If you sing Ahiri Raga, You won’t get Food! (Post No.4805)

Written by London Swaminathan 


Date: 3 MARCH 2018


Time uploaded in London – 21-23


Post No. 4805

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.







A lot of strange beliefs are there about Indian Ragas. Musicians believe that a particular raga will bring rain and another will produce fire. I have already given the incident about Tansen. In South India there is a popular story about Ahiri Raga ( a particular tune).


What is a Raga? Melodic framework; the network of ascending and descending scale of notes which give or determine the melody; a tune


One Thanjavur musician was very fond of Ahiri raga. He had mastered that Raga. Thanjavur is a town famous for Carnatic musicians.  This person was told that he should not sing Ahiri Raga in the day time and if he violates that rule he wouldn’t get food for the day. He wanted to prove that the belief about Ahiri was false. So he was waiting for an opportunity. The news came that there was a big music festival in the nearby village and so he proceeded towards the village by walk. In those days, there were no restaurants. So he packed his lunch in a basket and carried it with him. Halfway through he felt very tired and so he wanted to take a nap. He tied the food basket in a bamboo tree which was bent towards the ground.

The bamboo trees bend during night time or in the cold and then slowly straightens up when the sun is shining bright. The singer did not know that. When he woke up he couldn’t see the food basket. After a while he looked up and then saw the food basket was 30 to 50 feet above him. In the middle of the woody area he couldn’t get any help and so he walked towards the nearby village to get some help. Now he started to doubt about the Ahiri Raga. But he was determined to prove that the belief about Ahiri and food was wrong.


When he went into the nearby village he saw group of people in front of a house where from good smell of fresh food was coming out. He came to know that it was a wedding celebration and all the villagers were fed there. So he also went there sat among the locals. Batch by batch the feast was served. When his turn came he went into the dining hall and wanted to show his talent and at the same time wanted to prove his belief about Ahiri Raga. The food was on the plantain leaf and the parents of the bride were serving the sweets to every one. It is customary to serve the sweet first in Hindu weddings. When the bride’s mother was serving the sweet this person made an announcement:

“Friends Ahiri is very good; who said that it was not a suitable one. I like Ahiri; everyone likes Ahri; Ahiri is beautiful and I am going to ………….”


Before he completed the sentence, people started beating him severely. He was taken out and shown the doors. Bride’s father came out and scolded him: How dare you talked about my wife in public?


He was blinking and said apologetically, “ Sir,I never talked about your wife. I only praised Ahiri in public because I like…….”

Before he completed the sentence more blows came on his face and the back. Then the people nearby told him ‘Don’t you know his wife’s name is Ahiri and you sad that you liked Ahiri very much”. Then only it dawned upon him that they mistook it for the lady of the house instead of the Raga.


He explained what he meant and proved his innocence. Then he was allowed to take food. But he decided  never to sing Ahiri during day time!!!







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