Guys, Do you know what is Pethidine? Well, it’s an opioid pain medication, known for decreasing the feeling of pain. Being opioid, it has a potential for addiction. So, what, according to you, could be a good substitute for it? What about raga Darbari? Yes, you heard it right. In a gynecological nursing home in Pune, making pregnant patients listen to Raga Darbari reduced the dosage of this drug from 150 mg to 50 mg (Reference below). Well, we all have heard that ‘music heals’, but, such an example of this statement lies way beyond our imagination. The question striking our minds must be that “How a collection of seven notes could display such a supernatural property?

Well, introduction to such a miraculous property of raga Darbari is fueling the curiosity for this raga. The existence of this raga lies deep into the night, and the maxima of its graveness and seriousness lie under the boundaries of nights. This raga was originally known as raga Darbari Kanada, as its roots are thought to be from the Kanada family. This raga is also called as Shuddha Kanada. This raga belongs to the Asavari that (थाट). The aarohan to this raga is-:

Sa re ga ma Pa dha ni Sa’

The ascension of aarohan is in the lower and middle octave (saptak). In aarohan, the note ga is assisted with a kan (part) of Re and dha is assisted with a kan of Pa. After this addition, the raga becomes -:

Sa Re (Re)ga , (Re)ga Ma Pa Dha ni Sa
Where (Re) is the assisting note.
And avarohan to this raga being-:
Sa’ dha ni Pa ma Pa ga ma Re Sa.

In avarohan, the note ga is assisted by a kan of ma, and dha is assisted by a kan of ni. The addition of a slow vibrato to the note ga beautifies the raga.

In the 16th century, Miyan Tansen, the legendary musician at Akbar’s court, brought this raga to North Indian music. It is said that when he sang this raga, it created an immensely heavy aura in the court. The name ‘darbari’ (meaning ‘court’ in Persian), itself reflects this tradition. This raga is known for a simultaneous creation of a sweet, grave and heavy atmosphere. Well, it’s nearly indigestible that being totally diverging, all these feelings can come to a person, listening to this raga. In this raga, ga and dha are the teetering constituents of this raga. Mastering this raga is a really difficult job, as it involves proper use of gliding from one note to the other, and addition of an essence of vibrato, which requires repeated practice, but, the beauty of the raga completely outweighs the efforts put in for its perfection.

Darbari… the name itself portrays the grandeur of this raga. Its existence lies even beyond the legends of music. From history till date, Raga Darbari has been a part of many songs and poems. The poem ‘Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna’, a patriotic poem, often sang by Ram Prasad Bismil during the days of the revolution, is based on raga Darbari. Moreover, its branches also had a reach till Bollywood. Renowned compositions such as ‘Dekha Hai Pehli Baar’ from the movie ‘Saajan’, ‘Pag ghungroo baandh’ from the movie ‘Namak Halaal’, and ‘Aapki Nazron ne Samjha’ from the movie ‘Anpadh’ have found their origin from this raga. Maestros like Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, and late Ustad Amir Khan have shown the true essence of this raga in their compositions.
This raga has the true essence of music hidden in it. Do listen to it, and pay special attention to the use of vibratos and glides between the notes.