Suryya Kumar Chetia
JORHAT, April 12 – Market places here, as in all over the State, are crowded with people shopping various items on the eve of the much loved spring festival Bohag Bihu.
Along with items like garments and various traditional jalpan, the musical instruments have also occupied a large portion of Bihu markets in the State. In Jorhat town itself, over 10 shops were selling their prime product dhol.
Dhol, the most favoured musical instrument accompanying Bihu song and dance, has always been coveted by professional artists. But these days the young generation, attracted by the Bihu culture, also buys the instrument for amateur performances. The popularity of dhol has been fueled by the various Bihu workshops in which the young generation has been taking part with utmost zeal.
The dhol in Assam is made of a wooden barrel. The two open ends are covered with animal skin and the pitch produced by the dhol depends on how tightly the skin is attached to the barrel. Usually the length of a dhol is between 18 and 20 inches. But these days they also produce smaller dhols, meant for children.
Talking to this correspondent, a dhol maker and shopkeeper at Patiyagaon Bypass of Jorhat said that dhols made from jackfruit wood are the best. He added that the price of a dhol is between Rs 2,000 to 3,000.
Another dhol maker, Bisnu Das, who was also in the shop, said, “We have to bring animal skins from places like Dergaon, Kakojan, Mudoijan and Nagaon.
“Even then, this season we sold as many as 52 dhols,” he added.
Apart from those who produced dhols commercially, amateur villagers too have been making the instrument of their own ahead of the Rongali Bihu.
When contacted, master dhol artist (Oja) and noted poet Pramod Kumar Dutta said that the art and tradition of playing dhol would remain evergreen if the young generation learns it with devotion.