In 2018, Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya had composed Raga Ganga, a tribute to the holy river in the nation. The raga had garnered appreciation from different corners. And before the novel virus tainted year ends, the maestro has composed a new raga, Raga Triveni, which is a tribute to the three rivers of the nation – Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada. The Sangeet Natak Academy awardee talks to us in detail about Raga Triveni. Excerpts:
When did you compose Raag Triveni and how long did it take?
When I had composed Raga Ganga two years back, I never expected life would turn on its head the way it has due to the pandemic. But I have always believed that Hindustani Classical Music has enough space for the creation of new ragas as interpretations of different moods, emotions and issues affecting mankind. But the creation of a raga has to be correct in its technique, notes and grammar and it has to be original to be considered as raga.
The total lockdown since March 2020 set me thinking, tinkering with notes and I also felt that a raga should be an ode to the nation. So, it has taken me almost six months to finalise, fine-tune and create a new raga with a perfect scale and also absolutely original.
Tell us about Raag Triveni in detail.
Triveni, as the name suggests is the confluence of three different genres of raga found in the Hindustani Classical Music Notes and the new raga is influenced by Raga Jogeswari, Raga Lalit and Raga Rageshree keeping a completely original scale.
The new raga is not only a tribute to my master, Guru Pandit Ravi Shankar, on his 100th anniversary but also this is a tribute to the trinity of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada which form the lifeline and backbone of India. The rivers are symbolic of how nature supports mankind and it also aims at sensitizing Indians that it is time we take care of the rivers, stop polluting it and life for these great rivers would ensure life for the people thriving due to them. Light, wind and water are the trinities which support life and through the raga the importance of water is being emphasised.
In Raga Triveni, the influence of Raga Lalit brings in freshness and a new beginning, one of hope and positive thoughts in today’s time of the global pandemic. Raga Rageshree is reflected through the emotions, depth and sweetness of romanticism, an essential quality of human beings. The melancholic, devotional aspect of Raga Jogeswari is also reflected in the new raga.
You are dedicating Raag Triveni to your guru who also known to have created a new raga. Was he your inspiration?
All my creations are dedicated to my master, my Guruji, Pandit Ravi Shankar. I believe he was the most complete performer ever produced. He was a complete package; an extraordinary performer having magnetic stage presence and also a fabulous communicator. He always inspired us to create something, experiment and continuously strive for excellence. There was no room for stagnation, it is just like the trinity of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Narmada after whom I have named my new Raga Triveni. It represents hope and also a message ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Save our Waterways’. Our Guru ji too exuded hope, positivity, love and fraternity amongst mankind. So this is my homage to him on 100th anniversary.
I am seriously considering taking the message of the new Raga Triveni to the masses as we have to sensitize people that we have reached the threshold limits and we have to conserve the rivers, also talking to big banners for the formal release of Raga Triveni.
As we have literally been living our lives in the virtual world through our performances I am itching to get back on stage as for me life exists on stage, but also look forward to the COVID Vaccine at the earliest. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the frontline warriors as health workers, policemen, our jawans and everyone who has defied the fear of death to serve us and homage to those who gave up their lives.