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Sanatan Sikhi Competing Perspectives on Raagmala

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Oct 2, 2009.

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    RAGMAIA


    RAGMAIA, lit. a rosary of ragas or musical measures, is the title of a composition of twelve verses, running into sixty lines, appended to the Guru Granth Sahib after the Munddvam, i.e. the epilogue, as a table or index of ragas. In the course of the evolution of Indian music, many systems came into effect, prominent among them being the Saiva Mata, said to have been imparted by Lord Siva, who is accepted as the innovator of music; the Kalinatha Mata, also called the Krsna Mata, which has its predominance in Braj and Punjab and is said to have been introduced by Kalinatha, a revered dchdrya of music; the Bharata Mata which has its vogue in Western India and was propounded by Bharata Muni; the Hanumana Mata; the Siddha Sarsut Mata; and the Ragaranava Mata. A large number of ragmalas pertaining to these and other systems that developed are, with some variations, traceable in such wellknown works on Indian musicology as Gobind Sangit Sdr, Qanun Mausiki, Budh Parkas Darpan, Sangit Rinod and Rdga Dipakd. With the exception of the Sarsut Mata which subscribes to seven chief ragas, all other systems acknowledge six chief ragas, thirty (in some cases thirtysix also) "wives" or rdgims and fortyeight "sons" or subragas, each raga having eight "sons." Thus each system includes eightyfour measures which itself is a mystic number in the Indian tradition, symbolizing such entities as the 84 siddhas or the 84,00,000 yoms or species of life. Though the details concerning the names of "wives" and "sons" differ in each ragmald, the chief systems, broadly speaking, have only two sets; one including Siri, Basant, Bhairav, Pancham, Megh and Nat Narayan, as in the Saiva and Kalinatha systems; and the other including Bhairav, Malkauris, Hindol, Dipak, Siri and Megh as in Bharata and Hanumana systems. In some systems, the ragas have, besides "wives" and "sons", "daughters" and "daughtersinlaw" as well. The chief ragas are suddha, i.e. complete and perfect, while the "wives" and "sons" are sanktrna, i.e. mixed, incomplete and adulterated. Each of the six principal ragas relates itself by its nature to a corresponding season. The ragmala appended to the Guru Granth Sahib is not much different from the others, and, by itself, does not set up a new system. This ragmala is nearest to the Hanumana Mata, but the arrangement of ragas in the Guru Granth Sahib is nearer to the Saiva Mala and the Kalinatha Mata which give primacy to Siri Raga. The only system wherein occur all the ragas and rdgims employed in the Guru Granth Sahib is Bharata Mata. In the Guru Granth Sahib no distinction has been made between ragas and rdgims and all the measures employed have been given the status of ragas, each one of them recognized in its own right and not as "wife" or "son" to another raga. In practice over a long stretch of time, gurmat sangit, i.e. Sikh music, has evolved its own style and conventions which make it a system distinct from other Indian systems. There being no indication to this effect in the caption, the authorship of Ragmala has been the subject of controversy; more so the point whether it should form part of the recitation of the Holy Text in its entirety. The composition is not integral to the theme of the Guru Granth Sahib, and it has little musicological or instructional significance. Yet it is entered in the original volume of the Holy Book prepared by Guru Arjan and preserved to this day in descendant family at Kartarpur. By consensus, Ragmala is taken to be part of the Sacred Text and with rare exceptions, notably at Sri Akal Takht, it is included in all fullscale recitations of the Guru Granth Sahib. The Rahit Mary add, manual of Sikh practices, issued under the authority of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, recommends that the reading of the Holy Book be concluded with Munddvam or Ragmala, depending upon local practice, but in no case should the Holy Volume be calligraphed or printed excluding this text.

    1. Sabaddrath Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
    2. Ashok, Shamsher Singh, Ragmala Nimai. Amritsar, n.d.
    3. Kohli, Surindar Singh, A Critical Study ofAdi Granth. Delhi, 1961
    4. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909
     
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    Ragmala: a re-appraisal in context of Sri Guru Granth Sahib
    by
    Madan Singh

    This is a very critical view of the place of the Ragmala in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

    See the .pdf attachment to the right of this message pane. The document was retrieved from Tapoban.org .
     

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    A Comprehensive Analysis of the Controversy
    Article is from this source http://www.sikhism101.com/printable/node/274


    What do you know of Raagmala?

    The literal meaning of the word Raag-mala is: a chain/necklace (mala) of raags (musical measures) i.e., a list of raags. This list differs according to the author and the music school it is based upon. Thus there exists a number of such lists in the music text books. Raagmala is also the title of a composition of twelve verses, running into sixty lines, appended to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a table or index of raags that appears after the "Mundaavni", i.e. the epilogue or "closing seal".



    RAAGMALA FULL TEXT (TRANSLATION)
    "Raag Maalaa: Each Raga has five wives, and eight sons, who emit distinctive notes. In the first place is Raag Bhairao. It is accompanied by the voices of its five Raaginis: First come Bhairavee, and Bilaavalee; then the songs of Punni-aakee and Bangalee; and then Asalaykhee. These are the five consorts of Bhairao. The sounds of Pancham, Harakh and Disaakh; the songs of Bangaalam, Madh and Maadhav. ||1|| Lalat and Bilaaval - each gives out its own melody. when these eight sons of Bhairao are sung by accomplished musicians. ||1|| In the second family is Maalakausak, who brings his five Raaginis: Gondakaree and Dayv Gandhaaree, the voices of Gandhaaree and Seehutee, and the fifth song of Dhanaasaree. This chain of Maalakausak brings along: Maaroo, Masta-ang and Mayvaaraa, Prabal, Chandakausak, Khau, Khat and Bauraanad singing. These are the eight sons of Maalakausak. ||1|| Then comes Hindol with his five wives and eight sons; it rises in waves when the sweet-voiced chorus sings. ||1|| There come Taylangee and Darvakaree; Basantee and Sandoor follow; then Aheeree, the finest of women.



    These five wives come together. The sons: Surmaanand and Bhaaskar come, Chandrabinb and Mangalan follow. Sarasbaan and Binodaa then come, and the thrilling songs of Basant and Kamodaa. These are the eight sons I have listed. Then comes the turn of Deepak. ||1|| Kachhaylee, Patamanjaree and Todee are sung; Kaamodee and Goojaree accompany Deepak. ||1|| Kaalankaa, Kuntal and Raamaa, Kamalakusam and Champak are their names; Gauraa, Kaanaraa and Kaylaanaa; these are the eight sons of Deepak. ||1|| All join together and sing Siree Raag, which is accompanied by its five wives: Bairaaree and Karnaatee, the songs of Gawree and Aasaavaree; then follows Sindhavee. These are the five wives of Siree Raag. ||1|| Saaloo, Saarang, Saagaraa, Gond and Gambheer - the eight sons of Siree Raag include Gund, Kumb and Hameer. ||1|| In the sixth place, Maygh Raag is sung, with its five wives in accompaniment: Sorat'h, Gond, and the melody of Malaaree; then the harmonies of Aasaa are sung. And finally comes the high tone Soohau. These are the five with Maygh Raag. ||1|| Bairaadhar, Gajadhar, Kaydaaraa, Jabaleedhar, Nat and Jaladhaaraa. Then come the songs of Shankar and Shi-aamaa. These are the names of the sons of Maygh Raag. ||1|| So all together, they sing the six Raagas and the thirty Raaginis, and all the forty-eight sons of the Raagas. ||1||1||"


    BACKGROUND OF RAAGMALA & HISTORY OF INDIAN MUSIC
    In the course of the evolution of Indian music, many systems came into effect, prominent among them being the Saiv Mat, said to have been imparted by Lord Shiva, who is accepted as the innovator of music; the Kalinath Mat, also called the Krishan Mat, which has its predominance in Braj and Panjab and is said to have been introduced by Kalinath, a revered teacher of music; the Bharat Mat which has its vogue in Western India and was propounded by Bharat Muni; the Hanuman Mat; the Siddh Sarsut Mat; and the Ragaranava Mat. A large number of raagmalas pertaining to these and other systems that developed are, with some variations, traceable in such well known works on Indian musicology as Gobind Sangeet Sdr, Qanun Mausiki, Budh Parkas Darpan, Sangeet Rinod and Raag Deepak.



    With the exception of the Sarsut Mat which subscribes to seven chief raags, all other systems acknowledge six chief raags, thirty (in some cases thirty-six also) "wives" and forty-eight "sons" or sub-raags, each raag having eight "sons." Thus each system includes eighty-four measures which itself is a mystic number in the Indian tradition, symbolizing such entities as the 84 siddhs or the 8.4 million species of life.



    Though the details concerning the names of "wives" and "sons" differ in each raagmala, the chief systems, broadly speaking, have only two sets; one including Siri, Basant, Bhairav, Pancham, Megh and Nat Narayan, as in the Saiv and Kalinath systems; and the other including Bhairav, Malkauris, Hindol, Deepak, Siri and Megh as in Bharat and Hanuman systems. In some systems, the raags have, besides "wives" and "sons", "daughters" and "daughters-inlaw" as well. The chief raags are shudh, i.e. complete and perfect, while the "wives" and "sons" are sanktrna, i.e. mixed, incomplete and adulterated. Each of the six principal raags relates itself by its nature to a corresponding season.



    THE RAAGMALA & SRI GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI MUSICAL SYSTEM
    The raagmala appended to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not much different from the others, and, by itself, does not set up a new system. This raagmala is nearest to the Hanuman Mat, but the arrangement of raags in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is nearer to the Saiv Mala and the Kalinath Mat which give primacy to Siri Raag. The only system wherein occur all the raags and sub-raags employed in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is Bharat Mat.



    In Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji no distinction has been made between raags and rdgims and all the measures employed have been given the status of raags, each one of them recognized in its own right and not as "wife" or "son" to another raag. In practice over a long stretch of time, Gurmat Sangeet, i.e. Sikh music, has evolved its own style and conventions which make it a system distinct from other Indian systems.



    There are 8 raags that are utilised in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that have not been mentioned in the Raagmala. These are: Bihagara, Wadahans, Manjh, Jaitsri, Ramkali, Tukhari, Prabhati and Jaijawanti. Mali-Gaura is not included in Raagmala but Gaura is.


    DIVIDING ISSUE ON RAAGMALA
    There being no indication to this effect in the caption, the authorship of Raagmala has been the subject of controversy; more so the point whether it should form part of the recitation of Gurbani in its entirety (i.e. being included in Sehaj Paath or Akhand Paath bhog/completion). According to The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, "The composition is not integral to the theme of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and it has little musicological, instructional or spiritual significance." Yet it is entered in the original volume of the Aad Granth Sahib Ji prepared by Guru Arjan Dev Ji and preserved to this day in descendant family at Kartarpur.



    Raagmala is the last composition in the Kartarpur Beerh. According to Professor Sahib Singh, "the last pages of the Kartarpur Beerh do not suggest, either because of the presence of blank spaces, or scoring out, or obliteration hortal, or otherwise, that there was or could have been the least intention to write these hymns in the Granth. The Mudaavni is on page 973/1. Pages 973/2 and 974/1 are blank, and on page 974/2 is Raagmala. As such, there could never have been the possibility, nor could it ever have been contemplated that these three writings requiring a space of over four pages could have been accommodated on the two blank pages 973/2 and 974/1."



    The puraatan (old) saroops that did or do include Raagmala (like Bhai Banno Beerh) also included other compositions after Mundaavni (but before Raagmala), such as: (i) Jit Dar Lakh Mohammada, (ii) Siahi Di Bhidhi, (iii) Ratanmala, (iv) Hakeekatrah mukam, (v) Praan Sangli, (vi) Rab Mukam Ki Sabk, (vii) Baye Atisb (16 saloks) etc. All seven of these compositions that existed after Mundaavni (but before Raagmala) were all unanimously discredited by the Panth and it was acknowledged that mischievous individuals had over time included these compositions at the end of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji but had no standing against Gurbani.


    View photographs of puraatan granths with these discredited compositions written in them:
    Tapoban.org :: Gurdwara Tapoban Sahib :: raagmala


    Maha-Kavi Santokh Singh (1787-1843), the famous historian that is most quoted by Kathavachiks (preachers), writes in 'Sri Gur Partaap Sooraj Granth' (pages 430-431):

    ਲਿਖੇ ਸਮਸਤ ਸਵੈਯੇ ਸੋਅੂ, ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ ਕੇ ਮਾਂਹਿ ।
    ਅੰਤ ਸਰਬ ਕੇ ਲਿਖਿ ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ, ਮੁੰਦ੍ਰਿਤ ਮੁਹਰ ਲਗੀ ਜਨੁ ਵਾਹਿ ।
    ਭੋਗ ਸਕਲ ਬਾਣੀ ਕੋ ਪਾਯਹੁ, ਮਹਿਮਾ ਜਿਸ ਕੀ ਕਹੀ ਨਾ ਜਾਇ ।
    ਭਵਜਲ ਭੈਰਵ ਕੋ ਜਹਾਜ ਬਜ਼, ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਤੇ ਪਾਰ ਪਰਾਇ ॥੩੯॥
    "Then Guru Ji wrote all the Svaiyye in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. In the end (Guru Ji) wrote Mundavani as a seal indicating that Gurbani is no longer after this seal. One cannot measure the great spiritual benefit of reading a complete reading of whole of Baani. Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the ship to get across the this ocean of world. By the great grace of God this ship has been sent to this world and by his grace alone one can get onto this ship. ||39||


    ਰਾਗਮਾਲ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰ ਕੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਨਿਹਂ, ਹੈ ਮੁੰਦਾਵਣੀ ਲਗਿ ਗੁਰ ਬੈਨ ।
    ਇਸ ਮਹਿਂ ਨਿਹਂ ਸੰਸੈ ਕੁਛ ਕਰੀਅਹਿ, ਜੇ ਸੰਸੈ ਅਵਿਲੋਕਹੁ ਨੈਨ ।
    ਮਾਧਵ ਨਲ ਆਲਮ ਕਿਵ ਕੀਨਸਿ, ਤਿਸ ਮਹਿਂ ਨ੍ਰਿਤਕਾਰੀ ਕਹਿ ਤੈਨ ।
    ਰਾਗ ਰਾਗਨੀ ਨਾਮ ਗਿਨੇ ਤਿਹਂ, ਯਾਂ ਤੇ ਸ਼੍ਰੀ ਅਰਜਨ ਕ੍ਰਿਤ ਹੈ ਨ ॥੪੦॥

    "Raagmala is not Baani of Guru Sahib. Only up to Mundaavni is Gurbani; don’t doubt this statement and don’t let any cloud of doubt come in front of your eyes. A book named Maadhavaanal was written by Poet Aalam, this Raagmala is part of that book (the Niratkaari chapter of it. Niratkaari means dance. Raagmala appears in the scene when Kaam Kandhala the dancer dances and sings a song in front of the king while Madhavnal watches and plays instruments). Aalam Kavi has written the names of Raags and Raagnis that were sung at that time. Therefore, this baani is not the work of Siri Guru Arjan Dev Ji.||40||"


    Kavi Santokh Singh writes that "Ragmala is not authored by the Guru" and that the author of the composition is "Aalam." Based on Sanskrit and Praakrit books, poet Aalam is a contemporary of Emperor Akbar, in 1640 Bk. He wrote the book Maadhavaanal Katha in Hindi. This has 353 verses and most of it is Chaupai style. This story was first very famous in Gujarat and so, after Akbar had conquered Gujarat, he had it translated into Hindi. Aalam has hinted at this in the start of his work.



    According to Dr. S. S. Kapoor, the Sikh scholars differ in their opinion about its inclusion in the Granth. The traditional school thinks it to be a part of Sri Granth Sahib Ji and asserts that it is an index of the raags used in Sri Granth Sahib Ji. This argument can be challenged on the grounds that a number of raags mentioned Raagmala are not in Sri Granth Sahib Ji and a number of raags used in Sri Granth Sahib Ji are not in the Raagmala. Another argument of the traditional schools that it is a part of the original copy and is written in the same ink and with the same pen as was used for the other parts of the Granth. This plea also does not carry any weight as in those days all the scribes used almost the same ink and the same type of pen. As the writing of the Gurmukhi characters was also the same so it becomes rather difficult to identify the handwriting. It is said by the modern scholars that it was Bhai Banno who might have been instrumental in its inclusion (along with other compositions that are considered 'kachi bani') in the Granth as he had the possession of the original copy of the Granth when he took it to Lahore for binding.



    The only place where Raagmala is not read at the end of a Paatth is probably Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib at Amritsar. Raagmala comes after Mundaavni - the SEAL. This also puts doubts on its inclusion as nothing should come after the SEAL, which means the end. In absence of any final decision by the Sikh scholars the Raagmala is included in every copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.


    DIVIDED OPINION IN PANTH ON RAAGMALA IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY
    Scholars and Saints for Raagmala: Bhai Vir Singh, Dr. Jodh Singh, Akali Kaur Singh, Giani Baba Gurbachan Singh (Jatha Bhindran), and Sant Samaaj ("Society of Saints" that was set up in the early 20th century).


    Scholars and Saints against Raagmala: Kavi Bhai Santokh Singh; Pandit Tara Singh Nirotam; Giani Dit Singh and Prof. Gurmukh Singh of the Singh Sabha Movement; well known historian Gyani Gian Singh; Sadhu Gobind Singh Nirmala; Prof. Hazara Singh; J. C. Cunningham - the author of History of Sikhs; well-known historian Macauliff; Bhai Sahib Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, the author of Mahan Kosh; Master Mota Singh; Master Mehtab Singh, Master Tara Singh, Gyani Sher Singh, Babu Teja Singh, Giani Nahar Singh, Principal Dharmanant Singh, Prof. Teja Singh, Principal Ganga Singh, Dr. Ganda Singh, Prof. Sahib Singh, S. Shamsher Singh Ashok Research Scholar of S.G.P.C., Pandit Kartar Singh Daakhaa, Principal Bawa Harkishan Singh, Principal Narinjan Singh, Prof. Gurbachan Singh Talib; Principal Gurmukhnihal Singh etc.



    PRO-RAAGMALA EXPLANATIONS OF HOW THE COMPOSITION CAME INTO BEING
    Bhai Sahib Bhai Vir Singh: According to Bhai Sahib Vir Singh, a Sikh scholar, the Raagmala included Sri Guru Granth Sahib was prepared by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and it contains a list of popular raags of that period of time. On previous occasions Bhai Vir Singh has been quoted as saying the author was Guru Arjan Dev Ji, and on another occasion Bhai Gurdaas.



    Giani Baba Gurbachan Singh (Jatha Bhindran): According to Giani Baba Gurbachan Singh, Guru Arjan Dev was getting Mundaavni scribed down and completing the Sri Aad Granth, and at the moment the Raags (musical measures) come to meet Guru Ji in the form of Naarad Muni (a sage). Guru Ji witnessed the terrible state of the Raags in the form of Naarad Muni and asked what had happened. Naarad Muni replied (i.e. the Raags): "Someone sings us at night (i.e. brothels), normal people sing us, everyone seems to use us and ignorant people have lost our value. We are being dishonoured." Bhai Gurdaas had the scribe in his hand. One by one all the Raags came to the Sanctuary of Guru Arjan Dev asking to be saved. Guru Ji told Bhai Gurdaas, "These Raags have come here for Protection, the "Bhog" (completion) is just about to come. Add the Raags into the end of the Granth so that they are saved." Bhai Gurdas accepted the Hukam. As each Raag (musical measure) prostrated in front of the Guru, the Raags were scribed down and that's how the composition of "Raag-Mala" came to be scribed.

    Audio Link: http://www.gurmatveechar.org/audio/katha/01_Puratan_Katha/Sant_Gurbachan...


    HISTORY OF MODERN PANTHIC UNITY ON RAAGMALA ISSUE
    Jathedar Bhai Mohan Singh Nagoke summoned a joint meeting of the saints and scholars in 1945 CE at Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib with the sole objective of resolving the issue once and for all. Jathedar Nagoke himself performed the initial ardaas (prayer) and affirmed that if it is proved after mutual discussion and debate that Raagmala is not Gurbani, it would never be read at the Akaal Takhat Sahib.


    The pro-Ragmala group could not give clear cut proof to establish that Raagmala is Gurbani. They walked out in disgust. Thereupon Jathedar Nagoke declared that in the interest of maintaining Panthic unity the reading of Ragmala was to be optional. Those who want it read after Mundaavni may, but after this decree from Takhat Sahib nobody should raise the issue for or against it. He also declared that henceforth it would not be recited at the Akaal Takhat Sahib.


    After a few days, Master Tara Singh, who was President of Shiromani Akali Dal, sent a special emissary – Giani Lal Singh of Sikh Missionary College Amritsar (ex-chairman Punjab Public Service Commission Patiala) to Giani Baba Gurbachan Singh (Jatha Bhindran) to ascertain as to whether he would be abiding by the decree of Akaal Takhat Sahib. Giani Lal Singh returned after a week’s stay at Bhinder Kalan, with a written message that Jatha Bhindran bows before the decree of Akaal Takhat Sahib. The veracity of the said message can be gauged from the fact that as long as Giani Baba Gurbachan Singh lived the issue was never raked up by him. In the meantime Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) included the contents of the decree in the Sikh code of conduct (Sikh Rehat Maryada). This was universally acclaimed by all. Since the Sikh nation as a whole accepted that Ragmala was not written by Guru Arjan Dev ji bhog ceremonies were performed after Mundavani Mehla 5 and Salok Mehla 5. Many historical Sikh Gurdwaras such as Nankana Sahib, Khadur Sahib, Taran Tarn Sahib adopted this practice. However, some Sikh saints and groups have been raking the issue of Raagmala in modern times again and again for their selfish motives.


    STANCE OF PANTHIC SIKH REHIT MARYADA
    Article XI (a) of the Panthic Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM):
    "The reading of the whole Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (intermittent or non-stop) may be concluded with the reading of Mundaavni or the Raag Mala according to the convention traditionally observed at the concerned place. (Since there is a difference of opinion within the Panth on this issue, nobody should dare to write or print a copy of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji excluding the Raag Mala)... "


    Sources:
    1. Śabadārath Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib. Amritsar, 1964
    2. Shamsher Singh Ashok. Rāgmālā Nirṇai. Amritsar, n.d.
    3. Surindar Siṅgh Kohli. A Critical Study of Adi Granth. Delhi, 1961
    4. Max Arthur Macauliffe. The Sikh Religion: Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909
    5. Professor Sahib Singh. About the Compilation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Tr. Daljit Singh). Amritsar, 1996
    6. Madan Singh. Raag Maala - A Re-appraisal in the Context of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Amritsar, 2003.
    7. Taran Singh. Ragmala. The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism, Vol. III. Ed. Harbans Singh. Punjabi University, Patiala, 1997. P 426.
    8. Kavi Santokh Singh. Sri Gur Partap Suraj Granth. http://www.ik13.com/Rasses/SGPS Raas 3.pdf
     
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