Tana and Riri

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Tana and Riri is an Indian story about two girls born around 1564, who were asked to sing in the court of Akbar. When Akbar's court singer, maestro Tansen's preceptor died, he sang the raag "Deepak". The effect of singing this raag is said to be that the singer starts feeling an incurable heat in his/her body. When Tansen was affected by the burns of the Deepak raag, he roamed around the whole of India. Finally the commander in chief of their army, Amjadkhan, came to Vadnagar and found out about the two sisters Tana and Riri who were proficient singers and could cure Tansen by singing raga Malhar. When they were asked to sing at Akbar's court, they refused to come since it was their vow as Nagars only to sing in front of the village deity's idol. Instead they committed suicide by drowning in a well. They chose to do this rather than to refuse, which would have caused a war-like situation in their town. Later when Akbar came to know of it he apologised to their father and called for Tansen to fabricate a new Raag which would be called "Tana-Riri".

The twins were from a northern town known as Vadnagar near Visnagar in the state of Gujarat. It is believed that the late sarod master Pandit Vasant Rai was a great great grand nephew of the legendary sisters. Through family history it is not confirmed that if Tana and Riri were twins.


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