Dhol or Pati Dhol – Everything you want to know about this folk instrument of Assam
“An entrepreneur without funding is a musician without an instrument.” – Robert A. Rice Jr.
A musical instrument is an instrument to generate musical sounds. It carries the glories of a culture, folk, customs, and civilizations. It’s also deeply attached to the emotions and the feelings of people. Let’s know about one of our very known musical instrument Assamese Dhol or Pati Dhol. It is considered to be the most important part of the folk entertainment and culture of Assam. It’s commonly used in Bohag Bihu, the most famous and beloved festival of the Assam. Dhol is played with a stick and a hand. Dhol like instruments are found in almost every culture of the world, however, the Assamese Dhol or Pati Dhol is distinguished by its small size and relatively produces a loud sound. The shaped of Dhol is like a tube with a big whole inside and the sides are covered with goat, cow or buffalo skin. Dhols are made from jackfruit wood, which is considered to be the best, however, some people seen to use Mango or Sam wood. In the early days, Hengul or Haital were used to color the Shell, nowadays people use chemical paints. The common market price of a Dhol is between Rs. 2k to 3k or more. The Dhol player is known as the Dhuliya and the expert in playing the Dhol is known as the Ojah.
Various parts of Assamese Dhol are: Kanori Jori, Konari, Moluwa, Kural, Boroti, Taali, Kobor, Phoring and Khola. Kanori Jori is connected with the Kanori and used for hanging the Dhol around the shoulder of the player. Goat skin is used for the Taali and cow skin for the Kobani. The skin pieces are cut into the appropriate size and then connect with Boroti’s of both sides of the Khola. A rim is made around the Taali by twisting Borotis, it’s called Maluwa. The Foring help to set the tension in the Borotis and used to tune the Dhol in various scale. And lastly, a Dholor Mari made of a matured bamboo is used to play the Dhol.
The performance of Bihu songs and dance is impossible without Dhol. The Dhol player always takes the lead in Bihu and Husari. Dhol is also accompanied with other lead instruments like Pepa, Gogona etc. Ahom and Koch kingdom also have a big effort to popularizing the Dhol in Assamese folk culture. And it was enjoyed by the Royal patronization during that period. Even when the kings went out, there was a custom of Dhuliyas leading the way playing Dhol.
Dhol is also considered to be a Deva Badya that was brought to earth by Pandavas. In the folklores, it’s said that Dhol was created in Kailash the abode of God Shiva. Malita or Bellad is closely related with Assamese Dhol. Ojahs always start his performance with a Malita. Malitas told the stories of the burning issues of the mass and it touches the inner core of the heart of people