Durga Puja Is Not Complete Without The Beat Of The Dhak
About the Instrument
Dhak is one of the oldest percussion instruments of Bengal similar to two sided drums. It is made of a big wooden shell with two parchment heads or sides tightened by leather straps. It is generally played with two wooden sticks beating one side, by either resting the drum on the ground on the other head, or by hanging it from the shoulder with a strap. Other variations of this instrument are also available in different size and names (like "Dhol", "Dholok"). Dhak is an integral part of any worship. Its beat and the rhythm create the ambience for any Bengali puja festival . The "Dhakis", create the moods for the various moments of the puja by playing the dhak with relevant rhythm and varying speed.
History of Playing Dhak
In Bengal, dhak has been used since ancient times and is referred to in various literatures like "Mangal Kabya" written during the middle ages ("Madhyajug"). During those times, along with using it during the puja festivals, dhak was also played for different occasions like cultural functions (song, drama), public announcements by the administrators, and even during various processions. In course of time, these usages have decreased and are sometimes seen infrequently in the rural areas only. However, even in this age of glamour and light and themes, any Bengali puja festival can only be complete with the mesmerizing sound and rhythm of the quintessential dhak.