For every Bengali out there, waking up to the sound of ‘dhaak’ (drum) is one of the biggest symbols of Durga Puja.
Hundreds of ‘dhaakis’ (drummers) line up outside railway stations in West Bengal, play dhaak, so that they can be hired by Durga Puja organisers.
During Durga Puja celebrations, dhaakis move from one puja pandal to another, stirring up fervour and ardour with the intensity of their drumming.
Considered a male bastion, the dhaak has got a new lease of life as women too are taking up the role of dhakis.
Started with a batch of six women, Maslandapur’s Bakul Chandra Das’s group now has 60 women dhaakis. Das, a resident of West Bengal’s North 24 Pargana district has created Motilal.Dhaaki.com website too.
A few members of the women dhaaki band – Songita Das, Puja Biswas and Uma Das – will be visiting London this year on Durga Puja. If they get visa, the women dhaaki members will also fly to Tanzania.
The women dhaakis feel proud of their professional achievements. They say it has given them a voice and a sense of fulfilment. Every evening, the women practice at Gokul’s house for an hour.
Gokul Chandra Das, one of the most famous dhaakis of Bengal, started training women in his family and now has almost 70 of them in the troupe. The group started flourishing slowly and now often visits other countries to showcase its talent.
The puja organisers in foreign countries have taken responsibility of the band and will ensure Rs 2 lakh for the band to fly to London.
Source: Times of India