant-consonant pair of notes.While the Vaadi swar is the most important note, the Samvaadi is the second most important and significant note.

In Desh, the Vaadi swar is ‘ri’ and the Samvaadi, ‘pa’.

Let us have a look at the composition.

It is ‘Vizhiyil Pudu Kavithai Padiththen’ from ‘Theerthakaraiyinile’(1987).

The Satin like softness of the Desh is personified by the Shehnai and we close our eyes involuntarily.The gentle breeze kisses us as we listen to the strings, and violins.

The very short piece in the flute says it all!

Again a word or two about Laya Raja.

I have been talking about his sense of Tala(rhythm) time and again in this Blog.What makes his compositions unique and great is this.It follows a structure even when there is no percussion instrument.

This prelude is no exception!

The five-beat khanta pattern adds to the beauty of the composition.

The Pallavi has a sense of freshness-typical of the Raag- and at the same time is very vibrant.

The tenderness continues in the first interlude as the chorus sings.The Flute plays with precision while the string emerges subtly but powerfully.

The CharaNam shows us the endearing features of the raga as the sangatis flow.The structure is also interesting as it becomes a kind of question and answer session between the male and the female voices(Samvaadi and Vaadi?).

The chorus embellishes the CharaNam.

The second interlude also follows an excellent pattern.

The Chitra Veena plays the same swaras as the one rendered by the chorus in the first interlude. The Tabla replies exquisitely.The Flute dazzles ,the bass guitar smiles and the strings sparkle.

It is intensively detailed and effectively punctuated with the beautiful swaras.

We see a clear natural stream.

We see the iridescent hues of the Raga.

Musically Musical!

Niches of quietude!!

Desh- a beautiful serene raga..our Nation.
ILaiyaraaja-the brilliant refined musician.. our pride!

விரலில் புது கீதம் படைப்பார்.
செவியிரண்டில் அமுதம் இசைப்பார்.

He gives us new music that flows like nectar.

No comments: