Spirit lifting Dhak and Dhol beatings creating festivity ecstasy

Sujit Chanda


With the beginning of Devi Paksha, the nature and the people – all are enthralled to greet the - Maa Durga and her divine family. As colloquially said, MAA Ashche (the Mother is coming), spirit lifting beatings of Dhaks and Dhols are creating festivity ecstasy, beating back all the troubles and miseries.   


Naturally, as preparations to welcome Maa Durga on the earth, believed to be Her paternal home, are going on in full swing, maddening and spirit lifting beats of Dhaks and Dhols are becoming intensified – busyness in Dhaki Para is obvious. Dhakis, keeping aside their life struggles, are working in fine tuning the traditional Drums – Dhaks and Dhols.  


Dhak and Dhakis are traditionally an integral aspect of festivities in Tripura during September to November ever year. The traditional art of Dhak beatings can be heard in full glory during the Durga and Kalipuja. Without the loud and frenzied beats of the Dhak, the festive aura will be missing. 


Even before Pitru Paksha was over and Devi Paksha started, Dhakis, the traditional drummers are readying up for the big occasions in the State beating back the pandemic crisis.


A peek into the Dhaki Para at Teliamura revealed palpable hectic preparations for the upcoming big occasions. Bhuban Hrishi Das – a Dhaki, is in upbeat mood and hoping that by the grace of Maa Durga and Maa Kali, traditional Dhak beatings will beat back the worst phase of human civilization.


Dhak-Dhol-Durga-Puja-TripuraHrishi Das, while making his Dhak perfect to produce the festivity ecstasy said, right from the bringing the idols in to the place of worship to immersion, Dhak beatings are an essential aspect of the rituals.


“Can anyone imagine Dhunuchi Nritya without dhak beatings”, he said and added, “Dhak playing is an art passed from one generation to another. As it is seasonal activity, many of the Dhakis are now engaged in more formal professions like farming etc. However, as the puja time ensues, we feel an ecstasy in our veins and pick up our dhaks – it is a passion, a deep rooted attraction to our tradition”, Das said and reminded  Dhunuchi Nritya is also a traditional artform which needs to be nurtured and preserve. 


Bhuban Hrishi Das pointed out remuneration earned from this traditional but seasonal activity is patience and that is why younger generation is less attracted to this profession.


“Dhak beatings require huge energy and youths are the most suitable for this. But this profession is losing its sheen due to shrinking demand and insufficient remuneration”, Das commented.


Traditional drum-Dhak-Durga-PujaHe, however, worried about the future of Dhak – not because of little earning scope.


“Dhak is facing serious competition from ear-splitting sounds of Kurkure­- artificial drums. As these kurkure are comparatively cheaper, most of the event organizers hire this instrument shunning Dhak.”, Das said.


According to him, poor and limited earning scopes as well as competition from Kurkure are posing threat to centuries old tradition of Dhak beating during auspicious occasions like Puja.


Das is optimistic. He said, kurkure is no match for Dhak – the rhythm of Dhak is blended with maddening and aesthetic tunes. 


Dhali Bhuban Hrishi Das has a suggestion to the Government. Several welfare schemes are being rolled out – however, there is little public awareness. In many cases, awareness camp turns out to be boring – so with the introduction of Dhakis, a festive mood can be created. This is will make awareness camp more successful as well as generate earning scope for dhakis and help to survive the traditional art form.


#Sujit Chanda may be contacted at [email protected]