Saturday, September 30, 2023

Tribal art and culture take centrestage at Tusu Mela in Gopal Maidan

Himalayan Paths

Jamshedpur: Former Chief Minister Arjun Munda today said that the culture and tradition of Jharkhand was keeping the state united since a long time. He said it was not possible to obliterate the identity of Jharkhand and its people.

Munda, addressing a large gathering during Tusu Mela at Gopal Maidan here on Saturday, said the Western culture was trying to overshadow the tribal culture. The people of the state should not forget their tradition and culture and foil every bid to smother their ancient culture, he said.

Prior to the beginning of cultural events lined up for the day, singer Santosh Mahato sang popular folk songs and Santhali film numbers that enthralled the gathering. The guests paid floral tributes to former MP late Sunil Mahato before inauguration of the fair.

Other dignitaries present on the occasion included Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Balmuchu, the MP of Jamshedpur Vidyut Varan Mahato, Shailendra Mahato, chief convenor Astik Mahato, Fanindra Mahato, Suman Mahato, Savita Mahato, Sadhu Charan Mahato, district BJP president Dinesh Kumar, Ajay Singh, Vinod Singh and Roreya Soren.

The participation at the annual Tusu mela organised at Gopal Maidan is growing in leaps and bounds every year. Organised by Jharkhand Ekta Manch, the footfall crossed over thousand people this year.

The former Jamshedpur MP, late Sunil Mahto, had started this mela to promote tribal culture. The annual Tusu mela turned out to be a jamboree of tribal artistes and performers not only from Jharkhand but also from neighbouring states like Odisha and Bengal. People started flocking in groups from the morning carrying their Tusu idols and the choudal. The entire fair was monitored by a drone camera.

While one side of the field was lined up with a dozen-odd giant Tusu idols, it were the towering choudals (tall tower like structures) that adorned the other side of the field. Made out of hay and bamboo sticks, the choudal is an elongated structure like a temple with figures of tribal deities on it. The two main choudals brought today were, however, 70ft and 80ft, respectively.

‘Tusu’ is similar to harvest festivals, which take place in other parts of the country, and is celebrated by preparing food from newly harvested crops. ‘Tusu’ is stated to be symbolic emblem of goddess ‘Tusu Devi’, made of cardboard and decorated with colourful paper and female dolls, some reaching a height of even ten feet. This is prepared by group of chaste unmarried teenage girls a week before the actual festival and kept at the village for everyone to admire.

People from different places came to the Tusu mela in large numbers. �Ours group comprises 40 Chhau dancers, over 30 drummers and many more performers,� said Mohan Mahto, the secretary of a group.

One of the major attractions of this group was a huge traditional drum, which needs at least six people to play it.

�Traditionally, groups of artistes and performers from rural areas visit different Tusu melas and participate in competitions for the best idol or best decorated choudals,� said Sudhir Mahto, a member of the group from Chandil.

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