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Features |  25 Aug 2018 19:16 |  By Tanmaya Vyas

Dhol-Tasha a part of Ganesh festival preparations in Maharashtra

MUMBAI: The whole of Maharashtra reverberates with a resonance during Ganesh Festival and specially on the 10th day of the festival, Anant Chaturdashi.  The resonance is of ‘Dhol-Tasha’. Basically, a combination of percussion instruments, ‘Dhol-Tasha’ were primarily used at the beginning of war, to motivate soldiers and the dance performed on it is done with spears (Barchi chi nrutya). This however, was canonised in civilian life in mid-sixties in the cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune. As a city Pune is vibrant during Ganesh festivals and the troupes performing ‘Dhol-Tasha’ or popularly known as Dhol-Tasha Pathaks are nothing short of tourist attraction. This incorporation in Ganesh festival was a revolution in itself. The legend goes, that in early sixties, there were riots during Ganesh festival, due to which there were prohibitions of instrument usage. Citing the dull atmosphere during the festivals, Dr Vishvanath Vinayak Pendse or known as Dr Appasaheb Pendse, a visionary educationist and chief of one of the most respected education institutes in Pune-Dnyanprabodhini, himself got playing the instruments in the middle of Laxmi Raod-hub during Ganesh festivals. And since then, the Dhol-Tasha culture became a part of Ganesh festival. Today, two months prior to Ananth Charturdashi, many youngsters participate in Dhol Tasha Pathaks to play on that day.

The Dhol-Tasha and Lezim are a part of every village fair or what is called as Jatra in the Maval region of Maharashtra, once a bastion for army. This peculiar form and a combination of some sounds in slightly urban lifestyle, formed what is known today as Mavali Dhol. Then there is Nashik Dhol (Freestyle) and slowly the forms are adapting to much more urbane sounds. However, the purists will swear by the original sounds, one that will be preferred over the inappropriate songs played during the festivals. The performances are set to rhythmic patterns that start slow and reach a crescendo that can take the listeners to a frenzy.

The dhol has leather coating with bamboo sticks to play with, it also has a prelude of Tasha and a clarion and shiv garjana or war-calling.  There are certainly some changes that have taken place with time. Previously, cane sticks were used to play the tasha but now even fibre sticks are used to play Tasha. Also, the players would tie the dhol around their necks and play but now many tie it around