Morya Dhol Tasha Pathak

How We Got Started

Morya Dhol Tasha Pathak was formed by few experienced shoulders with 4 Dhols, 2 Tashas and 1 Dhwaj. The count today has reached 18 Dhols, 5 Tashas, 18 Zanjhas and 3 Dhwajs. Morya, at the very beginning had 5 members. The count today has reached a whopping 40 members and still counting, aged from 7 to 50. The troupe has seen a rise in the number of women participation in the past years.

The Tradition

The tradition of playing the Dhol-Tasha is an inherent part of the festivities during the Ganesh Festival in Maharashtra. It is a group activity which is addressed with channelization, focus and determination culminating in extremely disciplined public performances as a parade throughout the ten day Ganeshotsav or the Ganapati festival specifically in Pune as well all over Maharashtra.

This tradition is an inherent part of the Ganeshotsav processions especially followed during public or societal ‘Prathisthapana’ (installation) and ‘Visarjan’ (submersion). It is essentially a group performance, where the groups or troupes are known as the ‘Dhol –Tasha Pathaks’ It is a festive seasonal activity eagerly participated in by the children, youth, working, professionals, housewives and retired citizens of all castes and creed alike. Participation is free without restrictions of religion, age or gender where no one asks you for any other identity apart from your name. It embodies unity in diversity and promotes channelization, focus and discipline

The procession of the ‘Dhol –Tasha Pathaks’ on the first day of installation as well as the final day of ‘Visarjan’ is one the highlights of the entire ten day celebrations. There is an intense albeit healthy competition for excellence in the performances as well as a pecking order of performing which is in sync with pre determination. Discipline and control on part of the Dhol Tasha Pathaks is top priority to be maintained at all times during the Ganapati procession.

Like sports; to play Dhol-Tasha requires quite an amount of energy, physical stamina, enthusiasm, discipline and a lot of practice to reach to the perfection level.

Instruments

Dhol and Tasha are traditional instruments which date back to the pre-British Raj era of Indian history. Dhol-Tasha and other accompaniments were initially used as ‘Rana-Vadya’ (battle instruments). They used to be played the beginning and end of the battles all over India, especially in Maharashtra. Over time, the usage of some of the pre and post battle accompaniments like Dhol-Tasha was adapted in the festivals and processions. The reverberation of the Dhol-Tasha and the Conch Shell is considered as auspicious during festivals and processions. Rendering a performance of the “Dhol–Tasha ‘is a group activity which requires a high quotient of physical stamina, team spirit, coordination and hence a lot of practice. The ‘Dhwaj’ is a a decorated saffron color flag which sits atop the pole.

To learn more about Morya Dhol Tasha Pathak, email Dhol Tasha leads Anukool Damle or Swapnil Saraf at dholtasha@hmmhouston.org

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