Thursday, December 9, 2010

Destruction of mand destroyed Dhalo ustav in Quepem

By John Fernandes

Comes the month of October or for that matter once the harvest season is over in villages of Quepem and Sanguem talukas particularly dominated by the Christian Gawda Tribe , during night time one would hear the sweet sound of Dhalo Songs being played by the Christian Tribal women folk on their traditional Mand

Now this has been a past History as since last 15 years due to the rampant criticism made by the religious priest on the “Mand” which was one of the center place for performing different cultural folk dances/activities of the Gawda Tribe, resulted in destruction of the Mand, which intern resulted in wiping out the different folk dances, folk songs, such as Dhalo, which was one of the important cultural festival of the Christian Gawda Tribal women. This also resulted in wiping out the identity of the Christian Gawdas.

In village Ambaulim/Deao of Quepem taluka which are part of Ambaulim Church is consist of 10 small wards inhabitated mostly by Christian Gawdas. In some wards the population of Christian Gawda is 100% while in remaining wards the Gawda Population is 95%. Each wards was having its Mand which was the center place for performing all the cultural activities/dances such as Dhalo, Intruz etc.

Once the harvest season is over preferably in the month of October the Gawda women folk of each ward used to play Dhalo on their traditional Mand particularly during night time. In ward Copelabhat once the harvest of Nagagal peddy field is done the women folk of that ward use to play dhalo on their Mand. The Dhalo festival was performed by the Gawda Tribal women to glorify/pray the almighty or the nature for the harvest.

The Dhalos festival on the Mand was performed in odd days. On the first day of Dhalo that is on the day of commencement the wife of the ward Budwant (head of the village) use to light the Lamp which was kept in the middle of the Mand and lighted every night till the Dhalo Festival is over , followed by busting of crackers. The tribal women then use to gather on the Mand to play Dhalo. They used to stand in two different line holding each one hands and then sing different traditional songs in sweet voice on the rithm of their leg. If one minutely verifys the song each song is having a past history and conveys a message to the villager. In the Dhalo Songs there is even reference of different trees/shrubs having medicinal importance.

The different folk dances which were performed by the Tribal women during Dhalo Festival include Dhalo, Fugdi, Palom, Moraile etc. The village youth who use to gather to see the Dhalo use play “Kolimandani” in one corner of the mand.

The Dhalo Festival use to go that either 3 days, 5 days, 7 days or 9 days. On the last day of the Dhalo large number of villagers including male member from that ward use to gather on the mand to participate in the closing ceremony which was referred as “Mand Nivovop”. Every member who comes on the mand used to bring paddy from their house. The paddy brought by the villagers were collected and then sold to the shopkeeper from the ward and in return sweets and puff rice (chirmuleo) were purchased which were distributed among all those present. In this way the Dhalo festival of Gawda Tribals comes to an end.

However since last 15 years due to the rampant criticism made by the religious priest to the Mand calling it as a devil place and the cultural activities performed over their by the Tribals that to without studying its concept or without studying its importance for preserving the cultural importance of the Tribals resulted in destruction of the Mand along with it, it destroyed the reach cultural heritage such as Dhalo and the typical identity of the Christian Gawdas particularly from Quepem and Sanguem Talukas.

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