Monday, April 26, 2010

Jhumur and Other Culture of the Tribal People

During the British rule in India many people(mostly tribes) from different parts of India came to Bengal and settled down permanently in her tea gardens. Most of them came from Chennai (Madras), Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Tamilanadu, (Andhra) Bihar. They were landless persons who were often neglected by the higher classes of the society on the one hand and exploited by the landlords or Zaminders on the other.
Properly speaking, they belonged to different castes, creeds and sects. But here in Bengal they have lived together, mixed together and created a new common culture. They are proud of this culture.
These people while living in their homelands observed some sorts of festivals and enjoyed pleasures and happiness in their sad life. They have not forgotten them. They have observed them in Bengal as they did them in the past of them mention may be made of the “Karam Puja”. It is the best national festival of the people of the tea tribe of Bengal, which they observed thrice a year as “Buri Karam”,”Ram Jumuir” and “Jitiya Karam”.
The people of the tea tribe of Assam observe many folk-dances for the sake of their mental gratification of which the “Jumur dance” is the best. They observe this dance in time of the Karam Puja, specialy the “Jitiya Karam Puja” held in the month of “Bhada”. The meaning of the “Jumur Nritya” or dance may be explained thus – “Ju (jhu)” means the atmosphere; “mur” mens the act of doing something moving in a circle or circling or surrounding; Hence the dance means the dance which is performed in a revolving or circling manner.
The Karam is performed in Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orisa, Tamilnadu and Chennai all differently but in the month of Bhadra. This puja is in vogue in Bengal. Its popularity is on the increase. People participate in the dance and song of the Jumur performed as an essential part of the Karm puja. However, the Karam-Puja is started on the fourth tithi of Bhada on the one hand and ended on the “Acadashi tithi” on th eother. The puja is held in a wide place. The “Karmatis” play an important part in the puja from the beginning to the end..
The ‘Jumur dance’ is chiefly matriarchal. It is seen that young girls or women mainly take an important part in it. But that is not the end of the matter however. The young people or men also participate in the Jumur dance. Thus it seen that the Jumur dance is an important concerted dance of the young boys an girls, or male and females performed in connection with the Karam Puja.
The important musical instruments used in the Jumur dance are the drum, madal (a long drum), cymbal, flute and so on. The Jumur dance begins with the beating of the drum used in the function. Then the young girls begin to dance in a circular manner catching each other together. Side by side the Jumur song goes on being sung.
The Jumur song is started with a prayer to the Goddess Saraswati. The themes of the songs of the Jumur dance are vast and varied. They speak of the different events that occurred in the life of Lord Krishna. Apart form them the songs give us a lively description of the variegated matters of the life of the people living in the tea gardens of Bengal.
There is no definite or fixed dress to be worn in the Jumur dance. Only the universal dress of the labour of the society is used in the dance. The dancers wear Sari and put on a kind of ornament named Dhutia around the fingers of their legs. Moreover, they were a flower – & specially a red flower on the plait of their hair.Most of the Jumur songs are of four lines. Of course, there are some lengthy songs which are more than four lines. Again, the songs may be divided into some divisions and they can be sung only according to time.
The people of the tea-tribe of Assam have formed an important part of her population. They love the state from the core of their –heart as their motherland and are ever ready to keep her glory and prestige insect. This is clear to us from the following Jumur song sung by them in the Jumur dance.–
“Hamara majdur kisan
Hamara rakhba Asamar man
Na balib par desh
Asam balib go mai Asam.”

The people of the tea-tribes of Assam have contributed much to her culture. Their festivals and Jumur songs and dances are attractive and pleasing. They have attracted all sorts of the people of Bengal. As such, their popularity is on the increase day by day.
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