Raag Bahar

Raag Bahar (राग बहार), also known as Bahar Kanada (बहार कानडा), is a raag (राग) from Kafi thaat (काफ़ी थाट) and is normally sung around midnight. It is a madhyam (मध्यम) centered raga , with vaadi swar shuddha madhayam (शुद्ध मध्यम वादी) & samvaadi swar shadaj (षड्ज संवादी). Though like Malhar (मल्हार), it uses both the nishad (निषाद) swars , the shuddha nishad (शुद्ध निषाद) is glided over quickly in the avrohi (अवरोही) phrase dha ni sa (ध नि सा). In this way, it has elements of both Kanada (कानडा) & Malhar (मल्हार).

Historically, raag Bahar (राग बहार) does not have ancient origins. It appears to have entered North Indian classical music in the medieval times. Some scholars believe it to be a contribution of the Sufi scholar & composer Amir Khusrau (आमीर खुस्रौ, 1253–1325).

Apart from being an independent raag (राग) in it’s own right, Bahar (बहार) also readily lends itself to  combine with many other raags, forming double-stranded jod-raag (जोड-राग), such as Basant Bahar (वसंत-बहार),  Bageshree Bahar (बागेश्री-बहार), Bhairav Bahar (भैरव-बहार), Jaunpuri Bahar (जौनपुरी-बहार), Hindol Bahar (हिंडोल-बहार), & many more. The bandishes (बंदिश) of most of the compositions in raag Bahar (राग बहार) contain descriptions of the Spring (वसंत ऋतू).

The following pieces of raag Bahar (राग बहार) are taken from a Gurupaurnima (गुरुपौर्णिमा) concert held in 2010 inside IIT Bombay campus. The first part of video is the bandish (बंदिश):

सब बहार आयी मोरे घर

आज खेलत बसंत छायी |

गडवा सीनार गडवा कांधे धरे

नार पुरष हँसत रंग छिरकायी ||

Bandish in raag Bahar sung in vilambit Teentaal

The second video contains the following composition in raag Bahar (राग बहार):

नयी ऋत नयी बेलबहार

नयो कलियनसो नयो नयो रस |

नयी द्रुम नयी पात

नयी नयी डारिया

तापर भँवर भयो बस ||

Bandish in raag Bahar sung in Drut Ektaal

Video Credit: Dr. Subrata Das

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