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Article: Raga Pahadi:Majestic Maharani of Mountain Melodies

 
By Haresh Bakshi
 
  Peace, power, pathos, poignancy: these words together constitute an apposite expression of the aesthetics of the raga Pahadi. The raga is like a lover, unruffled in union, serene in separation, powerful enough to achieve eternal union, but resigned to the painful parting ordained by destiny.

Pahadi, a Kashimiri folk melody in its origin, is a simple raga -- one may think of it as a 'dhoon'. On the other hand, however, proper and dignified treatment elevates it to the rightful, lofty and esteemed stature of an exquisite raga -- beautiful, intense, elegant and delicate. Its aesthetic atmosphere is radically distinctive and without equal. It is not a major raga in the sense of Darbari, Yaman, Bihag etc.

Raga Pahadi is said to belong to Bilawal thaat. Superficially, Pahadi has the same notes as do Bhopali and Deshkar and Shuddha kalyan (Mohana Kalyani). Raga Pahadi is sung with Ma as Sa, (like Piloo). Having done that, it is sung chiefly in the lower and middle octaves, With Ma as its Sa, Dha now becomes Ga, which can be treated as the vadi. Stressing the lower Dha makes this raga beautiful. This raga is very popular in rendering thumris, ghazals and bhajans. It is sung at all times. Its Aroha and Avaroha are as follows:

Aroha: S R G P D S'

Avaroha: S' D P G R S.
This is, of course, oversimplification, because any of the twelve notes of the octave can be skillfully included to enhance Pahadi's ethereal appeal.

Typical phrases in Pahadi:

[The notation with Ma as the Sa]

S, 'D 'P, 'G 'P 'D S.

S, 'D 'D 'P, 'D S R G, G R G S.

A visit to the raga database on this site will show how popular this raga is, with one of the largest number of movie songs using its notes as well as atmosphere.

I often come across Country music songs which exude distinctly of the Pahadi pathos.

 

 

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