Let me admit at the outset that I have so far never sung these two Raags – Raag Kausi (राग कौसी) and Raag Jogkauns (राग जोगकंस), in a formal or informal concert. This is probably because none of my three guru’s, Pt. G T Tilak, Dr. Ashok Ranade, and Pt. Ratnakar Pai, ever sang these two Raags or taught them to their disciples. However, I have personally found both the Raags very beautiful & have heard them several times from many different artists in live concerts & recordings. I have been curious to know certain historical “facts” about their origin & development. What I’m going to say here may be known to some people of my generation (born around mid-20th century). But I have found that many younger disciples of mine are not aware of the facts about these two Raags. I am therefore, sharing the information I have gathered so far. I hope the following points will be useful for younger practitioners & historians of music.
- Raag Kausi (राग कौसी) is NOT Kumar Gandharva’s (Kumarji) creation as some people believe. It was an earlier version taught to him by his guru Gunidas – Pt. Jagannathbua Purohit (पं. जगन्नाथबुवा पुरोहित) with two bandishes (बंदिश), Sughar bar paayo (सुघर बर पायो) & Peer parayi (पीर पराई). It seems Kumarji was the first to receive it from Jagannathbua in late 1940s. And for some time, he was the only recipient.
- Kumarji seems to have sung both the above bandishes (बंदिश) as originally taught to him as Raag Kausi (राग कौसी), which does not have a strong presence of Raag Jog (राग जोग). Structurally, Raag Kausi (राग कौसी) seems to have been a modified Chandrakauns (चंद्रकंस) by adding a touch of komal nishad (कोमल निषाद). May be Jagannathbua had the purana Chandrakauns (पुराना चंद्रकंस) in the background too! Note that Chandrakauns (चंद्रकंस) itself is modified Malkauns (मालकंस). It replaces the komal nishad (कोमल निषाद) of Malkauns (मालकंस) with a strong shuddha nishad (शुद्ध निषाद). Add a touch of pancham (पंचम), nyaas (न्यास) on shuddha madhyam (शुद्ध मध्यम), & also a touch of komal nishad (कोमल निषाद), & you get Kausi (कौसी).
- Kumarji left for Dewas in 1947 to recuperate from his illness. Gunidas seems to have somehow forgotten what exactly he had taught to Kumarji. Sometime in late 40s, Kumarji sang Raag Kausi (राग कौसी or modified चंद्रकंस) in a public concert. He also later added his own bandishes (बंदिश), but stuck to the name Kausi (कौसी). I have never come across any claim by Kumarji himself that he composed this Raag (राग).
- Gunidas converted the same two bandishes (बंदिश) into a slightly simpler Jogkauns (जोगकंस), with Raag Jog (राग जोग) in the purvaang (पूर्वांग) & Raag Chandrakauns (राग चंद्रकंस) in the uttaraang (उत्तरांग). The name Jogkauns (जोगकंस) seems to have been suggested to him by Prof. Deodhar as the newer version contained strands of Chandrakauns (चंद्रकंस) & Jog (जोग).
- All the other disciples of Gunidas (Manik Varma, Jitendra Abhisheki, Yashwantbua, C.R. Vyas and Ram Marathe to name a few) received the same two bandishes (बंदिश) but with the new avatar & a new name. All of them sang & popularized Jogkauns (जोगकंस).
- This new version called Jogkauns (जोगकंस) gradually spread far beyond the Gunidas circle. Top vocalists from several different traditions, ranging from Bhimsen Joshi, Prabhatai Atre, Smt. Girija Devi, Vasantrao Deshpande, Malinitai Rajurkar, Ajay Pohankar, Veenatai Sahasrabuddhe, Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Rashid Khan, Ulhas Kashalkar, Vijay Koparkar and Sanjeev Abhyankar to name a few, have found Raag Jogkauns (राग जोगकंस) extremely attractive. Most have sung the original two Gunidas bandishes (बंदिश) very gracefully. Some even composed new bandishes (बंदिश) in this Raag. Ashwini Bhide-Deshpande does not seem to have sung it in a concert but has nicely demonstrated it in Kauns ke Prakaar (कंस के प्रकार) series of the Sangeet Sarita (संगीत सरिता) radio program. She has sung the drut bandish (द्रुत बंदिश) there.This is an unbelievable spread for a “new” Raag.
- Kishoritai, Pt. Jasraj and Parween Sultana were perhaps the major exceptions among top performers of the last 60-70 years, who resisted the temptation. Even eminent instrumentalists like Vilayat Khan Nikhil Banerjee have played Raag Jogkauns (राग जोगकंस). It will be worth finding out if there is another source of the Raag Jogkauns (राग जोगकंस) for the instrumentalists.
- This is not mere story telling, but factual history writing as far as it goes. My sources are Kalapini Komkali (personal correspondence), Ramkrishna Bakre’s writings, memoirs of Pt. Vitthalrao Sardeshmukh & also Rajan Parrikar’s music archive on the internet . I am well aware of the limitations of fact-based history writing per se, particularly in the field of an art like music. And of course from the point of view of oral history , each disciple of Gunidas will have a slightly different story to narrate about these two Raags.
Following are renditions of Raag Kausi by Kumarji and Mukul Shivputra:
Following are some of the renditions of Raag Jogkauns: