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Bargarh Dhanuyatra & Odia Literature

Dr. Saroj Kumar Debata

When a cruel demon surpasses the limits of all in human activities on the earth God Almighty himself alights down with a new incarnation to kill him and defends the society. Now this trend has become a grand celebration. This tradition has continued from the time immemorial. More over, it carries a prominent message for our contemporary society. The present existence too bears some resemblances with the scriptures the Ramayan, the Mahabharat and so on. In the Bhagvad Geeta Load Krisna vividly avered, “Paritranaya sadhunam Vinashyameha Duskrutam Dharma Santha paarthaya Sambhabami Yuge yuge.” In the perspective the grand celebration of ‘Dhanuyatra’ can be aptly brought to light Here Lord Krishna comes to kill his vicious maternal uncle, Kansha by performing several acts of recreation among his devotees. The grand occasion of Dhanuyatra is observed at several locations in western odisha the most prominent places of occurrence are Bhaler, jogimunda,Lathore and Gambhari in Balangir district, Ulunda and Sukha near Dunguripali in Sonepur district, Sahaspur, Laikera in Sambalpur district and Bargarh, Talpali, Chichinda and Jogimunda in Bargarh district At every place the visits the act of levying fine and inflicting torture by the excruciating king kansha are not only the centre of attraction for the visitors but also the perfect dramatic display and trick of lord Krishna and his elder brother Balaram bears the utmost attention of the onlookers. It is really advocated as an epitome in restricting the evils. Otherwise the immense occasion of Dhanuyatra is merely a suitable presentation of the best dramatic skills through multiple characters for a duration of 11 (eleven) days. Here the mythical events and characters are brought into the fold of common-man’s life. This big occasion commences with the wedding of Debaki and Vasudev, continues with the birth of Lord Krishna the divine message of Vijulikanya, the conspiracy of Kansha to kill Load Krishna, Killings of several demons, curd – selling of the Gopis , Kaliyadalana, the accommodation of Rangasabha and concludes with the cessation of Kansha’s life. Hence Dhanuyatra is not merely a celebration arranged by people but also it ascertains the scope to propound the Philosophy of Hindu scriptures. Especially, Harivansha, the Bhagebat the Brahmabaiarta Purana and the scripture of Mathuramangala put forward the detailed accounts of Dhanuyatra. Apart from the scriptural citation, the folkish impact on its song and information has been significant since the time immemorial. The most delicate in formation of the past familiarizes us with the attraction and participation of our forefathers in this big event. This paves our path towards the strong attraction and enthusiasm towards Dhanuyatra at present. The Bhagbat of Jagannath Dash is widely acclaimed scripture in odia literature. Every stanza of this holy book bears a strong moral, Eventhough the mythological enumeration is the main purpose of presentation here, the intellectual narration displays a mature from of mentality. In this scripture the delineation of Dhanuyatra is lucidly found. The feeble mentality of desperate Kansha, the worst attempts to do harm to Lord Krishna and so on are brilliantlyput forward with pertinent and sharp lexicography of Jagannath Dash in this holy book the excellent vocabulary in the Bhagbat brings forth an explicit and strong picture of Kansha’s invitation to Lord Krishna and Lord Balaram to come to Dhanuyatra in the following way –
“Sunaho Patra Mantri Mora Mancha Karaia Apara
Tumbhe Sakale Dekhuthiba Mohara Satru Nasa Jiba
Debaki Vasudeba aasi Manchaa upare thibe basi
Tumbhe kariba Malapana Dekhibe Putranka Marana
Mahunta thiba Rangadware Basi Kubalya Pidare
Mariba Sabha tale nei Dante gunthai beni Vai
Aneka Dhana Ratna debi Mohara maitra karibi
Sunaho Patra Mantri Mora Tumbhe Bhiya Dhanughara
Vasudeva ra putr dui Rama govinda beni Vai

Like Jagannath Dash in the Bhagbat, Bhaktacharan Dash in Mathura Mangala also brings forth a clearcut delineation of Danuyatra and numerous other things. In the first Chaanda there are some mesmerizing descriptions of Dhanuyatra occurrences such as the prayer of the Debatas to Lord Vishnu out of the terror and torture of Durmila’s son Kansha. The plight of Lord Vishnu to have incarnation to kill Kansha, the surprising act of killing Putana, Sakata,Agha,Taruna and so one by infant Krishna are found in the second Chhanda the other occurrences of this grand event are recounted neatly for instance the visit of Akrura to Gopapura, the of Lord Krishna’ Dhwaja, Ankusha, Chakra and feet, Akrura’s shedding of tears out of affection to the Lord, and the entrance to Gopapura are narrated in the following way –

“ Duru Anai Dakibe dui Vai Akrura aasa.
Se vani suni srabana beni tejiba sarba dosha.
Sharira gandha pai aananda hoiba nasa dwara
Karante kola anga nirmal hoiba aaji mora
Biswasamana pachari Ram Krishna Karibe Puja
Sadaya chitte peshila mote Dhanya se Kancha raja.

X x x x x x x x
Akrura mana janile shyama bolanti suna mantri
Mathura jibi, Kansha maribi mane nakara vranti.

In the third Chhanda there is the description of Kansha’s atrocity and the spread of this information to Gopapura and their reaction in the seventh Chhanda the readers get enmeshed with the very strong bond of affection and love expressed by the Gopis to restrict Krishna not to go Gopapura Moreover, in the tenth stanza the journey of Krishna and Balaram is presented in a very
attractive and lucid manner as follows
Ethu anantare shun Bichitra charita
Ramakrushna sange gheni safalara suta
X x x x x x x
Madana Bijaye kie sambara samare
Chandra ki gamana kari jauchhi ambare.

Besides these enumeration of Mathura mangala to express the deep – rooted thought of the event and occurrences in its small volume. Its twelfth Chhanda becomes more forceful and wonderful describing clearly the demise scene of cruel Kansha in the following ways –
Dhain Peetabasa bamakare kasha Dhaile hoi kopamurti
Daita Daitari mukha anai jeebana chhadilaa tadita
Nirvana, mukati pathare pasila
Ashesha janmara kalusha jeteka Govinda darshane nasila
Kansha kabarei dhri Brajasundara deinle kesaree pari re
Tale padile kanshaku tala Kari shyamala ki baka upare
Jatane, bolanti jagat jeevana
Chhada chhada mamu uchita nuhai mu tumbha Bahini nandana.

After the sacred darshan of Laord Krishna the total vices of vicious Kansha ends and Kansha accepts death in the hand of his nephew Krishna at the end. Indeed, the theme of Dhanuyatra has already been widely acclaimed and worthy of creating best dramatic presentation. Like other scriptures the Harivansha also comprises the different intricacies of Dhanuyatra. Kansha alongwith other characters are framed with the pertinent and prominent dialogues as per the subject matter of the above mentioned book. Moreover the Brahmabaibarta Purana and the Chittabodha scriptures also includes the vital narration of Dhanuyatra.Like the literature of manners, the folk literature too delineates the maximum bits of Dhanuyatra. Like the celebration of Dhanuyatra in various
places of western odisha, Dhanuyatra in Bargarh township contains multifarious brilliance in its description and presentation of the theme of such event.

It should be the need to realize the role of “Sanchara kala” which beautify the ambience of Dhanuyatra. This is otherwise christened as “Samprada”. The display of “Sanchara” dance and song is accommodated adjacent to the main Royal Pendal of king Kansha. The visitors enjoy the “Sanchar” art from dusk to dawn. This art is not only presented by the men but also the female participants too demonstrates their adept hold on this art. The first female actor of “Sanchar” is given name as “Radha”. After the demise of vicious Kansha it is seen the female sanchar artists mourning over it. By the way in sanchar Art Padmalochan Dash has received the title of “Kathasagar” along with certification and golden earings. The detailed events of Dhanuyatra is also rividly narrated by the singers using two small planks of wood (Dasakathia). At that time Gourishankar Dash of Lupursingha village earned name and fame as the prominent singer of “Daskathia”. A little description is also found in the literature of “Re suaana” (Song of parrot) which existed near the territory of odisha and Chhatisgarh. In one of the western Odisha literatures “ Sajani Songs” bear the notes on the observation of Dhanuyatra is quite emphatic. For instance –
Akhi re laha taraa taraa
Krushna Balaram gale Mathura, gale Mathura
Dhana, Padichhe kansara dakara – sajanire.
X x x x x
Authibu jauthibu
Dhanujatarake Nai Bhulibu, nai bhulibu
Dhana, Bachhara ke thare aasibu, sajani re.

In brief a folk poet presents the depth of Dhanuyatra’s theme. The invitation of Kansha of Krushna Balaram to go to Mathura beautifully resembles with the thoughts of the poet to invite the readers to come to watch the grand event of Dhanuyatra.jatarake Nai Bhulibu, nai bhulibu Dhana, Bachhara ke thare aasibu, sajani re. In brief a folk poet presents the depth of Dhanuyatra’s theme. The invitation of Kansha to Krushna Balaram to go to Mathura beautifully resembles with the thoughts of the poet to invite the readers to come to watch the grand event of Dhanuyatra.
By and by the widespread significance of Dhanuyatra can better be ascertained by giving importance fakir pattanaik’s audio cassette “Dhanuyatra” which is based on khyamanidhi mishra’s sanchar songs. Again the detailed account of Dhanuyatra can be explored through yet another famous folksong “Dalkhai” as follows.

“Dalkhai re
Sajabaja hei chala bargada ke jima
Baragadana Dhanuyatra hauchhe dekhima
Ambapali Gopapura Bargada Mathura
Jeera nadi ke jamuna kale mana karitha dhira
Kie gale lehenti duli
Kie gala hotel buli
Kie khaila Khaja
Dhanuyatra dekhuthilen lagsi kede maja
Meena bazaar
Dekhilen sundara
Buli Buli karuthima kete bajara
Kapada Dukana
Bhuli jayesi mana
Jahar haten paisa achhe
Main mainsa ghina
Jeera nadir pani kire kare jhala mala
Krishana Balarama sange asuchhan Akura
Dhanuyatra dekhuthima buhenmane
Kaha ke naina dara
Aha mor makara
Jaldi bahara
Hei gala bela
Hei gala bela kain dalkhai re “

In the above song the ficklemindedness of a maiden and her willingness to enjoy Dhanuyatra is really worth admiring. In this way a female folk poet heartily enlvens the visit of Lord Krishna and lord Balaram along with Akrura on the chariot to Mathura through her charismatic songs. Regarding the perfection of Dhanuyatra the in habitants of Gopapura nicely demonstrates their multifaceted inclination towards literature the whole of Bargarh township goes through a transformation in to Mathura Nagari and a village outskirt of Bargarh,Ambapali into Gopapura and the river between the twos, the zeera intothe mythological Yamuna river. Here the propaganda and devotion of Krishna cult has been traced at the end of 19th century and the outset of 20th century according to song palm leaves manuscripts this great occasion was initiated by Nagar Guru. In course of time one of his honest followers, Babaji Bhoi of sarsara was of immense help to him. Ambapali became Gopapura in 1948, when Murari Mishra and Pranabandhu Kar constituted the role play of Krishna and Balaram. Another vital thing of Gopapura is the “altar” constructed first by Nilamani Pujari. This altar is the big memento of its commencement. Here Krishna and Balaram were first facilitated with seating accommodation. All the inhabitants of Ambapali or Gopapura irrespective of age, sex caste and creed are merely the actors and actress who can penetrate to the depth of literature. Having performed successfully different roles, the names like – Kartika Budek, Agni Thappa, Dayanidhi Pradhan, Jayaram Bhoi, Sadananda Birtia and so on are always brought on to our memory lane. Their contributions can’t be relegated back, even if they are the part of history now. Besides a number of amusements, the stick play of cowherd boys (Gaurbadi) and the brilliant game of the swords are really enchanting. These are the real formidable grounds where the edifice of literature gets constructed. In totality Bargarh Dhanuyatra hes set a milestone in both folk literature and the literature of mannerism. Through this grand festival of Dhanuyatra the manners and etiquette of exsting society is beautifully demonstrated . Now literature comes to be realistic orientation and has got the opportunity to nourish its child , Dhanuyatra , from infancy to adulthood.

N.B- Acknowledgement-
Heartily , I would like to express my gratitude towards Sri Surendra kumar Hota, (journalist ,Samaj) Sri Ashok kumar Pujari ,(Ambapali) and Sri Sunil Kumar Agasti, (lecturer in English ,T.F Degree College , Bargarh) for their immense help to give a beautiful shape to my article.

About The Author

Dr Saroj Kumar Devata is the Principal of Trust Fund College ,Bargarh
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