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In the genealogy of the ragas Ragini Kacheli has been classified as one of the consorts of Raga Dipaka, in some systems, its first, and in others, its fifth and the last. With its association with Raga Dipaka, Ragini Kacheli, like other raginis of the Raga Dipaka, is the melody of love, but not of the love in separation, though also not of the love in union. Ragini Kacheli reveals love’s great intensity and a mind tossing with the heat of passion but it does not have its lord to quench it. Not with it but also not far away from it, Ragini Kacheli reveals a mind that would not like to have its love away from it even for a little time, whatever.
The imagery of Ragini Kacheli has been almost fully concretised. It is perceived as a youthful damsel with rare beauty, and as elegantly bejeweled, seated in her terrace pavilion viewing two rams engaged in fighting in the street outside her palace. Pahari, Rajasthani or any, in all art traditions this is almost the uniform imagery of Ragini Kacheli except that sometimes the maiden representing the Ragini is painted with an attendant or a little more of regalia. A Kangra miniature, portraying Ragini Kacheli, datable to 1790-1800, which this contemporary miniature seeks to reproduce, has painted the royal damsel representing Ragini Kacheli with a maid attending on her.
Other components of the imagery used for representing Ragini Kacheli are not without a meaning. The fighting rams symbolise the unbridled passion of love which torments the heart of the maiden personifying Ragini Kacheli and her mind in conflict. The fighting rams portray this conflict. It is also in tune with the initial perception of Ragini Kacheli in texts – ‘the song of tortoise’. It reveals the unity of tough and tender, a tough exterior and tender inner, which both, tortoise and love, and in this manifestation of the Ragini, two fighting rams, and finally the Ragini Kacheli, characterise.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.